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Steam Fortress: Fire vs Water

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I made this post a while ago. I've been working on a big long non combat RPG idea but I have been ill recently and had this idea which I came up with in an hour and a bit. Post copyright Fred McDonald 2008 Licensed under the creative commons Attribution Share-Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales license. (I would also appreciate it if someone would make a linux version.) Steam Fortress Created Friday 01 February 2008 Steam fortress is a team based third person shooting game with environments that are modified by the players throughout the match by collecting steam from fallen enemies and using the steam to power up steam powered machinery. The game is played looking down on the player from a distance and from a fixed angle. The player moves with the keyboard relative to the camera and uses the mouse to aim and fire. When moving and not firing the player will face the direction they are moving in. If you move in one direction while aiming in the opposite direction you will move more slowly. The same goes for strafing (though not so much.) As the game is third person and the characters are small on screen the bullets move across the screen visibly (though quickish) and a lot of the game is about dodging enemy fire, maneuvering and jumping to higher platforms. Elements The two sides are Fire and Water. Each player has two stats, amour and element (element is replaced by their respective element). For fire their armor is black burnt metal and water is cloth and leather. At the beginning of the round players can select their armor size (small, medium or heavy) and the nozzles that go with them. Nozzles act like weapons but instead of using ammo they use up the element of the player. Along the side of the screen there is a bar, which varies in size depending on the size of armor picked (heavy being the biggest, small the smallest) and taking up the very bottom (10-25%) of that is an armor piston which also varies depending on armor type (though possibly not on the same gradient). When players fill up the part of the bar just above the piston fills with the players element (fire for the fire team and water for the water team). If the bar gets full [and continues to be filled] the piston is forced down. Along the side of the piston there holes; If the piston passes one of these holes element will leak out, slowly at first but if more holes are passed then element leaks out faster and faster. If you over fill, pushing the piston down onto or past the first hole then you will have maximum weapon pressure for a short time longer than normal until enough element leaks out and the piston goes up to normal. Weapon pressure Each weapon (nozzle) fires element or does something else in a different way but they all share one thing in common, the less empty space you have in your bar the more powerful they become and the faster they use element. As you run out of element they become weaker but use up element more slowly and are usually still quite effective (even if at short range) right until you get really low. Steam damage Now comes the reason not to always fill right up to max. When you get hit by the enemy element you loose some element but you get steam and steam always increases much faster than element decreases. Steam appears on top of your element and begins leaking strait away (even if the piston is all the way up) but it can fill up your bar much faster than your element is lost to counteract it which forces your element and piston down and your element starts leaking out. Steam machines Now, I forgot to mention, your element is your life as well as your ammo, if you run out of element you die. When you die your body and any steam in it remain, enemy players can then run over and pick your body up (they then can't shoot while holding it unless they are heavy) and take it over to the area around a steam device and dump it. As your body leaks steam (dead bodies leak steam fastest [maybe head blows off? nice effect]) and a steam machine sucks in steam. When a device has enough steam it can be used, steam devices can be anything from swing bridges to traps to steam grenade dispensers. Also, steam devices loose steam over time and even faster when in use. In the case of steam swing bridges you may want to guard it until the steam runs out as then if the enemy wants to swing it back into place they may then need to power it up again. Also, if you have been hit and get steamed up, while you are leaking steam naturally you can stand near a steam device and the leaked steam will be collected too (though very slowly). Element areas One part of the map design is element areas, what is meant by this is wet ground, pools, hot ground and pools of fire. Shallow element areas (Wet/Hot ground) are recognizable by their colors (black with glowing red cracks for fire and green/blue with a thin covering of water for water). Shallow inaccessible areas slow down the rate of loss of element when firing and make steam turn back into element at a certain rate; Also, light units can turn themselves into shadows when on shallow areas where they move slowly but can't bee seen or hurt. Pools (and Pools of fire) will conceal small and medium players and heal all three kinds. Heavies stick out of pools but can still shoot whereas others can't unless they jump out. Refill points (fountains, fissures, waterfalls, etc..) may be surrounded by an inaccessible area so that steam is also alleviated. If you drag/push an enemy into a pool they die instantly and their steaming body is thrown out onto land. If you drag a steaming body into a pool all the steam is quickly lost. Nozzle height When choosing a weapon a player can place the nozzle at a height of their choice along the bar (provided it is above the pistons starting position) what this does is thus: When the height the nozzle is at is covered with element, the nozzle will fire element, when the element goes bellow that point and that point becomes empty then the weapon becomes empty then the weapon cannot fire. However, if the point is now full of steam the nozzle becomes a steam weapon, steam weapons are generally much shorter range than element weapons but can be more powerful. Also, most steam weapons will throw enemies around and when a player receives kinetic damage there is a chance that their bar may crack and start leaking from higher up. Steam weapons are also a good way of ensuring steam doesn't get too high. Placing a nozzle high up will mean that it will become a steam weapon sooner but also mean that you will loose your elemental weapon faster. On the other hand, placing an nozzle low down will keep your elemental weapon longer but if you use it too much you may not have much life left when it comes to using a steam weapon. Armors Small/Light - Even when full they are still a bit faster than medium carrying the same amount of element. Only one nozzle or can replace with a melee attack Can hide even in shallow element areas Can double jump onto most ledges or over enemy groups Can drag dead enemies (speed greatly decreased, depends on enemy size.) Medium - Even when full they are faster than heavies carrying the same element. Can have two nozzles or a nozzle and melee attack Hide completely and are invulnerable in deep pools Heal on shallow element areas Can jump an enemy or so when not too full, can jump gaps. Can hang on ledges and drag/flip self up. Can pick up light or medium units without slowing down (looses weapon). Heavy - Carry a lot of element but move medium to slow. Can have a primary and secondary nozzle as well as a melee attack Can pick up a light/medium enemy and still fire with their primary nozzle (melee attack becomes throw). Melee attacking a friendly light or medium unit will pick up and can then throw them up onto ledges or over distances. Random ideas If projectiles from opposite elements collide in mid air they turn strait into steam. This means the jet weapon (which fires a beam of element but is used up very quickly) can be used as a barrier as the same elemental fire will be able to fire through it while the enemy cannot fire back. If two beams cross however they will cancel out. Level design The theme I'm not to sure on, something like a steam castle combined with a labyrinth. One thing I am sure on is that the game should be played out on many levels at once. As it is difficult to shoot players on higher levels medium and light units become essential as they can quickly climb up and deal with enemies trying to run along and drop in behind you. Conversely, if some heavy units have taken over an area and wont budge, a medium or light unit can make their way up to an overhanging area and drop down to attack from within. Also, levels should be littered with steam devices, a few main ones such as bridges and lifts but also things like traps and flood gates (flood gates are used to flood an area with your element, turning it into an elemental zone and flushing out all enemies, Ideas for maps Idea 1: Player start off at elemental fountains and have to go around opening flood gates to create a stream in the floor of element to the central area. The stream loops around the center in a spiral so near the end players will be be open a flood gate that is closer to the enemy spawn point (fountain) than their own. The level is on three heights, the bottom floor becomes the stream when the flood gates open but is covered mostly by grills so players can move around in it but can't jump out whenever they choose. The middle floor is walkways and banks along which the players can walk, in alcoves there are the steam levers that will open the flood gates. About one man height above that there are open platforms with walkways (so heavies can cross). Some have steam turrets, trap walkways (once powered up they will drop anyone who walk on them.), dispensers [nozzle dispensers?], etc.. on them, this is where most fighting goes on but players can climb up and attack from the lower levels.

