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tho121

Game Idea: Bulletstorm x Smash Bros = Physics Weapons Game

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My team and I are trying to refine an idea of ours for our graduation project. Originally, the concept was online team deathmatch, first person shooter where the guns wouldn't directly kill the player (i.e shoot bullets that damage them) but could apply forces to them which would lead to them flying into level hazards, colliding with walls or being knocked off the level, much like in Bulletstorm. A few example weapons include a "gravity" beam that pulls players and objects toward you, a "grappling" beam than pulls yourself towards targets, and a push gun that shoots balls that explode on contact with players or level geometry, pushing objects/enemies/yourself from the epicenter. You would pick 2 weapons and dual wield them with controls like skyrim. Other ideas for weapons include shooting a bounce pad the applies force that collide with it in the perpendicular direction, a large ball that zero's force and velocity on touch and a spray that makes surfaces more slippery.

You would also select a passive ability and a special ability. A passive ability would be something like run 15% faster and a special ability would be like having a jetpack. You also have a melee attack that pushes enemies very, very far.

I was going for a large emphasis on twitch shooting/targeting with massive movement capabilities, using the physics weapons to also help yourself move around the level and equipping 2 of them to allow players to try to find a synergy between them. Think if I had the orange paint from portal 2, sprayed it on the floor around me, then used my "gravity" beam to pull an enemy into that area; they would slide into what ever hazard is around or off the map, or if they reach a high enough velocity, into a wall and die.

Essentially, I wanted to create something different in the FPS genre with the indirect combat idea, much like super smash bros is to fighting games. However, half the team feels that there needs to be the traditional weapons that do direct damage because they feel that most people wouldn't get the physics aspect of it and how to use it. They brought up a good point where, what happens if 2 guys meet in a corridor. It is assumed the corridor has no hazards that the player can try to throw the other player into and the space is limited, so that it is very difficult to apply enough force to knock someone into a wall and kill them. They feel very strongly that if you see a player, you should be able to kill them despite the situation, hence the need for guns that do damage.

My solution that I came up with is to implement a system like the super smash bros "health" system. For example, in the corridor, I would use my "grappling" beam to pull myself towards the enemy and then use my melee attack to push them away. The melee attack also applies a force multiplier on the enemy (for like 15 seconds). Next time I melee them, the force of my melee attack is multiplied by 3, hopefully generating enough force to knock them into a wall and die. If not the multiplier would stack, increasing the likelihood of that happening next time.
My issue with guns that do damage is that I feel it takes away from the cleverness and importance of using the physics weapons. The physics weapons is what makes our game different from other FPS games and to downplay them so that we can appease an audience or a perception that a FPS needs to have these elements to be successful, I believe, is not innovating.

A compromise I think that would work well would be to have weapons increase the force multiplier, but not kill them. If guns could kill, I think it makes the physics weapons way too redundant and more of a gimmick.

Any opinions on the matter would be greater appreciated. A third-party perspective would really help me see what direction we should take our game. Also, if I'm totally wrong, go ahead and let me know. Better to know now than to insist on a idea that doesn't work or have appeal.

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I think I'm picking up what you're putting down, here. I like the idea of indirect damage, it adds depth to the contest and that can be fun. I also like your idea of the force multiplying effects. A few thoughts:

Have you tried Cell Factor? I think there's a demo on XBox Live if you have access to that, and it might be a neat example for you. Physics-heavy, with 3 classes and an emphasis on indirect damage. One class uses physics exclusively, one uses guns and physics in tandem and a third uses guns for most damage, applying physics effects to itself for mobility and getting a boost to melee. I love to drive into a fight in a buggy, spraying the mounted machinegun at my enemies, then get knocked over, fall out of the car and have to use a physics-boosted dodge when my opponent telekinetically chucks the whole car at me. Good times.

I'm a huge Smash Bros. fan, although my sentimental attachment to Captain Falcon prevents me from being very competitive, and the force multiplier is a truly awesome feature, allowing you to have a sense of "losing" a fight without a health bar. You're always 100% effective in the battle, but you are also being tangibly weakened over the course of the fight, yet you still retain the opportunity to bust out an amazing comeback. Throw in the random weapons and effects and you have a recipe for hours of fun.

One thing I thought of, in the course of reading your post, is the regenerating health that's so popular in modern FPS games. You mentioned having a timer on the force multipliers, which appeals to me. I like the idea of having a sweet exchange with an enemy, a flurry of blows that ends with both combatants bloodied, but then they catch their breath and re-engage at full strength. The risk there, though, is that a player will be "hurt" by a multiplier and will then flee, maintaining distance or using cover until he's back to full damage resistance. That could become tiresome.

As I read the beginning of your post, my first impression was of a game that's more or less score-based, where an offensive push would award points for combo damage or juggle chains or clever use of environmental hazards. After each phrase, the combatants might compose themselves, square off and re-engage, so that the fight becomes a series of short bursts of battle, separated by moments of posing, neck-cracking and muscle flexing. Think of modern fencing: The competitors square off, engage, a resolution is reached, then they square off again. It's a good formula for competition, seen in everything from kumite to tennis to football to poker to paper-rock-scissors. Give the winner a chance to whoop and the loser a chance to concede a "good move", then set them upon one another again.

