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Design-A-Powerup [Orbs: Battle Arena]

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Hey guys, So I figure it would be nice to get everyones input whilst I'm making my new game Orbs: Battle Arena. I'd like to make it a really well polished (but simple) game, part of that process in my opinion is to get user feedback and ideas to improve upon my concept, since it's people like you who may end up playing it. For those who have not been following my posts on the game (only a couple so far!), it will be a simple game in the style of games like Marble Madness and Super Monkeyball, with a slight twist. Players will battle it out as spherical robots over a 3D arena, trying to cause damage to one another and/or knock them off the edge of the arena, scoring points for each Knock Out or Kill (to put the design in it's simplest terms). I'm now thinking about what powerups would work well for the game, here is what I have so far : Fireball - The players Orb develops an aura of flame causing small amounts of damage on contact with enemies. The player causes higher damage when using their double jump ability or when otherwise moving fast as the moving air fans the flames into a fast moving fireball! Spikes - The player gains more grip on the arena surface and causes a medium amount of contact damage Inertial dampeners - Player can activate this powerup at any time to immediately halt all movement, allows fast recovery from knockbacks. Speed Boost - The players speed rating improves allowing them to move faster Armour Boost - The players armour rating improves allowing them to absorb more damage Psychokinesis - The player can attract collectibles towards the mouse cursor by clicking near an item which can be used to stop an opponent collecting a powerup, health, or bonus points collectible and/or to gain the item for your own use. Invisibility - Causes the player to dissappear from sight for 10 seconds, or until their next collision Improved invisibility - Causes the player to dissappear from sight and reappear after 20 seconds or after 3 collisions Blast Mine - Allows the player to drop a set number of proximity mines with a 3 second timer delay, can be used to knock opponent off edge of arena and/or cause damage. ------------------------------------------------------------------ So those are some of my ideas, but I'd be interested in hearing a few from you guys/gals if anyone has any more fun or interesting ideas. Any suggestions would be gratefully received and potentially used in my game (if you don't mind!). Cheers, Steve

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The few idea's that came to mind:

Electromagnet
The player gets the ability to attract the other player, or toggle to the detract mode. Usefull for pushing players out of the ring, or disturbing their movement. A shield powerup that defends against this might be usefull too.

Slimer
Causes the player ball to leave a track of slime, which is quite slippery for anything else that crosses it...


Perhaps I'll have some more later, dunno. Good luck with your game bytheway. Sounds fun. :)

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Beer Controls get a bit sloppy
Mirror Controls reversed
Drugs Colours get trippy
TV Remote Playfield switches to "another channel" for a couple of seconds
Baked Beans Player can float over chasms for short period. Perhaps button activates?
Hairspray Makes things sticky / slow / more flamable
Santa Air strike by rain deer on random apponent.
Glasses + fake nose Makes NPC baddies ignore you
Coffee Vibrate - doesn't effect controls, but collisions are more intense.

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ElectroMagnet - I like this idea, I think I would have it that you can alternate between attract and repel. Attract causes players and collectibles in a close radius to be pulled towards the player. Repel essentially makes the influence of your orb larger, pushing players and collectibles away if they get close. The radius of influence would be quite small, otherwise this ability could be too powerful. I'll think about the shield idea some more.

Slimer - I like the slippery trail idea, but it could be too powerful if the trail was too long and doesn't quite fit in with the game theme. I think I would rename the powerup to Waste Discharge which would cause the player to eject toxic waste, causing opponents to slip. It would not leave a trail, or would leave only a short trail. I think the name is somewhat amusing too =P.

Quote:

Beer Controls get a bit sloppy
Mirror Controls reversed
Drugs Colours get trippy
TV Remote Playfield switches to "another channel" for a couple of seconds
Baked Beans Player can float over chasms for short period. Perhaps button activates?
Hairspray Makes things sticky / slow / more flamable
Santa Air strike by rain deer on random apponent.
Glasses + fake nose Makes NPC baddies ignore you
Coffee Vibrate - doesn't effect controls, but collisions are more intense.


