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Zander353

Feedback on A Game Idea? - Survival

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Hello and welcome!

I am completely and utterly new to this site, so if I make a mistake or two in the way things are done around here I sincerely apologize. Anyway, recently I have been delving into the prospects of Python, and to be honest, I'm having a blast with it, but truth be told I'm by no means a master. Still, I feel like I have the basics down enough to where I can perhaps try and create a 2D overhead video game, and thus here I stand ( Metaphorically ). I am aware that C++ is much better for this kind of thing, but alas I know little to nothing about C++ and so I will be attempting this in Python whilst praying to the computer gods that my pathetic code can make what I see in my head a reality.

With that sad excuse for an introduction out of the way here is the very, very rough outline of what I am going to attempt to do, and I would ask your feedback on it :). I want to create a 2D, overhead zombie survival video game. Sounds lame right? Every child and his pet dog spot has probably attempted to try the prior. What prey tell could be more cliche than a zombie video game? Next am I going to tell you that after fighting off the hoard of zombies the player must collect 7 crystals to save the world from pure destruction, only to find out that their princess is in another castle? Ya...

All terrible jokes aside that is what I am going to try and do, leaving out the crystals and princess part. However the thing that is going to make this game so unique, or at least I hope, is that more of it is going to be focused on survival instead of action and horror. I mean down to the letter this is going to be a difficult game. If this game that I have in mind could be compared to anything, it would be like mine-craft and Terraria had a baby that somehow turned out to be a 2D overhead game, only to multiply the difficulty by about 10 fold and toss in more depth. Of course that being said, there would be different difficulty settings, but the game would be made to be played by those of us who really want the depth of a rouge-like game while at the same time not wanting to look at ASCII all day. Hmmm perhaps the best way to explain this game would be just to make a couple lists of what it would have and not have... Here take a look --


[size=7][font=comic sans ms,cursive]What it would have ---[/font]

- A food system, you don't eat and drink, you die.

- Move with the W,A,S,D keys and I haven't decided if I want it to shoot where you put your mouse or if space should just shoot where you are looking... I'll have to think about it...

- A changeable difficulty setting.

- A weight system that would be realistic, if you go out to scavenge you can't carry your pocket bazooka, sorry.

- A randomly generated, sandbox city for each time you play ( Probably by far the biggest challenge I'm looking at )

- A tiny underlying sense of comedy, I find the best games often don't take themselves completely serious ( Portal, Portal 2, DK, DK2, ect...)
* Let me clarify this a bit, I mean I want the game to be difficult, but difficult is not always the same as serious. If the game can challenge you
while at the same time give you a small chuckle then I consider that a win.

- A decent diversity in monsters. Sure you have the zombie, but perhaps add some human scavengers with guns in there along with some different types of zombies, maybe a demon or two, and even more innovative ideas. I think that would be killer. ( No pun intended ).

- A very flexible leveling system so the player can make his or her character unique. Your basic stats such as strength, agility, and intellect and then add in some new ones like scavenging ( How much you find in containers ) and maybe some others. As I mentioned this is a very rough idea so nothing is set in stone.

- A solid and user friendly inventory system

- A day and night system. Much like MineCraft and Terraria, it would be scavenge during the day and build, craft, and fortify at night. The zombies would retreat to the subway systems at night to get out of the sun.

- Perhaps if I can get good enough at coding, co-op mode

- Hopefully a cool shadow system that will make the game a bit more creepy

- Some scary ass zombie noises!

- A very limited bullet system. Much like fallout, your bullets are going to go really, really fast, so be prepared. With that being said, you may very well have to avoid the zombies just as much as you fight them. A baseball bat can only go so far.

- Again like Fallout I was thinking about implementing a perks system. I always thought the idea was such a good one, so every 3 or 4 levels you can pick a unique skill that will help you along the way.

- A home system. I know it will be impossible to make the entire world destructible, but we could have it where you could set up a home base in one of the many buildings, letting you drag just about whatever you want into your home. Computers, couches, beds, tables, chairs, and more practical things like microwaves, refrigerators, work benches, and more. Of course since the items are heavy you wouldn't be able to carry hardly anything when you go and get them. While I'm on this topic, I want the environment to be as customizable as possible, so even though you can't make buildings or roads, you can move every object other than walls and what have you, so whether you want to live on the 10th floor of the tallest building in town, or the easily defended wooden shack that choice is completely up to you.

