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Dauntless

Highlander style game?

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I don''t know if something like this has been done before, but I was wondering if anyone has ever made a game that has spanned the centuries? What got me to thinking of it actually wasn''t the Highlander series, but actual a myth. The myth of the "eternal soldier". The myth is that while Jesus was dying on the cross, a Roman solider got tired of waiting for him to die, so he stabbed Jesus between the ribs to make sure he was dead. According to the myth, this Roman soldier was cursed by God to live forever until Judgement day for his crime. There''s lots of variations on this story, and some say that he repented and tried to make up for his sin by being good. Some say that he sought after death, and would fight wherever he could, trying to deny the curse. Other legends say he is trying to bring about judgement day, just so that he can finally RIP. But I thought it would make for an interesting storyline. You could play an immortal throughout the ages, and the goal of the game would be to....die. But the cool part would be fighting in different eras....from ancient melee battles, through the medieval period, up through the early guns, on to modern wepaons, and into sci-fi weapons.

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this sounds pretty cool, although you''d have to flesh it out a hell of a lot more.
but the goal shouldn''t just be to die, since the player can quite easily do that in the first battle if they stand there and don''t attack. maybe they''d have to find some thing, or complete some quest, or SOMETHING, before they die.
but i like the concept

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I agree with Krez. Death should never be your motive. Not only is it difficult to reconcile with game mechanics, wanting to die doesn''t resonate well with your target market.

Redemption and salvation are excellent motives, and ones you could easily lay out if you use NPC''s or scripted events properly. (Think System Shock II with angels and apochrypha.)

Just my two cents.

RomSteady - Able to leap off tall buildings in a single bound

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well, the thing is...he can''t really die. That''s actually the hard part. Bullets may rip through his body, but he''ll heal very quickly. Even outright blowing up his body won''t work as he''ll mysteriously get resurrected like a phoenix.

That''s actually the game balancing problem there. Since how do you stop a player from just rushing in and blowing things up left and right with no impunity? I think the trick is that if you go after the redemption angle, then he has to save something within a certain alloted timespan....sorta like the TV show Quantum Leap. If he just tries to kill the bad guys with no discrimination, then his target may die. So the fear doesn''t come from dying, it comes from not being able to complete his mission and being cursed forever.

Believe it or not, that was an inspiration for the idea too. I liked the end episode which made you think.....was that Bartender really God? Was God making Al jump from person to person?

I know religious tones draw a fine line in this country...some people want absolutely nothing to do with it, and others are intrigued by it. But I think there''s a way to make it very "agnostic" per se, and not couch the details in one specfic religion.

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Maybe you should try chopping that kinda game into parts, so you don''t over load yourself trying to code in a bunch of different things. Each era would drastically change the game''s engine. So maybe you should split it up into various ages the same way Empire Earth did (Atomic Age: WW2-Modern, Nano Age: Futurisitc). The only difference is that each age would be a new game. Maybe go for a trilogy.

Bleu Shift - www.bleushift.tk

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I was thinking some time ago how cool it would be to make a Highlander game. The play mechanics were totally different from what you are talking about.

Basically since it is a "Highlander" game, the ultimate goal is to be the final immortal (remember there can be only one). I envisioned a 3rd person perspective / 3d game where you travel the globe hunting the other immortals. When are close to another immortal you would get that "sensation" (maybe the screen blurs in and out or whatever) and you could whip out your sword and have at it.

Anyway, it would end up being a hybrid action/adventure game with a clear goal, hunt down all immortals (sort of non-linear as you can go after them in any order, although you would be best to go from weakest to strongest).

Would be a blast to play I think. Of course that pesky licence would get in the way..;-)

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Dauntless,
That is an excellent idea for a game. You should really have a go at it and I would suggest a 3d-person view.
I like the redemption aspect during battles, where the player has to save someone.
However, it looks like this is mostly a linear, story driven plot. Personally, I don''t have a problem with linear stories. But, it seems lots of people, nowadays, like multiple paths (non-linear).