These are nice ideas, but don't quite fit the theme as they are, with a little playing around though they might fit better.

Beer - I'm not keen on messing with controls too much, I think having the player judder around a little bit is as far as I would go with control altering powerups... to make it fit the theme I'd probably make it some kind of robotic alcohol equivalent such as meths or toxic waste or something!

Mirror - I would probably leave this one out personally.

Drugs - Similar to beer, in essence, I may consider an equivalent of this idea.

TV Remote - Interesting idea, but perhaps again somewhat frustrating, I would prefer fun to frustrating.

Baked Beans - I like this idea, the ability to float and prolong a jump to reach hard areas, or perhaps to survive being knocked off one part of the arena by floating to a lower part of the arena would be pretty nice. Again I would change the name to something suitable. Perhaps a limited use jetpack might be a decent equivalent... any ideas on this one would be good!

Hairspray - A very interesting idea, but I think this might add almost too much depth to the powerups as a player would have to keep track of lots of status elements. I'll perhaps consider this one if the game feels like it is lacking depth once in the later stages of development.

Santa Air strike by rain deer - Very Worms-like in style, but unfortunately not too fitting with the robot theme. Some kind of mass carnage mode like this might be nice though, perhaps this idea could be useful as a sudden death mode!

Glasses + fake nose - I like this idea and think I could possibly use this as-is just for a little comedy (can't be serious all the time now can I!).

Coffee Vibrate - Again, this is vaguely along the lines of the beer idea, which I'm thinking on a litle more!


Thanks for the responses so far, I look forward to any more and hopefully soon I'll try and whittle down a final list and get it in my design document!

Cheers,

Steve

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Got some more:

Electro discharge
Releases a shock towards the opponent, paralyzing it's controls for a short time. A little charging time for this weapon to give the opponent a visual warning might be usefull.

The Launch
Launches the player high up in the air. When the player falls back from the sky, it gains great speed and it's impact causes quite some blast damage. A top-down view for better targeting and a shadow to make the opponent aware could make some funny try-and-get-em situations.

And how about a carnage gameplay mode, where the circlular arena is continually getting smaller and/or more dangerous? With added powerups or timed events that unlock carnage mode, where every damage value is multiplied? A sort of last-man-standing mode... :)

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Boost: A momentary boost in the chosen direction, increasing damage/force dealt in a collision, could also be dangerous if you attempt to boost an enemy off the edge and miss.

Anchor:A one shot powerup that can be used to anchor yourself to a spot for say 2 seconds, eliminating any movement from a collision but increasing damage dealt to both parties.

Tractor Beam: Ties you to the nearest person and allows you to steer them around, of course they also get to steer you around.

Bumper:The next person who collides with you is bumped away at high speed, kind of like the bumpers in pinball machines.

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Decrease/increase size: has the named effect on the player's orb (or alternately on the opponents), applying all the physical implications (such as the fact that a smaller orb would impart less impact force, and would gain greater volocity from any impact, etc.).

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Boost: I like the idea of boost, but already planned for something like this in the game. You will be able to jump and either double jump, or gain a powerup that lets you double jump. The double jump will be like a boost mid-air which combines with the fireball powerup to turn you into a real flying fireball!

Anchor: This is an interesting idea, but quite similar to the inertial dampeners already described and I think I'd like to keep powerups very individual and well defined, avoiding dulicating similar effects. Perhaps an anchor might be a nice alternative way of representing the same powerup on a different character (like a Robot Pirate Orb!).

Tractor Beam: This is a nice idea too, similarish to electromagnetism and psychokinesis, but it does have an interesting slant that fits in with the theme. I'm not sure how the swinging the opponenet about would work though, I'll think on that a little!

Bumper: I really like this one, it would make for a nice surprise if someone attacked a player with this powerup as they could be the ones to fall off the arena.

Decrease/increase size: Nice and simple, but spot on. I'll more than likely include it (and the physical effects) but perhaps try and work it into the setting a little, maybe you could pickup nanobots to construct or destroy physical shield layers which changes your size/weight), in fact, this might be an interesting mechanism to represent health. Shells get knocked off your body as you are hit, making you smaller and harder to hit in future, but lighter and thus able to move quicker, but causing less damage on collision.

