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lmbarns

Escortables + mobile attacks

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lmbarns    460
Looking for ideas relating to objectives/quests under the category of escorting/rescuing.

This is a mobile adventure horror exploration type game, 3d with dual touchpad. It's a dark, creepy tunnel network leading to several rooms and a couple exits.

Initially I rigged up AI on my monsters, and they spawn behind you once you enter a room, which is kinda scary when you run in a dark room, turn around and there are monsters running at you from where you came. Before I rigged up their attacks, they would just follow you, so you could lead them through the entire dungeon, which reminded me of escortables in Ultima Online.

So far I have 2 ideas, one is for an npc woman to be in a cage in one of the rooms. Once you kill the 2 monsters guarding her, the cage is destroyed and she follows you. You lead her out of the cave to safety for a reward from the npc who gave you the quest to rescue his ___ (daughter, niece, wife, etc)

The other was maybe one group of monsters is allied with the humans (goblins for instance), and the npc gives you a quest to locate and retrieve a group of goblins that was pinned down in 1 wing of the dungeon. You have to go there, kill a couple monsters, get into the perception range of the goblins so they follow you, then lead them out to safety.

Just trying to get idea's to maximize re-use of the same assets to keep the game small by adding some quests to complete objectives inside the dungeon (which is a creepy environment in itself). Yet being mobile I think the play sessions should be targeted at 5-10 min objectives. Right now you can run through, spawn monsters in 3 wings, kill them, but that's about it.

Another thing was with mobile and attacks. I can have it auto attack if you're close enough/facing a monster, or require 1 touch per swing. Initially I had a hitbox on the sword which the animation moved and you had to actually hit the monster with it, but it has a lot of overhead and was a pain on mobile.

I switched to check if a monster is in range and if so the player auto-turns-toward the closest monster and attacks. Attack plays a swing animation, checks distance (not direction since it auto turns toward enemy) and if in range, does damage.

What do you think is better, if the player selects a target and watches as the character and the monster duke it out, meanwhile the player can worry about drinking a potion, applying a bandage, etc based on the healthbars? I had it auto attack and then spent some time cutting it up so it only happens once per touch, but think it's probably acceptable for the platform to do auto attacking once target is set.

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jefferytitan    2523
I remember from an interview with a leading mobile developer they advised to simplify more than would be reasonable for a desktop/console game. Player expectation is lower depth-wise, plus complicated control schemes can be difficult to use on a mobile. Therefore auto-attack seems fine as long as fights are quick, or you can disengage at will.

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kyanite    395
[quote]Just trying to get idea's to maximize re-use of the same assets to keep the game small by adding some quests to complete objectives inside the dungeon (which is a creepy environment in itself). Yet being mobile I think the play sessions should be targeted at 5-10 min objectives. Right now you can run through, spawn monsters in 3 wings, kill them, but that's about it.[/quote]
First, the game sounds pretty interesting.

Secondly, my personal opinion would be: do both and alternate. Saving humans in a horror game has a pretty obvious draw. I would develop the "allied monster" aspect a little more. In a "horror" style game, the only true allies I would expect would be other humans, everything else would be "allies via convenience". Thus, instead of a "friendly" goblin (ugly, demonic creature) giving you a quest to save some other, supposedly "friendly", goblins I'd make it look like more of a trade: you help the goblins in exchange for intel on human survivors/their help escaping. Instead of leading them out, they join in the battle (run ahead, or something). In my mind, this lets you divy up monsters into two parties: those you can use in "assistance" quests and those that are permanently hostile (it makes no sense to help the big, bad, mindless zombies, for instance) and essentially "reuse" any assets you use for those in the first category (and, I suppose, you can retcon as much as you need in order to use some of the second). Depending on how far you'd like to take it you can use it as a stragetic gameplay element; every monster type hates you, the player, by default but has a mysterious dislike for certain other monsters and will give preference to tearing them in half.

