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Madvillainy

Cybernetics, PSI-powers and mutations brainstorm

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Hello, I am working on a X-COM: UFO Enemy Unknown-esque game (turn-based tactical squad strategy) that will have a lot of interesting attributes (i believe) for the characters. As far as modifications go, there are 3 main ways to alter your characters beside conventional leveling and equipment: Cybernetic implants: Cybernetic implants can really just be thought of as a fancy word for accessories with the difference that they can be hacked or infected by virus (just a very subtle twist). New cybernetic implants are aquired by research. PSI-Powers: If your characters become clinically insane (these aliens have their way of messing with your soldiers mind), you must put them in quarantain (sp?) which at first just seems useless and stupid. However, as you research psychology you will develop an option to convert insane units into a form of "magicians" or whatever. Now this is a post-acapolyptic cyberpunk setting so I dont really like PSI-powers to be things like fireball but more in the line of telepathy, teleport or precognition though nothing is set in stone. Mutations: This works in a similair way to PSI powers and insanity except you can develop mutations on your characters if they have high radiation level. So you have this character with 50% radiation level who has developed a mutation and because you have researched biology you are able to transform this mutation into something that is useful through gene-splicing (not realitic, but this is a friggin videogame ffs) Now while I have plenty of ideas for all these three categories, Id just be interested to see what people on the board would make of it? Do you have any ideas for things that would be better suited as a mutation than an implant or psi power? Or the other way around ... comments, criticism, ideas and straight-out flaming all warmly welcome. Peace, Dr. Octagon

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Original post by Madvillainy
PSI-Powers:

If your characters become clinically insane (these aliens have their way of messing with your soldiers mind), you must put them in quarantain (sp?) which at first just seems useless and stupid. However, as you research psychology you will develop an option to convert insane units into a form of "magicians" or whatever.


You know, from a design stand point I think that's a really cool idea, especially coz those early X-Com games always had a dark edge to them.

Just to bounce a slightly different idea off ya: what if the potential psi-powers were related to the type of trauma that a particular unit experienced before he went insane?

For example: Early in a mission all your units are killed save one, he goes on to complete the mission by himself but with extremely low moral (which increases insanity chance). This leads to the "protective aura" ability which boosts other unit's physiologically related stats - like accuracy and moral.

Or if soldier Joe Blogs gets in a situation where he opens the UFO doors first and there are 5 aliens right behind it (anyone who's played X-Com before will now what I'm talking about :D ) - this can lead to the "detect life-forces with a certain radius" ability, so he can't get in that situation again.

You could balance that with the negative effects of becoming insane in the first place: way less moral for that unit perhaps? Basically make him emotionally unstable (firing random shots into the dark and losing AP on the next turn) - the usual cool stuff you find in X-Com.

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Quote:
Original post by Madvillainy
PSI-Powers:

If your characters become clinically insane (these aliens have their way of messing with your soldiers mind), you must put them in quarantain (sp?) which at first just seems useless and stupid. However, as you research psychology you will develop an option to convert insane units into a form of "magicians" or whatever.


You know, from a design stand point I think that's a really cool idea, especially coz those early X-Com games always had a dark edge to them.

Just to bounce a slightly different idea off ya: what if the potential psi-powers were related to the type of trauma that a particular unit experienced before he went insane?

For example: Early in a mission all your units are killed save one, he goes on to complete the mission by himself but with extremely low moral (which increases insanity chance). This leads to the "protective aura" ability which boosts other unit's physiologically related stats - like accuracy and moral.

Or if soldier Joe Blogs gets in a situation where he opens the UFO doors first and there are 5 aliens right behind it (anyone who's played X-Com before will now what I'm talking about :D ) - this can lead to the "detect life-forces with a certain radius" ability, so he can't get in that situation again.

You could balance that with the negative effects of becoming insane in the first place: way less moral for that unit perhaps? Basically make him emotionally unstable (firing random shots into the dark and losing AP on the next turn) - the usual cool stuff you find in X-Com.



I like this idea because the whole reason I did this in the first place was to give more life to the characters. I want them to develop their own stories that make them feel real and dear to the player.

Insane characters who have been turned into PSI psychics are balanced down by the fact that they are incredibly instable and may go back into being total nutcases if the situation gets to heavy. So you wanna keep your psychics as far away from intense battles as possible and you absolutely dont want to give them any adrenalin shots or anything like that. So yeah, thats pretty much what you suggested in the first place anyways.

And yeah, my type is definitively to take this whole thing more to the survival/horror feeling of the first games and retain as much atmosphere as possible.

