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My...sorta crazy idea.


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#1 -Crimsix-   Members   -  Reputation: 158

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 12:40 PM

I'm an aspiring game designer currently attending college to get a degree in game design and development. I've built a game before using FPS creator when I was like 14, the software made it so easy you can say a 5th grader can do it. So I cant say I've had major experience designing games, but I've been creating stories since the 3rd grade drawing comics on notebook paper. The idea I had for a game is inspired from other games, books, TV shows and so on. I just need an opinion on how I'm doing so far. I personally think its a good idea, but I cant conclude that on my own. While writing the story of the game, I found myself very passionate about the story and many ideas and concepts came to mind. I took a break and thought about what it would take to actually make this game the way it looks on screen the same way it looks in my head, and I humbled myself to accepting the challenges and what good of a team I'll need to actually make this idea come to life. A certain aesthetic or appeal that gives the game a bold, fresh and unique brand and experience. The concept of experiencing the world through the character's eyes by not confining the player to a battlefield, taking him/her places where the conflict touches many things outside the battlefield. A game that takes away the inevitability of completing a mission, giving the player a free will that will shape the outcome of the story based on weather or not the mission failed or not. Great AI, graphics, all the good stuff people wish were present in more games I guess. Guess you can say this is my first project...no idea how I'm going to come about developing it hahah, but all this stuff is just blissful ideas in my head that I can't fully decode yet.

...anyway, the Idea I came up with so far, its a lil long, forgive me:

It’s 2085 and James Niles is a man living in the dawn of a second American civil conflict provoked by an undercover journalist movement exposing a series of clandestine operations and events leading up to the agenda of the newly formed ERA (Elitist Republic America). A period called the exposition era which started in 2062 because of the unusual amounts of disasters that happened prior to that period. Natural, economic, infrastructural and medical. Many of them unexplained or dismissed with a questionable explanation. In 2075, the news released by these journalist spies who called themselves the Joint Truth Beholders got more and more intense by exposing many amendments made by the government over time that resulted in the eventual decay of the U.S. Bill of Rights. These new laws when read between the lines of the B.o.R. stripped away the individual rights of Americans. By 2080, American society began shifting into a dystopian state with the initiation of a police state government. Then in 2082, the unthinkable happens when the four members of the JTB were finally unveiled to the public for the first time. Tragically and inevitably, they were all assassinated shortly after. This marked a limit in outrage amongst the masses of the American public. This sparked aggressive rebellion against the imposed power in the country and it goes on til 2084; with the bombing of many government facility by civilians. The govt takes the uprising seriously and as a result of the bombings, the ERA responded with a vengeance. They began to lash out a force against civilians in an attempt to keep them under control by committing random acts of terrorism indirectly using mind controlled individuals called subjects who were victims to a project named ALPHAMIND (a revival of MKULTRA with more effective and advanced methods to achieve mind control as a means to mass produce subjects to release in society long sponsored by elite scientist for many years.) This leads from demonstrations, to protests to riots and finally acts of war against the ERA. This provokes a new level of retaliation in part by the ERA but the official unveiling of the Illuminati forces to the public in 2088.

Many domestic militias begin to form in the country and among one of these domestic groups is REO Corda, which started out as a closed civilian covert operations network dedicated to uncovering intelligence from within the government and acting upon it. Founded by James Niles and his ex-coworker Marcus Heath, after the assassination of four journalist spies in 2082, James took it upon himself to replace them as he felt guilty for keeping quiet about clandestine operations and agendas the government had up their sleeve for many years in his time as a CIA agent. The group retaliate covertly to government process by means of force, infiltrating from the inside. This is made possible by Marcus Heath who works in the government as a CIA agent but on the side of the people, feeding James important intell and information for him to carry out his plans with the group.