Jason Arora
jason@pubism.com
http://www.pubism.com

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I agree with PSWind in making it more than one game. Making it all one game would take forever to code, not to mention all the different scenes that would have to be created, the items, etc... Now, since the main character cannot die, maybe make it so that everytime they are hit they move a little slower or something else that hinders the character in some way other than death. I do think that this could be a cool game if it were to be made.

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Just a heads up on your idea. While I think it is pretty interesting, it bears a certain similarity to the basic premise of Planescape: Torment (i.e. main character cannot die, must find a way to allow himself to die, and so on...). At the very least, I suggest you play it so that you not only get to look at a very good and interesting game, but also so that you know what has been done and avoid cliches of one sort or another.

_________________________________________________________________________________
The wind shear alone from a pink golfball can take the head off a 90-pound midget from 300 yards.
-Six String Samurai

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Hmm. A couple of ideas for you.

1) Capture. Sure, you can''t die, but life is really going to suck if a family decides to hold you captive for a few generations. Especially since they don''t have to feed you or anything. Read the first story arc of the Sandman.
2) Hunted Immortal. Alchemists and scientists would be hunting for this individual to try to figure out what makes him tick. This could be an almost horrific aspect (vivisection, anyone), or a source of antagonists.
3) Killing is counterproductive. Part of the curse could be that the heros life span is increased everytime he kills. The life force escapes into the hero, or whatever. So, just lead a peaceful life for a few millenia, and everythings allright, right? Should work well with the hunted (you could *not* kill, but life would be even more horrid) and the redemption angle - the quest for redemption could lead the hero directly into conflict.

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If the player cant die then wouldnt it be better to create an adventure game with lots of fighting aspects. that way the player has to think to finish the game and not just press buttons and move the mouse fast. The old lucas arts adventure game were the best games id ever played and id like to see more of that sort of game arround

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I didn''t think it was a curse at first. It was only after my first battle that I realized how perfect this punishment was. I was still a Roman soldier at the time. Our units had been ordered against the Parthian king. He had been sending raiders against a few outlying villages and we were to teach him a lesson. At first the battle was going well and I felt the bloodlust upon me. I managed to kill several of the enemy, but then I myself was struck down.

The pain was incredible, and I looked with disbelief as a spear slipped through my defenses and was thrust into my stomach. A good deal of my intestines were pulled out as the Parthian soldier yanked it out. I looked up at him as he chopped off my head for good measure.

I could barely stand it. I could still feel my whole body even though it was lying in two pieces. Slowly, millimeter by millimeter, my head was drawn towards my neck. The battle was still going on around me and I just wanted to finally lose consciousness, but that relief would not come.

The battle was over by that night. My legion had won. It wasn''t until the next morning that I was healed. I had to watch each paralyzing hour as my body slowly came together. And each moment was blasted through with incredible pain.

Since that first death, I have suffered many more. And each time I fear the next one more. But from that moment, I have never again been able to find the solace of unconsciousness. Not one moment of sleep. Even with the strongest of drugs I cannot stop the terrible parade of reality through my mind.

Now only one thought drives me. I must find a way to undo this. I must find a way to die for the last time.

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anonymous-
What was your original name? Kafka? I don''t really remember the legend much now, though I think Pontius Pilate had something to do with it too

pwd-
good suggestions. It will be interesting to have other concerns other than just failing the mission. Being captured, or being slowed down are excellent balancing ideas

mordoch-
thanks for the tip. I haven''t played planescape so I don''t really know what it''s about.

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crans-
I was thinking something akin to Deus Ex or System Shock....is it an adventure game, or a shooter?

But you''re right, there have been a dearth of good adventure games. I think most people like the replayability of multi-player systems, or the non-linear style of FPS games. Personally, I don''t like MMO type games or multi-player games that much.

of it.

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I think such a game would work (I''m surprised ''Highlander'' has never been turned into a game).

One aspect of this I''d like to see, especially if this does span multiple games is the idea of keeping a characters ''skeleton'' (basic traits) and being able to transfer him/her(there were female immortals too) across the games.

