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Missile Command extended


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#1 PhilObyte   Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 11:40 AM

Hi,

I'm currently collecting ideas for a new small game to develop. I thought of something like the old Missile Command where you have to intercept missile that come from the top of the screen. I know that many clones of this game exist, this is why I want to extend it.

What I've done so far:
-Two bases: one on the upper field's edge and one at the bottom (you can scroll up and down)
-Each base has it's own gravity field, this causes a missile exactly between the bases to stand still

I want to re-use my tile-engine I used in other games, so a base can consist of tiles.

Some mechanics that be fun in Missile Command:
-Strategy elements: you have to buy towers and place them
-Auto-Turrets: Would make it a bit like tower defense

What do you think? Is Missile Command for 2 players a good idea and what mechanics should it use?

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#2 Heath   Members   -  Reputation: 344

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 10:27 PM

Are the two bases against each other or in cooperation? If they're against each other, then either base is hurling missiles at the other base which needs to intercept them. If they're in co-op on opposite sides of the screen, then there must be a common enemy between the two bases.

If they're working in co-op on opposite sides of the screen, then what would drive the human players to work together? If one player is destroyed, what happens? The other player has a game of Missile Command all to his own. Game is over and starts over when that player is done.

Another option: Put the two players as turrets in the center of the screen, back to back. Player one faces up, player two faces down. If either one is destroyed, the game is over, and it starts over.

Let the player(s) choose which set-up they want, and you'd have an action game.

#3 PhilObyte   Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 08:00 AM

Thanks for your anwer!

I did not think about coop-mode, I meant that each player controls one base and tries to destroy the other one.
Do you think it would be fun to make it like tower-defense or is it better to let the player fire manually?

#4 cronocr   Members   -  Reputation: 751

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 08:08 AM

You could have missile production in your bases, and manually adjust the angle to shoot, having a firing queue. Player level could add larger missiles, missiles that divide themselves into smaller bombs, EMP missiles that sabotage radars, etc.
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#5 DaveTroyer   Members   -  Reputation: 1052

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 01:53 PM

Am I correct in assuming that this game will be tile based terrain with 3D assets occupying the tiles?

If so, I think that having a main base that fires at the other while you buy/build other auto-turrets to help protect your base from the enemies missiles would be awesome! Though, there may be some building stage with each player getting X amount of credit to spend on their auto-turrets. Either that or you could have smaller, PC controlled bases that can be destroyed in order to gain enough money to build up your own base and maybe make your missiles fly far enough to connect with the enemy base.

All and all, I think it would be a fun game that could be played real time with each base trying to find the other over the battle field and building up defenses to protect themselves from enemy fire. Kinda like Scorched Earth 3D. Posted Image

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#6 Prinz Eugn   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3553

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 02:48 PM

Neat idea!

I think it's an interesting concept because it removes the basic pillar of strategy: maneuver. You know where the enemy is, and you have only one way to get there, so it gives you an oppurtunity to focus on the other aspects of attack and defense, plus resource management.

I kind of imagine at a basic level like two-way Plants vs Zombies. You have limited slots in your base, that you can use for offensive structures (long range missiles), defensive structures (anti-missile guns), and resource generators (factories). The real gameplay is in balancing the three aspects, so you have enough resources coming in to generate attack big enough to get through the enemy defenses, but have room left in your base for long-range missile silos to carry out those attacks, all while keeping everything from being blown up by the other guy with your anti-missile defenses. On top of that essence, you can add tech trees or special units to whatever depth you want.

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#7 PhilObyte   Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 03:40 PM

Thanks for all this great ideas!

Am I correct in assuming that this game will be tile based terrain with 3D assets occupying the tiles?


Yes you're right except that I'm doing everything in 2D because I'm not good enough in 3D for now and I don't think it's necessary in this game.

Either that or you could have smaller, PC controlled bases that can be destroyed in order to gain enough money to build up your own base and maybe make your missiles fly far enough to connect with the enemy base.


