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Extrarius

Diablo 2035

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In my recent quest for games to play, I noticed a distinct lack of games in the genre/style I love. Thus, I've started thinking about a design for a game that would be (theoretically) simple to make but also fun to play. The obvious idea that comes to mind is procedural content and the most prominent recent game (that I know of) in the proper style was diablo, so I started disecting various parts of the game. As far as the story/plot/setting/etc, it seems that for the most part Diablo was pretty weak here because it doesn't fit the genre/style. However, such things are neccessary because they help guide creation of the game world and the window through which the user sees the mechanics. In Diablo (and far too many other games), the game was set in a fantasy world with hellish demons and devils of all sorts being the enemy, and magic items dropping to fuel the player into deeper and darker dungeons. Seeing as fantasy settings are second only to psuedo-realistic settings, the idea of doing it as science fiction came to mind. Just about all of the elements translate in one manner or another to science fiction without much trouble, and I'd like comments on my translation (below) and comments or suggestions on ways to improve things. To start with, instead of hell in a dungeon, a typical replacement setting for science fiction would be monsters in an underground top-secret weapon labratory. It fits very well, because it could have both vast open spaces (with odd machinery filling and acting as cover / obscurers) and tight, precision-machined spaces full of computers etc. The demons, then, become genetically engineered alien soldiers coming through some kind of Portal Man Was Not Meant To Make (but did anyways). Instead of 'Hell' difficulty, there is the 'Third Wave'. Magic swords and enchanted armor become altered blasters and shield belts. Bascially, I'm thinking that the players will always be inside something like Samus' (star of Metroid) power suit. The weapons become different kinds of blasters, armor becomes various shielding technology, rings/amulets/charms become 'suit enhancement modules', sockets become 'module slots', gems and runes become 'item enhancement modules'. Instead of Cain and Wirt, the military is guarding the exit and you have 'John Doe' and 'Mr Smith' to greet you (and stop you from leaving). Town portals are replaced by teleportation, and most floors are guarded by 'telejammers' that must be disabled before your backup can beam you to the level of your choice. Those levels not guarded are accessable at any time, but the team won't beam you down there until they know you're ready. To facilitate two-way teleportation in blocked areas, you have to activate a beacon to be teleported in/out, but it only has enough juice to work once. Levels become 'suit upgrades', which means that having to return to town after a time would make sense, and doesn't seem too bad an idea. Instead of experience, there is 'Honor' or 'Acomplisments' or the like that shows how much higher ups are noticing you, and instead of 'Level Up', the explantation would be something like "Your performance convinced _ that you're worth the cost of upgrade" or "Your quality work convinced _ that you could actually use a more powerful suit" etc. The modules mentioned above would initially come as ready-to-use items you can equip by sticking right in the inventory slot, but as you progress down to the depths of the lab, they would cease being immediately usable and an engineer from the team above would be required to custom-fit the part-alien technology into your suit (and also to identify it's functionality). Perhaps nanites could perform the same function, since they can 'see' and modify the hardware at a very low level, and an engineer at ground level could be guiding them to the proper actions. Weapons would be similarly unknown, though they could be used without being identified. Perhaps some of the buttons/dials aren't obvious, so only some of the functionality will be available when using an 'unidentified' weapon. Also, maybe there is a chance of incorrectly setting an option and causing a weapon to overload (destroying itself and possibly the user) if it hasn't been properly analyzed by an engineer. The same could work for protection technology. Instead of health and mana, the two stats become shields and energy. In a sci-fi world, things are so deadly that without shields, health is meaningless. The armor-replacement items would act as inertial dameners and energy deflectors, deflecting blows and reducing the amount of damage that gets through to the suit's shields. The only two things I'm not really sure on are spells and skills. Any ideas on what those should be converted to? Thoughts, Comments, Suggestions?

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This sounds really cool Extrarius, seems like something not really done before. I remember the Syndicate was something like this but still was a blast. Anyways keep working on this :)

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Generally, some sort of [possibly genetically engineered] psionics fits best into a sci-fi setting. I would be highly suprised if there's not a few sci-fi roguelikes floating around to get ideas from (since diablo is just a shiny, popular roguelike).

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That sounds really good, congrats on the idea. Make sure you have multiplayer though, and I'd buy it.

For classes, you can have soldier, engineer, demolition expert, etc with the skills being things like skill shot, multi shot, power blast, stunner shot, for the ranger-ish class, and direct blast, heavy blast, and wave blast, for the demolitioner. For an engineer, you might give him the ability to identify things himself(Even though Diablo didn't have that), or you might give him the ability to set traps, like the assassin on diablo 2. Soldier specific things can be military issued, battle enhancing drugs for things like extra speed, attack, or defense for a limited amount of time, depending on level of skill.(Or is that what Telastyn ment by "genetically engineered psionics"?)

It would take you a while to think up ideas for lots of skills, and a while more to even them out, but I think you have a brilliant game idea rapidly forming.

