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truant

Game Design Mashups

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How many people here are working on, or have worked on, a game design that incorporates design elements from two fundamentally different types of games? I'm currently working on a survival horror/open world sandbox RPG and it's proving to be quite the challenge. Has anyone had any success integrating very different designs? Is anyone currently working on a project like this?

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Hi truant,

You're not alone. That's the primary design inspiration behind my Super 3D Game Platform (S3GP) current in development. S3GP's Game Engine is being design to produce unique 3D Computer Games based on one or more basic game mechanics that define popular computer game genres/sub-genres: FPS, RPG, RTS, Puzzle, Arcade, etc. I'm aware that this goal would appear to be a nearly impossible to achieve. However, I believe it can accomplished within a 3D Game by consolidating at every level in the development process taking a top-down approach starting from the most complex to the simplest feature.

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Well I take a lot of different games and mash the elements together with the odd idea, haven't really developed them yet.

One being a mix of Battlezone, Absolute Zero, Terra Nova, X-Com, Dune, Alien Legacy mashup.

An action-adventure-strategy game of sorts ... manage a planetary outpost, building facilities and commencing research ... apply that to new power suits and vehicles to use to capture 'resource nodes' while exploring a massive open world planet to find other colonies and precious caches of supplies all with an overarching storyline.

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One being a mix of Battlezone, Absolute Zero, Terra Nova, X-Com, Dune, Alien Legacy mashup.[/quote]

That sounds like one heck of a mashup!

I'm aiming for a Online Game that is 3-in-1 Genres: Shooter, RPG, RTS. The 3D Client offers a configurable interface which caters to a particular genre and each genre can be be played in 5 popular game-perspectives: First-Person, Third-Person, Top-down, Isometric, Side-Scroll. The Genre compliments the Character's Role:

Kings (Commanders) - RTS
Queen, Bishop, Rook, Knight (Special Forces) - Quad Squad Tactical 3PS
Pawn (Soldiers) - FPS

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I am making an mmorpg/rts/citybuilding hybrid type game. Players have compared aspects of it to these games:
Dwarf Fortress
Majesty
SWG
UO

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Combining genres has been a large part of most of my projects since I started doing game design. Specifically I like a ren'ai interactive story element, which I see as being much the same thing as MMO faction reputation, then I really like the way websites like NeoPets make use of minigames, and GaiaOnline incorporates the forum right into the game, and adventure game puzzles, and sandboxy house building and other crafting, and I like the atmosphere and immersiveness of the physical game world and the way it is organized for the player via stories/quests in sjRPGs and some MMOs, and I really like pet or plant collection and breeding systems, and I like both tactical turn-based combat and realtime arcade combat.

Of all of those, the only ones that don't play too nicely with the others are the adventure game style puzzles with the mmo/online content where everyone would just look the solution up in the wiki. With the rest, the problem isn't getting them to integrate, instead the problem is including them makes the game huge and thus practically impossible to develop.

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Okay, I think you guys all have me beat in the ambition department. biggrin.png

I'm finding even combining these two genres (survival horror and RPG) very difficult. Dead Island does this, of course, but it doesn't have the kind of feel I'm going for. It definitely leans toward the action genre and away from horror.

To illustrate the problem I'm having: in a SH game, the emphasis is placed on restricting the player, confining his movements, and chipping away at him gradually as supplies become more scarce. In a RPG, the emphasis is placed on providing the player with more and more freedom and confidence. If I allow a character in a SH game to improve themselves by increasing stats, the tension dissipates. In a RPG, if I don't allow the character to improve themselves by increasing stats...well, it's not a RPG.

Don't you find any of the elements in these different genres just fundamentally incompatible? Do you ever have to change your initial goal to accommodate these kinds of design challenges? Do you ever have to drop features, not because you're out of time, but because it just can't be adapted?

Maybe the issue isn't mechanical incompatibility, but just incompatible moods or tones. Maybe all the mechanics will work together just fine but they will then define the tone of the game for you, sort of taking it out of your hands.

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Isn't everyone making "game of genre X with influences of genre Y"? Genre mixing is so cliche right now that not doing it would make you stand out more tongue.png.

Ha! True :)

I guess I'm mostly interested in whether or not people have run into situations where one mechanic actually works in opposition to another. Mechanics that sort of define a particular genre that can't really be effectively combined with mechanics that define a different genre. It's one thing to borrow elements from a genre and another to combine those specific elements that are (at least superficially) antithetical.

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To illustrate the problem I'm having: in a SH game, the emphasis is placed on restricting the player, confining his movements, and chipping away at him gradually as supplies become more scarce. In a RPG, the emphasis is placed on providing the player with more and more freedom and confidence. If I allow a character in a SH game to improve themselves by increasing stats, the tension dissipates. In a RPG, if I don't allow the character to improve themselves by increasing stats...well, it's not a RPG.

You might give your character increased power and a feeling of "freedom and confidence" only relative to some specific kind of adventurous things to do, while at the same time threatening him and "chipping away" from another side.
For example, imagine Dracula with a more prepared Jonathan Harker who has something to steal from the vampire (maybe deeds and treasures from his vault or secret books and diaries from his library): as successful and competent as he might be on this RPG front, his chances of escaping his host and returning home alive on the SH front remain very small.

In general, if you add constraints (two different "feelings" at the same time), feeling constrained (complex and careful compromises are unavoidable) should be expected.

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