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sara_qq

my design doc

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Hey!

It´s looks good! your work in general too. You spanish people have ART in your veins!

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berserk    122
the story seems very linear which is bad. Gameplay seems kinda simplistic too. However, if you can make this game, it will be pretty good for an independent game developer. You''ll probably be able to make decent money of it aswell, if the art makes up for simple gameplay.

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Wavinator    2017
First off, sara, excellent work and congrats on finishing such a professional looking document. (I'd love to see more stuff like this in the forum, because you can really go in depth discussion-wise).

I really like the concept, the mix of open ended and linear gameplay, and the overall possibilities for a game like this. The doc gave me a good sense of the game, gameplay, world, and characters, and the presentation was very clear and readable.

I made a list of a bunch of notes I had while reading through. They're in no particular order, so here goes:

GAMEPLAY

* Argh!!! No, not rings! How about flags strung between canyon walls? Anything other than the dreaded, ubiquitous RINGS! (It's seems that EVERY flight game just has to use them).

* Is it possible to make the web and generator more central? Or are these devices that the player will be using throughout? Reading through I got the impression that they were infrequently used. (EDIT: Maybe use the wave generator to herd fish into traps???? Or add amphibious enemies???)

* Where do you learn your sneak skills that you have to use in the DA suit? This seems to me either tacked on or could use some fleshing out. Maybe you can sneak into earlier enemy areas, or past monsters or something.

* Autolevel: Take a look if you can at Jedi Starfighter (for the PS2 I think). They have an "autolevel" feature that might be useful to your concept. It essentially levels your nose with the horizon, which is especially helpful if you're doing a lot of weird diving and flying upside down. It helps novice players reset their view and keeps them from being disoriented.

* Difficulty settings? How about a "no crash" mode where you either automatically "autolevel" or bounce off the ground (I think Crimson Skies did this).

* Multiplayer: Any chance of going through the game cooperatively? I think more consoles games (and games in general) need to support cooperative as well as competitive play. (Most seem to be single player, and if you do get multi its always head to head).

* Control Invert: You're not going to switch the controls when the player flies or lands, are you? This could be very confusing, and if so should at least be an option.

* Aside from bracelets, in terms of air combat how about: Close passes (if the people have wings, they could put certain weapons on their wingtips). Just looking for more strategy that just flying around and shooting. Most flying / shooting games at least give you multiple weapons, or if not multiple weapons then different strategies.

* Ability for player to replay any level: Jedi Starfighter, among many games, does this. You can go back and select training missions and such to your heart's content. Definitely helps replayablity.

* Reward for water delivery?

* Trust jump: How does the player know when the AI will chicken out? I think this could use a lot more detail, otherwise the player is just rotating their camera to look at the AI while falling and just... watching them fall. You should at least be able to get a sense of different bravery levels, and how far an opponent will risk falling. Also: This could be a multi-player versus game mode.

* Thermals & Stamina: This is highly tangental, but there could be some gameplay involving boosts you get from thermals near cliffs and such. You'd need to research hang-gliding or similar sports.

* Wall climbing: Just a random thought, maybe this could be a natural hybridized part of gameplay along with terrestrial and aerial movement.

* Nanune needs to do more: Even as a love interest, there doesn't seem to be enough to her. The player can frequently visit her, but to what ends? This maybe needs to be fleshed out in order to be an actual reward for the player (just oogling a 3D model isn't going to cut it, there needs to be some substance). Maybe there's a gameplay reason, where only Nanune can help you with certain open ended challenges (like hunting???) or something, and she always has something nice to say when you come by. (If done well, this could encourage the player to come back of their own volition).

* Cultivating fields: Could this be practice for using bombs? The gameplay here needs beefed up. I think there should be targets, otherwise the only skill involved sounds like just flying over an area and dropping something. How about patches of ground where you have to drop seeds based on color?

* Skill / gameplay for mill repair: I'm not sure I understand this, or what it teaches the player to do later in the game.

* Can you shoot birds, nose dive after them, and catch them for hunting gameplay in addition to the net? EDIT: Maybe different sized birds, with different flying tactics and falling weights, bring different levels of reward. Perhaps the smaller, harder to catch birds are more prized delicacies. (But the player will need a structure to be rewarded for this, in practical gameplay terms).

* Plants should have something that rewards you (maybe a pearl or treasure?) I'm imagining giant venus fly traps that you have to swoop into, land on, collect something, and get out before they close up and do a modest amount of damage before you break free.

* Sky fishing is targeted gameplay, right? What happens if you shoot at the fish? Do you just nose dive into them and catch them?

