Archive | March 2016

Daily Design: Day 92

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;

Hide, Corpse and Antidote.

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

Expiration Date

Expiration Date is a singleplayer stealth rogue-like, in which the player has to avoid hordes of the undead in order to deliver an antidote to the humanity-destroying plague. This is a third-person over the shoulder game.

Initially, the player selects their character from a group of survivors who have found a cure to the undead plague. At the beginning of each game, the group’s truck crashes, killing all but the player character (and starting them in a random location). From here, they have to try and deliver it themselves by sneaking to the friendly stronghold in the center of the city.

These aren’t regular zombies, though. The player is tasked with sneaking through hordes of strange, undead creatures, who are capable of running at extreme speeds and killing instantly (and brutally). There’s no form of combat, though enemies can be killed via clever use of the environment, such as dropping a car from a freeway onto an enemy. However, these typically attract attention and should be a last resort.

Expiration Date uses a map system similar to Faster Than Light, where after each area the player selects where to go next in the city. There are different sections to select, each with different challenges and rewards. Heavily infested areas, for example, are a lot harder to sneak through, but typically bring the player closer to the stronghold much more quickly.

The player starts totally unarmed, but can find equipment through exploration. While there’s no combat, players may find limited use items that allow them to stealthily kill an enemy, or to distract groups of them. While these aren’t so necessary early in the game, they become so as enemy density ramps up.

Players can also unlock new characters through careful exploration and by completing hidden side missions, such as finding special items and delivering them to survivors. Unlocked characters can be used in any subsequent run, and each character comes with their own perks and weaknesses.

The player wins by successfully sneaking through the final area and delivering the antidote, allowing them to replay on high difficulties and/or with a bigger map. Like the best of the genre, the idea is to promote replayability as much as possible, with more difficult challenges granting greater rewards.

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

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Daily Design: Day 91

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;

Offspring, Rich and Blackmail.

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

Re: Lied Upon

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Re: Lied Upon is a multiplayer strategy game about blackmail.

Players take the role of the child of a recently deceased billionaire, who expressly states in their will that their first child to earn a million dollars on their own will inherit the entire fortune. Unfortunately, there are (up to) 5 other siblings to compete with.

The ultimate goal of the game is to be the first to earn $1,000,000. Money can be generated by Businesses, which are split evenly amongst all players when the game begins (there are a maximum of 6 players, and a minimum of 3).

Think of Businesses like towns in most 4X strategy games – they exist on the map (which is an isometric view of a modern day city), and are colour-coded according to who controls them. Businesses will generate money over time, and can be upgraded at a cost to produce more in the future.

There are also neutral businesses that can be bought by any player with enough money to do so. The obvious downside here is that there’s an initial expenditure, and the goal is to earn $1,000,000. Neutral businesses must be bought, but player-owned businesses can be stolen (more on that in a bit). This means that buying a business not only costs money, but opens it to stealing.

At the outset of each match, every player is given one bit of “Information”. Information shows all Business information of one other player – how much revenue each is generating, for example. This information is hidden to everybody else (except the owning player), but can be sold or given freely to anybody.

The trick is that when you have information on another player, you can’t steal their businesses. This means that in order to steal their businesses, information should be sold or given to somebody else. Business revenue is always fluctuating as well, so players can’t just write down the Information before selling it.

Stealing businesses is done by physically moving your character to a business (the game flows in real time) and selecting “Steal”. Who’da thunk it? The problem is that this costs money, and only the player with Information knows exactly how much stealing will cost per business.

As such, the game revolves around players manipulating each other in interesting ways. If you have Information on somebody (and the game shows who has information on whom), then it’s easy to manipulate them into doing things for you by threatening to give the information out freely. Similarly, the game balances itself by making information on more successful players more valuable, because the information itself is obviously more important as the player comes closer to winning.

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

 

Daily Design: Day 90

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;

Repair, Recorder and Lightning.

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

Conducting Hertz

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Conducting Hertz is a single-player town building game in which players construct and maintain a listening post that’s powered entirely by lightning.

The protagonist has been tasked with maintaining and constructing a listening post behind enemy lines in a time of war – however, this means that the post has to remain discreet, and can’t rely on a power grid. As such, the post must be powered entirely through lightning strikes. Lucky it storms so much there!

Basically, it’s more-or-less a typical town building game that utilises lightning as a major mechanic. Lightning Rods can be built anywhere, and if lightning were to strike near enough to one it would instead hit the rod and generate power, which runs along power lines and into nearby buildings to keep them functional.

