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fearghaill

Leaving the game, literally

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Once a ragged group of survivors in a city overrun by monsters, they have finally found their feet. Their hideout has become a fortress, and their numbers have more than doubled, with fellow survivors found during supply runs, and others who came to them when they heard there was a safe haven. As safe as can be found in this godforsaken town at least. The have the supplies, they have the people, they have the weapons to fight back, to investigate the robed figures they've seen moving amongst the monsters. They might even be able to get to the bottom of this nightmare, to figure out why this has happened, and how they can stop it. Screw that, I'm getting the hell out of town. What do you do when you give the player the freedom to choose their own strategy, and that strategy is to not play the game you planned for them? Do the players who choose to skip town rather than stay and fight get a different, lesser ending? Do they get turned back at the city limits by a wall of impenetrable Plot? Should escaping be an equally valid objective, for those players who want a shorter game?

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Well, really, it could be like House of the Dead.
You have different paths and they lead to different things, but you come back to fight the boss at the end anyway, or maybe he comes and finds you.

Either way, I'd love a game like that.
Where your path could drastically change and your endings are genuinely different things.

As opposed to the same ending, but modified.

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In this case it would be somewhat of a sandbox, where the plot is revealed over time, much like how in X-Com you'd start encountering tougher aliens, they'd ramp up their attacks and start retaliating once you showed you were a threat, and then eventually you took the fight to them in a big way.

However, if the player chooses to simply leave town, either I prevent them somehow, or the game ends, as the whole point is to survive and claw your way back to reclaiming the city.

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Well maybe the player falls into a pit of monsters or finds an army helicopter or a secret army base or something.
Exploring the game should be how the story and game progress, but having multiple advancement triggers could really change the game.
Leaving town doesn't have to end with the player abandoning civilisation, although it quite easily could.
Maybe it's just the start of an entirely different storyline path.

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that's a possibility, but mapping/modelling the countryside is way outside of my current scope.

For the sake of gameplay I'm limiting the number of characters the player can control outside the base to small squads, so the first incentive to stay in the city would be to not abandon noncombat characters to their fates, though I want to allow players to be as ruthless or altruistic as they choose.

I like the idea of exiting the city as a plot trigger though. Perhaps whoever is responsible for what's happened to the town also wants to keep word from getting out, so anyone trying to leave the city would encounter patrols that would either kill or capture that squad. Having the first 6 people to cross city limits get decimated would be a pretty good incentive to not try that anymore.

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Quote:
Original post by fearghaill
...
A few games come to mind, in a few different ways.


1) Grand Theft Auto.

The game is very freeform once most missions start. The requirements for completion are very loose, and you can find your own way to get the job done as long as the objectives are met.

For example, there is a mission early in GTA3 where a mob boss will escape from his night club into his waiting car, and his entourage will escort him across the city to his mansion.

After failing a few times because he always got to his garage while I was dealing with his body guard's cars, I came up with a new plan. I stole a bunch of garbage trucks, and a tank. I parked them so that they blocked off the entrance to his mansion. Then I just waited for him to come to me, and I blew the car up with the tank.

It's fun reading about the ways other players have come up to solve all the missions.

2) Dead Rising

You are trapped in the mall with zombies. A helicopter is coming in 3 days to pick you up. All you have to do is be at the helipad at the right time to end the game.

You can completely ignore the story, and just wander around leveling up, or doing whatever you please. The game plays like groundhog day, where you can keep restarting over with the things you earned in the previous playthrough.

There are many different things that can happen depending on the choices you make, or missions you don't complete. There is also an entire second half of the game that takes place after the 3 days, if you meet certain objectives.

I'm not doing it justice. It's like a freeform rogue-like in a mall. And unlike most games, the freedom of choice actually exists, and the alternate paths are there too.

All the storyline missions happen at certain times, on certain days, and you either have to be there and choose to take part, or you miss out on them.

Same with people who need to be rescued. You either rescue them, or not. And the choices you make there have a big effect on certain things you can acquire, or even your travel options through the mall.

You can even decide not to bother showing up for the helicopter ride out of the mall, and just condemn yourself to live there until you die.

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