- Maybe some dungeons in the subway systems, and once you get to the end have a boss ( Maybe a demon or something? ) with some sort of loot that you can only get in the subways. Just an idea which may or may not be thrown away like most of the previously mentioned.

- This is a big one so pay attention ^^ . I was thinking about having batteries, like car batteries, in which case that is how you would have to power your electronics. They would slowly go down, so you would have to constantly scavenge for them. They would go down slowly of course, but they would be required to keep the lights on and keep the food fresh, not to mention power tools to make your bad ass home made weapons! And maybe you would have to go home to power up your flashlight or something.

So the basic survival things you would need would be

1) A Home
2) Food and Water
3) Fuel ( AKA Batteries )
4) And anything else I can think of xD


- Some sort of armor system.

- And anything else that comes to mind :)


[size=7][font=comic sans ms,cursive]What it would not have ---[/font]

- A money system, instead it would be a trading system seeing as how the world has gone to hell people won't need currency don't you think? Maybe have some shady guys scattered throughout the city who will trade with you.

- A story line. This is going to be more like a sandbox game than anything else. This way I, or if I can get some help on board, we would be able to focus on the other aspects. There may be a short cutscene or a well written paragraph that will play at the beginning explaining why you are still alive, what happened, and maybe a prompt that says go hide before the sun goes down so you don't become zombie noms.

- Few if any NPC's. I know I want there to be a trading system with some survivors, but that may just be it. I am aware how cool it would be if you could gather up survivors, and form a party, but I'm trying to keep this in my level of coding, and I'm not even sure If I can do all this with python or not lol.

- No vehicles. That would be way to complicated for my sorry ass coding skills.

- Only sandbox mode, nothing else ( I think ).

- Call of Duty graphics. Game Play < Graphics ... With that being said, I don't want it to be a rouge like. The places dwarf fortress would have gone if it just had some graphics brings tears to my eyes. Don't get me wrong, I love to play rouge likes, but if at all possible I want some sprites, even if they are crummy I want sprites.



-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

With all of that being said, I know it is a very large task, and I am completely aware that it will not happen over night. I also know there are a ton of holes in the idea, like if you can't grow food, doesn't that mean you will eventually run out? Aren't there a limited number of batteries in the world? And your going to run out of things to do at night, right? What about how are you going to fix the combat so it is not monotonous? But I plan on smoothing it out as I go. I still have a ton of time before I even start the project, and if it is only going to be me doing it ( I hope I can find some help somewhere ) then it will take months if not years to accomplish. With all of that being said what do you guys think about the idea? That is the most important thing out of all of this. If people don't like the idea then there is no point in me making the game, after all there are three reasons why I want to make this game.

1) To have a fun way to learn and improve on my programming.

2) To have other people play the game, and actually enjoy it.

3) To perhaps learn if this is what I want to major in. If I can't have fun programming a video game then I might as well cross off Computer Science off the list of possible candidates for a major, because programming anything else wouldn't be half as exciting in my opinion.

So, if you guys read all of that I thank you from the bottom of my heart, because that was some boring shit lol. So after all of that what do you guys & girls think of the idea? I want you to give your honest opinion. To my knowledge such a game doesn't exist, and I feel like someone owes the world a good survival game full of zombie goodness.

Well, thats it! All questions, comments, and assorted criticism is welcome. I suppose the question I'm asking you guys is, "Is it worth making?" and if so then, "How can I improve the idea?"


Thanks a ton for your help,

- Zander

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I think the key when starting out is "less is more". I love stats and perks and procedural generation, but maybe your game would work without. If not, cool, you can add them. By all means put stats in the implementation to avoid later re-coding, but worry about how to modify those stats later. Procedural level generation is a HUGE field. If you really want it, start with a lego-style system where you hand design a map with slots in it, and different types of buildings can go in those slots. Similarly you could start with each building having a predetermined set of spawn spots for gear and enemies, then randomly pick a subset of those spawn points at runtime.

For a sandbox like that I think you'd need something to give them purpose. Make them explore the scary areas. The easiest way is pretty much what you alluded to: a fixed amount of resources scattered around the map. They can hole up and get comfy as they like, but when they run out of food they either need to go on long journeys to get food (perhaps even overnight) or find a new home base. You could dynamically fire events to provide more resources when they get too low, e.g. a plane drops supplies, a hostile group with lots of gear moves in, etc.