Its kind of inspired by the book "Before We Were Free" The style I'm aiming for is not a military shooter, but more of a person taking matters in his own hand in a domestic operation with a macgyver style/cyberpunk fashion, in a period of rebillion similiar but not exactly like the counterculture in the 60s and 70s. Dunno if it sounds ridiculous or not...looks alot better in my head =/
It'll take the span of a trilogy. The first dealing with the rebellion and covert ops stuff, the second will introduce a civil war and the third, not fully sure but an end to the war and a re establishment of a new government or something like that.

Feedback would be great. I need tips, opinions, whatever I can get.

Edited by SaNcT17, 19 June 2012 - 12:55 PM.

Art: The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form; producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

...If games aren't that, then I don't know what is ¬_¬

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#2 WavyVirus   Members   -  Reputation: 735

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 03:00 PM

It's an interesting vision of a dystopian future, which could certainly provide an appropriate setting for the kind of game you describe. I think that it's important to begin nailing down some gameplay details if you haven't already. You mention McGuyver and gameplay not driven entirely by combat - how, specifically, do you see the player interacting with the world, moving, using items etc?

People often say that it is a bad idea to take up your "dream game" as your first serious project, and that it is advisable to work your way up via Pong, Tetris, Mario etc to gain experience and perspective on the development process. Especially since you're at

college

for this, I think that you might instead take this as an opportunity to refine your idea, particularly the gameplay design (as well as your own design skills).

Let's face it - this is a multi-year project and that's putting it lightly, so best to get stuck in now. If you haven't already, I suggest that you download a popular engine like Unity, or grab a programming language like C#(with XNA) or Python(with Pygame). Read some tutorials/buy a book, experiment, and get comfortable to the point where you can draw 2D sprites on the screen and move them around with a gamepad, have an enemy sprite chase the player around etc. Then pick an element from your big project which you have some idea of but are a bit fuzzy about - maybe how you want conversations to work, how information about health/ammo is conveyed to the player, or how you want items to be combined to solve puzzles. You can then use your engine/programming language of choice as a sandbox for design ideas, creating prototypes or mock-ups of a particular gameplay element, with the absolute minimum level of graphics required to capture the essence of the feature. This is both a great way to refine the design of your game, and a way to get experience with the quirks of the development process and technical considerations which are unfortunately still necessary in game design.

Meanwhile, you could make use of the Writing For Games section of this forum (http://www.gamedev.net/forum/32-writing-for-games/) and/or your friends at college to discuss elements of your story (characters, motivations for missions, the larger story arc...). I tend to notice that the most productive creative discussions on the forums have a fairly narrow focus. When the description of a large, complex game is posted, we often see a less rich exchange of ideas compared to discussions of more specific gameplay elements (currency systems, cover systems, ammo/reloading, dialogue systems, respawning, difficulty levels and so on). When somebody asks for general feedback, often it is difficult to say much more constructive than "that sounds like it could be interesting, and it might even attract me if I read it on the back of a game in a shop, but I still don't know enough to actually picture the process of playing the game or have any real idea if it would be fun".

#3 StillWorkingOnIt   Members   -  Reputation: 123

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 03:07 PM

Hey, read your stuff over, and its pretty damn good! Love your overall game concept, mostly because of the level of involvement the player has on the outcome. Reminds me of when i used to play GTA and i would fail like a car chase mission and the guy would get away, then i would just get another chance and i found myself thinking "well this game is so linear, and i have no control even with free roam", on the flip side however i did realize a fault in this kind of idea. Although it is amazing and i would love for it to happen, depending on the number of main plot advancing "missions" if you will, it will result in the developer having to make massive amounts of outcomes. lets say for example your game has 5 main plot advancing "missions". When you play the first, you'll end up with 2 possibilites, win or lose. and each of those 2 possibilities have 2 more possibilities, and those 4 possibilities each have 2 possibilites, and so on, meaning having 5 plot advancing missions (which is kind of small) would require you to actually make 31 (if my math is right) different missions. Aside from that, you can get around this kind of problem by setting a few "key" moments where your loss or win directly impact the storyline, or much like Infamous your actions have positive or negative consequences in the form of a non-plot related change. So, say you failed a certain mission and thus a certain building you could once enter has now been demolished from then on, or say you succeed and certain people will then aid you. Anyway just my thoughts, hope you work on it, it sounds really amazing, and your an awesome writer ;)

