Once upon a time I was really into coming up with big plans for large companies that would help to unite the online gaming community, similar to services like Pen and Paper Games.
What I'd like to share with you is something I had been tossing around in my mind for some time, and had posted on an old blog that I'd like to post here for reference purposes (as the former hosting service is now shutting down). With that, I leave you with the following ideas.
From my experiences, there is a large market out there for people who like to host games relating to RPGs, though with the market leading to 3D MMO Environments, there hasn't been much buzz about actual internet text-based or voice based hosting programs. The dream I have was to be able to provide a set of services that would revive this industry and provide cash flow to the development of a truly dynamic RPG environment. There are some ideas that would go along with this as follows:
- Central Web Site: Private and Public Text and Voice Chat, Forums, and Calender (Free service for Private text based Chat , Public Forums and Calender. Subscription for Private Voice Chat, Forums, and Calender and more advanced invitation options for related services).
- Web based Flash or Java oriented Gaming platform: Gaming Service that allows for game hosting outside of regular forum/chat/calender with Game Chat Logging (Voice Logging with Subscription), Image Uploading (Temporary and Permanent, Temporary being free and Storage being Subscription based) and Universal adaptability across any Internet Connection/Computer Platform.
- Public and Private Game Library: A large database that has an assortment of Story Content, Character Content, Game Hosting Rules (Both Verbose and Simplistic) With a wide range of content being openly available for read strait from the website or download depending on content. This can be anything from Campaign Settings to Game Mechanics rulebooks for GURPS and d20 and White Wolf alike, the content having various permissions depending on the liscence agreement for each piece of content (Custom Content being part of a generic User Agreement or being part of a Agreement that protects the Libraries content and free sharing rights or making of money for distribution and what not). This would be the GMs heaven as it would include a large assortment of material for just about any hosting!
- Free Online Character Sheets: A piece of Flash or Java software that would be part of the GM hosting software that allows you to store, update, customize, and directly use inside the Gaming Software as noted above for both custom PCs and NPCs for GMs. GMs could also make custom sheets for players and be able to save it for open sharing on the public Library mentioned above. Library would essentially cross with this in that you could
- Character and Game Hosting Customization Services: Have a collection of people who are hired for the company who's soul purpose are to create custom content for GMs and Players alike. Services could include Custom Character portraits, NPC portraits, Custom Campaign Logos, and even more technical pieces of content such as World Maps that show Demographics, city type, borders, as well as elevation and biom maps for a custom campaign as well as editing services and publication services for GMs and players alike who would like to publish stories into the public or private library (Private essentially having a one time buy out of the content). All materials that are purchased this way are automatically put into storage permanently on our servers for life of the company and are free to store for even public accounts with unlimited downloads. This service could also be something that is purely part of a monthly service as well, where people pay a monthly service to have access to the custom material.
There is a lot of other ideas that could be built upon this, including paid hosting services where the company, in order to keep player interest, would have paid GMs to host games that focus on content already in the libraries that help demonstrate the usefulness of the subscription as well as Private Hosting parties where players can win special content from the sight for participating in subscription only events! The nice thing about this is that since its an online community, the company could be spread apart, letting players have the chance to apply to become GMs with the company and gaining access to special content because of it. If a GM shows good potential and good reviews, that player could in turn be payed to demonstrate the companies goals and content!
Given a larger investment in the idea, I could easily see the development of a modular design platform that allows players to construct entire encounters, story lines, passive and active content that can be used on the fly or is predetermined, allowing people to simply "pick up" the adventure and play without the necessity of a game master. The environment would preferably have a system that allowed for direct interaction and free form gameplay, with a user friendly programing language that allowed for easily triggered events that tie to actions, and on the fly action for anyone willing to get into the detail of any adventure.
This I feel would be quite an on-taking, but in the end would be quite the experience. I can see it combining elements of the common RPG online format with more user friendly programing elements from that of Neverwinter Nights.