As far as general feel and night-time play, look at this thread on suspense: http://www.gamedev.net/topic/622134-adding-suspense-in-games/

If you make it partly about stealth (e.g. achieving something while not tipping off the zombie hordes) that could offer fun gameplay. Limited inventory could help, especially if some actions can't be done while holding weapons.

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Definitions:
- progression - you get stronger and stronger, richer and richer, unlimatelly you get so strong you can laugh at all dangers and are flooded with resources (RPGs)
- survival - you get weaker and weaker, enemies are stronger over time, ulimatelly you die and there is nothing you can do about it, you can only prolong it (all old arcade games, tower defence games)

What you described is progression game. But the food system is from the survival game realm. These are not compatible. If you put food it in a progression game it will be only a boring chore. It won't work as you expected... Edited by Acharis

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What you described is progression game. But the food system is from the survival game realm. These are not compatible. If you put food it in a progression game it will be only a boring chore. It won't work as you expected...


I take your point, although I don't think it's impossible for it to work. I think the key is not setting off anybody's RPG alarm. The moment they think it's an RPG they will be disappointed. However if stats are completely behind the scenes and are more geared towards tailoring your character than becoming a god incarnate at level 80, it might work. I think the term survival is very loaded. If you think of it as a mode in many existing games, then sure you're bound to get weaker until you die. But if you put it in the light of a real world scenario such as being a caveman or on a desert island, it is possible to survive and prosper. You can build shelter and weapons, and even pump some iron to get stronger if you have enough food and security. It won't make you godlike, you won't survive forever, but you can improve your lot for a while. And if the scenario has an arbitrary end, you may "win".

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Lots of non-concrete descriptions. It's the same as writing "my gaem will be uber awesom!" and then asking for feedback on that sentence.

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Thanks for the replies everyone, I appreciate them :)

@jeff - Yup I think you are completely right, I know for a fact that not all of the things in that list will make it into the game. And thats a really impressive idea, I haven't looked very much into procedural level generation or how difficult it will be, but that makes sense. I'm praying that if I can just get the basics down I can worry about the extras later. A good solid game is best, but I just kind of want a chart in my head while I'm programming it telling me what I'm aiming for in the long run.

Also the idea of having to do things while your weapon isn't out would be really fun, plus the suspense would be killer if you could get the atmosphere right ^^. I think if I could have it more focused on avoiding the zombies than killing the zombies it would be more fun. I mean maybe killing the zombies doesn't give you much exp, but scavenging and unlocking things does? I'm not really sure how to implement that. And the idea of having the player have to go out or move around for resources is a great one! Man instead of the lack of resources being a problem that I would have to fix I could just make that aspect in itself define the game. Either you move your home base around, or you get to the point where scavenging takes you a whole day just to get where there are resources. Your so brilliant O.o

@ Acharis - You have a valid point, but often I find that when things don't seem to go together they actually can, and when done correctly they turn into something incredible. A good example of this would be the movie "Life is Beautiful". It's a comedy about the holocaust. Yet for some peculiar reason it won awards around the globe and was loved by everyone... Lets face it, if I try and program something that has been done, the game will already have failed by the plain and simple logic that someone better than me would have already coded a better game than I could hope to achieve.

On another note, the stats wouldn't be RPG like. For instance they would be more tailored toward survival aspects than "god-like" powers. Strength may just increase how much you can carry, or agility may let you move a bit faster, or perhaps vitality would give you a couple extra hit points, but there would never be anything to let you do more damage other than finding a better gun, and even then the ammo would be so scarce that it wouldn't matter. I have been thinking about it and I think I would put in a set amount of lives ( Maybe have lives like how many stimpacks you have? And you can find them very rarely? I'm not really sure. ), so easy would give you 10 lives or something to that effect while insane may only give you one. That would be the survival aspect, and even though there would be a progressive aspect, you wouldn't be able to survive forever. You could tailor your character, and depending on how well you tailor your character to your way of gameplay that would change how long you could survive, but never let you reach "god mode". Maybe? Or perhaps I'm just senile and it would never work, thats a possibility as well xD

@eugene2k - I'm not exactly sure how to respond to this, but I'll give it my best shot. I am aware there are lots of "non-concrete" ideas here, but from what I understand that is how it is supposed to be when you formulate an idea in your head. You flesh it out after consulting with others. You don't come up with a solid idea instantaneously, or at least I can't anyway xD . As for feedback, I asked for two things. If you would like to play a game like this, and if so how could I improve on the idea. I'm not sure how thats like saying my game is "uber awesom", but perhaps you can explain? Edited by Zander353

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With that sad excuse for an introduction out of the way here is the very, very rough outline of what I am going to attempt to do, and I would ask your feedback on it . I want to create a 2D, overhead zombie survival video game.



