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About this blog

This blog is dedicated for the development of the Operation Hillfort game.

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Specification

I've finally managed to write down some initial specifications for the project. There are still plenty to think and reconsider, but at least some parts of the specification should be quite solid.

Overview

Operation Hillfort is an action shooter game which takes players into a fantasy world with mighty dwarfs and mysterious goblins. Game is based on matches, where each game contains exactly two teams; dwarfs and goblins. Players take control over a single avatar and must manage to help the team to capture or defend capture points within the map.

Players

The game will support solo and multiplayer gaming. Both types support up to 24 players per match, where each participant can be either human or AI controlled. Players are split into two teams of 12 players each, where both teams may contain human and AI controlled participants.  One team will be the attacker trying to take over all capture points while the other will act as the capture point defender trying to defend points against the invasion of the attacking team.

These attacker/defender roles also define a map specific race for the team. Maps will be designed in a way, where either dwarfs or goblins act in a role of an attacker. This makes it possible to design maps with a look-n-feel theme where they can take place in a goblin or dwarf territories. 

While the players play in matches, they can still stay in the same session after a match has been completed. This makes it possible to play next match along with same people (and same team). Game sessions also process an automatic map/role rotation, which tries to ensure that players don't get so easily bored.

Look and Feel

The view will be a top-down 2D view of a colourful fantasy world with trees, rocks, buildings and other kinds of environmental objects. Camera is locked to follow the player (i.e. the avatar) as it moves around the map. The zoom amount of the camera determines how far the player is able to see. This amount can be related somehow on the selected class or perhaps on some special items (e.g. catapult or ballista).

Game visual design is a humorous colorful fantasy world with some special twist. Map locations can be places on above or under the ground, while mixes of these two are also possible. Underground worlds may end up containing lava or underground rivers, while places above the ground may contain beautiful forests etc. Visuals will also contain simple particle effects to improve the visual details and make the game world to come alive.

Some graphical colour and humour style reference are Warcraft and Plant vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare games.

Some musical and sound references from the both graphical references as well.

Interface

Players use a combination of keyboard and mouse to control the avatar. Keyboard is used to move the character as well as to change weapon or to select a special skill. Mouse is used to aim, shoot and to activate the selected special skill. The aim location is shown with a crosshair, which can be sized and differently rendered for each race or class amd perhaps also based on the weapon type or a possible blast radius.

Interface contains UI items quite similarly as in the Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. Here are the four major component sections in the view:

  1. A health bar at the bottom-left corner of the screen, indicating the avatar's current amount of health.
  2. Ammo and special power indicators at the bottom-right corner of the screen.
  3. Currently active capture point status at the top-center of the screen.
  4. A scrolling invisible point console at the top of the health bar.

Players will be guided to the active capture point with an arrow kind of indicator to prevent players to spend time to actually find the point. When a player has a visual sight of the capture point, this indicator can be hidden as the capture point will be clearly highlighted from the terrain.

Start Up

When a new match is about to begin, all participants will first load the map and then arrive into a class selection scene. Each player selects a class from their race, which defines the movement speed, maximum health, shooting type and special abilities for the avatar. After a player makes a selection, she/he will be transitioned into a in-game scene into a restricted starting area to wait for the go-go timer to launch the game. When the game is launched, players may proceed to either attack or defend the first capture point.

Players may also join a public game during the game is in progress. When doing this, the player goes first into the class selection scene. Then she/he will be transitioned into a in-game scene and spawn into the role (attacker/defender) spawn area of the currently active capture point.

Objectives

Game objectives depend on the current role (attacker/defender) of the team. Both teams actually fight against time, but try to achieve different things:

  • Attackers: Take over all map's capture points before the time runs out.
  • Defenders: Defend any of the capture points until the time runs out.

Capture points must be captured in a sequence, where a previous capture point must be captured before the next one can be captured. Each capture point has their own timer, which starts the countdown after players proceed into the corresponding map section.

Entities

Game contains avatars that are being moved around the game world by the players. These avatars are dynamic entities, which also contain different kinds of animations which may vary depending on the race and class of the player. These avatars are only a subset of the whole repertuar of the available entity types. See the following list of main types of entities in the game.

Dynamic entities

  • Avatar characters
  • Projectiles (e.g. arrows, magic and bombs)
  • Other particle effects
  • Destructible world objects (e.g. doors, boxes and barrels)
  • Special items (e.g. siege weapons, walls and traps)
  • Some game user interface objects

Static entities

  • Capture point areas
  • Non-destructible world objects (e.g. trees, rocks and most walls)
  • Some game user interface objects

The set of possible entities is kept versatile to allow a free-form map design.

