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Koobazaur

My game flow - give me your opinion

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Hello, I am working on a First person horror/adventure game and just established the game flow / time line. However, since I haven't done this sort of a project before, I would be interested in your thoughts about it. The general setting is to make the world look weird and twisted, but believable. The action takes place in a 4-story college dorm building, where each floor (except the 1st one which is basement) has about 7 dorm rooms. Besides that, each floor has some distinctive features: Floor 1: Kitchen, Laundry Room, Multi-purpose room, Elevator engine room Floor 2: A livingroom with a safe in the middle, a printer room Floor 3: nothing special Floor 4: A computer room, roof access room [note, due to certain reasons, the above building layout MUST stay exactly the same] Additioanlly there are two staircases going through the building and one (initally broken) elevator. Staircase #1 accesses floors 1 and 3; Staircase #2 accesses floors 2 and 3; Elevator accesses all floors Also, some paths are blocked or locked initially. Hence, to complete the game, one would have to go in the following order: 1. START in a room on floor #2, exit to hallway 2. Find Key #1 in a room 3. Open Staircase #2 with Key#1, go to floor #3 5. Take Staircase #1 to floor #1 6. Find a keycard #1 in the laundry room 7. Go to kitchen, open frige and go through it to another location, a GameRoom with some sofas, a pool table, plasma TV etc. - find an orange [if this is scrapped, the orange will be simply in the fridge] 8. Go back through Staircase#1 to floor #3 9. Open a room with keycard#1, inside you find a pile of rubbish and a stone hand sticking out of it (or a wall); place the orange on the hand, opening a passage 10. transition through a big lecutre hall to a small cell lit up by a candle on a pedestal with a box of matches next to it; get a Candle 11. Take Staircase #1 to floor #1 again 12. Go to the end and go through a long and dark corridor, using the candle to light your way (if you just go into the darkness without a light you eventually die). You enter an elevator generator room; turn the generator on 13. Go back, take the elevator to floor #4, 14. Go to a dorm room on this floor and find a CD 15. use CD on computer in the computer room 16. a code will be reveleaed on the screen 17. Go back to floor #2, living room, access a safe with given code, get Printer Room keycard 18. Go to printer room on floor #2, going through a long corridor and reaching a "dead end" (some visual will be here); upon going back, everything is now upside down 19. Go to floor #4 through either staircase (now that it's upside down you can just "jump down" to the top and go through the door to enter the floor) 20. Go to a roof access room; since you are now upside down you can just jump through an opening in the ceiling to the room with a door to the roof 20. Open the door and enter the roof (everything is back to normal now) 21. You are on top of building. A straightfoward path from here leads you to an ending. Here are key locations: Random room use: * Living Room (2nd) - Safe * Laundry Room (1st) - 3rd floor dorm room keycard * Kitchen (1st) - opens door to Game Room * Game Room (-) - Orange * Elevator Engine room (1st) - enable elevator * [K] Printer room (2nd) - upside down switch * Computer room (4rd) - retrives code for safe * Lecture Room (-) - find candle and matches Dorm Rooms use: * Dorm #1 (2nd) - start * Dorm #2 (2nd) - staircase #2 key * [K] Dorm #3 (3rd) - Hand to place orange on, opens way to Lecture room * Dorm #4 (4th) - find a CD Additionally there will also be some exploration areas (for instance, some dorm rooms will have some extra stuff not neccessary to completing the game). I will also try to mark some key locations (i.e. printer room, elevator engine room etc.) to give the player an idea what is where. So, what questions do I have about this design? * Is this a good flow? * Am I utilizing the world fully (I feel like there might be too many unused dorm rooms)? * What would be a good way to let the player know early on that his goal is to get to the roof (I do not want any cutscenes and there is no backstory explained initially either)? * Are the tasks logical, possible to figure out and believable? * Is there a good back-trackking balance (I want the player to do some running back and forth so he feels like he is in an actual complex building and not constantly running forward in a corridor, but I also don't want him to be going back and forth like a mad monkey)? * Anything I should take in consideration about guiding the player forward? * Anything else you would change / add (other "puzzle/obstacle" ideas welcome)? Thanks!

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First of all, nice work. It's not easy to reach this part of the design.

I'll try my best here:

1- Is this a good flow?

# it's not bad at all. I would play this game :)

2- Am I utilizing the world fully (I feel like there might be too many unused dorm rooms)?