#4 jefferytitan   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2003

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 05:42 PM

It's not a bad idea, but it would need a lot of work to become a game (same as many other ideas discussed here). Firstly a few story/plot thoughts:
  • The naming of organisations etc seems a little cartoonish or conspiracy theory. For example the Illuminati, Joint Truth Beholders and the Exposition Era (which sounds a bit ironic due to exposition being the story background that you are telling them). If this is intentional, please ignore.
  • You don't need to tell the player explicitly, but it may be worth extending the timeline a bit further back to make sure it makes sense to you and that changes are gradual enough that people didn't fight back earlier, but sudden enough that people haven't accepted their role as consumer slaves. Perhaps even some old document/video/etc that reminds how the country has changed could be one spark of rebellion.
  • I'm not sure how the mind control fits in. If you want to kill rebels, kill rebels, not random civilians. That kind of stuff leads to rebellions. Sure, you can be very harsh, require low standards of evidence, etc, but it should be targeted. Alternately it could be that they use mind controlled people to pose as enemies of the state and encourage a fear culture so people will obey the government. Or they could use them as non-state-sanctioned assassins if they want to pretend to obey the laws. Or it could be experiments on how effective the control is before they ramp up to controlling everybody.
  • How much agency do these militias have? Do they have to stay 100% secret to avoid being wiped out? Are other countries helping them?
  • What kind of stuff does REO Corda do?
Perhaps to clarify to yourself and others how your world ticks, write a short story where James Niles has an objective, does some of the things he might do in the game, there's an outcome, and slip a bit of exposition about your world in (e.g. with the action/daily life, not as a separate page or a huge speech about the woes of the world).

As far as the game goes:
  • Is there a limited subset of this that you could make your first game attempt about? Aim for fun and simplicity.
  • What actions can James perform?
  • How does he get missions?
  • What do they involve?
  • What outcomes can result?


#5 -Crimsix-   Members   -  Reputation: 158

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 11:06 AM

Thanks for the feedback you guys, I see what has to be done, this is just a draft but i'm still working on it. I appreciate all the advice. The naming of the organizations is intentional. I wanted to give the world a sense of people knowing whats in it. Much like the many organization names we hear of today, I want those names heard in the game the same fashion we would hear names like Goldman Sachs, Al-Qaeda, and the Bush Administration on TV or the radio. It brings some kind of sense of suspicion or "whats going on with these guys" in your mind. I'm leaning a little on conspiracy theory (part of the inspiration comes from the show Jesse Ventura Conspiracy Theory anyway)

About expanding the timeline, I've had ideas about using playable flashbacks tied into the plot dealing with the charter's personal story going back when things were good and "normal" in the country but at the same time dealing with the part of him where he knows things other people don't. For example, it would involve you playing him in a flashback on his way back home from a long day of work he arrives to a happy home with his wife and kids who embrace him on his arrival. He walks up to his room and receives a phone call involving some big details about the up and coming economic crash that will take place two months from now or something like that. He leaves the room, and makes his way downstairs with a worried look he tries to hide and his wife asks him whats wrong and he replies "nothing honey, just...business. Gotta take care of some things." and he leaves the house to take care of some "business" (mostly dealing with more covering up on his part) Something like that. I came up with that on the spot lol. But yeah, I'm looking to utilize flashbacks as a way to explain things in the story and using it for more than one character to tie things up.