Electro discharge - Again, nice and simple, I think it would work and the visual warning would work well too. It could be a nice high damage weapon with definite signs it's about to be used to allow players time to try to dodge the attack.

The Launch - I think this might make for interesting area effect attacks which would work nicely if the game were being played against several players at a time.

Quote:

And how about a carnage gameplay mode, where the circlular arena is continually getting smaller and/or more dangerous? With added powerups or timed events that unlock carnage mode, where every damage value is multiplied? A sort of last-man-standing mode... :)


I love the idea of a shrinking arena, but I'll have to see if i can work it into my code as I was planning to use arbitrary 3D models for levels. Perhaps I could literally just scale the level mesh down whilst the player stays the same size, so the player effectively gets bigger and bigger until there is nowhere big enough to hold both players at once!

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Lots of good ideas here already :). I'd like to posit the Self Destruct, which allows you to cause a large explosion centred on your ball. In multiplayer games a 'suicide bomb' adds an extra disincentive for people to ram each other indiscriminately. And on the suicider's screen you have the opportunity for some nice camerawork, slo-mos etc.

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Another one:

Holo field
Displays various hologram versions of your ball, confusing the opponent. Holograms might flicker now and then, so an opponent never has to follow a hologram for too long, preventing the powerup from becoming too confusing - hopefully. :)

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Both of those are great, the holo-field is quite a distinct idea and again, I love the visual aids for use in determining the real ball from the fakes, I think I'm happy with the idea without any changes needed.

The self-destruct ability is an interesting one as well, although I worry slightly that it may be too powerful (as simply trading your life for the points scored by killing 3 or 4 others is a no-brainer). Perhaps again a visual cue would be useful, so we could have the ball flash or glow when activated, a 3 second timer then counts down before a big explosion is initiated. Just to confuse matters, we could allow players to abort self destruct! I can see the chaos ensuing from that already :)

Nice ideas! I'll probably compile a list of the ideas I think I may use shortly, but any further ideas are still appreciated.

Cheers,

Steve

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Hey, this sounds like a brilliant game concept, and look forward to playing such a game immensely! So when you say 3D arena, will it just be a flat (one level) circular sumo wrestler type of arena, or will there be ramps, platforms, pits, pillars, hidey holes etc? Cause if there are, it will warrant for such power ups like X-Ray Vision, which allows the player to temporarily make all columns/obstacles etc, disappear, revealing the opponent. Or weapons that destroy or add terrain.

Anyway, I hope I'm not repeating any of the excellent ideas already put forth, but here's some more that may or may not be relevant to the theme:

Teleport (or Quantum Improbability Drive :)) - random teleportation of player or opponent.

Spanner in the Works - a weapon which is represented by throwing spanners at the opponent. Just something satisfying about throwing a spanner at a metallic robotic orb and hearing that metallic clunk. Not sure of the impact, but I just like the visuals at the moment. Maybe it could temporarily stun the opponent, or knock it back several feet, or make it lose it's current powerup. So, say if the opponent has the ability to lay blast mines, throwing a spanner in the works could make that player lose that ability.

Phase Shift - allows the player to physically exist in another dimension, but for appearances sake, the opponent still perceives the player as normal. The affect being that if the opponent attempts to knock you out of the arena or fire a weapon at you, the object/opponent will pass straight through. Maybe as a visual clue, you could appear slightly desaturated to the opponent, but not too obvious.

Body Swap - Temporarily swap the opponent's powerups with your own. So he/she gains all your powerups but you gain his/hers. Advantageous if they have heaps of powerups and you have none. :)

Spatial Distortion - the terrain randomly changes (for the better or worse :))

Wormhole - allows you to set a wormhole entry point somewhere on the terrain, and an exit point somewhere else. This could add an extra strategical advantage, in that you could set escape points, or use wormholes to ambush/trap opponents.