Certain areas will be more prone to lightning, which makes them ideal for setting up rods. However, if a rod is struck too frequently in a short time frame, it can start a fire or destroy buildings attached to it – this means that balancing rods and the areas they’re in is key, as multiple rods mean you’re less likely to have an accident.

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

Daily Design: Day 89

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;

Attribute, Western and Handler.

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

Jolly Rancher

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Jolly Rancher is a turn-based strategy game set in the Wild West.

In  the game, players take the role of the mayor of a newly-settled city, and have to help raise and defend it.

This is done by managing the city itself, including establishing trade routes, growing food, locating water, building new structures and attracting new settlers. Almost all of this is done by utilising your “Frontiersman”, which are essentially your city’s soldiers.

Frontiersman can be sent out to locate supplies, eliminate threats, etc. This is done in turn-based strategy battles, in which each individual soldier is unique, down to their name and appearance (think XCOM, if you’re familiar). Battles should be short and brutal, and when a Frontiersman dies they’re permanently dead, though newbies can be recruited from amongst your settlers.

Frontiersman also benefit from a loot system similar to Diablo or The Division, with gear dropping from enemies or being found after a successful mission. This gear ranges from new kinds of weapons that have increased accuracy, better range, can fire multiple shots at once and so on, to armour that can better avoid or deflect damage.

That’s it! Thanks for reading. It was a fairly vague design today, and they’ll be short for the next week if not a bit longer, as I’ve just found myself a lot busier than usual. I’ll be back tomorrow with another basic game concept.

Daily Design: Day 88

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;

Aging, Donation and Uncertainty. 

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

Age of Uncertainty

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Age of Uncertainty is a small story-based game in which the player takes the role of a god who’s tasked with allocating life spans.

There are seven major characters in the game, and the player character has 300 years to divide amongst them, which can be allocated in ten year chunks only. In other words, they can give one character 10 years and another 100, or just not give a character any years at all (the maximum number of years that can be allocated is actually 80).

Players can talk to the characters before they make their decisions, and each character is currently 20. Once you’ve had the chance to have a brief conversation with each, you can choose how to allocate the years.

Then their lives play out. You’ll watch them in order of youngest to oldest-lived and see how they’ve influenced the world and each other, each with vastly different outcomes. Then you can do it over, allocating different amounts of time to different characters and seeing how their lives change.

The success of Age of Uncertainty lies in how interesting the characters are, since watching them is almost all players will be doing. Still, there’s real potential in there, assuming outcomes could be made different and interesting enough as well.

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

Daily Design: Day 87

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;

Motorway, Contributor and Assembler.

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

Amalgamation Nation

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Amalgamation Nation is a multiplayer racing game with both competitive and cooperative elements.

In essence, it’s a simple racing game – the first team (more on that later) to cross the finish line after completing a certain amount of laps is declared the winner.

The difference is that players can only play in teams, as solo play is totally disabled. This is because at certain points players have to combine their cars into a kind of Voltronesque mega-vehicle, with different parts being controlled by different players.

For example, there may come a point where the racetrack simply comes to an end, and players will have to stop at a “combination point” until they have enough team mates to transform. In this case, two players could combine to create a flying vehicle, with both players having control over the pitch but only having control over half the roll each (so, player 1 can only roll left, for example).

While this makes for a fun and interesting team-focused game, there’s a good chance that having a bad team mate will really suck the fun out of it as players wait at combination points for their team mate. As such, once a player reaches a combination point, they can view their teammate and provide boosts, such as extra speed.

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

Daily Design: Day 86

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;

Reputation, Chew and Cider.

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

Mustard Courage

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Mustard Courage is a single-player take on rhythm games, in which the player has to try and eat as much as they can while giving a speech.

The game is controlled by a single button – holding it down causes the player’s character to begin eating, and releasing it causes them to stop. They’ll continue to speak regardless of whether or not they’re eating.

Chewing while trying to speak – as well as being seriously awful – will slowly drain your score. The key, then, is to eat as much as you can between sentences.

The speeches (and characters) are all taken from real-life events, such as Lincoln’s “Four Score” speech, or Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream”. While the characters are caricatures of these famous personalities, the speech (and thus, the timing) will remain the same.

Basically, instead of picking a song like a normal rhythm game, here you’d select a famous speech. And then try to eat as much as you could during it, because these daily designs get god damn strange.

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