This would be awesome but unforunately this would require radial gravity in my engine. For now I just take the two-base concept (one on the upper field-edge and one at the bottom) because this works with axis-aligned gravity. I want the game to be a combination of tactics (where do I place what towers?) and skill itself (controlling manual towers like setting angle and initial missile-velocity, like in Cannon Hill or Worms)

You have limited slots in your base, that you can use for offensive structures (long range missiles), defensive structures (anti-missile guns), and resource generators (factories). The real gameplay is in balancing the three aspects, so you have enough resources coming in to generate attack big enough to get through the enemy defenses, but have room left in your base for long-range missile silos to carry out those attacks, all while keeping everything from being blown up by the other guy with your anti-missile defenses. On top of that essence, you can add tech trees or special units to whatever depth you want.


Limiting space is a good idea I have not thought about yet - Maybe I can add a feature where you can extend your base with additional slots/tiles.
Factories that produce for example ammo are much better than just buying everything. Thanks for this great idea!

What special powers can you buy again after you used it? I thought of something like sending a troop of ships (controllable by the player with arrow-keys or controlled by AI?).

Tech trees are cool and make the game more complex, but this comes later ;-)

Edit: Grammar, Question "how is the player involved in the game" removed because Prinz Eugen already described it Posted Image

Philipp

Edited by PhilObyte, 16 October 2012 - 06:02 AM.


#8 Prinz Eugn   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3553

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 05:16 PM

"How is the player involved in the game?"

Again, this is how I envision it...

All the possibilities (some crossover in categories):

Attack
  • Selecting/aiming at targets (where to hit enemy base)
  • Choosing how to split available weapons among available targets
  • Selecting what weapons to use
  • Choosing the timing/order of weapons fired
  • Steering missiles (micro-managing attack in progress)
Defense
  • Aiming defenses (classic Missile Command style)
  • Activating defenses (turning on defenses that can only operate for X seconds before requiring Y seconds of cooldown)
  • Arranging structures (maximizing coverage area for each defensive structure)
Resource Management
  • Selecting what to build (basic cost vs benefit)
  • Picking the order in which to build structures (factories only and no defenses for the first part of the game, gambling the opponent won't hit you early?)
  • Selecting where to build (see arranging structures)
  • Balancing the allocation of limited space (offensive/defensive/resource split)
  • Balancing the allocation of production units/credits (offensive/defensive/resource split)
  • Making decisions regarding tech tree research
  • Operating factories (manually harvesting resources ala Plants vs Zombies requiring you to click on the "suns")

Disclaimer: I played a tower defense game once six years ago for maybe an hour or two, so there's probably solutions in that genre that might work better.

I'll think of some special abilities later, right now I have to get back to work...

Edited by Prinz Eugn, 15 October 2012 - 05:17 PM.

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#9 PhilObyte   Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 06:05 PM

Thanks for this detailed overview. Sometimes I get stuck because I'm not very creative :) But this is really a lot I can work with.

#10 Prinz Eugn   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3553

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 08:42 PM

Glad I could help! I'm writing this in between software crashes at work...

Random list of possible special abilities (generated by special structures or purchased seperately, depending)


Defense
  • Force Shield- stops enemy weapons, but is time-limited
  • Time Field- slows enemy weapons, giving you more time to react
  • Deflection Field- deflects enemy weapons to another point on your base, so you can funnel them into a group of defense turrets, for example
  • Reinforce Structure- Make specific structure more difficult to destroy
  • Advanced Radar- increases accuracy of all automated defenses (time limited as an ability or takes up space as a structure)
  • Smoke Screen- Hides buildings in a certain radius making targetting for the enemy more difficult
  • Mirage generator- Creates phantom buildings or shows structures as something they aren't (what look like factories to the enemy are in fact heavy defense platforms)
Offense
  • Sensor Ping- Shows real health value of enemy structures
  • Illuminator- Reveals structures behind smoke screen
  • EMP- knocks out enemy defenses for a short time
  • Freeze Ray- neutralizes single enemy structure for X amount of time
  • Accelerator- Your weapons fired within area of effect recieve speed boost
  • Ion Cannon- neutralizes shields for a moment, but has different travel time than missiles, requiring good timing to optimize the sequence (ion cannon take out shields, allowing missiles through)

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#11 TechnoGoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2644

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 06:58 AM

I can't help but be reminded of the old game Gorrilas were players each control a gorilla on opposite sides of a city and try and defeat the other player by throwing exploding bananas.
Posted Image


Game play ideas:

each player has a number of tiles to build improvements on placed randomly in their territory. The winner is the first to destroy all of the other player tiles.