The Doinking Finger - okay, not really with the theme, but there seems something endlessly amusing (to me anyway :)) of your orb turning into a big doinking hand, and flicking your opponent away. :)

Good luck with your game, dude.

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Alternately to having the ball be covered in spikes, it would be amusing and irritating to get just one spike and try to move around with it disrupting your ability to roll. Maybe once in a while, like 1 in 10 or something, the spike power up gives you this negative effect.

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Quote:
Original post by Sandbar

The Doinking Finger - okay, not really with the theme, but there seems something endlessly amusing (to me anyway :)) of your orb turning into a big doinking hand, and flicking your opponent away. :)

Good luck with your game, dude.


[lol] that one's funny, hand of dooooom

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Cushion of air-
Your orb hovers in the air supported by a sort of jetstream. Lasts for quite a while until an opponent passes under you in which case you lose the powerup and fall back down. Basically prevents you from damaging others or them damaging you until you 'collide' once. Has a limited ability to help cross short holes or chasms but is lost when doing so.

Tetherball-
You drop a spike into the ground with a rope attached to your orb. You now are sort of stuck to that general area, both preventing you from leaving it or being knocked out of it. Doesn't really help you if you are knocked off a cliff. The effect is lost after a certain amount of time.

Pong Paddle-
You stop suddenly and a rectangular block like the paddle in Pong appears near you. It faces outward from your orb and you can turn to rotate it. Any opponent or weapon sent in your direction can be blocked and reflected if you move the paddle to block it. The effect stops if something gets past to hit you or if time runs out.

Portable Hole-
You drop a portable hole on the ground, anything that falls into it is affected as if they fell off the edge of the arena. It vanishes after a while.

Gum-
You drop sticky pink gum on the ground. If anyone hits it they are stuck to that one spot until they are hit.

U-Turn
When activated your ball instantly reverses direction with the same speed it was going at.

Pause-
Your ball suddenly freezes in place for about 3 seconds then resumes moving at the same speed it was going at.

Grow-
Your ball grows twice as big, with increased inertia and size.

Shrink-
Grows smaller with reduced inertia and size.

Blast off!-
Stops suddenly and is launched high into the air where you can see the whole field. You then drop down and can control where you land. A little parachute appears as well to slow your decent and provide control.

Mirror Universe Counterpart-
After a bright flash, your Orb is replaced by a Cube (with a goatee) The speed is stopped and you can only move around by having the cube slowly roll itself around in steps. Resistant to getting knocked around. Other powerups don't work in this mode. After a little bit, another flash and the normal Orb is returned.

Jet Pack-
Once going off the edge of the area, a jet begins to shoot from your orb and keeps it afloat for about 5 seconds. You can then fly back towards the area without losing anything. But only if you make it in time.

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Well I've reduced the list to include most of my favourites (and a couple of new ideas!). However, I'd like to get the game really focused as I think it would be difficult to play if there are too many powerups, and too disjointed if we don't stick quite closely by the theme, so I'm going to try to reduce the number of powerups to between about 10 and 20 in total. If people have any preference to which powerups they do or don't want to see in the game, speak now (or forever hold your peace!), this would be helpful in eliminating any ideas which are a little borderline as to their potential so we end up with just the best ideas :)

The latest list includes the following 37 powerups:

Fireball
Spikes
Inertial dampeners
Speed Boost
Armour Boost
Psychokinesis
Invisibility
Improved invisibility
Blast Mine
Electromagnet
Slimer
Beer Controls
Glasses + fake nose
Electro discharge
Boost
Tractor Beam
Bumper
Grappling laser
Self Destruct
Holo field
Teleport (or Quantum Improbability Drive :))
Spanner in the Works
Phase Shift
Body Swap
Spatial Distortion - the terrain randomly changes (for the better or worse :))
Wormhole
The Doinking Finger
Pong Paddle
Portable Hole
Gum
U-Turn
Grow - Health Up
Shrink - Health Down
Jet Pack
Mirror Attack
Gyro-mounted Lasers
Lance


As far as the arenas go, I'll probably mainly have flat 3D arenas, but I would like to have one or two arenas with jumps, narrow walkways, perhaps speed boost floor panels and/or jump pads, that kind of thing, but on the whole, they will tend to be quite small so that most of the action fits into the view of a single screen where possible (as I believe this will help make the game more intuitive). There may be room however for one or two levels that break the trend!

