Another in my ongoing series of ideas I’ll probably never act on. Do whatever you like with this. If you actually make the game and it runs on Android, let me know. I’d love to try it out.
The High Concept
Play through a role-playing game adventure on your mobile phone while moving around your local park, hiking through the woods, or wandering the streets of your home town. Participate in simple quests solo, or play with friends. Or if you prefer, develop your own adventures and share them online for other people to play.
In the 1980s and 90s there were a series of books called Fighting Fantasy that let players play through an RPG-like adventure without a gamemaster. Combine a mobile implementation of those books with geocaching and then let the users create all the actual content and you have GPS Quest.
Building GPS Quest would be straightforward:
- Develop a simple RPG engine with monsters, loot, stats, and leveling up. Leave as many hooks as possible for user-generated content to modify things. Combat will probably want to be turn-based. Write a mobile app to resolve combats in the system. This is by far the hardest step. Probably do this with just one player for the first version.
- Build a back end that can track a player’s RPG stats over time. Include a quest system that can unroll an adventure in front of the player as they move around the world. This would probably be waypoint-based so the user can look at the next place to go on a map on their phone.
- Build quest creation tools that let a user (you) write new quests in the actual physical world.
- Publish all this to the world.
- Iterate until massively popular
There are many hundreds of features that could be added once the basic system is up and running. Some ideas include:
- Multiplayer. First for small parties of 2-5 people and them maybe for raids of 20-40 people.
- Audio for monsters, navigation, and quests. You could download it all before starting the quest so it could play quickly.
- Custom art for quests. Might want to download this ahead of time too.
- A builder-maintained bestiary
- A builder-maintained loot catalog
- Tools to remap existing quests onto new locations
- Matchmaking tools to help players find each other
- The sci-fi, zombie, pirate, superhero, spy, vampire, giant robot, caveman, and not-at-all-fantasy-medieval versions of the same game. That last one is so some SCA people can feel comfortable playing your game.
- Leaderboards for quest builders, quest remappers, and players to give all of those people bragging rights.
- More simple geocaching features like buried treasure and traps that players can leave for each other.
- Ports to whichever platform you didn’t launch for in the first place.
- Trading systems, auction systems, crafting systems
What do you think? Would you play?