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Mephs

SpeedRun

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Heyas, Well, after _winterdyne_'s thread on his non-combat oriented 'hungry goblins' game, it got me thinking on the subject of forms of gameplay that were not focused on violence. Specifically, I got to thinking about the popularity with many games of people trying to complete levels in as short a time as possible, i.e. SpeedRunning. It is something that players tend to set themselves as a personal challenge, but with it obviously being so popular, I wonder if it could work very well as a form of gameplay of it's own where it is the main focus of a game rather than an optional extra. I'm thinking in terms of a fantasy based game again, though only as this is a setting that appeals to me, so anything relevent even if not of the fantasy genre is okay in this thread. My personal thought is to perhaps play on the typical quests found in MMORPGs where players must deliver something between NPCs. I wonder if a game based on a fantasy courier agency might be amusing and fun. It could be like a racing game where the player scores more points for completing a delivery as fast as possible, but must overcome enemies (maybe in a violent way, maybe not, I'm undecided!). Of course, there could be several different routes to completing an objective, each having their own pro's and cons, perhaps with added bonus for collecting some kind of bonus objects along the way. I'm thinking that we could involve magic or potions in the game too, such that the optimal route is not always obvious. I am however open to better suggestions for a setting, storyline or core mechanics as this idea is just a shell of an idea at the moment, but I think it could be quite original and I'd love to see what we could come up with if we bash it around a little :) Cheers, Steve

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Well, games like Crazy Taxi have certainly tried it - but I've never seen a speedrun game based on anything other than a car game. Several current FPS/fantasy/what-have-you games have portions like that (Zelda OoT on the horse, for example, or plenty of delivery quests), but nothing that's taken the core of the speedrun idea and made it into a full, fun game.

I've certainly done so on my own (pretty sure I'm within a few seconds of the Halo last-level record) with FPS/fantasy/what-have-you games, and it would be a pretty cool idea to make a whole game along those lines.

Nothing really to add, but I think it's a good idea worth fleshing out some more!

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Original post by Avatar God
..nothing that's taken the core of the speedrun idea and made it into a full, fun game.
minesweeper [wink]

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I remember the JumpMod for Quake2, which was nothing more than using your trickjumping skills to complete levels of stacked boxes and such in the least possible time. The annoyingly fun part was that you'd always fall down at critical points and had to start over. Very addictive in its simplicity, although it had no real multiplayer element. Also, it mostly used standard Q2 models and textures and nobody gave a damn.

Point is, when you have an appealing concept of gameplay, the story, characters and props are nothing more than the cream that hides the cake. You could have it set in mideaval times or in space, when the gameplay is right it just doesn't matter. In that regard your idea is just another variant of the archaic racing game (which has proven itself to be an all-time favorite). So to make this a better game you should focus on the racing action and making it fun and exciting to do. If that isn't the case, all the stories and characters in the world aren't going to make up for it.

Think of a chess board, you can replace the nicely crafted pieces with rusty dimes and it'll still be a kickass game.

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Original post by Prototype
I remember the JumpMod for Quake2, which was nothing more than using your trickjumping skills to complete levels of stacked boxes and such in the least possible time. The annoyingly fun part was that you'd always fall down at critical points and had to start over. Very addictive in its simplicity, although it had no real multiplayer element. Also, it mostly used standard Q2 models and textures and nobody gave a damn.

Point is, when you have an appealing concept of gameplay, the story, characters and props are nothing more than the cream that hides the cake. You could have it set in mideaval times or in space, when the gameplay is right it just doesn't matter. In that regard your idea is just another variant of the archaic racing game (which has proven itself to be an all-time favorite). So to make this a better game you should focus on the racing action and making it fun and exciting to do. If that isn't the case, all the stories and characters in the world aren't going to make up for it.

Think of a chess board, you can replace the nicely crafted pieces with rusty dimes and it'll still be a kickass game.