Cheers,

Steve

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The Tornado: A huge twister springs up from the spot the player sets it off at. Then, everyone (including the original user) can get swept up in this giant tornado, which will whip them around in a circle and lift them high off the ground. Players will thefore be flung randomly up into the air and off in a direction, possibly spinning in a disorienting fashion. It will be up to them to direct their sphere back to the playing field or be flung entirely off.

You also might want to look at Mario Kart for good power up ideas.

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Maybe you could implement a Scorched Earth type of idea, in that you can earn money after each round (whether the amount of money earned is based on the speed at which you dispose your opponent, the number of powerups used, the damage done etc).

And then you can go into a shop where you can buy powerups, so you can have powerups galore to select from (but the selection limited by the money earned of course), and the value of each item is based on the effectiveness/power of the item in question.

But this might defeat the theme/purpose/type of gameplay you are after - and I *do* like the idea of not be overbogged with powerups (if you are just sticking with rolling over the powerups to collect them), because it might get too confusing and balance issues may come into play.

Anyway, as to your quandry about choosing between the 37 powerups down to 10-20... maybe you could group the powerups, so you have 5 defense type of powerups, 5 offence type of powerups, 5 *bad* powerups (in that they have a negative impact of your orb), 5 movement based powerups (eg., teleport, uturn, speed boost etc), and 5 physically altering powerups (eg., invisibility, phase shift, glasses and fake nose [lol], etc.). And in that way you aren't overbalanced in one type of area. Or maybe balance issues don't come into play, but it may help you selecting a good variety of the different types.

Cheers!

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Actually I really like that idea, and could work it in with another idea I had last night. One of the collectibles in the game could be used as a currency and a health item, I think in fitting with the robot theme, nanobots could be the collectible currency/health item. The player collects nano-bots, loses some when they are damaged and loses a large number when they are knocked off the arena (the nanobots are used to reconstruct the Orb). Nanobots remaining at the end of a game can be used to purchase new powerups. I think they would fit in well, and could shower out from the player when they are hit like the rings that Sonic collects in the Sonic the Hedgehog games. This could add an incentive for another player to try and mop up the nanobots rather than finish off the player.

One thing I'm not sure about is how to balance out the powerups; a player could be left in a position after losing one or two rounds that everyone else can afford many more powerups than they can, and I don't like the idea that players should be going into a game with virtually no chance of winning from the outset, or inversly going into a game knowing that bar a miracle they will destroy all opposition. Also, if they can stock up on powerups, the nanobot collectibles have less of an impact on gameplay. However, I like the idea and with a bit of work I think it could work. Perhaps a combination of bought and collected powerups would work, but maybe that would be a little disjointed.

I also like the idea of classifying the powerups into groups, it helps break them down nicely, balance them well and should make it easier to cut the list down.... I'll try and do that today :)

Cheers,

Steve

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ball robots? bumpers? arena? two words:

PINBALL ARENA!!

you are fighting in a pinball-like arena, against other balls (think multiball mode). bumpers and flippers are common use in the layout, small ledgers and holes too. accelerators are used to send your ball elsewhere. You're doomed to go down, and can only go left and right, to aim for bumpers and flippers. And there is only one sort of powerup in there, and it's a powerdown. Something that jags your controls for a full second. no stirring.

what a multiplayer mode!!!

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Shield: A shield is like the medieval shields, not the startrek type shields. The shield willposition its self to the front of your balls movement direction. Any impact on the shield will not effect the player using the shield, but any other player hitting the shield will be effected normally.

Quote:
One thing I'm not sure about is how to balance out the powerups; a player could be left in a position after losing one or two rounds that everyone else can afford many more powerups than they can, and I don't like the idea that players should be going into a game with virtually no chance of winning from the outset, or inversly going into a game knowing that bar a miracle they will destroy all opposition.

