Archive | November 2016

Daily Design: Day 335

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

Climb, Rushing and Forward.

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

Ever Upwards

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Ever Upwards is an endless climbing game in which players try to not fall to their deaths for as long as possible, like real mountain climbing.

The difference is that in the game, the mountain is violently collapsing. Players control their character in third-person and can jump from rock to rock, gripping and climbing as they go.

The shoulder buttons grip onto the rock, ensuring that the character can’t fall off. However, if they grip on for too long then they’ll just fall with the rock. Players have to balance gripping with running and climbing to keep an upward momentum, as falling too far results in a game over.

While gripping, players can climb with the analogue stick (or their keyboard). This is safe as it means they can move without falling, but it’s significantly slower than running. Running is achieved by moving without hanging onto the rock (admittedly it isn’t the most unique mechanic).

Finally, players can also jump in any direction, which allows them to catch on to more rocks. The basic idea is to balance gripping with running and jumping to survive as long as possible and increase your high score. It’s a straightforward game, but I think there’s potential there for a lot of fun. More importantly, Final Fantasy XV came out yesterday so that’s the end of today’s post.

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

Daily Design: Day 334

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

Horse, Interview and Precedent.

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

Business Horse

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In Business Horse, players take the role of a horse trying to land a job. This is made much more difficult by virtue of being a horse – while the interviewer can’t legally discriminate based on race, they probably will, because you’re a horse.

It’s part “conversation” game – where players select what they think is the most appropriate response to a question – and part physics-based comedy / puzzle game, like Octodad or I Am Bread.

Players alternate between these tests until they’re either discovered or complete the interview, which will determine their ending. It’s a short and simple game (I’d say it would be free), but the multiple endings do encourage a lot of replayability, especially if the “best” ending is hard to achieve.

So the first task is when the interviewer asks the player to take a seat. Players have to manually control each leg (there are four buttons, holding one moves the associated leg forward and releasing it drops it). Knocking things over or taking too long will arouse suspicion until eventually, the boss notices that you’re a horse.

In conversation, the boss will ask standard interview questions that have to be replied to. Being a horse, the protagonist lacks the experience necessary to answer these questions honestly and so has to rely on a series of best guesses. For example, when asked “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” the answers may be things like “Eating grass”, “At a bigger stud” or “I am a horse” (don’t pick that one). The idea is to pick whatever feels least suspicious based on the question.

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

Daily Design: Day 333

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

Quest, Pill and Contrast.

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

Actuality

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Actuality is a sidescrolling action RPG in which the player can take a pill to shift into the “real” world. It’s like the Matrix, only without two awful sequels.

Players begin in the “artificial” world, which is considerably less dangerous and more like a traditional fantasy adventure. At any time they can choose to take a pill to shift into the “real” world, which is a post-apocalyptic wasteland with much more modern technology. These pills are unlimited, meaning that the player can shift back and forth at any time.

It’s essentially a “Metroidvania” game, like, uh, Metroid or Castlevania. Players travel around the world murdering a lot and can shift between worlds to discover new areas and solve puzzles.

One trick here is that weapons found in the “artificial” world can’t be carried over into the “real” world. However, all skills and abilities the player has learned (such as wall jumping or gliding) will transfer, allowing them to access new areas and discover upgrades and secrets. Sometimes the player is required to traverse one world to arrive at a location and then shift back to the other to reach a hidden area.

That’s it! Fairly short one, but tomorrow will be shorter because Final Fantasy: XV is finally releasing and I need to become one with my lounge for the day. Still, I’ll be back tomorrow with another quick game concept!

Daily Design: Day 332

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

Cage, Wizard and Experimentation.

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

Escapology

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In Escapology, players take control of the world’s most wanted wizard. Unfortunately, he’s already been captured and put inside a magic prison cell that drains his powers, making him kind of a shit wizard.

So, players have to use their relatively limited powers to orchestrate an escape from their cell. At first, the only spell they have access to is a form of telekinesis that allows them to move objects with their mind (the game is in first-person, and plays like a point’n’click adventure).

While they can’t move the cell key (it’s enchanted, obviously), they can move items to orchestrate their escape. Maybe they drop a banana peel in front of their cell door and grab the key when the guard trips or a more complicated series of events could lead to you getting the key without so much as affecting the guard.

There are three major forms of escape – non-lethal, lethal and “shadow”. Non-lethal is rewarded for knocking the guard/s out, lethal is for killing them (all) and shadow is for escaping without the guards being harmed in any way. While a mix of any and all of these styles is possible, players are awarded a medal per stage for sticking with one.

Many stages introduce a new spell to complicate the puzzle somewhat. For example, players may learn to start fires, temporarily pause time or manipulate the wind. Combining powers is essential to later levels as the puzzles come more complicated.

Essentially, the game is like a point’n’click version of Hitman. Like Hitman, the game has a script that it adheres to and it’s up to the player to disrupt it in creative ways for their own benefit.

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

Daily Design: Day 331

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

Vehicle, Pursuit and Astronomy. 

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

Space Race

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Space Race is a game about racing in space. There’s not really a cool twist to that idea, but it’s worth clarifying that this is a race that uses space ships, rather than a foot race through space (which may be more interesting now that I think of it).

Players can buy and customise their space ships, though there are no weapons. There’s also no wind resistance, which means no slip streams – plus, there’s no cornering or anything like that.

