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CuppoJava

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

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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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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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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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