Polar Paradise

An even better Club Penguin

A lot of us played virtual worlds as kids. Club Penguin, Poptropica, and Animal Jam are just a few of the ones that sucked hours from our lives when we got back home from school. But even though these games were crazy fun, they were lacking in some features. You could earn in-game currency (coins) by playing games, but other than buying clothes, furniture, or pets, there wasn’t much you could do with it.

In my virtual world Polar Paradise, I want there to be so much you can do with your coins that the game becomes indistinguishable from real life. The game will allow you to buy clothes and furniture and pets, but you can also invest in stocks, trade with players, buy businesses, hire employees, make donations, and do so much more.

This new and complex economy will require a lot more infrastructure from the game. Exchanges to hold the stocks will have to be created, banks will need to be established to hold players’ money and give out loans, and laws will need to be put in place to prevent the stealing of players’ money. I’m still going back and forth on this, but a tax system might even need to be implemented, so any money the game gives out comes from somewhere and doesn’t destabilize the economy (inflation).

AI that actually matters

This economy requires a bunch of thought, but what requires even more is the AI features I want to implement in Polar Paradise. I don’t want the game to have AI for the sake of AI. These features should enhance the user experience and make the repetitive and dull parts of the game more skippable. My first idea was NPCs controlled by AI agents. These NPCs would be full-on players of the game, earning and spending money in our economy. They would walk around the island, run businesses, be employees in businesses (that players can hire), buy and sell items, and trade on the stock market. In fact, I want a lot of the “randomness” of the stock market to come from the many trades these NPCs make, so when the game is in its infancy and not many people are playing, the market still seems lively.

In addition to NPCs, I want AI to be featured heavily in the game’s logic. In in-game discussions through the chat, AI suggestions for what should be said next will be shown on screen so players don’t have to spend so much time typing their next response to real-life players or NPCs. News articles will be written primarily through LLMs informing players about what stocks are poised to do well and what aren’t (players and the agent NPCs will be reading these articles to determine what stocks to invest in).

I truly think that if Polar Paradise is done properly, we will revolutionize how AI is used in all kinds of ways, not just in gaming.