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Feedback for a competitive TPS


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#1 Mratthew   Members   -  Reputation: 1547

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 07:23 PM

I'm a hobbyist game designer and animator and I've been working hard with many partners to try and get this project started but it always seems to grind to a halt. I need some feedback/opinions on the project to determine the issue. I've got assets which include an untextured, rigged and roughly animated character. Which I posted below.



This is a competitive, 3D arcade styled, third person, free for all combat game that is based on a small barren spherical world. The winning condition is to unifying all units in a match using a "Domination list" mechanic. With each kill a player creates a link and highlights the enemy on their domination list. This link disables the ability to do damage between the player, the enemy (now linked) and any other units/players highlighted on the player's "domination list" . If a player is already on a list the kills they make will add to the list they are a part of as well as highlight the kill on their own list. If a player is killed all the links on their own list are split up amongst the units/players lists disbanding any units/players with no kills of their own.

The player's actions tab (a custom GUI interface hotkeys 1-0) will enable the player to drag and drop items, earned skills and up to 5 linked players from their "Domination/action list" to the tab. A player's tactical team of 5 will expand quickly once those 5 players earn their own links/kills. This makes the main player tactical team into an operational group. The main player issues objectives and support attempting to use the teams to the best of their abilities. A operational player's view pulls back to enable easier field command however objectives are best issued from the interactive holographic mini-map representation of the entire spherical world. The last step of this hierarchy is if one of the players in that operational group becomes an operational leader turning the main player into a strategic commander. This commander issues strategic goals for the groups to build objectives towards attempting to move these masses of players into the right area at the right time. The commanders view will pull back more and reveal more of the map, making defensive command easier in addition to the mini-map.


As the player earns more links, they will also earn more skills and items. Many of the skills will allow the player to issue weapons and other items to their subordinates as incentives to follow orders but other skills will act as buffs and abilities like building basic tactical defenses like barbwire, trenches and sandbag walls, etc. Some skills will compliment command while others are more combat focused. A player will have the option to ignore command entirely and focus entirely on combat if they choose.

The final touches to the game could include character transformation skills that allow an operational leader to turn into a support vehicle or a strategic commander into a bunker. Lastly an end of match survival meta game could test the "winning" player and the unified army against endless waves of deadlier enemies, creating a brag worthy survival time.




If you've made it this far then I applaud you and thank you for reading it. If you have any questions or constructive feedback I'd love to hear it. I've got some decent feedback already but I'm still very open to suggestions on how to get this project off the ground. This is my third edit and update. Keep the feedback coming!

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#2 Ashaman73   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 7512

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 12:09 AM

I'm also open to suggestions on how to get this project off the ground.

Thx for sharing your game idea, it sounds quite interesting, but it is all somewhat vague.

You need help to get it off ground, but for what ? Business plan, development environment, engine selection, plattform choice, game design issues, resource questions,a team.... ?

#3 Mratthew   Members   -  Reputation: 1547

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 01:00 AM

Ashaman, its always an issue of a dedicated team (mostly a lack of programing) I suppose but I've wondered if that's because the design is flawed (not worth building). I was wondering if there are design issues (based on the brief) that are glaringly obvious to all but myself. I've made some editing changes to the brief description but which aspects feel overly vague, I want to be sure the design is clear.

#4 Ashaman73   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 7512

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 01:47 AM

Ashaman, its always an issue of a dedicated team (mostly a lack of programing) I suppose but I've wondered if that's because the design is flawed (not worth building). I was wondering if there are design issues (based on the brief) that are glaringly obvious to all but myself. I've made some editing changes to the brief description but which aspects feel overly vague, I want to be sure the design is clear.

Game design isn't as important as it seems when starting up a team to make a game. More important are visuals and progress. When you are lucky to be an artist, it is a lot easier, because you can visualise your vision, a coder has to write atleast a prototype, but even this will not attract enough people when using some placeholder art.

#5 Legendre   Members   -  Reputation: 966

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 09:03 AM


This is a competitive, arcade styled, third person, sci-fi, free for all that is based on a small barren spherical world.


If I were to do this project, I guess the first thing to consider would what engine I want to use for this. Unity 3D? Or maybe Torque? Then, I'll build a very basic bare bones demo. Once I have a basic demo out, I'll go from there.

Good luck! Sounds like it will be a fun game.

#6 Mratthew   Members   -  Reputation: 1547

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 11:53 AM

Ashaman73, I'd have to agree about being able to tackle the visuals. It is however, useful to be able to test if the visuals are worth creating in the first place, and without programming this is harder to achieve. The visuals in the game are just as open ended at this point as the design mechanics and very dependent on the limits a programmer can recognize.

Legendre, I've been following the Unity community with interest and I'd love to build a basic demo and go from there but again its a matter of a dedicated team. I get the impression that achieving that team is really where my focus should be at this point. Does it make sense to put up an advert for a programmer here? Are these designs worth starting a Kickstarter account and offer pay?

