View Full Version : Augment: Reality Ain't What It Used To Be

09-07-2009, 12:11 AM
This is about my and my friend Jayman the Barbarian's crazy idea for an FPS/RPG hybrid called Augment. It will doubtlessly never get made.

Lets face it, FPSs are stale. There are four things that FPSs do.

The first is story.
The second is gameplay
The third is graphics
And the fourth are the guns available.

Story has been woefully lacking for pretty much every FPS ever made. Some stand out (like Bioshock or System Shock 2) but most are pretty much grr arr, shoot kill death death blegh.

Gameplay has evolved some, but not as much as we like. Seriously, slowing down time has been DONE!

Graphics are always improving, often at the expense of the other three.


Guns have been stuck in a rut. Its always assault rifle, shotguns, sniper rifle, some kind of weird and overpowered gun that you only use in the boss battles anyway. The reason why guns are stuck in a rut, mostly, is because the market is saturated with either real world titles (where we have to use Earth guns) or the devs have no frekken imagination.

So, really, changing the STORY is what is going to breath life back into FPSes! Why? Becuase when the story changes, the world changes, which opens up new gameplay and new gun options.

And so, I and my friend decided to think up a story that would be integral to a FPS/RPG hybrid gameplay!

And here it is.

The first thing we took a look at is the thing around which all game play is built: The HUD. HUDs are rarely explained, and rarely really played with in the game story. And so, we (we being my friend and I) started talking about the story and setting that would really let us fiddle with the HUD.

And so we came up with Augment. Augment takes place in the future, wherein the vasty majority of humanity has had their brains cybernetically altered to give them an augmented reality. That is, everyone has a channel of reality they can 'tune' into. Tune into the visual arts channel and watch the world around you blossim with holographic artwork put up by artists. Tune into the navigation channel and the world is overlaid with navigational points and maps that show you where to go.

However, you play as a man who's unsual mental architecture futzes with the implant. It works fine...until one day, at work, he knocks his head agianst the wall and the implants starts...malfunctioning. Your implant begins turning on and off, allowing you too shift between augmented and un-augmented views of the world.

However, this ability traps you in a conflict. An invisible conflict that rages between the Goverment and the Rebellion. And they both want you, as your malfunction has given you the unique ability to exist in both worlds, to slip between augmented and un-augmented realities. This gives you aweome powers and, of course, awesome responsbilities.

But, I can hear you cry, what about the gameplay?

Well, the gameplay is about shifting between two realities. In augmented reality, you see what everyone else sees. You can use augmented weapons, things like meme-bombs, viral lasers, spam attacks and displacement defenses. You can also operate machinery, interact with computer programs, and generally do cool things like that.

Un-augmented reality has no HUD. You see through illusions, are immune to spam attacks and displacement defensecs. You can use your one and only gun (though, you can use this in augmented reality, but its a really stupid idea for reasons i'll explain later), and a melee fighting system. You can sneak better, as you don't show up on the 'net.

You can shift between the two rapidly, and you will want to do it often, to chain together different abilities and play styles. Use augmented reality to view the world as the enemy see it, then shift out and use that information you have to sneak around them. Use augmented reality to start a spam program, then pop into unaugmented reality too punch the distracted enemy in the face. Use augmented reality to displace your image to make the enemy's guns shoot in the wrong direction entirely, then run and slip off the 'net to vanish even more thoroughally.

Now, you can either choose to work for the Goverment. You have a short leash, being able to get off the net, but you are given a weapon and the promise at some freedom...just so long as you do their missions and attempt to stop the rebels. This involves hunting, fixing the things Rebs break, and so on.

Now, I don't want anyone to get the wrong impression...neither side is the right side. They simply have two different points of view, both valid and both diametrically opposed. Gov believes that reality is a worthy sacrifice for peace, stability, and happiness.

Now, The Rebels believe that reality is worth any price, and that living in a dreamworld is destroying people's ability to really live the lives. Working for them, you attempt to bring down the Gov. This involves terrorism, sneaking, and so on.