* What trains you to deal with firing towers? Up til now, it seems no one but your rival could have been firing back at you. Maybe you could, for training purposes, create a camp of the terrestrial creatures mentioned earlier who have archer towers?

* Training for invisible enemy or hints? Can cloud generator help here? This is just sprung on the player with no preparation, it seems.

* The climax should involve the use of all skills in an area that emphasizes need for all skills. The end boss fight should not only be both terrestrial and aerial, the level should require that in order to defeat him you must nose dive, use the generator, maybe catch falling things, etc., etc. After all, this should be your chance to show off and use all those skills the game has spent hours teaching you.

* Metal "razor birds" as enemies in the sky cities? Maybe catching one (like you did earlier) gets you something, like health or energy?

* In the more open ended parts, what about random encounters vs. terrestrial and air enemies? I'd like to see this only because I'm a player who would want to mess around for awhile before getting back to the story, and having spontaneous encounters while exploring the world would be a highly enjoyable and replayable way of doing that.

* It's too bad that rather than winged shoes, the upgrade to cloth wings isn't something cooler, like magical gossamer wings. Winged shoes to me are, sorry to say, just... a bit underwhelming. You have so many other fantastical things in the world that winged shoes (and their hermes / nike association) just throws me off.

* Object idea: What about a shield, or shield ability with your wings if you went with the gossamer magic idea? Then it's not just being shot at and shooting, it's shoot and defend gameplay along with flying.

* How do small rocks distract DAs? I'm not sure that makes sense, unless you're talking about throwing a pebble and making the AI go in the direction of the sound (like the coin in No One Lives Forever).

EDIT: Oh, yeah, how is health and repairing damage taken in combat handled? I didn't see that listed in items and such.

SPELLING / GRAMMAR

Live and adventure = Live an adventure

arquitecture = architecture

lineal = linear (I know lineal works just fine here, but maybe consider that many are more used to linear)

Misterious character = Mysterious character? (Check other usages of mystery, I think I saw one in the design doc proper as that needed fixing)

Each team starts at their base and fly to attack the other team. = Each team starts at their base and flies toward the other team to attack them.

There's a few lines of spanish in the doc

Grind over water? Sorry, that just sounds weird.


PLATFORM SPECIFICS

* No PC support?

* Console games are way too lax on letting you customize your controls; at least you maybe want different configurations.


CONTROLS
Invert controls for entire game should be standard for any shooter. (Jedi Starfighter has this, as do Quake and Unreal)



LEVEL DESIGN

This game cries out for lots of arches, mesas and spires and such to fight around and on. Mabye you could even fly into enemies and bump them off of mesas or towers so that they fall to their doom?

I'd like to see a few more cave levels. Even just cool little areas with twisty passages to fly through would be nice.

STORY / ENVIRONMENT

* Possibly show NPCs naturally doing some of the stuff you're going to have to be doing for the sake of foreshadowing: For instance, as Martin leads you around, maybe show some guards fighting some birds briefly, or someone seeding crops. This helps show the town as a living place, and maybe helps it become a more immersive game when you do it yourself.

* Need some story connecting Nanune to the character more closely, and explaining why the boss is using her as a chip against you. Maybe your rival sold you out? But for that to be true, you'd earlier have to have proven yourself a substantial menace to the DAs. Otherwise, you'd be just another faceless, non-descript enemy-- meaning it would be contrived for the boss to think you or Nanune were special.

* Why were there bombs inside the mill? Plotwise, this just sounds weird. What do sky gods need of a primitive, junky mill?

* You mentioned a mystery but I'm not sure I understood what it was.

* My absolute biggest complaint: "Dark Ones." Is there any chance you could break the trend of black hat/white hat representation of good versus evil? I know it's easy, but not only is it hackneyed and tiresome, many like myself find it vaguely offensive. You'd just be continuing a rather moldy stereotype that I think makes your game immature (and insensitive). Instead of dark ones, what about Cold Ones or Ice Angels or Frost Gods? They would be beings who resist the icy temperatures naturally found higher up in the sky. Touching them could be painful, they would kill plant life just by walking through it (like the players hard won cultivated areas), and you could even get extra mileage out of your cloud generator by using cool mist effects around them. Also, you could also make them come out only at night (and give them glowing infrared eyes), which makes use of your day / night effects engine effort, makes them scarier, and makes logical sense (because the warm sun is offensive to them).

