Books of The Warp
- Corruptor (Anticipation Press — 9/6/2017)
- Devastator (Anticipation Press — 1/12/2018)
- Vindicator (Anticipation Press — Coming Soon)
About The Warp
Imagine the greatest online video game you could possibly imagine, then throw in the best virtual reality system this side of Star Trek’s Holodeck.
That, dear reader, is The Warp.
The original idea for The Warp came one day after a phone conversation with Dr. Travis S. Taylor, author of Warp Speed and The Quantum Connection (and numerous other “hard” SF books). I recalled him mentioning something in TQC called “The Realm”. It did not play a huge part in the novel, save for the hero’s hacking abilities and his understanding of the main antagonist. However, it gave me something of a platform to work from, and one hell of an idea.
I’m a huge videogame fan. When I say huge, I mean I got a job at a videogame store so I could get the discounts for new games huge. And in our current day and age, with celebrities doing commercials for video games, they define our society to a certain degree as well. The biggest online games that enable this is an MMORPG, or Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, which in 2006 raked in over one billion dollars worth of revenues. In 2008 it jumped to $3.25 billion. In 2015 it was over $1.2 trillion. Seven short years. To say that games with a strong online community do not affect our society, or will not affect our future societies, is borderline ridiculous.
The problems with the majority of these online games is that they are all what you can call a one-tiered gaming system. One-tiered meaning that they are all a first person individual game. You can only control one person, which is yourself. You can’t control anyone else, unless you go and create a new character. Even then, though, are you able to have that character interact with your own character? Can your first character dictate orders for your second character to follow? They are very limited this way.
Other games, like Command & Conquer, offer you a second-tier gaming platform. That is to say, you tell one of your soldiers to go and kill that soldier, and your NPC (non-player character, i.e. the game) goes and kills that soldier. Or it might die in the process. You then order a whole squad to attack a tank, or a squad of tanks to attack a base. So on and so forth. This second-tier game is very interesting, as you can control squad based actions. However, you cannot usually enter first-tier in this game. That is not it’s function. It serves as a tactical gaming solution. You can control armies tactically.
Then there’s Risk.
Risk is every serious gamer’s game. Ask any person who enjoys strategic gaming or world building, like SimCity or Making History, if they own a copy of the board game Risk. The answer should be an overwhelming “yes”. Risk is what I have defined as a third-tier game. You order your armies where to go, but you have little to no control over the armies once they engage. Oh sure, you can order a withdrawal or retreat, but actual flanking maneuvers, or squad-based combat? Nope. And don’t think you can be that lone infantryman in a first-person shooter. It does not occur. It makes the game oftentimes slower, but can be more rewarding.
So now we’ve defined three tiers of gaming: First, Second and Third. We’re all more or less agreed on this? Good. Moving on then…
Now comes the nature of the games themselves. Is there an objective? Is the game beatable? Should it be beatable? Do you have a set time limit? These cover some very general goals and targets that the games set up for you. In Risk, it’s total world domination. In SimCity, it’s to build and make a city where your economy is booming and your citizens are happy. In the current MMORPG format, you have an unlimited amount of time to build up your character, while doing assigned quests. It’s fairly simple to judge a game by what you can do, and what your objectives are. There are four different types of game types here as well. They are: Constant, Semi-Constant, Cyclic, and Objective based.
Constant games are games like World of Warcraft, Ultima Online, and others who allow gamers to participate constantly in a non-stop atmosphere with no goal in mind except to achieve the highest player level imaginable. It’s fairly easy to learn, and highly addictive. In the long run, unless new expansions come out though, most gamers tend to get bored. It’s a vicious cycle, one that Blizzard Entertainment has corralled quite nicely with their expansion packs to World of Warcraft. However, as mentioned previously, there simply is no end to the game.
Semi-Constants are an interesting, and dying, breed. They allow gamers the same objectives as WoW, but have the interesting quirk of resetting the game at random, often with only a few days or weeks notice. Whether it be a general data reload, or game reset, it is not a constant universe. Things are changed when the reset happens, and the gamers usually will leave after this happens. Of course, if this isn’t directly related to an MMORPG, then a Semi-Constant could have simply changed because the game requirements have been met. Civilization is one of these games, where you can either play forever or choose an objective and eventually beat the game.
Cyclic games have a misnomer about them. When I first started gaming back in…. 1985, I never would have imagined that games can be reset at certain intervals to maintain a new and fresh game. Some games where you have only a certain time to achieve the game’s objective before it ended and reset. Joust is one of these games. You had a certain time to knock your enemies from their birds before you lost. Super Mario Bros. is also a cyclic game. There’s nothing saying that you can’t play it over and over again. But once it’s reset… bleh. There’s a reason I was thrilled when you were able to start saving your games when the Super Nintendo came out, and no longer had to write down an extremely long password to go back to the level you were on.
Objective based games are just that. You achieve your objective, and game over. It’s fairly simple, and an utter waste of time in an MMORPG community. What’s the fun of one guy sitting in his bedroom for twenty straight days playing a game and ending it for everyone else after he beats it? Especially after you’ve played maybe four hours, because you have a job, family, basketball practice, etc. It’s no fun at all. However, non-MMORPG’s have had wild success with these games. Their is a way and reason to beat the game. Go, my child! Doth thy axe and cleave thy enemy! Thou shalt be rewarded with sacks o’ monies and prestige! Which brings me back to the Warp, oddly enough.
When I envisioned the world of Crisis within the Warp, I did not intentionally paint Crisis into the corner to be strictly a tier-one, constant game. Indeed, I tried to spice it up with various bits and pieces. You had to ally yourself with others to beat a certain mission, yada yada yada. It seemed fine at first, until friends of mine started asking “Well, what else is there in the Warp?”
Hmmm…. Good question.
There had to be more than simple first-person shooters in the Warp. I mean, if it were all simple hack and slash, it would get old quickly. So I created the fact that a gamer could hack codes and splice them into the Warp, for a small price. They also could make money by selling codes and weapons to other gamers. Nice but again, not original. I pondered for days trying to come up with something, anything, that could make it more interesting, more viable. And you know what? I didn’t think of it.
Good thing I have smarter friends than I.
A buddy of mine (thanks again, Subdude!) suggested making newer, exciting levels. Two and even three-tiered gaming worlds. Make them constants, he suggested as we stood outside on a cold December night. Have them be robber barons, trying to build their reputation levels up while ensuring that their railroads are profitable. Maybe have a World War Two simulation game, where they can choose who they want to fight for, then decide if they want to be the grunt who storms Normandy, the guy who plans the attack on Normandy, or the guy who decides “Hey, let’s attack the Axis powers!”. Basically combine all three tiers of gaming and throw them into one world. Oh, it’d be hard, if not impossible, for them to take their sand-pounding grunt and make him a general. But what if…
Yes, now you’re getting it. I was guilty of allowing myself to keep a tier-one mentality when describing the gaming with the Warp. I had fooled myself into thinking that anything else would be too impractical, or people wouldn’t be interested. I should have known better, looking at the sales of simulator games like The Sims, the Civilization series and so on. Yes yes, kick me if you must.
So now, after much debate (okay, no debate, just a general discussion), we’ve managed to identify three-tiers and four types of gaming. The possibilities are endless. The future for gaming, and for people like me who are gamers, is limitless. The only question now is what type of gaming do we go to from here?
Or, more importantly for me, which direction is The Warp, and the universe itself, headed?
Worlds of The Warp
- PvP (Player vs Player)
- Cupid (Adults Only)
Many others worlds of The Warp are waiting to be discovered.