Friday, January 30, 2009

The World of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Ok, so this is my contribution to the Round Table:

The World of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

WoZAMM (even the acronym sounds appropriate!) is a Road-trip MMOG with a philosophical twist.

Enjoy your ride along miles and miles of open roads and highways.

In this MMOG, you are free to take you motocycles and your thoughts wherever you want. To be played on your own or in massive-multiplayer (cooperative or competitive) mode, WoZAMM allows you to explore the roads, the mountains and their risks.


  • Mantain and upgrade your vehicle
  • Race against or along up to 256 players open to chat
  • Explore thousands of miles of roads of every kinds and conditions
  • Relax riding in Zen Mode (keep reading for explanation)
  • Follow quests or wander freely.
  • Food for thought: on-screen display quotes and topics for your reflection.
  • Access and enjoy WoZAMM Philosophical Encyclopaedia (and add / share notes) (read more for explanation on that one too).

    This game is designed to give players that free-roaming feeling some miss about games (hey, do you remember Elite?). Although players can accept quests and missions (available at gas stops, restaurants and motels, if so they wish), they can also just enjoy riding and riding and riding...

    And that's where Zen Mode, our main USP, comes in.

    After a long period of continuous riding (a couple of minutes), Zen Mode will become available for the player to activate. Once it's on, it will progressively make motorcycle control easier (the Motorcycle will run by itself, at its peak), slightly increase speed and add soft-blur visual effects to the surroundings. The smooth-to-automatic controls will give the player a chance to reflect.

    USP number 2 - Food for Thought: Every now and then, specially when in Zen Mode, philosophical quotes and topics will be displayed on screen for further reflection. Once the player is off the road, he can also access WoZAMM Philosophical Encyclopaedia and read more on topics previously displayed. Notes can be added by the player and upload to the users forum.


    On a side note, I should add that I've always wanted to make an introspective long-distance driving game. This Round Table was a great opportunity to re-work, however briefly, that idea.


    Krystian Majewski said...

    Haha! I haven't read the book but the idea is certainly something I also have been playing with! I love it!

    Even better: the MMO version where players could record philosophic podcasts while driving through longs stretches of virtual desert. And then other players could listen to it while driving.

    Chico Queiroz said...

    Thank you very much for the support and the podcast idea contribution :).

    I really enjoyed your Solaris as well (I`ve just finished reading it). It seems that discussion-themed games actually could be a untaped niche!

    As I have seen Soderbergh, I was thought I was familiar with the plot, but apparently I will have to read the actual thing, uh?

    Take care!

    Krystian Majewski said...

    Oh yeah, the similarity of the two entries eluded me but you are absolutely right!

    You certainly have to read the book. But don't worry - it's very short. Only 100 pages or so.

    Anonymous said...

    Your comment on a long-distance driving game immediately brings to mind Desert Bus:'s_Smoke_and_Mirrors#Desert_Bus

    Chico Queiroz said...

    WorldMaker: Thanks for the pointer! That's another long distance bus-driving game that might have influenced me more: Payload, for MSX. It was one of the games that impressed me more when I was a kid.

    Krystian: I'll try to check it out. Maybe it's published on-line somewhere. (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance has one here)

    Thank you both for the input!

    Copyright, Chico Queiroz