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From what I understood this game to be, it seems to be a very good idea. But it is...just and idea, like mine, or any other person's. However, the difference is it is a pretty good idea, something interesting and fresh, which is always a must (I'm pretty sure :p) for indie devs these days. Please don't take offfense to anything I say, but, you could spend a bit more time clarifying a few things such as:

1. You must clarify the game-type and gameplay you are trying to get across. From what I've read it looks very interesting. But, I'm confused as to what the steam machines are actually for. Does each character hold one of these piston machines? Are the players battling for steam for which they will use to fire their giant element cannon on the losing team?

2.How are the players filling up this piston? And for what purpose? I don't understand how switching armor fills up the steam in a piston.

3. Doesn't water extinguish flames?

Suggestion: Certain intensity of fire attack against water will boil the water creating steam, draining the player's elemental energy, thus evaporating. Same is true when water attacks fire elemental player. The fire will eentually be extinguished.

4. For what purpose is there for dragging an enemy's body?

As for level design style and tone, I think this game would go very nicely with a "cartoon style" similar to that of the Warcraft titles. The cartoon style would give the elemental characters a unique flair unattainable by styles attempting to replicate realistic graphics. For example: The heavy character in Team Fortress 2 has a lot of character just by looking at the way he is modeled and the animations he has. I'm not saying to base your elemental players off of the ones seen in the Warcraft games, but I could see a cartoon style fitting this game nicely.

Overall, I think your idea is fairly fresh. However, you need to flesh out your description a bit more. I know it's difficult, you must understand that we are not psychic. You must clearly write out every detail and give examples if possible. For and overview such as this, the overview doesn't need to be 10 pages, but it should make sense to a person reading it and hearing about the game for the first time.

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I greatly appreciate the feedback, it makes it easier to know what needs more detail. How would you feel about diagrams for the various mechanics? Will post up corrections and diagrams in a few days.

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Just so you know...I haven't developed ANY games. I'm not even able to legally drive yet. I wouldn't expect much feedback from any other people if I were you, because this is just an idea, which needs lots of polish, just like any document, essay, paper, etc. you write.

I think having the diagrams would help, but if you were a little more descriptive of your ideas in writing, I think that would help a lot. I have an idea of what your idea is, but you must be clearer in expressing your ideas.

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