Archive | February 2016

Daily Design: Day 61

Daily Design is a series of game concepts devised daily through all of 2016. These are just basic concepts, designed based on three randomly generated words. Today, they are;

Putt, Action and Separate. 

As such, the game I’ve designed today is…

Four Iron

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Four Iron is, put simply, combat golf.

Players compete in a four player free-for-all in a violent action-packed game of golf. The goal is to kill your opponents with a well-placed golf ball, or by destroying a piece of the environment (such as a tree) that kills them in turn.

Mechanically, Four Iron plays like most golf games. You select a club, angle and power of the shot, and then swing. There’s nothing random about where the ball lands – it depends entirely on the settings that were selected. The tricky part is knowing where that’s going to make the ball end up.

Since it’s competitive, it’s important to note that – like traditional golf – Four Iron is turn-based. It’s extremely difficult to hit your opponent/s in the first turn, and the player to go first is selected at random.

The game is visually over-the-top and visceral. Golf balls break the sound barrier as they fly and cause ripples of air, ripping trees in half if they collide with them and totally decimating opponents. If a ball hits a character the game enters a kind of “X-ray” mode, not unlike Sniper Elite or Mortal Kombat.

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It’s also, ideally, a lot faster than regular golf. Courses may be smaller, or turns are simply taken more quickly. Either way, this would work best with a faster-than-normal pace, I think.

That’s it! Thanks for reading. I’ll be back again tomorrow with another basic game concept. 

Daily Design: Day 60

Daily Design is a series of game concepts devised daily through all of 2016. These are just basic concepts, designed based on three randomly generated words. Today, they are;

Watch, Imperial and Vessel

As such, the game I’ve designed today is…

Interdum Paratus

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Interdum Paratus has players take the role of a bumbling city guard who finds him or herself inhabited by the soul of an ancient (and thoroughly evil) god.

Despite that, the player has a job to do. Citizens won’t oppress themselves, and crime runs rampant – it’s up to the guards to hold back the tide of the unlawful and protect the nobility. This is just a bit harder to do when maddening whispers threaten to overcome your senses.

Mechanically, the game comes down to judging citizens for their actions. Find a thief? You can choose to cut off their hands, release them entirely, send them to jail, or eat their soul.

Different choices obviously lead to different outcomes, but the game is simple enough that this is really all the mechanical depth it has. You make a few decisions and watch the impacts unfold and affect the city – it’s little more than that, but were it to be written (and acted) well enough, I think it’d be a fun time all the same.

Simple, then, as far as a concept goes. “Make a game about decisions but make it good”. Still, I think this concept has enough merit that it could stand on it’s own. Possible inclusions to improve the depth of the game would probably detract from the concept – “morality bars” are just bad design, and I think a more fluid system of how the city evolves would be best. Different decisions lead to different outcomes, and the concept is broad enough that any tone could be taken during development (though with the premise, I envision it as being light-hearted).

You know those dumb guards you see in every fantasy ever made? It’d be great to see it from their point of view. For example, you may be posted at the gate with strict orders not to let anybody into the city (say there’s an outbreak of gnomes or something). What do you do when an adventurer appears who claims to have urgent business with the king? Personally, I think they’d need to get a pass. You can tell them that you think Old Man Johnson out in the shack by the lake may be able to help and set them on their quest, only to have them return later (in cooler armour after having gotten stronger) with a pass. Good for them!

It’s essentially the one joke stretched across an entire game (ha! Guards are dumb!) but if the game were simple and brief enough, I think it’d be one worth playing.

That’s it! Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow with another simple game concept. 

 

Daily Design: Day 59

Daily Design is a series of game concepts devised daily through all of 2016. These are just basic concepts, designed based on three randomly generated words. Today, they are;

Fur, Social and Bandwagon.

As such, the game I’ve designed today is…

Aware Wolf

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Aware Wolf is essentially the Sims if your character was a werewolf, to the point where it could even be a mod.

The goal is to blend in with human society and slowly build your army of canines without attracting the attention of the Hunters, a werewolf-hunting society worshiped in the town.

While it’s possible to simply bite a stranger and have them turn, it’s generally a bad idea – Hunters are immune to bites and will dispatch you easily if you’re caught. Instead, it’s better to mingle with humans and get to know them, converting them only if they’re not a Hunter.

Your werewolf minions – or “thralls” – can collect information on your behalf. Some information on everyone they know is automatically granted when they’re converted, but not everything (some memory is lost in the conversion process). As they socialise further they can also uncover more information for you, essentially snowballing and speeding up the game as you play.

