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CuppoJava

Incorporating a story into a top-down jet flying game?

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Hi, I'm programming a top-down shooter right now. Its similar to the old-school scrolling jet fighter shooters (eg. Raptor, Tyrian) except that you can turn and go in any direction you want, not just up. Anyway, so I've programmed support for a massive world in the game. It would take you quite a few minutes to fly across it. I was wondering if anyone had any ideas on how to weave some RPG elements into a game like this? The hard thing is that you're in a plane the entire time and you're always moving, unlike ZELDA or FINAL FANTASY. One idea I had was: static characters will be flying in a looped flight path. And in order to talk to them you just fly within range and press a key for "radio communications". How does that sound? Anyway, its a very open question. Any suggestions will be great. -Cuppo

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SWEET! You might do a bit of what Armada did, which is stable characters using VTOL to hold a relatively small position.

But if your problem is locating the characters, what about a paging / call system. It would be so much more cool if the other NPCs had the semblance of being out there doing stuff, even if you're faking it (it's off screen, so how do I know?) But if you see them in small combats or coming back damaged from time to time, it would add spice.

Btw, in case you're not familiar with it, Armada had a nice way of differentiating the characters. Some gave you a specific type of power up, others gave you missions. Each one had a different perspective on why you were fighting that you could unravel at the end of each mission.

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That sounds awesome. I really like the call system that you described, that would give the game much more atmosphere, instead of the player flying through a world of robot pilots.

Can you explain what you mean by VTOL? I don't know that acronym.
Thanks again.
-Cuppo

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VTOL = Vertical Take-Off and Landing I presume?

I like the idea of keeping in touch by radio. Perhaps having allies radio you for help if they are outmatched, and you doing the same for them? Perhaps have an open channel for all players/NPC's ona certain 'team' where radio transmissions can inform the player of what the others are up to? Peraps certain areas in the game world can affect radio transmissions due to interference?

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i agree with the "SWEET" comment :D and i wanna play this!

if you don't want VTOL you could have a portrait of an NPC pop when you fly over a friendly base, and at the push of a button begin radio chatter... if the character joins your squad (party) it just shows up and aligns as a wingman. If the airport is still in view then show the NPC taking off and flying offscreen, then have the join as wingman sequence.

different wingmen classes could add to your standard shooting or provide missiles or shielding or AW CRAP I WANNA PLAY IT :D

nice idea man! can you land and refill? (visions of next-gen bluemax)

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Thanks for the encouragement guys. I like the NPC portrait popping up idea, that would create a smoother gameplay then having to land and take-off all the time. As for refilling, I never thought of that. The need to refill would certainly break the monotony of flying over long distances.
Again thx for the encouragement everyone. It really brought a light to my day.
-Cuppo

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Hey! You Stole My Game Idea! [grin]

So, here's a few more ideas you can steal. You might want two communications flows, dependin on how RPG-y you want to make it... just fast quick radio messages like "help me out" or "hey, stop shooting me!", and longer full-screen conversations full of plot and stuff, perhaps happening when you land at a base or something.

It could be even easier if your world is divided up into levels/stages/whatever, 'cause then you'd also have game-time for exposition and stuff at the beginning and end of each one.

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You could do like in the old school Xenon and have the NPCs be like the "shops" in those old games.
Say, you fly over an airfield, or an aircraft carrier, or whatever else you can think of that adds "atmosphere" (why not a zeppelin aircraft carrier, for instance), and you get a "Do you want to land?" icon popping up, (but not stopping you from flying, you could just fly right past through). If you press your action button, you get a little landing sequence, and you switch the player to the Shop screen.
Simple and nice.
[smile]
Anyway, that's the way I am thinking about it for my own design I've been working on lately, so feel free to use the idea!

As well, nothing prevents you from allowing your main player from having different types of aircraft. Why not allow him to buy different models of aircrafts, depending on where he is, and who he has "unlocked". Anyway, lotsa potential there. Hope this helps!

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Thanks,
Yea I gave some thought into the shop idea as well. So far what I have programmed is:

When you press an action key when your within range of a hangar. You see the landing sequence. Then you're character pops out of the plane where you can run around and talk with other characters in true zelda style.

My biggest fear though is: I don't want the on-foot sections to take over the flying aspect of the game. ie. The game turns basically into an on-foot game with small spurts of jet flying.

Never thought of unlocking different aircrafts. That would be cool. But imagine this scenario: You start with a plane and leave it at the hangar, then you take-off in a different plane. Now when you want to switch back to using the other plane, should you be forced to go back to the same hangar and retrieve it?
-Cuppo

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Actually I was just thinking of something more simple like you had in Xenon, where you could buy upgrades and toys for your trusty aircraft.
No need to go and remember, you could just upgrade or downgrade (being given some money back, in this case).
Maybe some station would have specific crafts that wouldn't be found elsewhere, mostly because they would be mission specific. Once you succesfully completed the mission, this "special" aircraft could be available in other levels as if it were a more standard version...
It all depends on how much you want to give your game an "arcade" feeling or a mor e "RPG-ish" feeling, I guess :)

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