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Top-down shooter mock up

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http://img14.imageshack.us/img14/8606/zsim.png

This is a mock-up for a game idea I had.

The premise is this:

A graphically simplified, multiplayer and single player capable, top-down shooter with an inbuilt scenario/map editor (comprised of basic elements in the vein of those depicted in the mock-up). This editor would also include a 'randomizer' function, which randomly constructs a level, enemy locations/speeds/strengths etc...

To give the game out-of-the box play value - there would be a small single player story campaign, aimed at introducing the game and its concept, at the same time as providing a tutorial.

The image I have shown here is intended to depict a "Survive-the-waves-of-zombies" scenario - but a tactical element to the game (return fire/cover thinking for the AI) would be nice.

The mock-up says it all, I want this game to be supremely simple - stripped down to it's root gameplay and tactics.

Would you play this game?
Why would you/would you not play this game?
What sort of talent would be needed to bring this to fruition?

[Edited by - The J Man on July 21, 2010 12:45:31 PM]

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Quote:
Original post by The J Man
Would you play this game?
Why would you/would you not play this game?
What sort of talent would be needed to bring this to fruition?


I fear that if the answer were that simple, every publisher would start producing point-black top hits. There're just too many variables:
- sound quality
- jokes and fun (duke nukem phenomen)
- visual quality
- interface
- gore
- learning curve
- medial hype
- zeitgeist
- bugs
...

I fear you have to test'n'try, nobody will be able to predict the success of a game from a simple mock-up :-/

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The image link is either unapproved or faulty, so here's the link to it:

http://img14.imageshack.us/img14/8606/zsim.png

The sound quality is likely to revolve around simple beeps and buzzes that reflect the game's simulator look.

Jokes and fun would probably be left out, this game being stripped of virtually everything that isn't directly linked to the physical gameplay. If the user were able to design custom campaigns however, they could insert their own humour.

The visual quality is (as you can now see) extremely simple. The graphics have all but been abandoned, although there are several embelishments (A hazy glow and decorative grid lines etc...) in the example that make the visual style:

A) Bearable to look at (not SO stripped down that it bores the eye).
B) Understandable to the point at which each element can be identified fairly easily.

The interface, by intention would also be extremely simple. The mouse point controls the cross-hair, which dictates the direction of fire.

Up & Down/W & S could control forward and backward motion along the direction that the cross-hair is facing and Left & Right/A & D strafe. Add in buttons for pick up item, drop item, chat and team chat - then that's about it. I think that adding gore into this game would spoil the simplified simulator look.

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Hi J,

It looks like your image tag is malformed, it hasn't embedded properly (is there an extra newline in there somewhere?).

The actual mock up looks interesting - I like the potential to make cover and covering fire central mechanics. I would probably give the game a go, as I have no problem with abstract graphics if the gameplay is engaging.

A couple of key areas, in my opinion, are ensuring that the controls are rock solid (accurate, pleasing and natural to interact with) and that weapons are varied somewhat to allow different strategy and have their properties (range, damage, splash damage, firing rate) tuned and balanced for a tight experience. Playtesting will be absolutely key here, as in any competitive action game.

This sort of project could feasibly be undertaken by a single programmer or programmer/artist team, unless perhaps you have plans for some grand matchmaking/multiplayer system and the programmer has no experience with networking (which seems to be quite a common situation). The art and sound could probably be outsourced quite easily.

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It's such a generic and vague concept, I don't yet see any reason to play it. What is supposed to distinguish it from existing games?

The proposed UI would sink it no matter what, though. A free-floating mouse cursor is an inferior UI for directional 2D shooting because of how it behaves (= fails) near the character. I can think of several control schemes which could conceivably work, but which ones are appropriate depends heavily on whether you want limited or unlimited turn rate.

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Original post by Stroppy Katamari
Hi J,

It looks like your image tag is malformed, it hasn't embedded properly (is there an extra newline in there somewhere?).

The actual mock up looks interesting - I like the potential to make cover and covering fire central mechanics. I would probably give the game a go, as I have no problem with abstract graphics if the gameplay is engaging.