And as far as the game goes, I'm still figuring stuff out. James has the ability to be very influential and persuasive and he can recruit people to follow him depending on certain circumstances. Missions are discussed with his group REO Corda after James gets intel from Marcus much like a mini congress discussing what to do after something happens. Missions like breaking into a government facility to recover files, assassinating or kidnapping a vital member of the opposition, and many missions leading to the eventual discovery of the core operations of the ERA and Illuminati. Simply put, the mind controlled subjects are basically an army of Manchurian candidates who were kidnapped persons by the government are under the influence of ALPHAMIND which is a huge server used to control the subjects (eventually there's a mission where you must find the location of the server and destroy it. If the mission fails, the subjects continue to reign, making the goal of achieving liberty even harder because you have more forces to fight.

An outcome applies to how the mission was executed. I don't want to make it a linear shoot, clear and advance type of thing where only one outcome applies. Its boring. I want to make it so that you have to perform the mission with the mindset of "damn, if I don't do this right, I'm screwed" So you take into consideration you have to be careful, many lives depend on this rather than I gotta beat this mission to move on to the next level. So you have to be quiet, use force only when necessary, you gotta be quick eliminating targets and the game wont be only shoot and cover, you can use your environment against your enemies. For example, you're taking cover behind a crate and the shooter is a few feet away from you but close, you can ram into him using the crate while still in cover, get out and use him as a shield, ground and pound him or just kill him. Also being creative by shooting down hanging structures to eliminate multiple enemies in one spot, you can flank, use enemies as shields, all sorts of stuff.

Edited by SaNcT17, 20 June 2012 - 11:08 AM.

Art: The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form; producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

...If games aren't that, then I don't know what is ¬_¬

#6 leafbomb   Members   -  Reputation: 103

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 07:55 PM

So, a stealth/action game that revolves around the story. Cool. Instead of having different missions for different outcomes, make the outcomes just affect the missions. Like, for example, being caught near a government base would make some other infiltration mission have more guards than it otherwise would.

#7 -Crimsix-   Members   -  Reputation: 158

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 08:46 PM

So, a stealth/action game that revolves around the story. Cool. Instead of having different missions for different outcomes, make the outcomes just affect the missions. Like, for example, being caught near a government base would make some other infiltration mission have more guards than it otherwise would.


Good suggestion. I think a combination of them both would be great.
Art: The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form; producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

...If games aren't that, then I don't know what is ¬_¬

#8 Seongjun Kim   Members   -  Reputation: 223

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 10:01 PM

I'm actually trying to write a non-linear storyline similar to yours, where each action player does affect the overall storyline.
And I did realize it's a lot harder to make the game non-linear, as the story can quickly lose its focus, making the storyline boring, impossible to continue, or end too quick. In order to prevent that, you need to make sure there are broad, important key points that all players must go through (with varying details from less-important events, such as number of guards, what kind of guards, what kind of support you will be getting, etc).
Also how will you handle a failure in a really important mission? Will you just give the player sub-optimal ending, or will you force the player to reload the game from last savepoint? Both has its pros and cons, but I feel like both options are not really "fun" for players.

One way that I'm approaching this problem for my game is that I made 7 different endings but none of them are "optimal", because each ending has the player "winning", just on different sides. In another word, in your game setting I made players as James Niles be able to choose side (either ERA or JTB) throughout the game, and depending on player's actions you ended up with either James Niles winning against ERA as JTB or winning against JTB as ERA. This will make the game flow so that players will never really need to reload the game, and there are no suboptimal endings, meanwhile giving the player a huge freedom and influence on the game world (only drawback is that the game code can become huge, but that's why I'm aiming for short gameplay time like 6~8 hours per playthrough, but giving 7 different endings for replayability). It probably won't work for you, but just some food for thought :)

Another thing: it is definitely a huge challenge to code such a game, because the number of diverging events grow exponentially, that you end up writing 50 hours worth of events which end up to be only 5 hours game-time, because players don't get to see a lot of alternative events. This could be the selling point of your game though, because it gives huge replayability to the game.

I'm wondering how you are/will organize such non-linear storyline. Personally, I have found flowcharts really well, specifically I'm using Twine, http://gimcrackd.com/etc/src/.

Anyways, the storyline does seem very interesting, and good luck on your project!




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