3 kinds of structures. Techs, Defence, Attack.

Tech buildings unlock and enable other buildings and but don't provide offensive or defensive benefits. For example construction yard allows you to place an extra improvement each turn. A munitions factory allows you to build tri-missile launcher capable of firing 3 missiles a turn and unlock high explosive missles.


Defensive buildings would either blocker types or anti missile systems. Blocks can stop missiles that hit them but are only protect against so many hits turn and you can still take blast damage. Anti missile system have an area of effect and aren't always successful. For example em shield surrounds your country and detonates the first unshielded missile each turn. Flak cannon has a 25% chance to shoot down any missile in range.

Offensive buildings would consist of different kinds of launchers or missile platforms. A standard launcher fire 1 missile based on angle a turn. Others fire 3 or missiles a turn at variations of the same angle. Having the right combination of buildings would even allow you to build a nuclear missile capable of destroying most of the other country in a single turn.

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#12 PhilObyte   Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 09:39 AM

@Prinz Eugn:
I'm sure many special abilities will make this game very cool, thanks for this great list!

@TechnoGoth:
The percentage of successfull intercepts will make the game more interestring, a really cool idea.
Would you like turn-based or realtime? If the focus is more on shooting I personally prefer turn-based (like in Worms)
but if it's more build-based it's cooler to have it realtime, thus it makes a huge difference how fast you build and you can surprise your enemy early.

Phil

#13 TechnoGoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2644

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 10:22 AM

I'd like to see it turn based where players build and plan in secret then have their moves executed simultaneously.

But real-time would be fun if it was more bullet hell type situation with a gesture base interface. In that case I see players gearing up huge missile salvoes to rain down on the other player while quickly switch to defence mode to direct their own defences. you could even have a macross style pinpoint shield that stops any attack but you have to manually move to block each individual missile.

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#14 DaveTroyer   Members   -  Reputation: 1052

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 11:03 AM

Ooo! You could have a hybrid system for firing the missiles.

As in, you can build up your base little by little with what resources you have in real time for the entire game. Your missiles start out really weak though and they need to be "developed" over time. Couple this with like a prep time clock (a limited amount of time you can't fire in the beginning of the match), and the game becomes something like a cold war. Each player will be on edge, worrying that the enemy will fire any second, that their missiles aren't strong enough yet, that their defenses might not be able to stop their missiles.

In order to encourage players to play this way, you could have a charge up system that takes maybe 30 seconds to charge but give the player the option to fire right away (after the prep clock), but with a less damage. Then, as they charge their missiles, they have to fire them off to get more powerful ones. Kind of like building experience with every shot taken.

I'm just kind of snow-balling at this point and maybe pushing some scope-creep, but yeah, just throwing some ideas out. Posted Image

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#15 PhilObyte   Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 11:57 AM

I really, really like the idea of turn-based preparing-turns and simultaneously firing after each turn.
(Not just because it makes the networking code much easier :D)
But there are some questions I have about compatibility:

-Prinz Eugn gave cool ideas for special powers you can buy and use once (I don't want to make many to have it easier)
but all these just work when the game is realtime. Possible solution: you buy them and they become active when the turn ends
and "firing mode" starts. What do you think about it?

Each player will be on edge, worrying that the enemy will fire any second, that their missiles aren't strong enough yet, that their defenses might not be able to stop their missiles.


