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Anna

looking for feedback on my game idea

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I've been working on this idea for a few months and wanted to get some feedback on it :) It's a 2D side-scrolling online multiplayer game. At its simplest it allows players to play against each other in deathmatch-style matches, or attempt single player/cooperative missions against computer controlled opponents. At its most complex, players progress through a game world with persistent customizable characters and access to both cooperative and competitive gameplay which are integrated into the world. An important feature of the engine is easy content creation, to encourage players to create and run their own worlds. This is a description of the kind of player experience I'm aiming for with my particular set of content, which uses a fantasy setting. The player must first create an account on my server where information about his character is stored. Then he can customize his character's appearance by choosing from several sets of features including hair style, hair colour, base skin, skin colour, clothing colour, and gender. The player is also given a weapon (let's say it's a sword). The player starts in a 'town map' (let's call it n00btown) where he can see and interact (chat, trade equipment) with other players on my server who are also in this map. In n00btown, like most other town maps, there are: - 'Portals' that lead outside of the map. - Non-player characters where the player can get information about the town and the game itself, and also buy/sell items. - A 'lobby' where the player can see a list of outside servers which are running the set of 'arena maps' for this town. After taking some time to explore n00btown, the player can choose to either enter an arena server, or exit the town through one of the portals. The player might first decide to try an arena. In arena servers players fight in deathmatch-style matches against other players. In these matches players earn game money (let's call it gold pieces) which is stored in their account. Gold pieces are awarded for things like winning matches, making flag captures, and getting kills. Leaving in the middle of a teams match results in gold pieces being taken from the player's account and distributed to team members, to discourage players from abandoning their team and as compensation. Different sets of arena maps can be accessed from different town maps. This has the effect of separating new players, who only have access to n00btown, from more experienced players. As players advance through the world and acquire new items, the map sets they gain access to are designed to allow the player to make use of those items. After making some money in the arena the player enters one of the portals. When a player leaves a town map they are cut off from the rest of the players on my server except for members of his party; they are in their own instance of the game world. The party leader's computer now acts as the host, rather than my server. Let's say there are 3 portals and the player enters the first one. The player only travels a short distance before encountering a gap that is too wide to jump across, and the only way to progress is to get to the other side. The player turns back and decides to try the second portal, but and NPC near the portal warns the player that this path will be a difficult one if he is a beginner. The player decides to go with the third portal. Beyond this portal the player encounters monsters that he has to defeat or avoid as he explores the world. The world is made up of a series of maps in a grid arrangement. There are a variety of monsters which vary in size, appearance, and behaviour, requiring different strategies to defeat. When the player defeats a monster it may leave health or stamina refills. If the player dies he will be transported back to the last town map or save point. Eventually the player encounters a 'boss' monster and defeats it. The player is rewarded with an item. (Let's say it's a grappling hook.) The player then makes his way back to the town map and the first portal, and is now able to cross the gap using the grappling hook. The player continues to explore, eventually reaching another town map. On entering this new town map the player gains access to a new set of arena maps and servers. There are also more portals to other areas of the world, more NPCs to get information from, and more people to chat or trade with. The player also discovers that there is an NPC selling a new type of weapon. (Let's say it's a hammer.) With the gold pieces the player earned from arena games n00btown, he is able to buy the hammer, which has slightly different properties than his sword. There is also an NPC selling armor, but the player doesn't have enough gold pieces for more purchases. He decides to play in the town's arena to make some money. The maps in this set have features which make the grappling hook useful. After earning some more gold pieces the player decides to spend it on a piece of armor that increases his 'strength', complementing the properties of the hammer which is his current weapon. The process of exploring, fighting monsters, playing against other players, gaining money, and finding and buying items and equipment repeats until there is no more content for the player to experience and no more items for the player to acquire, at which point the player is left with playing arena matches. Additional details: Controls WASD or arrow keys control movement, jumping, and crouching, the mouse controls aim. Left click attacks. Additional keys/buttons control other functions such as switching/dropping weapons, chatting, entering buildings/portals, and using tools and items. Weapons Players can choose between melee weapons (knives, swords, axes, hammers, spears, staffs, wands) and projectile weapons (bows, crossbows, throwing knives, wands). Weapons have properties which affect properties such as physical damage, speed, area of damage, range, and weight of the attack. Weapons have slots for upgrades using special items which allows for the creation of rare and unique weapons. Armor Armor is available for the character's head, hands, legs, feet, and torso. Armors have properties which affect properties such as the player's physical strength, physical defense, and agility. Players choose their armors depending on the stats they want and which weapon they will be using. Armors have slots for upgrades using special items which allows for the creation of rare and unique armors. Items Players will be able to acquire items such as a grappling hook and a parachute which have various uses and also act as 'keys' that the user needs to progress through the world. Let me know what you think :)

