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CuppoJava

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

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CuppoJava    164
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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Wavinator    2017
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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CuppoJava    164
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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JWindebank    156
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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Madster    242
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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CuppoJava    164
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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Icefox    238
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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ahw    264
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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CuppoJava    164
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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ahw    264
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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WeirdoFu    205
How able a flying fortress for upgrades and refueling?

Since there's full freedom of motion on the field, you can basically try to find the flying fortress that is randomly flying around somewhere and dock to refuel and upgrade. Of course, while you're docked, the fortress itself is still moving, so its like a free lift to some other random place. To spice up the story, you can use the cliche of a flying fortress run by rogue pirates, bounty hunters, and garbage collectors where money talks.

This will take out the necessity to land. Of course, you can have flying fortresses in different locations with different equipment. Then tying it further into the game, the type of parts available at these flying shops will then be somewhat related to what you shoot down. Say you go into a new area and shoot down some enemy with some strange weird weapon. If you shoot down enough, then eventually you'll be able to buy it from the flying fortress, since they would have been able to possibly salvage some usable ones.

Currency can be based on an onboard system that registers the amount of opponents you shoot down, which becomes your eputation and also the bounty for those shot down.

Together, these should push it into a more RPG like territory.

I like the radio idea too, kind of reminds me of some of the japanese shooters out there made by independent developers.

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I really like the simplified landing system. Screwing up a routine landing can really hurt the feel of a game.

To keep the "run around and shop" thing from dominating gameplay, why not have the ground crew take care of that? You land, get out of the cockpit, and a sharply dressed fellow runs up with a clipboard-sized computer console. It is your interface menu, and you click on the things you want done to your plane. After you hit "enter" the guy trots away to delegate the tasks, and you head to the lounge/briefing room to do whatever NPC interacting you do. The cost is debitted from your account automatically, and your plane is ready to rock after a set amount of time. Maybe you can watch the little guys refuel and re-arm your craft if you want to.

Talking to "shopkeepers" seems silly, since you'll hardly be buying a bag full of AIM-9 missiles and carrying them back with you. Leave that to the techs and get on with the pilot's business of hanging out with other pilots and talking about how big your testicles are.

I think this sounds like an extremely cool game idea. I assume you'll have some kind of radar for fights, and maybe a minimap for navigation. If that's the case, then NPCs could transmit their location to you either when they request your presence (backup calls, etc.) or when you ask ("Marco!").

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Taolung    139
To minimize the "walking around" bit, I'd suggest doing it something like the Wing Commander games, where you maybe just have a static "first person" shot of whatever room you're in, the bar for example, and then you can click on the door to the left to go to the briefing room (screen changes to the briefing room) or click on the barstool to talk to another pilot sitting there, (cutscene or dialog menu here) or click on the door to the right to go out to the hanger (screen then changes to the hanger...) You get the idea. You don't spend any time walking around, you just click to wherever you want to go and there you are.

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CuppoJava    164
I like the walking around thing that I got going. I've played Strike Commander, and the clicking just doesn't provide the freedom that I'm looking for, for the player, and for the script writer.

I like the idea of the ground crew, that should streamline gameplay a lot without having to compromise on features.

Thx for all the ideas guys.
-Cuppo

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