Lots of non-concrete descriptions. It's the same as writing "my gaem will be uber awesom!" and then asking for feedback on that sentence.


That isn't really a helpful comment persay Eugene2k. My question is why didn't you offer some advice as to how he might go about improving his above post such as formulating it into a more structured form such as through the use of a game design document?

That said, hello Zander353, what eugene2k basically said is accurate. Your flow of ideas while admirable are scattered over a broad range and not in a truly cohesive or logical format. The wall of text is not the frightening part, what is frightening is wading through it and trying to extract the relevant sections. First of all, don't deprecate yourself throughout your post, sure at the beginning and end it can be fine if you want but it becomes an unnecessary distraction from your actual game idea when it is through the body of the post. Secondly, Don't talk about what your game won't have, it is an impossible list to complete and moreover it points out areas to people of what you are not giving to them which makes people feel that they are not being given the "complete package". Thirdly (and finally because otherwise I will ramble) take what you have and re-organise it into a logical format i.e. develop a game design document -- break it down in such a way that a complete novice can pick up your document/post and say "I understand it!" Then repost it - I can pretty much bet what you will then receive is advice more pointed to answers you seek. Good luck :) Edited by Stormynature

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@jeff - Yup I think you are completely right, I know for a fact that not all of the things in that list will make it into the game. And thats a really impressive idea, I haven't looked very much into procedural level generation or how difficult it will be, but that makes sense. I'm praying that if I can just get the basics down I can worry about the extras later. A good solid game is best, but I just kind of want a chart in my head while I'm programming it telling me what I'm aiming for in the long run.

Also the idea of having to do things while your weapon isn't out would be really fun, plus the suspense would be killer if you could get the atmosphere right ^^. I think if I could have it more focused on avoiding the zombies than killing the zombies it would be more fun. I mean maybe killing the zombies doesn't give you much exp, but scavenging and unlocking things does? I'm not really sure how to implement that. And the idea of having the player have to go out or move around for resources is a great one! Man instead of the lack of resources being a problem that I would have to fix I could just make that aspect in itself define the game. Either you move your home base around, or you get to the point where scavenging takes you a whole day just to get where there are resources. Your so brilliant O.o


Glad to have helped. Just remember to take the ideas that you like and really focus on them. As far as the feel of the game goes, I would suggest looking at I Am Legend or The Walking Dead. They both have examples of the challenges and tough choices that have to be made as a survivor. They're less about gleeful zombie killing and more about how to survive while avoiding attracting attention. For example in the Walking Dead they avoid using guns wherever possible because zombies hear the shots and come lurching. At a later stage you could add zombie research, e.g. find existing research or the dangerous task of capturing live zombies for a study minigame. The research could become urgent if you get bitten. Please ignore all that, I shouldn't be encouraging further expansion. ;)

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If you would like to play a game like this[/quote]
For that you need to describe the gameplay exactly, rather than using vague phrases and features. I failed to figure out what and how I will be playing from your description, sorry. And as such I can't tell you whether or not I will be interested in the game.

My question is why didn't you offer some advice as to how he might go about improving his above post such as formulating it into a more structured form such as through the use of a game design document?[/quote]
Well, when you point a flaw out it's natural for people to try and get rid of the flaw and I'm pretty sure the OP can tell which descriptions are vague and which are not. So my pointing it out is an indirect suggestion on how to improve the post, don't you agree?

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I would go with am adjeustable isometric perspective rather than top-down, most likely with transparency on obstructions. As far as the leveling goes, I think implementing a skill system like GTA: San Andreas, wherein your skill increases through use and decreases with neglect (movement speed, strength, accuracy, etc.).

Implementing a system that allows the enemies to changes based on what defense/offense you use (rock, paper, scissor) so thay you are never comfortable and mayve seasonal changes to diversify the overall grind.

The weight system I am behind as well as limited bullets as long as you implement a decent melee system, nothing crazy, just passable.

For the food system, maybe also a sleep/fatigue system as well and both affect stamina and efficiency when neglected (combat, movement,health all affected). I would say creating a minimum/maximum of food and sleep need for each day.

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