Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
Mephs

Micro-Shooter idea

This topic is 3816 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

Hey all, I'm interested in knowing what people would think about the idea of taking a concept used by some casual games and applying it to a more "hardcore" genre. I'm thinking about making a top down shooter (like the original Grand Theft Auto for example) and I've been pondering upon ways to both make the game fun and original, whilst also keeping content requirements to a minimum. Through looking at games such as Strange Adventures in Infinite Space and Puzzle Quest, I like the idea of keeping play times short... around the 15 to 20 minute mark to be precise. Further to this, I've also considered a microgame approach, like Wario Ware takes. The idea being that instead of creating hours of content that will only be seen once or twice, instead the game would contain maybe 1 hours worth of content that can be played over and over with different results each time depending on player performance. The ~1 hours worth of content would also likely be split up into shorter gameplay segments, each maybe 1-10 minutes or so long. Basically the key point being that the game can be picked up, played for 10 minutes or so, and then put down. The perfect time killing game :) Kind of like a hardcore gamers solitaire equivalent. I think it could fill a niche that has not yet been taken advantage of. I think it would appeal to people who have little time for playing games, but who are put off by the increasingly cutesy nature of most casual titles. Strange Adventures in Inifinite space already demonstrates that this method can be a success, what I'm wondering is if this approach would work for other types of game, specifically in my case, a top down shooter. In the case of SAIS though, the short gameplay works well because the game is trying to effectively emulate something like a space soap opera. I figure that with a top down shooter, the approach would work better if it tried instead to emulate a pen and paper RPG. The small segments of gameplay could be interspersed with small snippets of storyline. The overarching storyline would already be written, the player would just join in the action at key points in the storyline, avoiding the need for fluff content. In this way, though the overarcing storyline is a strictly linear affair, the actual gameplay could be completely freeform. This freeform gameplay could be almost to the scale of something like Oblivion, but would be manageable because each freeform gameplay section is small and self contained in nature. This self containment stops the number of permutations of actions from spiralling out of control, which again, helps to get more use out of the same content. In other words, segments of play have high replay value because they can be approached in lots of different ways, but this does not have the knock on effect of having to be considered (by the designer/programmer/etc) at every other point in the game. So anyhoo, as usual I have kind of lost the plot with regards to a point, but I would be interested in getting any feedback on my thoughts. Is a micro-shooter a viable idea? Would it really help reduce the level of content required to create a game? Can you think of any improvements to the idea? Any other unforseen advantages or disadvantages? Any opinions would be very much valued :) Thanks, Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
"Hardcore" shooter games which provide an hour of content but lots of replay value already exist in the form of most scrolling shooters like Ikaruga. It's certainly a viable idea but they don't seem to get nearly as much attention outside of Japan as they do inside. [sad]

I guess the tricky bit would be getting something which is fun to replay over and over. With scrolling shooters that usually means a very hard game which is generous with extra lives and continues, and various advanced tactics for the player to learn and perfect (like Psyvariar's "buzz" system).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There is a subtle distinction between what we are talking about though. Firstly, I'm referring to shooters where you control a humanoid character rather than a spaceship, but that's a small distinction and sligtly beside the point, but I thought I should make that a bit clearer.

The replay value in Ikaruga (I assume as I have not played it) likely comes from tackling the same set patterns of enemies over and over more and more efficiently. The freeform gameplay I am suggesting is more like Grand Theft Auto... you aren't running on rails like a scrolling space shooter, you choose your own path and which enemies you take on, or run away from. You choose to accept side missions to make your main missions easier, or you just run in guns blazing on the main objective... it's up to you.

Then the replay value also comes from how well you achieve individual elements. Like something such as Guitar Hero, you could be graded for your performance on one of the micro-levels... providing the incentive to replay and up your score by perhaps achieving the objective a bit faster, killing more enemies, killing less civillians, getting a kill combo or whatever other incentives could be thought of.

So yes, you have a valid point, replay value needs to be considered carefully, but hopefully I have addressed that issue with these comments :)

Having said that though, I have been wondering about what kind of objectives the player could have. The problem is that to give significant replay value there has to be a wide range of potential outcomes. Shooter game outcomes are usually "kill or be killed" which is about as binary as they come :)

So what elements could such a game use that allow a wide variation in player performance?