#7 Mratthew   Members   -  Reputation: 1547

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 10:36 PM

Edited the doc, changed some wording and rephrased many parts. Hope for more feedback.

#8 Legendre   Members   -  Reputation: 966

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 05:46 AM

Legendre, I've been following the Unity community with interest and I'd love to build a basic demo and go from there but again its a matter of a dedicated team. I get the impression that achieving that team is really where my focus should be at this point. Does it make sense to put up an advert for a programmer here? Are these designs worth starting a Kickstarter account and offer pay?


I am not exactly sure how you intend to form a team, so please forgive me if I make any wrong assumptions. Also, take my "advice" with a grain of salt because they are solely based on personal experience running my own projects. In my humble opinion, I think there are two big issues:

1) Is this project too ambitious?

(3rd person) Shooter = networking and latency issues. 3D Engine = probably the toughest medium for game development. MMO = the more concurrent players you have, the more difficult it is to make.

Shooter + 3D Engine + MMO + all the features in your description = Probably way too hard for indie. (don't think there are many unfunded indie 3D MMO shooters)

Perhaps you can try to greatly scale down your vision to the point where it is realistic for a 1-2 man team to make in 2-3 months. Releasing a scaled down version has several benefits: It shows people that you are serious, and can lead a project from start to end. It shows people how fun the core mechanics are: lots of designers out there claiming that their design is fun, but you can actually demonstrate yours. It gives you a starting foundation to build the rest of your game, perhaps even winning you some fans or funding.

2) Are you trying to form a team of unpaid volunteers?

I have seen this happen over and over again: a team of volunteers get together to make a game ( e.g. fan remakes of old abandonware), after a few months, people get too busy with real life and starts leaving. Then, the project gets abandoned.

Unless you can continue coding by yourself after everyone left, you might end up constantly putting your project on hold indefinitely while you look for the next volunteer team.

Have you thought about making it a top down shooter in Adobe Flash? Flash actionscript is super easy to learn and work with, I think you should be able to come out with a small singleplayer version of your game to upload to a flash portal within weeks, given that you can produce your own artwork. If the game gets popular, you'll start to attract other developers and fans etc.

An indie game that started like this is "Dead Frontier". The developer uploaded a 2D singleplayer demo version on Newgrounds, then made a 2D multiplayer version on his website. One year later, it has evolved into a profitable 3D top down shooter.

Edited by Legendre, 28 April 2012 - 05:47 AM.


#9 Mratthew   Members   -  Reputation: 1547

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 01:50 AM

Legendre I appreciate the humbling perspective. Given my lack in knowledge of programing you're probably absolutely right on every point. What would you say is the biggest hurdle in programming a shooter? The reason I've chosen 3D is because I've modeled rigged and animated the assets and I'm eager to import and implement gameplay mechanics for them. As for the multiplayer, does it make programing multiplayer easier if I alter the design to suit an 8 player match or is latency just a pain no matter the number of players? I wasn't really aiming for the persistent world or thousands of players found in an MMO but if by capping the number of players to a very low number is easier to program, then the design can be easily altered. Thanks again for the feedback, with any luck I can get this design to a stage where its approachable, achievable and actually moving beyond the conceptual stage.

Edited by Mratthew, 29 April 2012 - 02:56 AM.


#10 ShawnCowles   Members   -  Reputation: 295

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 07:12 AM

Have you thought about using something like the Unreal Development Kit? It can handle small scale multiplayer, has all of the 3D code already written for you, and includes a graphical scripting language. It's also free to use until you make something like $50k in sales.

#11 Legendre   Members   -  Reputation: 966

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 08:38 AM

What would you say is the biggest hurdle in programming a shooter? The reason I've chosen 3D is because I've modeled rigged and animated the assets and I'm eager to import and implement gameplay mechanics for them.


3D X-Person-Shooters are difficult to make because:

1. 3D engines are notoriously difficult to program, and polish. Most indie efforts look dated and ugly. Of course, it depends on your targeted audience. Minecraft got away with not-so-top-notch graphics. But it feels like the target audience for your game will care about having some good graphics.

2. There are a lot of things happening in a shooter. And all those things have to happen at "low" latency. From a networking point of view, this is extremely extremely demanding. Quite a daunting feat for a lead developer with no programming experience.

As for the multiplayer, does it make programing multiplayer easier if I alter the design to suit an 8 player match or is latency just a pain no matter the number of players?


Yep. Networking and latency is a colossal amount of work for a shooter even for 2 concurrent players.

Thanks again for the feedback, with any luck I can get this design to a stage where its approachable, achievable and actually moving beyond the conceptual stage.