The Quake 2 mod sounds quite interesting, it's a shame I never came across it myself... perhaps I'll see if I can dig out my copy from wherever it went to and see if the mod can be found anywhere still :)

I would slightly disagree with the fact that the game is essentially just a racing game. Well, it is in its most simple form, but I think adding racing as an element of a game where you are not in control of a vehicle is the part that makes it unique. Most racing games feature a smoothly flowing track, albit perhaps with a few obstacles/jumps, etc. A third person game where you control a humanoid would offer a whole different set of obstacles that must be overcome with a different mindset, a third person game could for example utilise height as an aspect of play in a different manner, i.e. running around on top of houses, etc to clear certain obstacles more easily.

I agree that genre doesn't matter too much though, it's just that I personally would like to do such a game in this genre as it interests me, but I could equally see this game being interesting in a different setting.

I suppose you could liken the concept of the game to Parkour, the art of moving around an environment (usually urban) as fast and fluidly as possible.

Anyhoo, it's still just a skeleton of an idea, so I'll think on it some more and perhaps post some more ideas shortly.

Cheers,

Steve

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Do any of you remember a game called "paperboy"? It meant riding a bike and throwing your papers to doors, while avoiding cars, walkers, dogs and water hydrants...

Now let's take the concept one step further, blending it with Crazy Taxi and an Arcade Game I can't find anywhere now called "Pizza Delivery Service", or something like that... It was one where you drove a scooter, and raced against another pizza deliverer... Ah... those were the days...

You now are one of four competing errand boy in a delivery service. One runs, the second is on a skate board, the third on inline rollers, and the fourth on a bike. Everyone is missing the money for the runs, and everyone is trying to get the parcel to where it's due.

The game will be somewhere between crazy taxi, Mario Kart and a fighting game, or maybe a "grab the flag" game. Capture the parcel and bring it yourself to the finish line to get the money, even if it means kicking your opponents to grab it. You can probably destroy property to help yourself get rid of your opponents, but you'll have to pay for it if you're caught. Same thing if you're kicked on someone or something. If you can't escape, then you pay for it. If you don't have enough on yourself at the time, then game over, you're handed over to the police.

Dunno how helpful this is. It's only a racing game, on second thought. A racing game with a twitch, but a racing game nonetheless...

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I think what makes things like Parkour so appealing is the obvious 'tuning' of the runner to the environment.

For a video game the level of environmental awareness is I think the significant challenge to this, especially in a 3D environment. You don't really want to base gameplay on memorizing precise timings and layouts - this is a return to Dragon's Lair and (shudder) Space Ace.

Let's consider for a moment how to present 'peripheral' vision of the environment. The obvious immediate answer is a mini-map / compass. I don't mean the presentation of waypoints by this- I mean explicit positional information ('I'm this far from a corner') which can be used in planning continuous movement ('hand brake and sharp left.... NOW')

For essentially 2D courses (like any driving game) this works pretty well.

For 3D environments where vertical movement is possible as well, things get a lot harder - a disjointed 3rd person camera is pretty much a necessity. Slower games / flightsims with POV control sometimes work well. I always knew what was over my shoulder in Mechwarrior.

I'll have to play Aliens Vs Predator again - the Alien is basically a Parkour fiend. Might give some ideas on how you'd present a map. Perhaps a free fly-through at the start of a level, as most FPS's present?

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Yeah, that was certainly an element to the game that had crossed my mind. Speed running requires prior knowledge of the obtacles you will face, so it must be necessary to give the player some information ahead of time upon which to base their decisions. A fly through is a good idea, but feels a little artificial. I wonder about perhaps writing something into the background such that you are able to scout out an area before tackling it. The problem is I suppose, that the only way to optimally complete the level is to try, try and try again. Perhaps instead of trying to give the player information, we make retrying a level an integral part of gameplay?

On the other hand, a top down 2d perspective is interesting too, but I'm not sure it would have quite the right feel to it, as I'm not sure it would present enough options to the player.. maybe with a bit of work though it might be feasible.