Personally, I'd cut out the goblin quest-giver altogether and make a human one say something like "There's some [[i]monster type[/i]]s penned up in [[i]random location[/i]], if you free them they might help you escape." or
something similar. And then maybe if you accidentally attacked them they'd turn on you.

Lastly, you can always interweave various "endings". That is, instead of always saving the human and "leading them to safety" you occassionally find only their remains - thus, you were too late and *queue Ackbar* it's a trap! Or, you find [the survivor] but they've been turned - it's [i]also[/i] a trap and a betrayal!

Anyway, there's a lot of ways you can potentially reuse the same gameplay elements (and corresponding art).

[quote]What do you think is better, if the player selects a target and watches as the character and the monster duke it out, meanwhile the player can worry about drinking a potion, applying a bandage, etc based on the healthbars? I had it auto attack and then spent some time cutting it up so it only happens once per touch, but think it's probably acceptable for the platform to do auto attacking once target is set.[/quote]
Auto-attacking schemes (on any platform) are perfectly fine as long as a) there are other things for the player to do to influence the outcome of a specific battle and b) the pace of the battle feels appropriate for the mechanics found in (a).

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lmbarns    460
Couple things I've come up with since posting this.

Initially I had a light/torch in the players hand but dynamic lighting killed phones performance. In the videos here I have a lot of particle effects (for moving fog) I may tone down as well, or at least cull when not in view. Also need to make a cleanup function that despawns monsters when you leave the area. Right now if you run through spawning monsters and running away it kills performance on the entire level. If you kill the monsters it's fine, they drop a chest and you run into it to get empty/destroy it.

1) Making half a dozen variants of the same dungeon, basically change a wing/corridor to extend it, only if the player goes there will they see that it leads somewhere new. I can either randomly choose one each time the player loads in or organize them somehow, but it makes things a little different each play.

2) Maybe I can relate back story/history/objectives directly to the character without needing the npc in some cases.

3) Attacking: I made a switch-case with half a dozen cases for attack animations and damages. When you press the attack button it generates a number and passes it to the switch, playing an animation and damage per that case. It's actually really good, because it randomly plays attack animations and sometimes you get 2 big hits in a row, other times not, but it's not dull/repetitive, damages are tied to the animation so a double slash does more damage than a poke. My model has 30 attack animations I could rig up, but 6 works well atm. Damages are rondomly generated based off a min-max damage, ranges are adjusted for the different attacks so double slash might deal random.range(10, 20) while forward thrust might do random.range(5, 10). Could just as easily swap in actual skill/stat variables to calculate damages but for this, this is fine.

3.5) Right now it doesn't seem to be checking if you hit the attack button as opposed to touching anywhere on the screen. It does however check distance, so if an "enemy" is within range, touching anywhere on the screen will attack the monster. If you're not in range everything is normal, you can move around without swinging.

4) Haven't got traps yet but definitely plan on a couple types....maybe explosion, poison, and shooting darts, maybe I should go watch some indiana jones for more ideas. Maybe when you enter a path an explosion plays and you get a message that a team further down the tunnel had a blowout and you need to find an alternate path to them to lead them out.

5) Someday--this would be really cool for a 1 vs 1 deathmatch if I ever get networking going on the phone. Maybe an optional playmode.

Here's a video I made last night of the gameplay thus far, but no sound in first video. [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7-mOysgl8g&list=UUuPUwB98LX-ir9PKx1aN6Mw&index=1&feature=plcp[/media]

This is a standalone build installed on my phone to show sound but it gets terrible background noise midway through when my PC starts going nuts [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0icg4Avux4&list=UUuPUwB98LX-ir9PKx1aN6Mw&index=1&feature=plcp[/media]
but check out the very end, 15 seconds from the end when the monsters spawn it scared the crap out of me as it plays this monster scream sound...but the sound is great on the phone.....no hiccups, smooth transitions that fade off on ambient sounds...

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