So if I get thrown through a window and down some stairs and into the side of a van, my smug attacker will get some points. Then I'll stand up and dust myself off while he takes his place across the street from me, then we'll go at it again and I'll uppercut him into the air and throw that van at him, and when he dodges it I'll grapple him onto the thing so he gets dragged through the air and lands a block away, where he'll recover his senses while I swagger up and get ready for round three. If you want to get fancy, have different fight resolutions cause status effects for the next match, so I could win one round by throwing a guy into lava, and next round he'll be weaker, but melee attacks will cause some damage to his attacker. If he wins a round by smashing me into a stone wall, I'll be stunned for three seconds next time the bell rings. That way you could establish an advantage and press it from round to round.

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I think that your idea is great. I, and this is my opinion, think that you shouldn't add damage weapons to your game, because chances are people are going to use it way more often since it's less new. Well, maybe 1 or 2, but it should take way more time to kill someone with them than by using other gravity weapons.


I'm designing maps on FPS games since 2-3 years (Halo is an example). And level design is the answer to your problem. The example with the corridor being a place where it's hard to kill someone with indirect damage can be easily avoided if you simply remove every corridors in your maps. If you take time to design your maps you can create them to fit the type of game you wan't to create.

The corridor is still a problem? Make it in breakable glass, so the first hit on the window break it, the second one you're out in hazard.

Another idea for direct damage weapons. Have you played Tribes? If not, give it a look on youtube. The weapons in it are not ''instant hit'', the bullets take time to travel space, so you have to calculate where the opponent will be when your shot hit. You could also make bullets have a ''timer'', so when you shoot it takes 2-3 seconds before the bullet explodes.
If half your team need damage weapon, then add them, but make them hard to use so gravity weapons are going to be a better choice.

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I just looked up CellFactor on youtube and I liked how you can pull objects towards yourself and shoot them as a projectile. As for the scoring, I think I'm going to design the weapons to fit team deathmatch best and then maybe add a TF2 score system based on effective use of physics weapons and environment.

Also, I have played tribes and making nearly all guns shoot projectiles does make them much harder to use. That could be a route we can take if damaging weapons must be in the game.

Thanks for the input, much appreciated.

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Gotta say. I disagree with your team. Allowing direct dammage ruins the concept. As for corridors and such the simple answer is why does this ''HAVE'' to happen? build levels according the the gameplay and you won't have this kind of problem. Also melee weapons would be cool.

As for the levels putting edges you can fall off would be cool too but you have to make the Ranged weapons projectile have a dodgeable speed.
Personally i see this game being better if you can jump as high as in halo 2 and if its third person lol. Good luck.

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In a "normal" FPS, where weapons do damage directly, what happens if two players encounter each other and have no (or insufficient) ammunition? The situation of not always being able to kill the player is not unique to your physics-based concept, and I don't think it's the problem your team is suggesting. If this situation arises the players will very quickly either separate or move together to an area where the problem no longer exists; players generally aren't so foolish as to be completely stumped by such a situation occurring, and it isn't like they'll just stay in the corridor unable to kill each other.

It's also a problem that's easily designed around:

  • Don't have such a corridor on any of your maps.
  • Construct such corridors in a way where they can become dangerous by shooting out walls or windows, spawning new traps, trapping players in them, etc.
  • Design abilities with multipliers such as you have described so that the player can still use them effectively given the right idea and enough time and skill to execute it.

    I like your multiplier idea, and I think it would work pretty effectively for what you have described, and I'm going to jump on the band-wagon with those who are suggesting that adding "normal" weapons would probably detract from the concept you've got.


    Hope that's helpful! smile.png

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Thanks alot for all the replies and feedback. I'll definately push for a force multiplier mechanic and a notion to remove damage from the game. I feel this idea could really work. Again, much appreciated.

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I agree with what's been said above: direct damage weapons would most likely rule the players' inventories unless you made them weak, in which case players would most likely feel like they've been tricked into using them if they do.

I also agree with jbadams: you can design levels around corridors like this. It's your level, you can tune it to the gameplay. Maybe you could make corridors with conveyor belts in them that quickly move the players on them, but make the walls electrified or something else hazardous so if you encounter another player, there's an extra threat level to getting struck by them and hitting the wall. Really, there are many possibilities on interesting elements you could make if you have to add corridors in your game, and if you don't like any of them, it's totally possible to make levels spacious enough to never run into this problem.


An interesting game I played that uses similar physics-based systems incorporated into the combat would be Warlock, a mod for Warcraft III (which is also what DotA is).

In Warlock, you are on a circle of grass surrounded by lava. Every player is a warlock that they can order around with the right-click like in most RTS games.

During a round, every 10 seconds or so, the grass circle gets smaller, and there's more lava. When you stay on the lava, you take damage over time. As you lose health, mostly from lava but also a minor amount from spells, you begin to be moved more and more when you take damage from spells. As you take damage, a fireball to the face will go from sliding you a couple feet, to half of the stage's length. I believe it actually didn't use the health itself as a force multiplier: it had its own force multiplier, that way if you healed some health back, you would still have the same force multiplier.
As you can tell, the underlying theme of each fight is thrust people into the lava to kill them.

At the end of every round you get some gold (you also accumulate some from kills) to buy more spells with and upgrade your current spells, and buy some items if you want. There were a lot of interesting spells you could buy.

I had a lot of fun playing Warlock and it was very interesting (though it was a bit unbalanced, like many Warcraft III mods). I think the game you've described sounds like it could be fun if made correctly. It'd be sort of like a FPS Warlock with unique levels featuring various different hazards, and guns instead of spells (if I've understood you properly).

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