Cheers,

Steve

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One of the nice things about the Mechwarrior series (3 being in my opinion the best) was that you could play *effectively* from an immersive POV. You could torso twist, rotating your view relative to movement, you could aim weapons in your field of view by a floating reticle, and you could also glance around (rotating your view relative to the torso facing).

You instinctively get to know which 'part of you' is doing what. Getting a system like that to work with the minimal control setup required for faster paced play would be a challenge.

Perhaps some form of 'aftertouch' to execute acrobatic maneuvers once a jump has started could be a viable mechanic. From first person this would be horribly disorientating, but from third it could work very well.

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My game, Quix, was based on pretty much the concepts you've listed (you can try it at my website.) The basic aims were:
1. Non-violent
2. Platformer (because I felt like doing one)
3. Not a traditional "get from start to finish" platformer
4. Bring in elements from racing games (in particular, Burnout)

The end result (although it's still being worked on) is a platformer with small-ish levels, and no particular destination point. You run around like a loon trying to catch all the sheep at the same time (which usually requires hearding them together). Once they're all caught the level ends, and you get a high score table (based on bonus items collected) and a best times table (based on time to complete).

The progression structure is very similar to a racing game - theres no lives, and players are encoraged to replay the levels to beat their best times. Completing one level unlocks another one for them to play.

[Edited by - OrangyTang on August 17, 2006 5:55:45 AM]

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Thanks for that, I shall try your game this evening :)

Actually, from your post I think I've worked out a rough idea for solving the problem I had posed about knowing the level in advance of playing it. Perhaps if every level played differently each time, the tactics could be in adapting to both the level and the current situation, maybe powerups spawn in different places, or enemies wander around. Anything to basically make the level slightly different each time, so that the player performs well not just by having a good memory of the level, but also by situational adaptability.

I also like the idea of perhaps not racing towards a physical location, but to a game specific goal (like your idea of catching a set number of sheep). I think a mix of the two styles would nicely break up the gameplay and keep things interesting.

Cheers,

Steve

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Quote:
Original post by _winterdyne_
One of the nice things about the Mechwarrior series (3 being in my opinion the best) was that you could play *effectively* from an immersive POV. You could torso twist, rotating your view relative to movement, you could aim weapons in your field of view by a floating reticle, and you could also glance around (rotating your view relative to the torso facing).

You instinctively get to know which 'part of you' is doing what. Getting a system like that to work with the minimal control setup required for faster paced play would be a challenge.

Perhaps some form of 'aftertouch' to execute acrobatic maneuvers once a jump has started could be a viable mechanic. From first person this would be horribly disorientating, but from third it could work very well.


That is an interesting idea, though I'm not sure if I fancy the idea of having such fine control over the body. I think this is something that would work well with one of the multitude of new input devices we seem to keep hearing about like the Wii controller and improved touchpad type controllers.

The aftertouch method sounds like it could be a bit more natural however. I should say that in relating my idea to Parkour, I only meant it in a vague sense of philosophy, rather than actually meaning I want 563 different kinds of vault maneuvers. That being said, if the right method of input could be created, I'm sure it could be interesting to play. I'll continue to think on this aspect too =)

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Thinking on the aftertouch concept - has anyone played ragdoll kung fu? From the videos I've seen, the click and drag control concept might work very well.

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As I understand it, one of the most fun parts of speedrunning - at least in a gaming context - is figuring out all the shortcuts, all the ways you can break the game to let you skip sections. Sticking a box in the way of a door so you can get back through it quickly, or finding just the right angle to try climing the wall at such that you can get straight in at the second floor.

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I would probably tend to agree with that statement, in which case perhaps such a game needs to place a strong focus on this kind of play... lots of areas that seem innaccessible, but a jump, spell, or item in the right place at the right time can enable you to overcome the obstacle, perhaps allowing you to shave a second or two off your record time.

I wonder what elements would be conducive to such gameplay? I think bouncepads of some description are a safe bet, objects that to an extent can be moved around, perhaps vehicles could even feature in certain areas, perhaps physics could have an effect, such as being able to catapult yourself over walls. I don't want to make this idea too complex, but it would be interesting to see elements that you think would contribute towards the fun of such a game, such that we can pick through and find a good set of elements.

