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Playing with a theme for a game


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#1 Bluefirehawk   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1232

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 05:09 AM

Hi guys

 

I have run into a "good" problem while working on a game, I missed thinking about a theme. And now that I have an idea for it, I kinda don't know what I can do with it now.

 

Maybe I should write about the game idea first: The game is a co-op game in a post apocalyptic world, you and your friends are a group of rookie soldiers with the orders to flush out the enemy of a certain territory. How you are going to do that is completely up to you.

 

Now with the theme I'd like to play around with: "You are expendable".

I want them to feel less and less valuable, nobody cares if you die as the game progresses.

After the first tutorial, before the gamers are sent into the world the first time, they get the typical captain's pep talk ("We are counting on you, soldiers"). After that, nobody from their faction will talk to them with a human voice.

You don't see any npc soldiers fighting at your side, if you want any supplies, you have to pay for them. And they are sent to you via artillary strike. In the middle of the game, you find more and more groups of dead soldiers that probably had the same orders.

I want to give them the mood that, in this world, everybody wants to kill them, they have nothing but each other.

 

So my main problem is, how can I use that feeling for the ending? The only thing I can imagine is to put in a plot twist, their commanders are actually the bad guys and they are going rogue. But what else can I do with it?

 

Or do you have any other suggestions?


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#2 Waterlimon   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2634

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 05:20 AM

I wouldnt make the commanders evil, but maybe make it feel like that the whole mission was a result of their greed or something. Maybe they get some valuable thing or power for themselves.

Or maybe it was something like a test to measure the efficiency of their troops or some failed test that they couldnt stop and dont want anyone to know, thus having to resort to a small group even if they could easily stop it if they did reveal their mistake. Yeah, that sounds ok.

Failed experiment they did out of greed, which they want to keep in secret, sending your team to stop it, possible endangering the whole civilization if you fail.

o3o


#3 Freeky   Members   -  Reputation: 194

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 12:25 PM

Well, a plot twist seems like a good idea to me. But how about this:

In the end it turn out that the only reason the players were send on that mission was because they wanted to get rid of them. or at least to keep you busy for a while.

They won't discover that until the end.

However, in the end the mission seemed to be useful after all. Maybe because the player has discovered something important or destroyed something witch would have caused a lot of trouble if it was not destroyed on time.

 

Just throwing some ideas here. Perhaps it might help you. ;)

 

Freek



#4 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3966

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 04:55 PM

Free respawn

 

 

I was playing LARP aliens vs marines ones, I was on the aliens side. After death we were respawning (immediately our next turn and for free and usually in a better position nearer the marines). There was an awesome feeling of us being totally expendable (on the other hand, marines just had one life, so it was a nice contrast with their cowardly retreat watching their backs compared to ours brave certain death assults for the chance to maybe kill one of them if we are very lucky). On one turn I had some APs left, just to reach and attack a marine, but another alien was blocking the way. So I announced "I'm attacking him (the alien from my team)" and the guy (the alien I was going to kill) immediatelly without a split second of hesitation shouted "I'm not defending!", to earn me a modifier from the GM  :D We were really, truly, felling like expendable aliens that don't mind at the tiniest bit to sacriface our easily replacable bodies for the cause :)


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#5 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 5055

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 07:07 PM

How about, the group has a machine that can reincarnate or revive dead people.  So death is not permanent for individuals unless the whole group dies, which means no one can use the machine or the machine is destroyed.

 

Or, do they have to be human?  How about a kind of creature with a hive mind, like Zerg or ants/bees/etc.?  Or robots where the mind/soul/personality is stored on the server, not lost when a body dies; the body is just a remote labor unit.


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#6 Dasha   Members   -  Reputation: 140

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 07:05 AM

Just recently played Crackdown 2. In that game you have the chance to learn exactly just how corrupt the organization you work for is. Along with that, the person back at base who talks to you throughout the game clearly dislikes you. He's very snarky with you and has very little patience for you. If you slip up and accidently kill a citizen or NPC employee of the same organization(which is very easy to do, especially as you level up) then you get punished(shot at by NPC's of same organization).

 

Maybe the commander/group could punish the team (by refusing to send supplies/ignoring them, making them pay, sending bad quality supplies, having the drop-off in a difficult to reach/far-off location, etc.) for not completing their goals perfectly, even if the goal was impossible and clearly there to make them fail.


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#7 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 897

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 03:12 PM

I think a good way to convey players feeling like their commanders don't care, is by getting visible information from opposing sides.

 

For instance, in the beginning of the campaign for Starcraft 2, you see a brief video of the Terran Dominion Leader talking on a big screen in the game map.  You could have similar things in your game.  Except make the leaders appear to be bickering instead of solving or really expressing anything. 

 

Imagine 2 miliatry commanders on video.  1 is clearly the enemy, 1 is clearly your side.

 

Apposing: "You have terrible training and will all die from poor leadership!"

Your side: "Oh Yah!  well your side doesn't have the supplies to keep you fed!"

 

Note that the argument doesn't try to disprove the poor leadership, it only acts like a whiny 5 year old.   Instead they just point out other bad things from the other side.

 

It is especially helpful if something from these ad campaigns stands out to you right after, like just after getting dropped off, seeing that ad campaign on some screen, you get over your head set, "Well, I'm going to go check on some other stuff.  Just fight your way to the other side, and try not to die.  (mumble)its costs less if you live.".

 

It might also be good to not make them mean, just not understanding of humans other than them selves.  Like they don't bully, they just don't see you as human.