# If you feel like that, just delete the rooms from the flow. The player doesn't have to go through all of them.

3- What would be a good way to let the player know early on that his goal is to get to the roof (I do not want any cutscenes and there is no backstory explained initially either)?

# An 'Emergency Exit' poster. Put it at the beginign where the player can see it. It should be a side view of the building with a red line going from each floor to the elevator and going to the roof exit as an 'Emergency Exit'. And because the elevator already doesn't work, that should be a sign to the player to what to do.

4- Are the tasks logical, possible to figure out and believable?

# I wouldn't mind staying at this dorm :P just make sure to add any story in letters or notes to explain why the items are in that place (printer room's key card in a safe?! why?).

5- Is there a good back-trackking balance (I want the player to do some running back and forth so he feels like he is in an actual complex building and not constantly running forward in a corridor, but I also don't want him to be going back and forth like a mad monkey)?

# Yours is good. It would be a good idea to let the player go through 1/2 the dorm from the start. That way he'll get to see the closed rooms and work with them later.

6- Anything I should take in consideration about guiding the player forward?

# Slow is good. Try not to let the running speed be too fast. And never force the player to go through the same path twic without a good reason (letting him go to a room once to find a key, then forcing him to go back to the same room to learn how to use the key? BAD)

7- Anything else you would change / add (other "puzzle/obstacle" ideas welcome)?

# no comment

Sorry for English. Hope this helps.

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I'm guessing by the format that this will be leaning more towards a horror game than a adventure game(not fast-paced enough).
If you give it the right atmosphere and implement good music then this sounds like it could be a real fun game.

As for your questions:
1. Sounds like it could flow well.
2. I think you should leave some empty dorms around to get players to wander slightly but if you feel like you have too many you could just make it so they can't be entered.
3. Farraj's idea sounds good, but players might not notice it; you could have the screen zoom into the map but not neccesarily make it a cutscene. I'd also detail it a little - add stairs, maybe some of the special rooms.
4. Ya, they make sense-collecting keys-but you might want to put some hints around for where the player is supposed to go.
5. Back tracking is fine but it does seem like you go between floors #3 and #1 a lot. Truthfully thats not really a problem because the player doesn't know exactly where to go.
6. Like I stated earlier you might want to implement some hints ie: a note a student left, ripped piece of a map.
7. A puzzle wouldn't be too bad or hard to input, maybe just something to unluck a room. Nothing too hard to solve - got to remember it's a horror game.

Most horror games make things jump out at you to give it a horror affect but you can give you game the same affect with subtleties. A broken lamp, trashed looking dorms, overturned furniture, shattered window, or if you wanna go real far a blood smear on a wall.
Good luck on your game.

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Thanks guys, this is good feedback I was looking for.

Xtlk - you are correct, this would be more of a slow paced game with big emphasis on atmosphere. I am planning to make it something else than "monster jumps out of the closet at you," with the "horror" stemming from the overall atmosphere and setting rather than a few cheap scare moments. And yes, there would be a lot of little things (notes, newspaper cutouts etc.) around adding some background story (or rather, confusing the player even more about what is going on).

To address a few points:

Quote:

# Yours is good. It would be a good idea to let the player go through 1/2 the dorm from the start. That way he'll get to see the closed rooms and work with them later.


Initially you have access to first floor to sort of get a feel for the game. Once you get past the first obstacle, you gain access to two more floors thus giving you room for exploration.

Quote:

you could have the screen zoom into the map but not neccesarily make it a cutscene. I'd also detail it a little - add stairs, maybe some of the special rooms.


I want to keep the perspective from the view of the player at all times to have him feel that he is really there (hence why no cutscenes); I fear that doing a zoom thing would be taking away too much from the player control.

Quote:

4. Ya, they make sense-collecting keys-but you might want to put some hints around for where the player is supposed to go.


The great thing about the keycards will be that they will have the room number written on them.

Quote:

7. A puzzle wouldn't be too bad or hard to input, maybe just something to unluck a room. Nothing too hard to solve - got to remember it's a horror game.


Hmm, I worded my sentence poorly. By puzzle I meant stuff like finding a key to open a door, using the candle to get past darkness, using a CD on a computer to find a piece of information etc.

Anyway, thanks again for the feedback, and keep it coming!

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