A couple of key areas, in my opinion, are ensuring that the controls are rock solid (accurate, pleasing and natural to interact with) and that weapons are varied somewhat to allow different strategy and have their properties (range, damage, splash damage, firing rate) tuned and balanced for a tight experience. Playtesting will be absolutely key here, as in any competitive action game.

This sort of project could feasibly be undertaken by a single programmer or programmer/artist team, unless perhaps you have plans for some grand matchmaking/multiplayer system and the programmer has no experience with networking (which seems to be quite a common situation). The art and sound could probably be outsourced quite easily.


I'd be taking care of the graphics, as it is my trade. Hopefully, I could find a programmer who could cope with the networking elements you mentioned. If not, my goal would probably be to get a single player game with a campaign editor rigged up - and then develop something that included the mutiplayer facets afterwards.

Like you said; the sound could be outsourced easily enough - more than likely through these forums.

Quote:
Original post by Stroppy Katamari
It's such a generic and vague concept, I don't yet see any reason to play it. What is supposed to distinguish it from existing games?


It simply has no novelty. There would be no concepts or plots, other than user generated ones. The fact that it deliberately goes as close as it does to being purely about interface and control, and not about graphics or effects is what sets it apart. I want to make it, partly, as an experiment to see if this kind of simple game could provide enough of a blank canvas to get a decent following. Its simplicity is paradoxically its novelty.

Quote:
Original post by Stroppy Katamari
The proposed UI would sink it no matter what, though. A free-floating mouse cursor is an inferior UI for directional 2D shooting because of how it behaves (= fails) near the character. I can think of several control schemes which could conceivably work, but which ones are appropriate depends heavily on whether you want limited or unlimited turn rate.


I disagree, this control system entertains and seems intuitive to me - I recently played a few games of CS2D which, while generally a clunky game, still has a decent bit of play in it.

The reason that I do not want Up = up, up & left = diagonally left etc... is because this leaves only eight directions of movement. The one that I have proposed, I feel, would allow for more fluidity.

_

I'm not sure if I mentioned it before, but it would be cool if this game could scroll - allowing for bigger, multiroom maps than shown in the mock-up. Just a thought.

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As others have said it's hard to evaluate from just a pic but I think minimalist games have a lot of potential for good, no-frills core gameplay. I don't know that I would care much for a story, though. I'd think the real compelling part would be in having a huge mix of enemies and tactical situations as well as generated levels where different tiles have different effects (shield tile, repulsion tile, tile where characters can move through but not bullets, trap tiles, etc.)

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Original post by Wavinator
As others have said it's hard to evaluate from just a pic but I think minimalist games have a lot of potential for good, no-frills core gameplay. I don't know that I would care much for a story, though. I'd think the real compelling part would be in having a huge mix of enemies and tactical situations as well as generated levels where different tiles have different effects (shield tile, repulsion tile, tile where characters can move through but not bullets, trap tiles, etc.)


Yeah, you've pretty much summed up what the jist of the game is. Put concisely: 'Minimalist, no-frills gameplay with a huge mix of enemies and tactical situations' says it nicely. The concept came about when I was thinking about the design of a game which provided the player with the basic elements - but relied on them to provide the context, story, match rules, campaign, scenario, whatever...

With the tiles, I was thinking on the same lines. The image shows green and blue building wall tiles against the red ground. The green ones are intended to be concrete or something, but the blue is glass. The glass tiles could be fired through, not passed through - but after so many shots they disappear/are destroyed.

Other ideas were a bunch of different objects like a patch of nine tiles (3X3) that could be used to teleport to different areas. Maybe travelator tiles that drift players in a certain direction. Of course, the classic DOOM staples of switch activated and proximity activated doors would be a must...

All of this reminds me a little of Soldat. A small group of Soldat players regularly build maps that aren't intended for team deathmatches or CTF, but they are intended as climbing maps. The online players spawn at the start line and must climb difficult maps filled with obstacles - the winner is the first one to the top. I have observed similar phenomena on Q3A and Counterstrike servers.

It would be interesting to see if players would opt out of conflict based game styles and build mazes for each other. With a bit of time, you could even put together a procedurally generating maze map function.

With all of this in mind - knowing that network programming is complicated and time consuming; what do you think is a reasonable time frame for a programmer of medium competence and myself to complete this project in?

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