Hunters can’t be killed outright, but sections of the town can be “captured”. Once you’ve converted enough people in an area it’s considered “lost”, and Hunters will steer clear. This allows you to freely roam in werewolf form, and easily capture anybody that happens to accidentally wonder in.

Turning people isn’t all fun and games, though (well ideally it is, but you get where I’m going). Your thralls need to be kept in check, as their werewolf rage can often get the better of them – in this case, there’s a good chance that Hunters will find and kill them, and eventually trace the source back to you, especially if the attack wasn’t random.

To keep them in check, you need to keep socialising. Keeping their mood up will lessen the chance they’ll go berserk, keeping your identity safe. To avoid turning the game into a giant form of plate spinning, “Lost” areas will automatically generate happiness for thralls, meaning that you only need to worry about them in areas you’re yet to capture.

That’s it! Thanks for reading. I’ll be back again with another basic game concept tomorrow.

Daily Design: Day 58

Daily Design is a series of game concepts devised daily through all of 2016. These are just basic concepts, designed based on three randomly generated words. Today, they are;

Bidding, Earning and Wombat.

As such, the game I’ve designed today is…

More Bid Interests

In More Bid Interests, players take the role of a wombat set on becoming filthy rich by buying and selling goods from a black market auction house.

There are two primary systems at work here – the first (and most important) is the bidding game. While bidding on an item, the game enters “bidding mode” (which stands to reason). Bidding Mode is frantic, but simple. At the bottom of the screen is a “Bidding Bar” which starts at zero and will slowly reduce itself back to zero over time. The bar is raised by mashing a button, and when it reaches maximum you will automatically cast the next bid.

For example, say somebody calls a bid of $100. By the time you hammer the button all the way to bidding, the price may have raised to $500. It’s a simple little risk and reward, and keeping your bidding bar at near-max without accidentally bidding or letting it drop too far is meant to be quite challenging.

Selling works much the same, only instead of bidding to buy the item, you’re bidding to raise the price – just be careful not to accidentally buy your own item for more than it’s worth.

The second half of the game is your “Empire”. Your empire can be built by spending the money you earn at auction, with the goal being to eventually complete production of your Palace, the most expensive structure in the game.

The empire can be built by channeling money into certain areas which provide bonuses in the auction. For example, spending enough money in the “Muscle” category will reduce the rate at which others bid on items when buying. Investing in “Influence” will slow the rate at which the bidding bar drops.

It’s a simple game without a whole lot of gameplay, but I see it working well as a cheap (or free) app or flash game.

That’s it! Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow with another quick game concept.

 

Daily Design: Day 57

Daily Design is a series of game concepts devised daily through all of 2016. These are just basic concepts, designed based on three randomly generated words. Today, they are;

Surprise, Organic and Chip. 

As such, the game I’ve designed today is…

Syncing Feeling

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Syncing Feeling is a multiplayer game in which players must discern the identity of the AI-driven bot/s. This is a small and fairly simple idea – to be honest, it’s basically just the Turing Test in game form.

When a game begins, the player enters a match with at least one other human player, though there can be as many as there are players in the game (say, 10 max). Bots may be used to fill out some slots, though the player isn’t told who’s a bot and who’s a human.

Players have to solve simple puzzles as a team for a couple of minutes – these are dead simple things like one player holding a button that extends a bridge. That player has to wait for everyone to cross and for someone to hold the button on the other side so that the first player can cross safely (I hope that makes sense! If it doesn’t, just nod sagely anyway and move on, nobody will know).

Once everyone has made it to the end, a vote begins. You’re shown every other player in the game and have to vote for who’s a human and who’s a bot based on their behaviour thus far. While there’s no voice chat or typing available in the game, players are able to communicate through preset commands, which of course the bots can respond to. Bots would also ideally be programmed to act like idiots from time-to-time, just like humans.

The winner the is the human player that gets the most correct guesses. The AI can never win (which is a bit sad, I suppose) so in the event of human players being tied in guesses, the game is a draw.

It’s not necessarily a game with a whole lot of depth, and it may not even be fun, but it’d be interesting to see and play at least once, I think. The AI programming would likely be nightmarishly difficult for fear of the bots being too “artificial”, but since the game isn’t actually being made, that’s not a huge problem.

That’s it! Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow with another basic game concept.

 

Daily Design: Day 56

Daily Design is a series of game concepts devised daily through all of 2016. These are just basic concepts, designed based on three randomly generated words. Today, they are;

Wound, Near and Defeat.

