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Any Ideas on my Game?

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Hi everyone, Warning - This will be kind of long: My friend and I are making a game for TSA (Technology Student Association), but he has kind of left most of it to me, including the game design. The game has to be E-rated, entertaining, exciting, challenging and have social and educational value. The game also has to have at least 5 levels. So, now on to the game idea: We were thinking about making an RTS (2D or 3D, don't know which yet) where each level is a different era in American history. Level 1 would be either some medieval time period, like when Rome was an empire, or the Revolutionary War. Level 2 would be the Civil War. Level 3 would be World War I. Level 4 would be World War II. We haven't decided what level 5 would be (maybe Vietnam or Korea or the Gulf war). You start off with one city, which is your capital city. From there you can build things like a barracks, armory, machine shop, etc, and train units. You would be a commander tasked with capturing key areas for your country, and these areas would be significant to that time period. For example, Yorktown for the Revolutionary war. Your commander would send you messages about what areas to capture. To capture these areas, you can negotiate with the country that controls that area, or if your army is big/powerful enough to overpower the enemy, you could invade. In order to negotiate, you must first train a diplomat, then send him to the city. Once there, you are given different options to say, like (intimidation) "If you don't surrender now, my army will destroy you", or (offering) "here, take 100 gold and give me your city". (We will probably come up with better ones later [wink]). Before you can train an army, you have to train a field commander to control the soldiers. Because the game has to be E-rated, we were thinking about displaying an image for each of your soldiers in the battle in a column(s) on one side of the screen and the enemy's army on the other side. To kill other units, the game would add up the total strength of both armies, and that is about as far as we could get so far. When a unit dies their image would be blurred and a red "x" would cover the image. When you have taken a city, before you can control it, you have to answer a trivia question about that time period. The difficulty of the question will be decided by the difficulty of the game that the player chooses to play on. You win by capturing all of the key locations. You lose if the enemy is able to take over your capital city. You would have allies, like France and England in World War I and II, and they could send you extra money and/or reinforcements. Again, sorry for it being so long. Any ideas or criticism (hopefully constructive!) would be appreciated. Thanks a lot.

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Sounds ambitious. How much time do you have to finish this project? Being able to finishing the project on time should be the highest priority. You'll get more points for being able to demonstrate a polished, and complete simpler game than a 75% complete one where you have to ask your users to "imagine" how cool it could be when completed.

Other than that, I think that if you're going for an E rating you shouldn't be exploring the history of America's involvement in War.

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I know it's ambitious, and we may have to cut some features, but we have about 4 months to work on it.

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Four months is not much time at all particularly if it's only a part time effort. How much experience do you and your friend have with game development and programming in general? What language are you writing this in? For something like this, maybe you should consider doing it in Flash.

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We are using C++ and DirectX. I have been programming with C++ for three years and DirectX for about 1 year. I think we will make it 2D because I already have a small 2D rts almost finished that I started at the beginning of the school year (it fits into the time frame requirement) that is similar to this.

Also, we aren't trying to make it into Age of Empires, it is just going to be a small game.

Also, I already have most of the art and a lot of the programming done, so I think we can finish it in four months. Christmas break is coming up and I will have a lot of time to work on it then too.

Edit - I am comfortable with OOP and other advanced topics.

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Another idea we considered was a game where you try to build a nation up to a super power from almost nothing. You would start with a town hall and a worker and a small amount of money. It would be kind of like Age of Empires if you play it on the nomad setting.

Over time, you would build up your economy, research civil improvements and military, and form alliances with other countries. You would gather resources and trade with your allies.

Every country would have a status value indicating their rank in the world.

By researching your military and forging alliances with other countries, you decrease the chance of being attacked, which is what almost every leader wants. There probably would not be any fighting; or if there is, there would be only a small amount.

We were also thinking about having a crime rate that increases as the nation's size increases. To keep this rate down, you would train law enforcement units, like cops.

For the different levels, you would build a nation in five different parts of the world, and these nations could possibly be connected so that you have control over a lot of the world.

This idea is still incomplete, so again, any thoughts would be appreciated.

Edit - There would also be a citizen happiness value, that you would increase with entertainment like theaters, etc. We might also add a feature where you select people to run the "government" of your nation.

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Hi,

What kind of students are the in the TSA? Are you talking about high school students or university students? How many games will be made and is this some kind of competition?

My opinion is that your game idea is too board. If I were you I would pick a more specific topic. For example, a game that models after one job in the current society, or a game about a process in our society.

Just as an example, you could write a game about a garage that fixes people's cars, but the measurable progress of the game is only the amont of money made at the end of the day. Your game could include that parts where the player could decide whether to overcharge a customer, to tell the customer to fix something they don't need, to decide what to do if you don't know how to fix the car, or what to do when you discover that you got some extra screws left after fixing the car. On the other hand, you have have a scenario where a customer should get something fixed but is too cheap to fix it. In the game you could include inmeasureable qualities to represent the moral that money may be an easy to see, but it isn't everything.



Do something you know from experience or a topic with information that you can verify. Don't just put any dynamics or rules in the game.

Quote:

We were also thinking about having a crime rate that increases as the nation's size increases. To keep this rate down, you would train law enforcement units, like cops.


This could be just an assumption or misconception. If you cannot back it up by references, don't put it in an 'Educational' game.

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The students in this competition are going to be high school students. I think that there are three game entries per state, and I don't know how many stataes are competing.

Thanks for the comments everyone.

@Wai - I haven't had a chance to talk to my friend yet, but I'll definitely tell him about your suggestion.

Again thanks everyone!

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I've seen lots of terrible kids games.

There was one called 'Animal Doctor' or something to that effect on the DS.
It was E rated.

You had to measure a dog's temperature by sticking the thermometer up it's butt.

Who makes a kids game based in reality?
Kids don't want that.
It's stupidity to them and to everyone else with enough common sense to see it.

I mean, older people rely on other sources for information. People don't play civilisation for the educational aspects, that's for sure. Which is why I'm assuming the educational aspect is for children.

So, yeah.

Reflect on design decisions.

Also, there is a tactical game that uses tiles instead of units. Sort of like Mahjonng but the tiles kill each other.
It's actually a good game in spite of this. At least tactically.
If you want to make a non-violent RTS, why not just base it on a board game of sorts?

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Lol the dog thing reminded me of a game idea i posted.... also your post brought to mind a game I hated "Wall Street Kid" for the NES. I could never figure this game out. It basically was a stock market trainer but I sucked at it and never made enough money to buy the castle. EPIC FAIL.

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