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Sounds pretty cool actually.

You mentioned easy content creation to encourage player-made worlds:
- Will these be linked to your main server via portals, or hosted seperately?
-- Will there be any kind of approval process or rating system for such areas?
-- Will there be some kind of checks in place to prevent such worlds from interfering with each other (say someone created a world which just gave them all the gear for example)?
-- Will content-creators be able to create new monster/item types?
-- Will there be a scripting system to enhance say... AI functionality?

Your controls sound pretty good - but will you be providing the option of customising the key-bindings? It's a good feature to have so people don't have to use your default settings.

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Quote:
The party leader's computer now acts as the host, rather than my server.


not a good idea. i ping badly to a lot of european servers and visa versa.
or
the game runs fine...unless i have 8 people that my cpu needs to keep track of.

other than that it sounds ok. keep up the good work.

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Quote:
Original post by Anna
The player must first create an account on my server where information about his character is stored.

Quote:

The party leader's computer now acts as the host, rather than my server.


those two concepts do NOT mix well at all.

Quote:
Original post by Kazgoroth
Your controls sound pretty good - but will you be providing the option of customising the key-bindings? It's a good feature to have so people don't have to use your default settings.


always a good idea. i normallly use wasd, etc, but if i were using a left-handed mouse i'd want keys on the other side of the keyboard. i've also seen people use extremely strange bindings for some games.

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Upon talking to Anna in IRC a bunch about some of the networking concepts the other day, there were a couple of prominent networking concerns that came to mind:

*The usual assortment of firewall and router "fun" that is associated with hosting any kind of game. The confusion of this would be amplified by the fact that she's trying to create a seamless transfer from a main lobby type of server to an individual host, thus creating it to die unexpectedly if the host is firewalled and their party is leaving the town
* If the gameplay is anywhere near as fast as what I seem to think it'd be, then bandwidth usage [on the host's computer] would become a concern on your typical low-end DSL connection with 128/256kbit upload

Again, both of these would be compounded by the fact that I'm under the impression that it would be a nearly seamless thing to go from the lobby/town server to a separate one.


The idea I presented (and I'm posting it here just to stimulate further thought on the matter) is to make it visible to players in the game as to whether or not they are able to host or not. Since the game would make use of a central lobby server(s), these central servers could have a function simply to attempt connections to clients and tell them whether or not they can host a game.

I'm honestly not sure if my post fits the terminology she is trying to use to explain the concept here or not, but I'll work on editing my post to clarify things as I realize they lack sense-instilling-abilities.

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Quote:
Original post by Kazgoroth
Sounds pretty cool actually.

You mentioned easy content creation to encourage player-made worlds:
- Will these be linked to your main server via portals, or hosted seperately?
-- Will there be any kind of approval process or rating system for such areas?
-- Will there be some kind of checks in place to prevent such worlds from interfering with each other (say someone created a world which just gave them all the gear for example)?
-- Will content-creators be able to create new monster/item types?
-- Will there be a scripting system to enhance say... AI functionality?

Your controls sound pretty good - but will you be providing the option of customising the key-bindings? It's a good feature to have so people don't have to use your default settings.


Yes to creating new monster/item types and customizing controls; the rest I'm not sure about yet.

Quote:
Original post by gumpy macdrunken
Quote:
Original post by Anna
The player must first create an account on my server where information about his character is stored.

Quote:

The party leader's computer now acts as the host, rather than my server.


those two concepts do NOT mix well at all.


Well my goal is to not burden a single server, but still have character advancement and let people feel like they are playing in a world with lots of other people. I'm open to any ideas on how to achieve that.

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