Key Features

Game features will evolve along the process during iteration steps. However, I'll try to describe some initial key features here.

Game mode features:

  • Offline, which supports local gaming with a desired amount of AI players.
  • Online, which supports online gaming with a desired amount of AI players and other human players.

Match features:

  • Each match supports max. 24 players.
  • Each match divides players into two teams; attackers and defenders
  • Each match has a time limit, which is based on the amount of capture points.
  • Attackers win the match if they take over all capture points before the time runs out.
  • Defenders win the match if they manage to defend any capture point before the time runs out.
  • Idle human players (players not doing anything for 2 min) will be automatically removed from the match.
  • Map is automatically changed after both teams have played the map on both sides.
  • Match specific scores can be shown to users during the match (e.g. when they get killed or use a shortcut to see it).
  • Match specific statistics (e.g. player scores, best player, other titles, etc.) are shown after each match.

Game world features:

  • Contains two types of entities; destructible and non-destructible.
  • Contains a humorous, colorful and fancy graphics.

Map features:

  • Maps are split from four to six regions.
  • Each region contains a single capture point.
  • Each region contains own spawn areas for attackers and defenders.
  • Regions are opened in an order, where the previous region must be captured by attackers before the next region opens.

Avatar features:

  • Players may change their avatar class during the match.
  • Players cannot change their team during the match.
  • Avatar visual appearance is based on; race, class and some minor player customization.
  • Avatars have health, which defines how much damage they can take before they are being killed.
  • Player name is shown at close of the avatar within the in-game view.
  • Avatars can use two kind of attacks: projectiles and melee

Race features:

  • Game contains two races; dwarf and goblin.
  • Race is always team specific, where all members of the team belong to same race.
  • Race defines the look of the in-game user interface components.

Class features:

  • Game contains four classes for both races; heavy bruiser, projectile shooter, magician and light rogue
  • Defines n-amount of special abilities for the avatar character.
  • Defines the maximum health for the avatar.
  • Defines the type, base damage, range etc. of the primary and secondary attack of the avatar.
  • Defines the speed of the avatar.

Attack/shoot features:

  • Attacks have a cool down time, which defines the amount of time before the player may attack/shoot again.
  • Attacks have a damage, which defines how much the attack target will lose health.
  • Projectiles can be either explosive or non-explosive.
  • Projectiles have velocity, which specify how fast the projectile flies.
  • Projectiles have lifetime, which specifies the maximum lifetime of the projectile before it automatically vanishes or explodes.
  • Projectiles move in a straight line.

In summary, the game will contain high amount of identical functionality with the Plants vs. Zombies - Garden Warfare game mode Gardens and Graveyards. One of the major differences is that this game is a top-down shooter, while the previously mentioned is a third-person 3D shooter. It will be quite interesting to see how a similar kind of game works in a quite different perspective.

I'll try to cover at least some kind of implementation plans in my next post.

Thanks for reading!

Idea

Recently I've been brainstorming a new game which takes players into a fantasy world with dwarfs and goblins. Within this world, dwarfs and goblins have declared a war against each other. Goblins have stolen some ancient dwarf artifacts and in a countermeasure dwarfs have captured the goblin prince as a prisoner. Artifacts give goblins some supernatural crafting skills while the goblin prince provides some dark magic to dwarfs. In summary, both races have a bit of both skills at their sides.

The game itself will contain elements where n-amount of players are divided into dwarfs and goblins. These races take turns where they act either in a role of an attacker or defender. Game maps (i.e. game rounds) are divided into areas which must be captures by an attacking team. When other race is attacking, the other acts as a defender. Attackers win the map if they can capture all map areas from the defenders, while defenders may win if they manage to defend any of the areas until n-amount of time has passed. This is quite identical with the idea behind the original Plants vs. Zombies - Garden Warfare.

In the game, both of the races would contain n-amount of different classes that can be used to tailor the gameplay experience to fit for the players own play style. There could be slow and heavy bruisers, which could be contrasted with light and fast rogues. I'm not still sure how many different classes I'm willing to take in. Perhaps it would be good to have at least one bruiser, one rogue and at least one class somewhere between those two. Well see as the idea evolves.

I've been also thinking that the game would contain some additional material(s) that could be used to build some support systems like siege or extra-defense structures. Each map would contain only x-amount of these special materials so the amount of siege power or the cover from the extra-defenses could be easily controlled. However, their usage would act as minor feature in the game.

There are also three major keywords that I'm going to take my bullet points.

  • User friendly
  • Linearity
  • Along with a twist

I'll try to open up this idea in a more detail in my next post.

Thanks for reading!

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