For example, a swordsman in one time becomes a gunfighter in the old West, becomes a hitman or a private eye in the 1920''s, becomes a soldier of fortune now. The basic traits stay the same, and the abilities change.

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Hmm. Another thought. What about the other immortals? Older generations, that share the same or similiar curse. (Caine for example, if you go down the Judeo-Christian path, Lilith, others?)

Would they be following the players quest? Assisting? Trying to hinder it, just so that they have stable company over the millenia? Pretending to sponsor/assist the player, but hoping to betray them at the last moment, and take the relief of death themselves? Would they just be thoroughly insane individuals that would randomly assist or hinder?

As far as changing the player over the course of the eras, I think giving them truly impressive abilities with archaic weapons would be interesting - (rather than ignoring the old weapons in the new ages). They would know how to use the more powerful modern weapons, but would have had centuries to practice with archaic weapons. They''d still get mowed down by an automatic weapon, but would be a way to sort of show off, and be potentially useful in certain situations (a sword is a lot quieter than an uzi). What I''m envisioning (for swordplay) is a transition from just regular slashing in the dark ages, to something like fencing over the course of centuries, and finally to a stage like Iaido in the modern age.

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well first you have to decide: highalnder game or not?? if you want it to be like highlander you have a story arleady set in place and an expenisve license to buy. But if you run with that legend you have choosen a few things as well. First of you are stuck with some form of link to the Christian religion and that will effect storyline/game play. Then you have linearity vs non-linearity to choose from. The player could make the hero a evil person instead. To bring about armageddon is to end his suffering so why not have him try to kill as many people as possible (draw back to trying is that if all people die teh anti christ will never be born). Or he could repent for his sins and be heroic. But if you were kept alive until the day of judgment you have two choices: realize you are stuck as a living being until that point or try and die before hand. Trying to die obv. wont work and the player would get tired of it. So since he coudl not succed in dying, he is let to choose between eternaly being righteous or eternaly being evil. Thats the only real logical choice the player can make, because he''s stuck alive for 2000 years or so. He can also haveto stop others from bringing about armageddon(aftorementioned mishape of no anti christ being born = his eternal suffering). Then like in highlander love becomes dangerous for him cus he will never grow old and he will have to watch his wives and children die. Being that he cant die he could be seen as evil and hunted in the early ages of man because they dont know any better. there are many factors to consider how he would be placed in society.

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pwd-
I was thinking the same thing. Imagine having thousands of years of practice with melee weapons, and cultivating your skill. Just imagine if Michael Jordan never got old, and he lived 2000 years playing basketball...imagine how good he would be? I think you downright do things that would seem superhuman, but merely be the cultivation of thousands of years of hard work and study.

vanegar-
while I was intrigued by the Highlander series, it''s not really what I wanted to do. I mostly pointed it out, because I think a lot of people would be familiar with the "flashback" sequences he goes through, and which are a cool touch to the series. I would actually rather do the "eternal solider" game.

As for having it opened ended, I thought about that too, and each has it''s pros and cons, so I''m not sure which I''d want to do. On one hand, it''d be cool to have the player chose which path he wants to take, and if Black and White could do it, I guess it can be done with this game too. But I think you could have a much more interesting linear storyline if you are forced to take the redemption path.

I dunno guys....what sounds more interesting to you?

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Wasn''t the storyline of Planescape: Torment something like this? I am pretty sure that the main character couldn''t actually die at any rate - if you were ever ''killed'' then you just woke up in the morgue a bit later on.

As a gameplay mechanic, I think it can work quite well. However, I think it would need to be slightly less combat based, or at least sufficiently complex so that the player can''t just waltz in, guns blazing killing everything he can until he ''dies'', then gets up and starts killing everything again ad infinitum.

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Yeah, Planescape Torment was based on a hook involving an immortal PC - and they pulled it off very well - one of the best RPGs I''ve played in a long time. Of course, that kind of thing works better for RPGs than for action games.

