For our first design, Saeed and I choose to create an elevated cornucopia with twelve towers. Participants would “spawn” in one of the twelve towers and would have the option of jumping onto the lower cornucopia platform, with chests and the possibility of death, or run down the spiraling staircase and into the ocean. From there, they can swim towards land surrounding the cornucopia.
The basics of the idea are as follows:
The cornucopia and spawn points are located in the middle of the map and each corner of the map would feature a different zone such as a volcano zone and a forest zone. The cornucopia sits on top of a chamber whose door is hidden by a downfall of lava. The player needs to secure a bucket and water (found in a chest on the cornucopia platform), throw it onto the lava, make their way down to ground level and then will be able to enter the chamber and take possession of the prestigious prize. We don’t expect players to understand this puzzle right away and have thus added windows that allow the player to see the large chest therein when they descent using the spiral staircases. We understand that once the puzzle is understood, the game might become dull if played repeatedly, but at the same time, Hunger Game maps in the novels are only used once; the tributes do not know what is going to happen, or what surprises they may find. Hence, we may want to introduce a system that would not allow a player to enter a match again after 2 or 3 deaths.
The player map area is completely surrounded by glass (this will be called level 1). The player can only play within the confines of level 1 terrain. The game makers, i.e. us, have access to levers and events on the top of this terrain, henceforth named level two. Players do not have access to the second level. This allows us to view and control events going down on the map. We can spawn monsters from above and into the play area to motivate activity like in the films and books. We found that creatures could survive elevated drops except for spiders that died on impact. We tried spawning them on top of water, but the spiders still died. Finally Saeed created a slime trampoline that allowed us to spawn spiders without them dying on impact.
We can also set forests on fire to force players closer together through slots on the second level. We practiced with lava and trees grown in close proximity and found that we could control forest fires. Unfortunately, lava falls very slowly. We would need to figure out a way to set the forest on fire more quickly. Additionally, we found that we built out platforms too high, making the spiraling staircases overly long. We would need to build our platforms less high. We also found that creating an ocean in Minecraft is much harder than it looks. At the moment, our ocean looks like a right mess – we would need to spend more time studying how oceans are generated in the game.
The group meeting allowed us to view our peer’s map proposals. We found that our map may be to limiting for players in terms of re-playability. However, we do not necessarily see this as something wrong, as, like I previously stated, this would work hand and hand with the “real” Hunger Game mechanics: learn quickly, stay sharp, and don’t die, or you cannot come back. We still have a long way to go in terms of map creation and in terms of what aspects of Hunger Games we want to explore. Do we want to explore player-map interactions? Do we want to simulate a more accurate depiction of Hunger Game? How do we want to differentiate ourselves from other PVP #hungergames servers? In what ways will our maps create a relationship or dialogue with the novel’s narratives (if at all)? In the weeks to come I hope we are able to sit down together and discuss the future of our project in relation to these questions.