So instead, players will utilise the gravity of planets to slingshot themselves as accurately as possible. This is done by flying at a planet at the right speed and angle to be “fired” off in the direction you want.

Players are shown on the HUD where the finish line is, but visually looking for planets (and finding them by utilising a minimap) will help get there much faster. Players that can slingshot themselves efficiently will be the winners, whereas those who treat it like a more traditional game won’t be.

Ideally, races would be relatively short and skilled players could slingshot from planet to planet without much down time. Flying through space isn’t exactly thrilling at the best of times (in games, anyway), so I can’t imagine a game in which you fly around space doing not much of anything for a long time could be successful.

So, the idea is that maths nerds can finally join the cool racing club (is that a thing?). Players that can accurately judge how far and at what angle a planet will fling them will be able to “chain” them together, which will give them a cumulative speed boost.

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

 

Daily Design: Day 330

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

Defeated, Damage and Remove. 

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

Limb Brawl

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Limb Brawl is a game about two robots beating the living hell out of each other, tearing off limbs and generally just being dicks.

It’s a fighting game for up to four players at once, though it’s a 2D sidescroller like Street Fighter rather than a 3D brawler like Tekken. Players fight on a platform with two holes on either side, which is boxed in entirely by walls and a ceiling. Think of it as a kind of upside down U with a small platform in the middle.

Players have basic attacks – punches, kicks and combinations of the two. Area damage is very important, as limbs can be broken off. However, the only way to kill an opponent is to knock them off the edge of the arena or destroy all 4 of their limbs and their head (torsos are indestructible).

Importantly, players can also grab. This can be used to grab onto the walls of the arena or to grab an opponent. Where the opponent is grabbed is important, as players can then throw them. If they’ve done enough damage, this can also be used to tear off a limb (and then beat them with it). Grapples and throws are key since the opponent can only be defeated via ring out. The idea is to weaken an enemy, then go for a killing throw.

Of course, enemies may catch on to the side of the arena and hold on for dear life. In this case, players can try to jump down and grab on to the wall themselves, then kick the hell out of the other player. It’s possible to climb back up (if you have two arms left), but it’s also possible for other players to grab onto you if you’re grabbed on to a wall. There’s a lot of grabbing.

This game idea is almost entirely inspired by a bizarre map I played in Little Big Planet 2, and I think it was by far the most fun I had with the game. I think it was called Mortal Kombat despite having nothing to do with the series – check it out if you own the game, it’s an absolute blast.

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

Daily Design: Day 329

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

Thing, Vocal and Foul.

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

Frightful Facsimile

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So I’m not going to lie – Frightful Facsimile is basically just The Thing, only somehow with an even worse name.

It’s a cooperative multiplayer horror game set in an arctic research base. The players are a squad of elite military personnel who are dispatched to see exactly what’s going on, I guess because a quick email to check in won’t cut it.

When they arrive, it’s immediately clear that everything is super horrible. Everybody has been violently murdered, and the players have to get to the bottom of what happened. The team is beset by zombie-like creatures (so, zombies) that have to be fended off while the team repairs the base.

During all this, a scary-ass monster is hunting the players through the base, with the unfortunate ability to imitate them once they’ve been horribly murdered (in voice, actions and appearance). This monster is entirely AI controlled, which makes this entire game just one big violent Turing test. If you think that sounds ridiculous, remember that video game AI has done a pretty fantastic job in the past.

Players can only communicate via a set series of commands – “Need backup”, “Monster spotted”, “Affirmative” and so on. This is because the monster can use them (or opt not to, like a human) whenever they want. Similarly, players have no idea when a team mate has been killed, regardless of how they died.

The game will also force players to split up at times. One team may need to keep a generator active while another hits a switch, for example, and the teams may need to fracture into smaller numbers for other objectives. The monster can be fought off if it’s spotted (think of it as a kind of flesh spider, or if you’ve actually seen The Thing, try to un-repress your memories) but it can immediately kill a player if it gets them from behind.

The monster AI would ideally be very complex – it could goof off with players if they all started jumping around like idiots, randomly shoot at walls like they do, or decide not to do any of those things. At the outset of each game the monster would spawn with a kind of “personality”, which is a randomised set of traits that would decide exactly how it acts throughout a given match.

If players recognise a member of the team as a monster, they can accuse it, which will highlight that character as red and turn on friendly fire against them (though friendly fire can be turned on by default anyway). Of course, the monster can accuse other players too, so it’s not so easy. Moreover, the monster can shoot, so accusing the wrong person may lead to the monster getting away with a free kill.

The monster also can’t die permanently. If it’s “killed”, it’s simply down for an unspecified (and slightly random) amount of time. Players also don’t know if they successfully killed the monster or not when they shoot a team mate.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that the game can be almost entirely undermined by third party voice chat, but that’s not much of a worry to me. As an entirely cooperative game, I think it’s fine if players want to play in that way, even if the game hasn’t been balanced around it. For example, a player could simply say “Hey, I’m dead” so that if the other players see that person walking around, they’d know it was the monster.

Communication is important for such a coordination-heavy game, so maybe an in-game voice chat would be best after all, especially if it only worked in proximity. Plus there could be a system whereby a players radio could break, which would give them a reason to not be able to speak.

Finally, a quick neat addition – players can find the corpses of their friends, which aren’t consumed or hidden when the monster kills them (which possibly happens in the movie, I can’t remember). However, the “zombies” will eat corpses, so after a while bodies will likely disappear.

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