Dauntless, sounds like a great idea - could make for a very compelling, dramatic story if developed properly. (If you don''t want to do that, it also makes a nice cheap and cheerful premise for a combat-driven game or some such).

One thing that would be worth considering is how the charcter of the cursed legionary develops through the game. A good angle might be to set him up as some kind of anti-hero, seeking redemption, discovering himeself along the way, etc as pervious posters have mentioned. Another point about that approach is that you''re less likely to alienate Christian types - I could see some folks going up in arms if your ''hero'' is one of the soldiers who cricified Christ. If however, he''s depicted as a fallen hero, realising the significane of his actions, seeking spiritual redemption, etc. that might go down a bit better, at least with the more moderate folks. You''re still going to piss off the hard-core types bigtime, but they''re not really part of the target demographic anyway.

For some good source on the mindset and outlook of someone who has lived a long time as a powerful but tormented immortal, check Anne Rice''s vampire books - the characters tend towards the cynical, but good stuff nonetheless. (Maybe it''s impossible to live that long and not be cynical?) Planescape Torment is also worth a look.

As regards the business of multiple time settings, it would really help the story - all well and good to have the character given the backstory, and then dropped into his "final conflict" in the present day, but much better if the story can develop in-game over the centuries. Regarding people''s comments about that being harder to code, it shouldn''t be. Assuming you have a decent engine and toolset, coding shouldn''t be too much of a problem. Content and art, however, would be - you''re talking a lot of diverse texture sets, models, characters, different level styles, etc. You might not be able to do the standard model/texture recycling tricks very easily.

Another thing to keep in mind is that even if the PC isn''t the cursed legionary, the character could make an excellent villian.

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sandman and neversaydie-
I''ll rally have to check out Planescape, at least for how it deals with an immortal character and the balancing techniques used.

What really intrigues me about the concept of the immortal character though is as neversaydie mentioned....the progression of his character through the ages. What would his initial motivations be? How does he deal with his curse? Does he start out evil and realize what he has to do to make peace with God? And being able to set battles across the centuries is just icing on the cake.

As for breaking the game up into several titles, I''m not sure. I think the coding shouldn''t be a problem, but I think the art assets might be. Imagine telling the art guys that you are going to create a game that goes from ancient Rome all the way to the space age? That alone might necessitate breaking up the game. I''m not sure if that is a bad idea though...as maybe if the game is interesting enough, people would want to pick up the sequel. And since it''s just the art assets, it shouldn''t take too much longer to pump out the other games.

pwd-
I had thought about that too...what about other "cursed" characters throughout the myths of cultures that are immortal? I wonder what would happen if he should meet an immortal character from a non-judeo christian culture though? I''d have to do some research to find any, but the realization could be interesting

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I had a similar idea a while back. I think it works well, even for action games. Players in action games are basically immortal anyway (quicksave\reload) so the gameplay doesn''t really change that much. And just because you can''t die, doesn''t mean you can''t get your ass whooped. You may not die ("lose your life") in a fight, but there are worse things than death. In Planescape Torment, you''d wake up somewhere else and have to backtrack (so death was a hindrance.) In an action game, the character could be "killed" and wake up in the next age (level) with some kind of disadvantage.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I saw a movie some time ago aout this theme, and the focus was that the character could only die by the same spear that he used to kill Jesus.

So maybe a good focus point for the game would be to travel through the ages looking for the legendary spear so he can finally rest in peace. What do you think?

-Argonauth1

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Wait a second, in the Highlander series, wasn''t McLeod a Highlander who had killed one of the immortals (by decapitation) and thus became immortal himself? Correct me if I''m wrong, I''ve only seen a few episodes.

Anyway, what you could do is have the option of choosing a time period in which the character began, which would have a big impact on their skills, i.e. an immortal who was born in the 1900s would be more skilled with guns and mechanical/electrical devices. If you lived forever, there isn''t much of a limit as to what you could learn, so an immortal from the medeival times would probably know how to make his own weapons.

Why?!?

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