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[WIP] FURION: Critical Mass [Feedback Appreciated]

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Just a very quick summary of who I am: I started out as a tester for an outsource company, and then moved on to Bethesda Softworks. I got a job as a tester at an education company where they’ve allowed me to pro-actively build up my experience in programming. Now, I am essentially a programmer there.

I’ve always wanted to create video games, but I found most of my ideas aimed unrealistically high for what I am capable of. I’ve finally settled on my first project; Furion: Critical Mass.

This game is a 3D, top-down view, arcade-style romp with hopefully a few twists on the old formulas.

Here’s a summary of the premise:

The player is a sentient being of pure energy called a Furion. The game takes place after the culmination of a great war between the Furion and their enemy, the Accretions. Two great armadas are left in ruin. The Accretions were able to protect a Riftwalker Warship which has a weapon capable of destroying the vulnerable Furion world. Your species has rallied to imbue you with all the power they have to scramble one last attack before the enemy can annihilate you.

Here’s a summary of the design/gameplay:

The player is a ball of energy with two metrics to indicate its state; mass indicates how much energy the user has. This goes from 0% to 100%. This is essentially the player’s hitpoints, but with a little twist. It is game over if you reach 0% or if you reach 100%. Your character increases in diameter as you increase in mass, making it harder to avoid obstacles and enemies. To counter this, your character can manipulate a density attribute from 0-100%. This dictates your diameter, so one can use this to shrink in size despite being at a higher mass.

Every time the player uses their attack, the player loses a small amount of mass. Inversely, a lot of items/obstacles/enemy fire can either drain mass or increase it. It will be important to learn these dynamics as a player progresses, but the game will assist the player (without holding their hand).

The player will need to fight enemies, destroy various objects, and solve moving puzzles to survive and progress through levels. All the while, one will need to be cognizant of their mass.

The player will have various unlockable and upgradable attacks at their disposal to accomplish these things.

Some example attacks are:

Pulse: Basic energy shot

Twilight Incinerata: Constant beam of energy. Cannot move or re-aim while firing.

Ion Storm: Unleashes a furious storm of energy blasts at the closest enemy, no matter their position. Target must cannot be chose, and must be within maximum range.

Pulsar: Upgraded pulse attack option that fires pulse shots in all directions along a 180 degree plain given the position one is firing at.

Some special abilities include:

Bend Time: Upgradable power that slows, and at higher levels, stops time for a short duration.

Shockwave: Power that sends a wave of energy in all directions, damaging or destroying enemies and destructible objects.

EMP: Wave of energy that shuts down electronic-type enemies and overloads energy-type obstacles or enemies.

Black Hole: Travels slowly in direction of attack dealing high damage to everything it touches, including the player.

Magnetar Mode: (Must have 90%+ mass to activate) This causes density to increase from 0% to 100% [E a gravity metric that I am considering for the game, which would impact nearby objects and enemies]. During this time, the character cannot use normal attacks. When gravity reaches 100%, the power known as Super Nova will be ready for use.

Super Nova: When gravity is at 100%, the attack will be charged and ready for use. Launches a ball of energy that collapses and then explodes in a massive fashion, destroying all enemies and objects on the screen, leaving the player with a mass just above 0%.


I hope you like the idea. Please give me any sort of constructive feedback. I am actually a published semi-pro scifi author, so I have pretty thick skin. So far, I have the system for mass and density implemented and working pretty well. I am knee-deep in working on the AI and the level design and will be posting updates whenever it seems like a good idea.

Thanks for reading, commenting, and giving any feedback on the idea!

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I like the idea where empty and full health is game over. I feel like some interesting levels can be built around that mechanic.

I feel like the density mechanic kinda ruins the mechanic where energy dictates size. If the user is in control of their size directly, I feel like health controlling your size would just be annoying. I think you should pick one or the other. I like the idea where health dictates size, that would let you make a level where the player needs to get to a dangerously low level of health to get through a section. You could have some good risk/reward tradeoffs by having special power ups or shortcuts only accessible by lowering or raising health to dangerous levels.

As for the rest of the mechanics. I would try to prototype your ideas. Make the prototypes simple. You shouldn't be spending much time on them. You should try to iterate over your ideas as quickly as possible. Don't try to design a perfect game on paper and implement without deviating from your original idea.

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Great points, HappyCoder!

I definitely appreciate you taking the time to comment here. 


I was hoping for density to be part of the strategy aspect, but you make good points about it. I am leaning towards it being something that requires the user to find "gravity wells", which up entering increases the density a certain amount. Meanwhile, at all times, density is slowly decreasing towards 0%, so it then becomes something not particularly under the player's control.


However, I will definitely consider removing it to because you make good points about it. Thanks!

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However, I will definitely consider removing it to because you make good points about it. Thanks!

Well, putting the density directly out of the players control I think also fixes the problem. That way you can control where that mechanic is used. I would just play test it and see what works best.

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Well, you've passed one of the first hurdles of indie game design, which is putting aside your dreams (for now) and deciding on a project that's actually doable for you.


I personally like the mass and density dual mechanic, and I really like the main mass mechanic. With density, I'd vote it being under the players control, but you'd just need to find some way to make a real risk/reward around it, e.g. if the player increases their density (making themselves smaller), their attacks become weaker or damage taken is more severe. So you might use that if you want to stealth a situation or escape, but not to stay in a firefight.

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