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Mephs

Word delivery mechanism

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Mephs    354
Hey all, I've been mulling over the design of my game for a long time and have gone through many re-hashes as I cannot settle on something I'm happy with which has really hampered my progress, so I'd like to turn to the Gamedev community for a little assistance! My game is going to revolve around words, I cannot specify exactly how as it is pretty critical to the success of the game. Yeah I know that sounds lame but it really does make the game and I'm planning to release this as shareware once completed, so I don't want to give too much away. So anyhoo, I need a delivery mechanism to allow the player to collect these words. I've been thinking along the lines of a scorched earth clone. The levels would be side scrolling 3D levels composed of blocks/boulders and the aim would be to shoot your projectile and destroy a certain colour of block. Shooting the blocks would release the words which would float into the air. The player must then suck them up using a tractor beam. The tractor beam would run on energy which recharges over time. So you essentially play tug-of-war with the words you want, but you could also reverse the tractor beam to divert the opponents projectiles. I've also considered something along the lines of pong, but with a circular arena where you again have to collect words from blocks using a tractor beam style weapon, but instead of being in scorched earth style, you instead move around the perimeter of the circular level and can bash into your opponent to distract them. It would be kind of like air hockey/pong where you have to position yourself so that you can rebound a puck into the blocks, but with the added ability to bash into your enemy and send them flying! The puck would reappear on the boundary if it got trapped for too long in the arena (bouncing between two objects for example) and there could be multiple pucks on later levels, along with powerups, etc. So anyhoo, these are my rough ideas for the word delivery mechanisms and they only really form a backdrop to the real brains behind my idea (that will really make the game fun above all else), but I wonder if any of you have opinions on which sounds like it would be the most fun, or if anyone has a better idea? Basically I just need some way to make the process of acquiring words game-like as my idea by itself is very fun, but does not really have any competetive element, which I feel it really needs. If anyone does have a better idea, I'd be quite happy to share my full project with them if they would like to work with me! (Oh and I also have alot of the groundwork of the coding/graphics/etc in place and can show screenshots if anyone does want to join!) Cheers, Steve

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
How about styling it as a hunting exercise, with the player moving through a forest/hills/etc trying to either photograph or shoot words? You could even place the words in appropriate 'habitats' - maybe long words would move like snakes, short words like squirrels or birds.

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Mephs    354
These are both great ideas and I think I'll have to think on it for a while. I quite like the idea of the words having a character.... if I was really clever I could even have the behaviour of the words linked to the word itself, so rude words could jitter about cheekily, long words slither about, clever words could be more sneaky in their movement, etc. It's an interesting idea, but I want to be dead certain I've gotten the best idea for the game, so I'll keep pondering on it and any further suggestions are very welcome! The tetris block idea is also something I've roughly considered, but I'm not sure how well suited it would be to larger words which my game will almost certainly feature. Agin, I will think on it and it may well come in handy!

Thanks so far..... please continue with the suggestions!!

Steve

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Hmmm... hunting words? That gives me a crazy idea.

Imagine if the player was in a big warehouse or forest or something and there were suposed to be words hiding around. Then the player is sent to go collect as many as possible.

But all the words are wild and unsatisfied so they are difficult to contain. To satsisfy them you have to link them with other words depending on their parts of speech.

Articles- need nouns or vebs to identify (e.g. the, a, or is)

Nouns- need articles to be identified with and verbs to do- (e.g. dog, Fred, london)

Verbs- need nouns to commit them, like adverbs to add to them and articles to link them to nouns,

etc...

So basically grab the words available and then link them together in a way that satisfies the individual words (even thought the sentence itself is likely to be really weird).

if you grab a noun (like "dog") you can use it to lure out some adjectives (like "big", "smart", "voracious", or "blue") and attach those to it. Then grab some verbs ("ran"), adverbs ("loudly"), articles ("The") and some other things to make a sentance. ("The big voracious smart dog ran loudly.")


===

Of course, as for a delivery mechanism I kind of like the idea of the words being like animals or something that you track down in a sort of third-person rpg game like maybe zelda or pokemon or something.

Basically have the player roam around, finding words in bushes or crates or whatnot then link them into sentences and sell the sentences. Sort of a mix of Pokemon and School House Rock (heh, imagine a character with an australian accent who is constantly looking for "tough" words... and somebody else who pays extra if you can sucessfully produce a Palindrome)


Sorry if this is totaly unhelpful, Mephs.

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Mephs    354
Not at all unhelpful!

It doesn't quite fit in with what I had in mind, but it certainly helps to add a twist to my ideas.

I think I really should just throw caution to the wind and reveal my idea as it would be really helpful! If someone steals the idea, then so be it, but hopefully I can pull it off :)

It basically revolves around the party game "mad libs". The player must collect certain types of words in order to fit them into a humerous story. That's it really. Now I know it is simple, but mad libs is incredibly fun (just try some you can find on google) and would really work well as a family computer game in my opinion. I just want to put a slightly more complex edge on the game, allow users to define custom dictionaries (naughty, silly, intellectual, etc) and word categories and throw it into a fun, simplistic game that makes it that bit more visually and interactively appealing :)

The objective then, would be to try and collect the best words (which are perhaps graded in different categories such as length, stupidity, rudeness, etc). The player would be prompted to collect a certain type of word, but there would also be an incentive in multiplayer to sod the points system and just go to make the craziest, funniest story possible.

So there it is, anyhoo... I hope it helps give a better impression of my direction and perhaps we can get some really good ideas flowing (and the offer for people to help is of course still open!)

Cheers,

Steve

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Trapper Zoid    1370
Could you make the game a bit abstract and hunt words in their natural habitat? Here's a few ideas that may or may not help you, depending how you feel the game will work.
  • You play within books; the words are part of the text on the page. The type of book may depend a bit on your game; everything from novels, children's books, manuals or even newspapers might be good for this. However the game might work best in 2D for this case...
  • If you want a more real-world setting, the words could be printed on signs or murals. This would work best in my opinion if the words made sense where they were; make up fake advertising campaigns, use some interesting graffiti, name your streets after interesting words etc.
  • You could have people speak things, and have the words appear as speech bubbles that you can steal interesting words from.

It's a neat idea, but how are you going to score a mad-lib (or is it all just for fun)? I haven't played the game in a while so I'm not sure how the party game works.

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Mephs    354
I like the book idea, but I think I'd use that as a plot device.... as in the game levels are real world settings that come from pages in a book, the levels could introduce themselves by a book opening, a pre-rendered level being shown on the page emerging from the words in the book and then gradually fading into the game itself! I like that idea!

I think, being as I've not yet finished my character animation system, I also need a simple character, so I think I'd like to base the game around the journies of a will-o-the-wisp as IIRC they are renowned for being story-tellers which would really fit in with the theme, then I could use a couple of simple particle effects to represent the character and not worry too much about animations (until I have implemented them at least!).

So again, I wonder if this may spark off any further ideas?

Thanks again for the response, it has been really thought provoking :)

Steve

*EDIT* I was also thinking that the scoring does not necessarily have to relate directly to the mad-lib. e.g. If I took the Scorched Earth clone idea, I could score for accuracy of the shot, distance of the shot and whether or not the right category of word was collected. This is partly why I need a delivery mechanism for the words as the mad-lib itself is a bit too abstract to score in any sensible way, so I guess it would just end up as the reward for successfully completing a level, you get to read your own crazy story and be amused ;)

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