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#8 powerneg   Members   -  Reputation: 1463

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 08:17 PM

how about having the people(civilians) in the area you 're invading being a tad happy with the invasion, but realy disgusted that "those guys"(for example gen. modified sub-humans) are sent to do the job ?



#9 NewDisplayName   Members   -  Reputation: 359

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 09:36 AM

If you really want a twist then this can be an idea which isn't cliche and hasn't been tried before.

 

Your character (who is also the main yet expendable protagonist) kills all in the way, as per his orders and encounters in the end... himself.

Then the true fact dawns on him.

Basically, all the soldiers were given orders not by a human, but an alien humanoid, who disguised himself as a human, and created a race of clone soldiers, which were ofcourse expendable.

In the end all these soldiers were anyways going to die (killed, if you may).

The post apocalyptic era, is nothing but a final cleansing, tried by the invading humanoids that just needed Earth to create a colony of their own, and devised an ingenious plot of using human clones against humans themselves.

However, your protagonist realises that he himself was cloned out of none other than a human being who led the last colony of surviving humans.

 

With that you also have a scope of having a Part 2 for the game, with the underlying theme as revenge/revival ofcourse.



#10 Bluefirehawk   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1232

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 09:42 AM

Or, do they have to be human? How about a kind of creature with a hive mind, like Zerg or ants/bees/etc.? Or robots where the mind/soul/personality is stored on the server, not lost when a body dies; the body is just a remote labor unit.
Yes, they pretty much have to be human ;). With all the Call of Honor Modern Ops around, I'd like to explore the very human feelings you get when you are sent out in a world where everything is here to kill you, where your life is essentially in the hands of the guy next to you. My "hidden theme" if you'd like. Doing this with anything else than humans makes this harder, or impossible.

Your character (who is also the main yet expendable protagonist) kills all in the way, as per his orders and encounters in the end... himself
I love that one, but it's not a pure singleplayer game, I don't have one protagonist. My Protagonist is a group of soldiers, the players. I may not allow only one player to play the game.
Awesome, but this idea is better suited for a different game.

Edited by Bluefirehawk, 04 January 2013 - 09:54 AM.

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#11 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 897

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:10 PM

Adding an intro video,

 

Soldier is gearing up, just got orders to go to battle.  They are inline for supplies, and instead of being given a weapon, they have to buy it with their own credits.  Oh, and tacked on to that is the cost of all the ammunition they used in training.  ...  didn't you know? ...


Moltar - "Do you even know how to use that?"

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My Game(s), Warp Wars is in early development and can be found here: http://blog.WarpWars.Net.


#12 Bluefirehawk   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1232

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 08:57 AM

instead of being given a weapon, they have to buy it with their own credits.

I wanted to have them pay for their own equipment,, that's how I came to the theme in the first place ;).

 

How I see it, there are three possible endings when the commanders are evil and you fight them:

  • You fight and defeat them, a bit holiwood style.
  • You fight and don't defeat them, giving you the feeling that this was their plan all along
  • You fight them only to realise, you yourself are the real evil. Very cool, but hard to pull off. Especially when you don't have a obvious protagonist.

Or you don't fight them, but then I only see the ending that you go into exile. This seems a bit boring to me.

 

I chose the Theme because it helps with the underlaying topic of only trusting your fellow team members. But maybe there's a different theme that helps with that. Do you have any Ideas?


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#13 NewDisplayName   Members   -  Reputation: 359

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 09:03 AM

One possibility to create an obvious protagonist in the end is a point based system. With one protagonist left in the end, there is always a sea of options that opens up and nont just the 3 you mentioned.

And it also brings a real competitive element to the game, isn't it? wink.png



#14 Deallo   Members   -  Reputation: 171

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 11:40 PM

Hmmmm...

 

You could do what Halo Reach did in the end: force the player into a situation against the enemy but they're inevitably going to lose. 

If you want to come across "Expendable" theme in the nature of your game, have your superiors intentionally steer you towards a trap to draw the enemy's attention away from a priority target. Your squad becomes, naturally, bait to the enemy.

 

In an animation, one of you guys can trip and say, break the transmitter/radio. However, though players can't radio in for any supplies what so ever, you can now hear the transmission of your superiors as they talk about using the squad as bait to lure the enemy away. Generals, really. So now you can't even call in supplies.

 

As each person dies, they can no longer "respawn", they literally see themselves get shot in killed in the first person perspective, dropping back dead, hitting the mud face first, etc, etc. Some might be alive, can crawl and look around as their friends fight as they bleed out, maybe shooting with a pistol, but really slowly. Every ally that dies comes back as a ghostly apparition, only seen by dying or other dead soldiers until each and everyone else dies, the last person alive gets a desperate cutscene just as their health is gone.  

 

You end up with a small squad of ghosts in the end and then they walk back the other way, towards the millions of more ghostly apparitions of dead soldiers behind them. Swallowed up in the m being a pawn among the war games of kings.



#15 dakota.potts   Members   -  Reputation: 455

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 04:38 AM

I know you mentioned no one in their squad talking to them in a human voice...

If you really want to make them seem like they don't care, make them call in supplies and such via a robotic call center.

"Press 1 for Emergency assistance. Press 2 for review of combat orders. Press 3 for information on purchasing weapon drops"

If you press 1

"Press 1 to request additional soldiers. Press 2 to relay distress signal."

Press 1

"Please enter coordinates or Press 9 to speak to a supervisor"

This really gives the impression no one cares (as someone who just spent an hour on the phone, didn't get a real person, and didn't get a question answered), and it would be an incredibly unique game play component for doing things like ordering weapons and checking on your commands.




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