Disclaimer: unlike many here, I am merely a novice in game design, and have only a negligible understanding of the challenges that will be encountered when attempting to realize game design within a game engine. The following will doubtless betray my ignorance, but, being conscious of this, I welcome even so-called soul crushing criticisms as learning opportunities (I find discussions concerning design peculiarly energizing, and I am motivated to improve upon my understanding of design principles).
I acknowledge and respect Gavan's need to exercise restraint, and that this suggestion may (if worthy) be best implemented as a mod.
In pursuit of brevity, here is my preamble:
Roguelike play is hard-- too hard for some! **raising a shamefaced hand**
Casual mode alleviates this problem, but considerable resistance remains to experiencing the full benefit of an open, breathing and malleable world.
Sandbox removes resistance, but behaves more as a dev or 3D art tool rather than being a game in itself.
The ideal game mode for me would feature the power and immortality of sandbox coupled with the AI-driven nature of roguelike or casual.
I would like a god mode.
Player powers are described by the following rules:
- The player is an invisible and invincible influence.
- Action types are subdivided into four: Giving, Taking, Secrets, and Knowing (this last being information gathering, whereas the former three are proper miracles).
- Giving (additive/benevolent intervention) and Taking (subtractive/destructive intervention) actions are enacted within the vicinity of or directly upon game characters.
- Secrets are the least limited actions, but must be done stealthily, ie. outside of game characters' sensing radii eg. fashioning a massive underground city, Minecraft-style.
- Knowing actions empower the player with knowledge:
-> Poll a game object or character for full knowledge of attributes, relationships, motivations, etc. (certain types of information could be hyperlinked to further ease navigation of the game world)
-> This second action is admittedly a daring suggestion: calculate the future of a given character. This power would necessarily have limitations: in order to ensure the accuracy of the prediction (whether of death or significant goal achievement), the player must be voluntarily bound to the character's vicinity and abstain from intervention in the game world.
Of course, it is possible and even likely that a player using the 'Second Sight' will want to interrupt the determinism leading to this future (or else be unconcerned with maintaining it), and so taking this action should by no means 'lock you in'; therefore it should be trivial to 'unbind' and a widget could indicate the game's detection of a possible swerve from the calculated deterministic stream.
- Giving and Taking would be limited, with all but the smallest actions requiring Fuel.
- Fuel gained from accumulating Score.
- Score accrued based on a detection algorithm measuring the 'ripples' player actions cause.. abstraction & scope-capping probably necessary for performance.
- Score from the AI's discovery of Secrets and from Fuel-required actions generates a fast-decaying (decay rate modified by Score:Fuel efficiency?) Fuel so as to cap the snowball effect (while still allowing catastrophic rampages).
Additional features even less thoroughly (read: hardly at all) considered:
- Player advancement through unlocking of more powerful actions.
- Retain the role-playing element by choosing a 'deity identity', be constrained by this choice.
- Other gods (multiplayer or AI)
- AI behaviour plausibly respects the existence and action of god(s)
I should probably admit to the fact that I ran most of this by @Flatfingers
first and found courage in his positive response.