Of course, you can always choose to screw both sides and try to escape the city to the Historical Preserves, where those without augments live in quite, pre-industrial societies.

So, the game has three paths. The Rebel path plays like a stealth game and has sticky moral choices. The Goverment Path plays like an action game and has sticky moral choices. And the Run-the-hell-Away path plays like a mixture of both.

There are RPG elements, in that you upgrade your un-augmented and augmented abilities.

And um...

Those are the ideas I've got so far!

09-07-2009, 05:03 AM
So, this sounds a lot like EXistenZ. Which was a really compelling concept...but I would take a look at that if you have not already, to see where this sort of thing has been taken in the past.
There's certainly a lot of space to develop this sort of thing, but I'd be leery of covering the same ground and evoking unkind comparisons.

09-07-2009, 05:22 AM
I like the concept, although I'd change the bonk on the noggin hyperactivating his implants to a strobe light from a "defective" flurescent bulb unmasking an epileptic like state. Of course the strobe was not random. It was caused by a power surge affecting altered bulbs planted there by operatives at the light bulb plant. They know 0.001% of the population is susceptible. They hack into security cameras where they've planted the bulbs, activate the surge and see who starts flopping. Then they try to covertly recruit or decomission "prospectives".

Vaguely this reminds me of the movie with Roddy Piper about aliens using subliminal technology to control the populace but with these special sunglasses you could see the real world. I think it was called, "They Live"

Halo 1 had a reasonable story. I couldn't play anything after that due to nerve damage. Even on Easy they were just too difficult or painful. Gaming companies don't seem to cater to the aging and disabled gamers.

09-07-2009, 05:37 AM
Oooh, that's a good idea!

09-07-2009, 07:36 AM
I guess it's safe to assume you're keeping your eye on Borderlands? It's supposed to be an FPS/RPG hybrid.

09-07-2009, 07:44 AM
I have, actually, and it looks like a lot of fun.

Romantic Heretic
09-07-2009, 04:29 PM
On thinking about this it sounds much like Mage: The Ascension (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/index.html?curid=19732) but with a technological perspective rather than fantastic.

The movie was They Live and it has one of the great lines of all time in it.

"I'm here to kick ass and chew bubble gum. And I'm all out of gum." ;)

09-08-2009, 06:41 PM
Lets face it, FPSs are stale. There are four things that FPSs do.

The first is story.
The second is gameplay
The third is graphics
And the fourth are the guns available.

FPS are fine if you skip the ones that have story lines and go for those with open-ended worlds and just build your own missions, or download user-made missions or go online for multiplayer.

I'm still looking at the vanishing mods for ArmaOne. The game is rapidly being abandoned so I'm looking at the mods before moving on.

It's amusing in a non-linear kind of way. Sometimes the mods just blow up and crash the game. Sometimes (or almost always) there are aspects of the mods that don't quite work. In an expansive game world like ArmaOne the "graphics" are variable but you can always enjoy the scenery (the sun rises and sets, constellations and the moon move as they should around the calendar, churchbells chime the hours, mercenaries try to kill you, things blow up and so on).

Romantic Heretic
09-08-2009, 09:23 PM
Mercenaries try to kill you on the hour? That must get dull. ;)

09-08-2009, 10:59 PM
Mercenaries try to kill you on the hour? That must get dull. ;)

One of the cool things about the ARMAs (and this goes back to their ancestoral island worlds in Operation Flashpoint) is that time and the seasons vary the lighting and so on. So the clock towers show the real time and the church bells ring on the hours and quarters.
Since the earliest test versions of "missions" (ie mini-scenarios) tend to start on the hour and since the test versions tend to have some shooting early on (to make sure the guns and sounds and what not are actually working) and since the reliable old "High Dispersion" Mercenaries have been there to kill you right on time since the heady days of old Flashpoint in say 2002...there is a tendency to get shot at while the bells are still ringing 11 AM or something.