As such, the game I’ve designed today is…

Clemency

Clemency is a competitive multiplayer game in which players participate in non-lethal duels. As such, killing your opponent results in a loss for the both of you.

As a third-person fighting game, Clemency focuses more on timing, reflexes and decision making than it does on combo memorisation or character matchups. Holding the left trigger causes your character to enter the “Parry Stance”. While in this stance, moving the right stick will move your sword in the same direction – this can be used to block attacks, and if used with skillful timing will deflect the attack and leave your opponent open for attack. A perfectly timed block will also disarm your opponent, forcing them to collect their weapon before they can continue fighting.

Similarly, holding the right trigger will cause your character to enter the “Offensive Stance”, in which the right stick controls attacks. Moving the stick will move your sword in that direction, and pushing it in (R3) results in a thrust.

The duels are non-lethal, which means that killing your opponent causes you both to lose, with the dead player losing extra experience and money (used for cosmetic items). This is designed to stop players from trying to die on purpose if they’re doing badly in the game.

Instead of killing the opponent, players win by “Declaring” their victory. Declarations are made by holding a button down in the center of the arena for a certain amount of time. If your opponent hits you at any time during this it’s cancelled and the declaring player is stunned for a few seconds – progress resets if your declaration is interrupted.

To stop the enemy from interrupting them, players have a few options. The most common is to knock them unconcious – by pressing R1 (or RB), the player switches to the flat edge of their sword until the button is pressed again. Hitting an opponent with the flat edge causes “KO” damage, and if the opponent’s KO bar reaches zero they’re knocked unconcious for a few seconds – usually enough time to declare victory.

However, the flat edge of the blade also causes some issues. Namely, if your sword is flat edge then the opponent’s parries are more severe, causing your blocked attacks to stagger you more severely. Your attacks are also moderately slower.

Another advantage that sharp edge has is that you can “cripple” your opponent. A bladed strike to the arms or legs will cripple that limb for the remainder of the battle. For example, a bladed strike to the leg will cause them to limp – hitting both legs will massively slow down your opponent. Crippling an arm will slow all of their attacks, parries and damage – especially if you hit their dominant arm (which arm is dominant can be toggled at character creation).

Be careful, though, that you don’t kill them. A bladed strike to a crippled limb will sever it, and while this won’t kill your opponent outright it will cause them to bleed out very quickly. Victory can be declared by either player as long as neither has bled out yet, which means that severing a limb imposes a strict time limit on the remainder of the match. Severing a leg causes your opponent to crawl, which can be a good way to buy enough time to win if it happens far enough away from the declaration point.

Pressing L1 (or LB) will cause your character to enter the “Dodge Stance”. Here, pressing the stick causes your character to a do a short dodge in that direction. While riskier than parrying or blocking, a well-timed dodge can leave your opponent unable to defend themselves for a followup attack.

That’s it! Thanks for reading. I’d like to flesh this idea out a little more, and maybe define some mechanics like the penalty for dying and even weapon types, but that’s all I have time for today. 

 

 

Daily Design: Day 55

Daily Design is a series of game concepts devised daily through all of 2016. These are just basic concepts, designed based on three randomly generated words. Today, they are;

Debug, Murder and Steering.

As such, the game I’ve designed today is…

Wreck Ignition

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Wreck Ignition is a demolition derby multiplayer game. It’s also set in 2040, which means your car is largely driven by a computer – one that can be hacked.

Put simply, the goal is to be the last car intact. Ignoring the hacking mechanic, the game is very straightforward – using typical car controls (triggers for accelerating and breaking, analogue sticks for steering, etc) players try to smash the opponent/s and avoid damage to themselves.

However, players can also fire hacking darts at one another. On a successful hit, the player is forced to solve a small randomly generated puzzle before they can remove the hack. Hacks start out annoying, but not devastating – however, the longer they’re left alone the worse the effect becomes.

For example, the initial hack may reduce speed or increase incoming damage. If left alone, it will not only increase these effects, but may even take complete control of your car and start driving it into walls.

Hacks can be fixed at any point, but in order to do so players have to stop driving their car while they solve a small puzzle. These puzzles are essentially “pipe puzzles”, as made famous by Pipe Mania, and more recently Bioshock. These are randomly generated and can be solved quickly by skilled players.

It’s a simple concept, but I like the idea of mixing light puzzle elements with simple destructive gameplay, and it’s an idea I’d like to develop further. Unfortunately I’m out of time today, and so…

That’s it! Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow with another quick game concept.