I can think of perhaps having time as a factor... the shorter the time it takes you to clear a battlefield, the higher you score.

Perhaps dead enemies could leave behind collectibles which vanish after a short time. The number of these items collected by the player could also be another non-binary objective.

Another idea would be to perhaps rate the player based on how much damage they inflict in a given time period.

Part of the reason I've had a little trouble with this design is becaus I think coming up with these kind of objectives is a little difficult and maybe doesn't quite fit with the style of game? Maybe instead I need a single re-usable non binary scoring method... something along the lines of how Burnout crash mode scores you based on the amount of dollars damage done to vehicles when you cause a pile-up.

So yeah, any input on that would be appreciated too :)

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Don't do it if you're hoping to make money off it. Unless you have stellar production values (meaning fantastic art and everything) or a really unique style (like Platypus did with claymation) shooters are a bad idea, especially futuristic/space shooters. They're popular to download, but not to buy.

Trust me. I know firsthand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I would suggest a game that is less driven by plot and more on the character and its environment. Have randomized levels that make each experience different. I am just throwing stuff out there really.

All in all, I would say to write up a treatment for the game and propose it again here with your concept in mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yeah, it also bothers me that shooter games do not tend to perform too well. Having said that though, I have had great difficulty locating a single player top down shooter. There are loads of multiplayer deathmatch style top down shooters and one or two single player projects that have been cancelled or seem to be going nowhere at the moment (namely War Angels and Falcon Squad), so I'm not sure it's that crowded a market.

I plan to run two projects together though when I eventually do start working on them. This one being the more complicated but less likely to make money project, and I will probably also do a more simple and casual friendly money maker on the side.

So yeah, if I do get around to making this, it may well end up as just a labour of love, but who knows :)

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dasubermechen:

That is interesting, but I'm not sure I understand what you mean by focusing more on the characters and the environment. How would this be beneficial?

Randomised levels is something I had considered, as it worked for SAIS... but I think this might suffer from making the game become overly generic. SAIS only had to generate random enemies as the space environment always looked the same, but when you start generating random levels that involve generating random scenery, I think it can be jarring to see components re-used, or generated levels that just don't feel right or logically organised. Still... it's a possibility.

I have a design document underway (and many more ideas besides these), but I'm ironing out the kinks which is why I decided to post here :)

Thanks

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Mephs
So what elements could such a game use that allow a wide variation in player performance?

I can think of perhaps having time as a factor... the shorter the time it takes you to clear a battlefield, the higher you score.

Perhaps dead enemies could leave behind collectibles which vanish after a short time. The number of these items collected by the player could also be another non-binary objective.

Some kind of multiplier / combo system perhaps? Where you increase your multiplier by chaining together kills rapidly? Something where a newcomer would be able to blast their way though but get a low score, but a skilled player could keep a single chain going for the entire level if they were very good. Perhaps additional bonuses for stylish moves, close escapes and multiple kills at once?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Mephs
Yeah, it also bothers me that shooter games do not tend to perform too well. Having said that though, I have had great difficulty locating a single player top down shooter.


Trust me, there are loads of them, especially on Xbox Live Arcade, which you will be competing with whether you like it or not. Also, I just released a top-down shooter myself, and while I can't share exact figures, the sales are not going well at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That's a nice idea, but perhaps a tad bit cliche? I think it could work if some thought were put into the system though.

The problem is it relies on a players ability to kill alone. I like the idea of the player earning a better performance bonus by acting more strategically rather than relying on how good they are at twitch play. Still, it is probably a better idea than my suggestions so far.

Also, I'm having a little trouble with the idea that the game is over (or the mission failed) if you die, but I'm not too hot on the FPS standard of respawning ad infinatum. I'm toying with the idea of somehow making the players Cybernauts of some kind... i.e if they get shot and killed... it is really just a projection of themselves being destroyed and they can perhaps hack themselves back into existance again... or something like that.

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

We are the game development community.

Whether you are an indie, hobbyist, AAA developer, or just trying to learn, GameDev.net is the place for you to learn, share, and connect with the games industry. Learn more About Us or sign up!

Sign me up!