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Well, my difficulty with skills and classes comes from the fact that I was planning on having procedurally generated weapons. Instead of "rocket launcher", you'd be able to find a blaster with "Explosive: 5 Meters" as a kind of 'magic modifier' (think rares in diablo 2). Instead of "ShotGun" you have a modifier "MultiShot: 20 Shots, Arc 10, Grouped" (grouped meaning shotgun, spaced meaning more like a nova kind of effect). Instead of melee weapons, there would be a "Melee" modifier that would only be applied to weapons with area of effect. In essence, a weapon with "melee" would also always have something like "Cone: 5 Meters, Arc 10" meaning it acts kind of like a flamethrower, hurting everything in the specified cone when fired.

These types of modifiers would be in addition to the "+X% Damage" and the like already in diablo, and it would allow for VERY powerful weapons ('rocket shotgun').

Some of the effects I have in mind so far are partially repacements for the elemental damage types, while others are simply effects not found in diablo 1 or 2:
Explosive - Normal damage to target, reduced damage (based on distance) to nearby targets.
Plasmatic - Projectile continues through the primary target, stopping after it's penatrated a certain length of material (doesn't go through as many large targets as small ones, but does more damage to larger foes).
Ionized - Projectile path bends somewhat (specified by a variable) toward nearby targets, and on hit they are periodically stunned (shown as electric arcs over the alien w/ them spasming for a short period).
Melee - The area of effect (all melee items have an AOE) begins immediately at the tip of the blaster instead of where the bullet hits. For ranged attacks, the AOE begins at the impact point (or possibly later for Plasmatic weapons and any similar effects?).
Cone - The area of effect is shaped as a cone and extends a specified distance forward with a specified angle. Everything in the cone takes full damage/effects/etc. With a low angle, this can act as a 'line'
Radius - The area of effect is a circle of the specified radius and everything inthe area takes full damage/effects/etc. If this is combined with 'explosive', the explosive distance starts at the edge of the radius effect, thus having the same falloff rate but a bigger 'inside radius' (normally 0).
Cryogenic - Enemies are slowed by a certain amount based on the damage done to them by a crogenic attack, up to some specified limit. The effect is proportional to the target's maximum health, so it takes more damage to get the full slow effect if an enemy has more health (ie for 'bosses' or 'unique' aliens).
MultiShot - This indicates a weapon fires multiple projectiles per shot, and parameters are the number of projectiles per shot, the amount of distance the projectils area spread over, and how the projectiles are spread over that distance ("Grouped" meaning shotgun-like, "Spread" meaning evenly spaced, maybe more options like "X-Y-X" to indicate 3 groups of shots with each group taking the same space so 2-5-2 acts like a 3-shot spread, but with the left and right shot each being 2 grouped bullets and the middle one being 5 grouped).

Also, I was thinking that each character should always have two weapons, one 'normal' blaster and one that acts kind of like a grenade launcher, so there would be two classes of weapons and each one could be randomized (and a 'grenade launcher' without explosive or AOE would essentially shoot bouncy 'lead' so to speak). This would allow the game to feel a bit more arcade-like and allow some strategy etc. It also fills the 'shield' slot that would exist in diablo and adds a bit of variety.
Alternately, maybe 'Bouncy' should be a modifier and any two weapons could be dual-wielded.

Instead of spells, how about 'energy' is used as ammo, so you can't just keep blasting away forever without thinking about it. However, it should regenerate quite quickly so you can get back into the action without too much wait, and 'batteries' could be lugged around for when you really need to get back into action IMMEDIATELY.
Maybe skills could be used to temporarily add a modifier to a weapon and also make the weapon take a bit more energy (and the skill itself uses a bit of energy also). This way, the weapons can be randomly generated and there can still be skills that do the same thing. It'd be kind of like an arcade-style powerup except that it comes at the push of a button =-)
Also, perhaps one skill could be transfer energy to shields (acting like a healing spell) for use in emergencies. The opposite could also be a lifesaver, getting that last bit of ammo to kill the boss before it kills you.

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Sounds like a realy good idea.. I can imagine the fast action game play.

But one comment is when reading about levels. As Armor Upgrades.. I dont know exactly what you have in mind, However if the Armor Upgrades Means New 3d Models.. Then you could have a rather large work load for your 3d Artists.

A Suggestions on Skills and Spells.. well spells anyway is one keep them.. just becous its futuristic doesnt mean that magic has gone away.. I would just recomend creating magic that would have a different feel and purpose then your heavy weapons.