So to add more depth to thread I would like to say that I am also interested in ideas that would give the characters in this type of game more "personality" and "history."

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I like all your ideas, and I think they're great! And I'm so happy there are more people out there who are interested in cyberpunk and techno stuff!

Psi, or psionic energy is something that I find very fascinating. I'm currently implenting a skill-system based on the "theory" of psionic energy into the game I'm working on myself. In my game, psi is related to the level of intelligence of a character. I'm very interested in transhumanism and the power of the mind and what the human species can evolve into. I agree that using psi for shooting fireballs, lightning bolts, summoning storms etc is a bit silly in a futuristic game. I'd like to think of more "realistic" things, like teleportation, telekinetics and perception. Psi skills in your game could be used for throwing back enemies, opening doors, moving objects, and perhaps "re-shaping" object and materia with the power of the mind, like spoonbending. Only make it more cruel, like maybe twisting an opponent inside out. ;-)) One thing I liked about X-COM was the part when you were able to research alien technology. I found that part very gloomy and exciting. Instead of the "insane"-part, you could have research instead making it able for humans to learn the alien skills. Perhaps you could put in a possibility to fail, making them insane THAT way instead. And units will be wasted. A sort of gamble in a way, hehehehe.

If you want to, I'd be happy to talk to you and perhaps I can even help you out with your game in some way! I'm from Sweden too. ;-) Send me a PM here if you'd like to get my MSN, and check out the game I'm working on in my signature, if you want. ;-))

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the whole reason I did this in the first place was to give more life to the characters. I want them to develop their own stories that make them feel real and dear to the player.


Just another idea from the physiological/character angle.

You overload one soldier with tons of gear before a battle, basically using him like a mule. After witnessing some horrific event he becomes insane and develops Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He can now carry even more stuff - but must have exactly 2 of each item!

Oh man, that would make me laugh so much.

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Kada2k6: you've got a PM.

I am going to implement alien research also, though I think I am going start a whole other thread on that when I feel that I have gotten a bit further down the lane with the research system.

For now, lets just say that I am looking to steer away from a rigid research tree as much as possible. Honestly, in your fiftieth game of Civ III, didn´t suck to know exactly what was best to research next? Hitting a button and knowing I will have a certain technology a certain number of turns from now doesnt feel right to me, and has nothing to do with how scientists work and make breakthroughs in reality. As far as this thread is concerned however, that is so totally OT ... :D

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Well, why not make the research results random? ;-)) Instead of the standard research tree, the player can have his researchers simply "researching" for an unknown number of turns, and the result (if any) is completely random. Add to this a money cost and it should make things a bit more exciting as well.

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I have been thinking of a research system where the player can specify what object to research improvements for, but during these researching they can discover (semi-randomly) new technologies and object that they can research improvements for.

For example:
If you had a a Gun. Then the player could research improvements for it that increased it's stats (rate of fire, damage, range, etc). But during these researching periods, the researcher might "invent" a new type of weapons (say a plasma launcher), which they could then either keep researching the Gun, or switch over to the new weapon (or even split their research between them).

The reason the "inventions" would be semi-random, would be that you might require that certain technology levels must be met as prerequisites (say you must have Gun:Damage to level 5 and Electronics:Plasma to level 10 before you can have a chance to discover Plasma Weapons. And the higher your tech levels in the prerequisites the greater the chance of you discovering the new invention.

If it was purely random, then someone might beat you by pure chance rather than forsight, skill, and a little bit of luck (or that you might not have a piece of equipment needed to complete a certain level in a single player game).

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EdThara and Kada, thanks for the input, nice ideas, but try not to discuss research here. I will start another thread on the subject by the end of the week (or if you want to start your own research thread now feel free to do so).
Just trying to keep the thread as clean and easy to follow as possible :D

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My idea: Insert alien dna(or some genes at least) in your npcs.

You must bring alien corpses to your base and then research them. You then get a larg number of genes to chose from. Some are good, some are bad and some do nothing. You then can insert a gene or continue research to remove some bad/nothing genes.

If you are lucky or have researched enough, your npc gets a psi power. You then can insert the same gene in other npcs and get the some abilities.

Example abilities: to use alien weapons or machines, to feel them\enter their collective

Problems during research: alien corpses can reanimate, mind controlled scientists, ... It would be great if you could build you own base with security system.

Problem during missions: The more the psi powers are used the more alien like the npcs becomes and after a specific threshold they are enemies. This is hidden from the player and the rate of change is randomized, so the player will never happen if and when it will happens.

Cybernetic implants: Self destruction device if they are controlled or kidnapped by aliens.

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