I am currently developing a networked version of a cat-and-mouse type game (Read: Pacman) where 1 player controls the mouse and all 3 other players control the cats. The mouse must collect cheese around the maze to collect points. The cats must catch the mouse as quickly as possible (obviously).
The cats only have a limited vision of the maze (they only see a small area around them. They also have shared vision. The mouse has complete vision over the complete maze.
The mouse can score points by eating cheese, or by eating the cats with a powerpellet type mechanic.
(Obviously, this game is not meant to be sold, as it is more of an educational project for me)
The mouse's score multiplier increases each time it eats all the cheese of the maze (and then all the cheese will reappear for a second round).
When the mouse is caught, the game changes round, changing the player who is controlling the mouse. The game ends after 4 rounds, after everyone had the opportunity to play as the mouse. The player with the highest score wins.
-I am looking for ways for the cats to score points, to reward good mouse-hunting strategies. Obviously, there will be a bonus for the cat catching the mouse, and the amount of time it takes to do so.
-I am also looking for ideas on when to increase the cats' score multiplier. Currently, the only way to increase a cat's score multiplier is to not get eaten when the mouse has eaten a powerpellet (Allowing the mouse to play strategically when eating cats)
-I also have items for the cats to collect, to help the cats catch the mouse quicker, like a temporary radar, a dash (which can destroy maze walls), a temporary ward, a speed boost, etc. I am looking for ways to reward cats with these items without interrupting the search for the mouse. I don't want to give out the items randomly, because it would be unfair for the other players and I want the game to be based on skill, not luck.
Anyway, any ideas will be greatly appreciated!
I'd also like to talk aboout a problem which a lot of games have: teaching the mechanics.
How do you guys think I should explain to the players the details of the game?
Obviously, almost everyone knows Pacman and knows how to play. That's why the tutorial aspect of this game is important, because I wouldn't want the players to skip the tutorial, thinking that this is a simple Pacman clone.
I'd like to avoid text as much as possible (Who reads text tutorials anyway?)
I was thinking of a serie of panels, each containing a little animation explaining a particular mechanic (with a title containing a few words), that could be viewed by the played in the loading screen.
Unfortunately, this is a very boring alternative which can be skipped, especially if the loading time is very short.
Do you guys have any original ideas? I'd like to hear them!
Edit: I've added some images of my project. I'm currently using Pacman sprites and I may change them in the future