Like Elemental Spells like Ice Storm, Fire ball, Lightning strike.. would only copy what a gun could already do. But if you had a Mage or Techno Mage then he could use mayby the lighter side of weapons and have spells, like
Speed Boost
Aura of Protection
Confusion (or for this game, Shattered Mind)
Mage Shield (Fuse magical energies into a techno shield)
Invisibility
Fire Shield (Shield that damages back)

or etc.. Searching the spells that are already out there for games could be a good idea, like go to google and type "Wizard spells" and skip hogwarts

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First post! Umh.
Quote:
Instead of spells, how about 'energy' is used as ammo, so you can't just keep blasting away forever without thinking about it. However, it should regenerate quite quickly so you can get back into the action without too much wait, and 'batteries' could be lugged around for when you really need to get back into action IMMEDIATELY.

Think I'd prefer to use energy just for special abilities/skills rather than ammo.
Quote:
Also, I was thinking that each character should always have two weapons, one 'normal' blaster and one that acts kind of like a grenade launcher, so there would be two classes of weapons and each one could be randomized (and a 'grenade launcher' without explosive or AOE would essentially shoot bouncy 'lead' so to speak). This would allow the game to feel a bit more arcade-like and allow some strategy etc. It also fills the 'shield' slot that would exist in diablo and adds a bit of variety.
Alternately, maybe 'Bouncy' should be a modifier and any two weapons could be dual-wielded.

What you could do is to make 3 different weapon types, say, light, medium and heavy. Medium would be more powerful than light and heavy more powerful than medium. Not all classes would be able to wield the heavy weapons, or dual wield things (some classes could be able to dual wield light weapons, or all classes could dual wield light weapons while some could have a medium in their main hand and a light in their offhand, or some such). In addition, certain effects could only show up on certain weapon types (no explosives on light weapons, for example).

The different classes could have access to different skills (or something equivalent to skills, built into them suit-things), quite like in Diablo. Skills could increase the power of all weapons, certain weapon types, certain effects etc, and some skills could grant the player special abilities (eg. spend x energy to spin around firing oh-so-rappidly for y secconds, or to jump and fire at the ground beneath you (might be decent for some heavy-explosive-weapon-wielding fella if swarmed by critters)). Some could be passive while others would cost energy to use. IMO, skills should in general increase things by a percentage, so that some plasma-skill wouldn't be effective if you're not using a plasma-weapon, and some multishot-skill would be more effective the more shots your weapon fires at once by default.

That way there'd be different classes and builds that are more/less effective for certain things, and prefer certain kinds (dependant on weapon type (size) and/or its effects) of weapons.

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I figure skills would be Skills. but split up into two sections inherent skills and armor-based skills. example: the player might be a natural with stealth, his armor gives him the skills of super fast computation or defense maneuvers only done with the suit on.

Spells would be, for me, any items which give an effect. examples are: portable shields, sound disrupters, satelite guided lasers, mini tanks that capture enemies and not be detected (or very hard to detect).

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Quote:
Original post by Extrarius
Instead of "rocket launcher", you'd be able to find a blaster with "Explosive: 5 Meters" as a kind of 'magic modifier' (think rares in diablo 2)

Not sure I like that idea. Things can get *too* generic too. Imagine Diablo 2 with *only* rares. No different weapon types, just rare versions of the same basic weapon.
Boooring. Elegant system, but boring. [wink]

Instead, Diablo defines a whole range of basic weapons with unique graphics and stats. And then they add random/procedural bonuses *on top* of that.

Being able to look at a rocket launcher and say "Wow, a rocket launcher! Awesome, I want that" is a pretty important part a game. Looking at "Weapon_Template #345 with +2 explosive radius is just not the same.

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I don't think a mage class belongs mainly because the type of damage they do is duplicated by guns and explosives. Psionics is an interesting idea but I'm not sure how well it lends itself to the more arcade style of play. Also, why mess with what people know? Is there any reason to call it anything other then experience? That's what it is but when you rename it you remove that instant association people get when they read experience.

One thing that kept a lot of people playing Diablo was their unique weapons and in D2 and D2:LoD it was the set items. After a time mindlessly blasting enemies gets boring, especially if all you find are slightly different versions of weapons you have already found. Once you see one of those gold or green items though it becomes a clickfest to get to it. So what kind of history do you have that would support those unique or set type items? Instead of an alien invasion why not set it in more of a cyber punk type world ala Shadowrun? It had a mix of magic and low tech and hightech that worked quite well. You could then arrange a number of excuses to roam through crumbling cities killing people.

Another thing that I think you might be missing is the swarms in Diablo. What happens when all of your enemies have ranged attacks like you? It becomes a matter of who has the best armor/weapon because you both have to be a certain distance to shoot each other which ultimately makes you vulerable. In Diablo most of the enemies were melee which gives you a chance to break away fromt he action to regroup or to just run if need be. It gives you a chance to corral enemies so that your spell casters can annihilate them. Much lower level characters could help in a battle by running around distracting some of the enemies. If all of your enemies were ranged attackers then they would just retreat shooting at the "distracter" and not giving him a chance to divert their fire much.

Anyway, just a few thoughts. I am very interested in this project and a Diablo clone is something I have contemplated working on for quite a while.

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