-Hybrid-mode:
A very interesting concept, mainly because of the fear you desribed! Tension is very important. But I did not understand a key-mechanic of it (my english reading-comprehension is not the best): Where is the division between "build mode" (Build factories and towers, prepare towers) and "firing mode" (every tower executes the command you gave it in "build mode")? If I understood it, you mean that it's possible to fire anytime.

Phil

#16 Prinz Eugn   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3553

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 12:50 PM

I'm just kind of snow-balling at this point and maybe pushing some scope-creep, but yeah, just throwing some ideas out. Posted Image


Ha, I guarantee we're in feature creep right now... I think it's just as important to pare down until you have what you want the core gameplay figured out.

Turn-based vs Real Time definitely fits into that "core" so I would consider the advantages/disadvantages of each before making a decision. Turn-based would give players more time to plan complicated strategies, but real-time keeps players enganged in the details of using the weapons/defenses (i.e., aiming). Personally, I think the chaos of real-time would be more interesting to play.

Dave's idea of having time to build up your base to a degree before missiles start flying I think would be a good idea regardless of style.

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#17 WildField   Members   -  Reputation: 296

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 12:57 PM

Why not to make it cooperative game? Lots of missiles come from the sky, players must work together to save their base.

If you want a twist, here is one: missiles shoot not from the base, but from some kind of floating turret, which can position itself on any space on the map. Turret relocation is simple, press "X" and click on empty space and turret will slowly move there. Turret itself can block missiles, but can't die. Each player has his own turret. Also destination of relocation can't be changed until turret has stopped.

You can also add "spawners" - enemy ships that can be destroyed and spawn missiles. Victory/losing conditions are same as in original.

Edited by WildField, 16 October 2012 - 12:59 PM.


#18 PhilObyte   Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 01:01 PM

I'm writing down an overview right now to bring all those great ideas into a structure ;) will post it later

#19 PhilObyte   Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 03:17 PM

Okay here's the structure I hope I forgot nothing:

Different core-mechanics regarding realtime/turn-based:
  • Round-based building, after that the towers fire simultaneously depending what angle/velocity you chose.
    Defending towers start automatically to intercept incoming missiles.
  • Hybrid-mode: you fire in fire-phase in realtime rather than give commands in build-phase. Defending turrets are still automatically fireing. Maybe with something that prevents the player from attacking too soon.
  • Full realtime-mode: no different phases, you can shoot as soon as you are able to do so. May be less tactical because of the lack of different towers etc. because I am not able to fill the game with diversity (I want to compensate this with a great mechanic Posted Image). I worry that every game is the same after you once have a working build-order.
Are there other core-elements that make the game more interesting? Something that demands more dexterity/skill? I worry that it will become boring because it may be too easy to adjust the towers.

Now, after I restructured all these great ideas you got we can think more precisely what are the weaknesses of these concepts.

Ha, I guarantee we're in feature creep right now... I think it's just as important to pare down until you have what you want the core gameplay figured out.
Turn-based vs Real Time definitely fits into that "core" so I would consider the advantages/disadvantages of each before making a decision.


This really hits what I wanted to say. I want to have the game as big as it's possible (this is why I asked for example for special-power ideas, they are easy to implement), but I don't want the game to have a boring gameplay with logical trouble (how do I make every new game unique?) but 100 different ammo, tower, etc. -types.
I want to pare down the diversity. Not because I'm lazy, but because the core-mechanic is much more important.

Thanks, Phil

Edited by PhilObyte, 16 October 2012 - 03:32 PM.


#20 Randel   Members   -  Reputation: 326

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 03:34 PM

One idea could also involve fallout of shrapnel. Destroying a missile doesn't necessarily negate all its damage, you still get occasional bits of debries and if that missile is atomic then there is fallout contamination. Maybe destroying a missile base with nukes in it leaves radiation as well that damages your factories production.

Or, you could send airplanes to the other side (with a time delay) and they try to shoot down the enemy missiles before they leave the enemies airspace. A player focused on this could create a fleet of airships optimised to taking out missiles before they enter his airspace... but doing that requires alot of setup and leaves with little defense should the enemy fire first.




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