Ooh, and something else I thought of that could fit in really well with the fantasy setting, what about the idea of playing a shapeshifter? Each form you are able to take on could have a different use for negotiating the environment.

Anyhoo, just a couple more ideas to keep us going. I'll keep on thinking :)

Steve

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Quote:
Original post by Mephs
Actually, from your post I think I've worked out a rough idea for solving the problem I had posed about knowing the level in advance of playing it. Perhaps if every level played differently each time, the tactics could be in adapting to both the level and the current situation, maybe powerups spawn in different places, or enemies wander around.

I don't have a problem with needing a 'preview' of the level simply because the levels are quite quick, and the player is encoraged to keep revisiting them to try different tactics and refine their technique.

Quote:
Anything to basically make the level slightly different each time, so that the player performs well not just by having a good memory of the level, but also by situational adaptability.

Levels in Quix have basically two elements - the static ones (the plaform layout and starting positions) and the dynamic ones (the sheep, who run away from you and constantly require you to think on your feet). This way if you're using a particular tactic in a level the general result is usually similar, but never identical.

I like the idea of shapeshifting or some other way of having different abilities, which may be more or less useful in any given situation. You could expand it further with a 'regeneration' time before you could use certain actions again, forcing the player to think more about where to 'spend' their most effective actions, or finding ways to avoid using them at the expense of gaining time later.

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About the Q2 mod, I just checked and apparently the server is still online with people playing it. If you're interested, the mod can be found at http://q2jump.wireplay.co.uk and the server is at 194.126.124.66:27910.

You mentioned Parkour, which kind of exactly is what this is about. Given the current popularity of Parkour, it could make one hell of a game (checed again, and it seems Eidos and Sony are already on the bandwagon). Anyway, racing games don't necessarily need vehicles, any game that has the basic concept of 'getting there first' can be considered a racing game as such.

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Hmmmmm I love the idea.

I used to play Megaman X and tried to finish the levels as fast as I could. There was just something so cool about a 2d platformer that allowed me to dash/wall jump...

Same goes for the original Ninja Gaiden. Knowing the level by heart and knowing exactly when to jump-twist-press b was so much fun... I almost felt like I was a ninja... ninja :)

It would be neat to see a game use the whole "finish this level as fast as you can" while letting the player choose different upgrades to bring with himself on the mission. For example:

-Faster dash
-High jump
-Longer reach (to hit switches or something)
-Basic teleportation (go through a wall instead of jumping over it)

I think coming up with the perfect combination of upgrades in a fast paced game could be really fun. (2d platformers are the only twitch base games that I enjoy)

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Awhile back I was thinking about a paper courier service game. A modern day paperboy genre.

Think of New York Couriers rushing threw traffic, jumping off ware house docks, speeding threw alleys etc. A large city where you can go any where.

The story I had in mind went like this.

The story I had in mind is where you had to race through the city delivering different objects to different people in the story to save your family from a sinister mob boss. You had to play his game or your family will suffer.

If you were losing time on a certain event the mob boss goons who would be watching your every move would come and take action and try to bring you in to see the boss. To many times would have you killed as well.
During this chase event team you can perform stunts on your pedal bike.
You can get off your pedal bike to get to new heights or defend yourself with it. Like a Jackie Chan type of game. Humor, Fast paced riding and Reasonable stunts that can be possible or learn new tricks to get the delivery completed quicker.


Certain Objects of the Game to be delivered with reasonable time:

1: Bag Of Money
2: Bag Of Drugs
3: List of New Members of the Mob Boss Gang
4: Shipping Papers Of Weapons
5: Shipping Papers of Get Away Vehicles
etc.

You get the idea.

Thats what I had in mind.
I think this kind of game would be interesting to play rather then running and gunning.

Genre: Action Adventure

See you in the future of gaming.

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