You are welcome! Good luck! :)

I would urge you to start making games asap. Make singleplayer games, make tech demos etc. I know the feeling: you don't want to waste time and effort on something other than your "ultimate vision". I had the same problem when I started. But it is well worth it: you'll learn so much from making a game from start to finish, pick up programming skills, and might discover ways to modify your "ultimate vision" (mine changed a lot in the process).

#12 Mratthew   Members   -  Reputation: 1547

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 11:46 AM

ShawnCowles, do you have much experience with the visual programming UDK. I've taken a look at a few 3D engines and their communities, I would need a mentor to learn any sort of programing I'm afraid. I've sunk quite a few hours into trying to learn tutorials myself and on my own I can't seem to grasp what the heck I'm actually achieving when I'm working through them. I feel like I have some creative, simplifying answers to some of the technical hurtles that would be otherwise very daunting to build the original design idea (spherical world, 3D GUI, control system, etc) but I don't really know how the engines would handle it. ShawnCowles if you have any experience in the area of one of these free engines I could send you the files to import and attempt these design ideas using the rigged character, animations, items and icosphere level design I've been working on. Many of the design ideas could carry into single player demos and mini games like Legendre suggested. Would it help to post screen shots of these silly models?

#13 Legendre   Members   -  Reputation: 966

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 12:55 PM

FPS Creator: http://www.thegamecreators.com/?m=view_product&id=2001

Might be a possibility?

#14 Mratthew   Members   -  Reputation: 1547

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 04:55 PM

Looks like a great resource. Thanks again Legendre.

#15 jefferytitan   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2126

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 05:29 PM

Hmm, perhaps a starting point would be making a client/server FPS that's either one player or LAN only. You'd have enough to impress people and keep them motivated, and enough infrastructure to continue extending it later to an MMO (unlike if you did it without client/server). You could essentially ignore lag for the first version due to almost 0 lag, and just snapback whenever the server makes any corrections. The server wouldn't even need to do any fancy checking for a first cut, just simple bounds checking (e.g. players are within play area, ammo <= previous ammo + spawned ammo, player hasn't travelled faster than max speed).

#16 ShawnCowles   Members   -  Reputation: 295

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 07:08 PM

ShawnCowles, do you have much experience with the visual programming UDK. I've taken a look at a few 3D engines and their communities, I would need a mentor to learn any sort of programing I'm afraid. I've sunk quite a few hours into trying to learn tutorials myself and on my own I can't seem to grasp what the heck I'm actually achieving when I'm working through them. I feel like I have some creative, simplifying answers to some of the technical hurtles that would be otherwise very daunting to build the original design idea (spherical world, 3D GUI, control system, etc) but I don't really know how the engines would handle it. ShawnCowles if you have any experience in the area of one of these free engines I could send you the files to import and attempt these design ideas using the rigged character, animations, items and icosphere level design I've been working on. Many of the design ideas could carry into single player demos and mini games like Legendre suggested. Would it help to post screen shots of these silly models?


Sorry to say that a) I don't have much experience with it and b) I am exceedingly busy with work, school, and my own project. It's called Kismet though, and from what I've seen UDK has a great online community for help and tons of tutorials on youtube.

#17 Mratthew   Members   -  Reputation: 1547

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 12:54 PM

Updates above!

#18 Yrjö P.   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1412

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 06:42 AM

This is a competitive, 3D arcade styled, third person, free for all combat game that is based on a small barren spherical world. The winning condition is to unifying all units in a match using a "Domination list" mechanic. With each kill a player creates a link and highlights the enemy on their domination list. This link disables the ability to do damage between the player, the enemy (now linked) and any other units/players highlighted on the player's "domination list" . If a player is already on a list the kills they make will add to the list they are a part of as well as highlight the kill on their own list. If a player is killed all the links on their own list are split up amongst the units/players lists disbanding any units/players with no kills of their own.

I find your explanation of this mechanic very unclear.

We have four players.
= A B C D
A kills B. A and B can't damage each other anymore, but can damage C or D. C and D can damage anyone.
= A(b) B C D
B kills C. C is added on A's list too since B was a part of A's list. A, B and C can't damage each other anymore. D can damage anyone.
= A(b c) B© C D
If anyone were to kill D, A would win because their list would be filled. Therefore, B and C must help D kill A by any means they have, though they cannot directly damage A themselves.
If D were to kill A, they get A on their list and A's existing list is distributed between others, but not with C since C has no kills of their own?
= A B© C D(a b)
So now A and C can damage each other, and D and C can damage each other, and B cannot damage anyone (but would like to help someone kill D)?

#19 Legendre   Members   -  Reputation: 966

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 10:51 AM

From what I understand, if the situation is like this:

A [b,c]
B [c]
C
D

When D kills A, it becomes like this:

A
B [c]
C
D [a]

But yes, this needs to be clarified by the OP.




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