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SpittingTrashcan

Immortals on a Schedule

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This idea has been rattling about in my head for some time, and I just thought I''d post it and see who picks it up. In many action-style games, the limiting factor on lifespan is HP. Take enough damage, you die: then you lose, and must restart or load or something. Sometimes time is a secondary concern, but keeping the schedule doesn''t matter quite so much as staying alive. However, here''s another option. What if one played a character for whom damage was irrelevant, but time was a pressing concern? In this case, being hurt, damaged, crippled etc is a concern only in that it slows one down and prevents one from accomplishing tasks in time. Damage could also drain a resource used to enhance your character''s speed or power. It would certainly be a change of pace strategically. Whereas in many FPSes and other action games one goes to great lengths to avoid enemy fire, charging into a hail of bullets may be an effective tactical decision here - so long as the damage doesn''t drop you and cause you to waste time putting yourself back together. Stealth also becomes a tactic to use or discard depending on the numbers and strength of one''s opponents. Come to think of it, this sort of playing style blends elements of action and racing games - a race not to pass certain map points, but to eliminate certain enemies or accomplish other tasks. Resources could be granted based on completion time, or gathered as a side-trip which dangerously raises completion time. Has this been done before by others, and if not, does it tickle anyone else''s fancy? --------------------------------------------------- -SpittingTrashcan You can''t have "civilization" without "civil".

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I think it''s a sweet mechanic. If the player is only time constrained and not damage constrained people are likely to do extremely insane stuff to get to their objectives. I can imagine a game where you do stuff like the Halo Warthog jump to clear more terrain or have to rush thourgh armies of enemies to clear a path to your objective. For the game to be fun damage shouldn''t be very deblilitating. You should be stunned for a while if you rack up to much, like 2 or 3 times less than your "normal" hp, but it should regenerate very quickly. Objectives on the other hand, should be very hard to complete.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
There was one of a series of games by AgeTec(responsible for giving us R-Type series) and A1 Games(www.a1games.com) that had time as an important factor. It was called Starfighter Sanvein and it had you moving in an isometric arena blowing up the baddies. Instead of hp or damage, there was only time, when time ran out it was game over, damage caused you to lose time and defeating an arena added time. It got pretty intense when there was just one baddie and 10 seconds left. (Actually it was always intense because the clock never stopped unless you paused and the time bonus you received depended on which arena you picked-so even when fighting you had to think on your feet).


More about the series, only caused the concept worked. When I say the concept worked I mean that their goal was fulfilled, I don''t know if they sold squat.
They made games for the PSX that were 10 USD(at the time new playstation games were more than that). They made a game for every genre and at least one non-conventional title(that''d be Starfighter Sanvein). Obviously they were cheap for a reason, they lacked the massive development staff, schedule, and budget we normally associate with a game on a current console, but they just wanted to make good inexpensive games. They took what is fun and good about a particular genre and got rid of everything else and it worked. Gone were needless cutting edge graphics and lots of art and in came good, solid, balanced gameplay.
Like I said, I don''t know if they actually sold anything, but at least the artist won out that time and good games were made.

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I remember that terrifying Dark Forces II Jedi Knight level (Into the Dark Side I think), where the player had to run through a starship falling on a planet. Best most intense 90 seconds of a level ever! The frustration of stumbling in a doorway. The confusion of non-vertical gravity. I don’t think I’d want another game like that though

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I like the idea on the face of it with an exception: stealth usually requires alot of observation, assessment and waiting for enemies to move into proper position. Having a clock at your back while you''re doing this could be very frustrating.

I''d also be slightly concerned about draining the player''s speed or power too much, as well. Time in this sense would become very much like the dropping lifebar of your character in the arcade versions of Gauntlet (sort of). If you drain speed or power, you''re effectively draining HPs, just with another label. Players might still need to seek cover in order to not fail, and there might even be a perceived sense of being cheated because time would still be elapsing: In effect, they''d be failing not because they weren''t playing well, but because the clock kept ticking.

I should say that in most cases I hate timed missions (with the exception of racing games). So I admit that I''m heavily biased, and also have to admit that if you can balance the gameplay fairly it''d probably work nicely.

--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I usually don''t enjoy games with pressing time limits. With so much visual/AI/etc stuff in games today... I like strategy more than speed. Sometimes things like the Jedi Knight II time race are interesting... but, for me, it gives rise to just mad runs. It players can beat the game by holding down the sprint button, or by random zigzags... they will.

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It would be great in multiplayer games. Instead of respawning, you would have to crawl back to a friend with a medkit...

... or make sure the team has a medic team ^_^ It''s terribly not good for the team to have half of their members crawling aroundi nthe wrong place, so medics would be essential... More teamplay that way.

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I like the idea of using time as a way to engross the player... If you give the player too much time to do something, it gives them time to maybe do something else in the meantime, or get bored, making it less immersive and less interesting

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Since there seems to be some interest in this idea, I thought a little clarification on the concept might be in order. Whereas before I phrased the idea in general terms, I''ll now give a specific example (using some of my own characters and situations). I''ll give a bit of warning - my concept is pretty brutal, and may not be for everyone.

Sadie Shears is an immortal - no matter how many times you plug her, she''ll regenerate quite quickly. Further, by drinking blood she can store supernatural power - which she can release to run faster, hit harder, and so on. However, if she gets hurt she''ll still bleed, and the blood and power will be lost.

Sadie has a problem: some (equally) villainous bastard has decided he doesn''t like her, and has decided to kidnap her (decidedly non-immortal) friend. Now he''s leading her on a chase through the city: she must report in from various phones within certain time limits, or her friend dies (okay, I stole this from Die Hard with a Vengeance). So now she has to beeline from site to site within tight time constraints, while trying to figure out where her friend is being held and how to foil her opponent. And of course if she calls the cops her friend dies, and besides she''s a wanted felon in three states and so the cops are after her too.

The overall game would have elements similar to Soul Reaver (power based on consuming opponents, no final death), GTA (stealing cars and plowing through passers-by to get to the next phone), Jet Grind Radio (vaulting through a city and attempting to get certain tasks done on time), Crazy Taxi (completing objectives gets you more time and points), and Max Payne (web of intrigue in a gritty urban setting). In fact, it''d be somewhat like if Max Payne only had New York Minute mode.

The key difference from all of these games (well, except for Soul Reaver maybe) is that the damage opponents cause is significant only in the degree to which it hinders you. Further, killing yourself is a viable strategy if it eliminates an obstacle that would take longer to get around than reanimating does. Stealth is only a factor in that if everyone''s back is turned it may be better for the schedule to run away than to stay and fight. Dodging becomes advantageous in that it allows you to keep your blood for boosting, but depending on time remaining it may be more advantageous just to burn the blood for speed and soak the damage. One must weigh the time lost in exsanguinating an enemy now against the benefit of blood usable later.

Yes, this game would be a non-stop adrenaline rush sort of game. I happen to like ''em. I hope this gives you a clearer idea of what I''m about... of course, this isn''t the only application of the principle, but it''s what I had in mind.

---------------------------------------------------
-SpittingTrashcan

You can''t have "civilization" without "civil".

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