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First post! Intro and initial design concept

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mdamman

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****Copied from a post in the Indie Games forum****

Hey all, I'm still fairly new to this site, though I'm liking it so far. This is my first post for a game idea I've been kicking around for sometime and am feeling ready to break into. Pardon the disorganized nature of this post (and myself in general). I'm flitting away my last week at work before break and the ideas keep coming. I'm posting this now for two reasons. First is to get the ideas out of my head and onto a screen, and second is to call for outside ideas, questions, criticisms, or things that I just haven't thought of. If the idea sounds cool to you, feel free to say so, though I'm mostly looking for input that challenges what I've already layed out.

First off, the elevator pitch:
The game is a 2d side scroller, sprite based, where the main character's physical abilities are somewhat steeped in realism. That is, running, jumping, and diving capabilities are closer to 2d Prince of Persia than say Contra or Shadow Complex. The shooting element is the main differentiator here. Aiming direction is controlled with controller's right stick (or mouse location), though the player cannot freely shoot anywhere at anytime. Rather, the aiming is used to select a target, and pulling the trigger puts a single bullet in their head. One shot, one kill. If no target is present, or there's an obstacle in the shooting path, the player character will not pull the trigger. He doesn't like to miss.

Other player character mechanics:
- The player may "paint" several targets in a sequence (not unlike the two most recent Splinter Cell games, though in 2d). Then, if those targets are shootable, they will be automatically aimed at. The player only needs to squeeze off a shot, then the next target in the sequence is selected. I'm thinking there will be a set amount of time between when each shot can be taken. Three perfectly timed shots = "BANG tic tic tic BANG tic tic tic BANG".

- There will be a slowdown effect that can be engaged in which the player can paint a sequence of shots and/or make a critical move out of the way before the enemies have a chance to gun him down. How long the effect lasts and how it is restricted I don't fully know yet.

- The player character can run left or right, jump straight up or forward while running, dive while running, climb up ledges within reach, cling to the side of a ledge off a jump and pull himself up, drop straight to the ground from a standing position. I plan to allow the player to still shoot in any direction during most of these animations.

- During slow motion, the player has an option to aim somewhere other than the head. Shooting an enemy in the shoulder will spin them around, causing an enemy that's about to fire to unload a clip behind them (friendly fire is on of course). Shooting an enemy in the leg will drop them to their knees, opening up any targets behind them. Not sure yet how to make this effectively different than simply shooting them in the head.

- I may include some sort of point earning mechanic. Executing several kills in quick succession or during a dive earns more points or some such thing. I should probably focus on making it all work first, ja?

Enemies:
- Enemies are also armed, largely with automatic guns as they do not share the same bullet conservation agenda. They have a quick response time to seeing the character and opening fire. There will be some sort of shooting pattern and animation tells when each one is about to fire/reloading, etc. Right now I plan on them being fairly stationary, maybe some will take cover if it's available.

- Other weapons or behavior are possible. Shotguns, snipers, rocket launchers, grenades are all things that might be fun to include if I can come up with a way to make them meaningful additions to the gameplay. Maybe grenades to flush the character out of cover, rocket launchers for key enemies.

Level Design:
- Metroidvania style sidescrollers are all the rage these days, so I thought, hey, let's totally not do that. I plan for the levels to be a linear sequence of rooms/encounters with a checkpoint at the start of each. I want each room to feel somewhat like a puzzle with (hopefully) multiple solutions to clearing it out before moving on to the next one. Some may call for a quick, well timed run and gun attitude, while others require slowly and methodically working your way through platforms and cover. Time to break out the graph paper.

Art and Style:
- Clean and crisp, well animated sprite graphics. Well, that's the ideal anyway. I am not much of an artist, though I like to think I have an eye for what looks good and stands out. If the actual game part comes together well, who knows, maybe I'll consider bringing an artist on. Expect stolen sprites or visible hitboxes for a while.

- I'm a big fan of the character designs and art in Ghost Trick, as well as that in any 2d Way Forward game. When I think of the main character, I see of stylized, tall, lean guy (or gal) in a black suit and tie. I'm sure I'll hack together a visual example when I get tired of coding.

Technical Aspects:
- Up to this point, I've really only thought from a design and style view point, so no technical details are determined. I'm loosely planning on using Unity 2D since it's available and I've been wanting to learn the engine.

About Me:
- Just in case anyone is actually interested in knowing, I am a recent (8 months ago) computer science grad, now working as a software engineer for an engineering software company in the US. I've long had a passion for games and this is my first real crack at developing my own (outside of simple game projects done in school). I'm very much looking forward to the process and learning all the ways I'm completely off base with what I think I know.

- Most of my programming know-how is in C++, Java, a little C# with XNA, Perl with HTML: Mason. I've played a little with 3d game design and editing via the Torque engine and Blender.

If you've made it this far in my post, I commend your patience. Let me know what you think of the idea and/or any suggestions for seeing it through.

Thanks
- md

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Sounds like a good concept, it could be fun if you're able to pull it off properly!

 

 

It seems like the fun would be in quickly analysing and responding to situations in the most elegant way possible; trying to position yourself correctly, correctly line up the enemies, and then trigger any special abilities (such as the slow-mo mode) or attacks at the best possible time.  You'll definitely need some clever level design and the right selection of interesting enemies to keep things interesting.

 

I really like the idea of trying to pull off awesome cinematic attacks where you pick off all of the enemies smoothly and even manage to use some of their attacks against each other.

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Is ammunition counted?  I.e. do you have to collect more and try to be conservative (obviously you can't miss, but by using enemies against each other for example) or do you just have unlimited ammo?

 

It could be really interesting if you occasionally get into situations where you only have one bullet left but have to take out two enemies by playing the situation correctly.

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Wasn't planning on having an ammo restriction, though that could make for some interesting situations.  I've been back and forth on including clip sizes and reloading though.  That may make for a way to promote creativity.  What I'll probably end up doing is getting the base level mechanics to work then experiment with levels and extra bits. 

 

Yeah, the cinematic potential is a big part of what makes me like this idea.  Anyway, thanks for the feedback and interest.  Success or failure, I'll update as I get more into it.

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I like your idea. It's sound similar to flashback - old game from  Delphine Software. It was great game for that time.

Game mechanic used in games like Prince of Persia (first one) and flashback is very realistic, if you compare with other scroll shooters. And there is a lack of such games.

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Sounds like a really cool concept. Welcome to journal land and good luck! I look forward to reading more of your entries :)

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