There are 2 solutions that I can see for this:
1) Have only the "Nanobots" collected in the immediately previous round available to the player. If the collected Nanobots in rounds before the previous round they are not available.

2) Have only a small amount of Nanobots able to be collected during the round and give all players a larger amount of nanobots at the end of the rounds (this won't eliminate it, but it will reduce the problem).

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Quote:
One thing I'm not sure about is how to balance out the powerups; a player could be left in a position after losing one or two rounds that everyone else can afford many more powerups than they can, and I don't like the idea that players should be going into a game with virtually no chance of winning from the outset, or inversly going into a game knowing that bar a miracle they will destroy all opposition.

If you were going this route of implementing a "buy-powerups-based-on-money-earned" here's a way you could potentially offset any advantage by players who have bought heaps of awesome powerups and keep in reasonably balanced:

The amount of money earned (basically the player's score) is affected by the type and amount of powerups used. So if a player went into the arena with 20 Armaggeddon Powerups (as an example), using one would lessen the amount of money earned for the round. This would force the player to think more carefully when to use a powerup, and more importantly what powerup to use. A player could use a laser powerup with less impact on his overall score/earnings than it would be using an Armageddon powerup. And the less powerups used, the more money will be earned for that round. But the more powerups used, the less cash will be earned for that player. It will keep players with tons of powerups from just using them whenever they want, at the frustration of the other players who go into the round without much in the way of powerups at all.

Note: a player could still win the round though, by damaging the opponent completely, or forcing him out of the arena with a load of powerups, but the cash earned will be minimal.

I'm not sure if this would ruin the fun-factor though, or add an additional element of strategy.

Hope this made some sense. :)

Edit: Oh, and I just had a thought, that you could probably have an arcade mode, and a campaign mode. The first one being just a mode where powerups appear in the playing field as normal, and no money is earned into the next round etc. The campaign could be the shop-front idea where you could buy powerups for each round. So this way, you could let players decide what type of game to play.

[Edited by - Sandbar on September 21, 2006 8:08:36 PM]

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I think I've found something upon which to base my robot design and it's given me a new idea for a powerup... legs!! The ability to walk instead of rolling :)

The image I've found is the following, and with a bit of modification would make a cool character :)



I'm not sure about the idea of powerups effectively costing the player points to use, as I think powerups should have in general a positive effect to promote fun, rather than having the player wary of using them.

I'm wondering about the idea of purchasing or collecting body parts, or perhaps being able to switch body parts/utilities during a game. This has also made me wonder about perhaps including locational damage to body parts.

I like the idea of collecting powerups during a single game, but buying them over a campaign. Overall though, I'm not quite satisfied completely with any system suggested, or that I've thought of so far, so I will continue to think on the subject! Thanks for the suggestions though, they are still inspiring!

Cheers,

Steve

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Quote:
I'm not sure about the idea of powerups effectively costing the player points to use, as I think powerups should have in general a positive effect to promote fun, rather than having the player wary of using them.

Yeah, I am inclined to agree with you here. I imagined it would be getting away from your original intent. Perhaps the idea of having limited powerups and concentrating on the fun factor being the adrenaline rush of beating your opponent in an arena is better than having to "think too much" about what powerup to use when. Have you narrowed down the powerups yet? I'm looking forward to this game. Oh, and I like your avatar - is that what your robotic orbs will look like? :)

Quote:
I'm wondering about the idea of purchasing or collecting body parts, or perhaps being able to switch body parts/utilities during a game. This has also made me wonder about perhaps including locational damage to body parts.

Would this perhaps be moving the entire concept away from the "marble madness" type idea? When you say body parts, I assume you mean arms and legs? Sorta like a Mechwarrior type idea? Would the entire level/campaign purpose be to collect body parts? And to what end?

btw, I *do* like that robot model. Kinda cute. How are you at animating such a model? Rolling a ball sounds infinitely easier to animate. :)

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Couldn't the entire power-up model be like the "Bomberman power-up" model? Meaning that you can stack the powerups, but not take them from level to level, save in the campaign mode?

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