Maybe you could explain that they were once a part of the tribal people, but they modified themselves so much in an insane desire to fly higher that they're no longer "human." This ties in with your idea of body surrogates (they can't reproduce anymore), and you could really play up the horror of who they've become by showing these frigid, sterile, dank environments filled with dark spaces and metal. (In fact, the processing center might be an ugly surgical area where they're grabbing up brains and spinal columns and implanting them into biomechanical bodies before transfering DA personalities into them.. real horror.)

Also, using cold as a mechanism could help explain why your world is bounded even though you can walk and fly. In most games, the level geometry simply presents walls you can't climb. But how are you going to stop a player from flying to a bounding mountain, and then walking over it (unless you just say "you can't go this way" which is a bit lame). Instead, you could present extreme cold as a problem for going too high, and why the player can't pass over certain mountains: they'd have to walk or fly into cold zones that are just too icy. It seems to tie in nicely to Ice Angels as a concept.

Also, you could have the DAs (or ice angels or whatever) only bring their city ships down into the warmer regions when they need surrogates, which story-wise helps not only explain the sudden appearance of the ships but why the good guys haven't gone after them before.


* The DAs suit sounds like mecha armor, btw, which you could have real fun with.

TECH
* As noted above, if you go through the trouble of doing day and night, I'd actually add modifications to AI or gameplay (or both) based on time of day. Even just visibility vs. enemies would be an improvement.

* You will probably want a section on AI itself, listing behaviors per each entity (including even the simple turrets and birds).


Anyways, that's my $0.02...


--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...


[edited by - Wavinator on May 3, 2002 4:20:35 AM]

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Wavinator    2017
quote:
Original post by berserk
the story seems very linear which is bad.


???

Actually, it seems to me just about as linear as Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Half-Life, or Max Payne. Except, because there''d be open areas, it seems less so (to me, anyways).



--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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sara_qq    122
hey, thanks for all the feedback wavinator!!!

Original post by Wavinator
First off, sara, excellent work and congrats on finishing such a professional looking document. (I'd love to see more stuff like this in the forum, because you can really go in depth discussion-wise).

well, i am writing 2 more right now so i will post them here when i have something.

I made a list of a bunch of notes I had while reading through. They're in no particular order, so here goes:

GAMEPLAY

* Argh!!! No, not rings! How about flags strung between canyon walls? Anything other than the dreaded, ubiquitous RINGS! (It's seems that EVERY flight game just has to use them).

hehe, why do i have to change the norm? well, it is just something to collect. i know that collecting could feel cheap but it is a way of guiding the player around the world.

* Is it possible to make the web and generator more central? Or are these devices that the player will be using throughout? Reading through I got the impression that they were infrequently used. (EDIT: Maybe use the wave generator to herd fish into traps???? Or add amphibious enemies???)

originally the generator could modify ground and create mountains. you could shoot to the ground and create a mountain or drag terrain and then throw it.
but what happens when you shoot in your town? do houses break or what?
so i decided to only modify non solid stuff like water or clouds.


* Where do you learn your sneak skills that you have to use in the DA suit? This seems to me either tacked on or could use some fleshing out. Maybe you can sneak into earlier enemy areas, or past monsters or something.

yes, you are right, this is a bit separated from the whole thing but if earlier missions i could introduce more sneaking elements.

* Autolevel:

yes. definately a must have feature. also, i think the lock on would be helpful in air to air combats.

* Difficulty settings? How about a "no crash" mode where you either automatically "autolevel" or bounce off the ground (I think Crimson Skies did this).

ok.

* Multiplayer: Any chance of going through the game cooperatively? I think more consoles games (and games in general) need to support cooperative as well as competitive play. (Most seem to be single player, and if you do get multi its always head to head).
yes, i played halo and it was much more interesting in cooperative. more or less in the game you always have a friend or group of friends near you so i could make them playable.



* Control Invert: You're not going to switch the controls when the player flies or lands, are you? This could be very confusing, and if so should at least be an option.

heeh, nice question. i think it can be confusing too but if they want to have it like that they could turn it on.
maybe making the character follow a crosshair or something could be the solution.

* Aside from bracelets, in terms of air combat how about: Close passes (if the people have wings, they could put certain weapons on their wingtips). Just looking for more strategy that just flying around and shooting. Most flying / shooting games at least give you multiple weapons, or if not multiple weapons then different strategies.

yes, this could be like hand to hand combat or something like that.

* Reward for water delivery?

hmm, there was a reward but i must have moved it somewhere else.

* Trust jump: How does the player know when the AI will chicken out? I think this could use a lot more detail, otherwise the player is just rotating their camera to look at the AI while falling and just... watching them fall. You should at least be able to get a sense of different bravery levels, and how far an opponent will risk falling. Also: This could be a multi-player versus game mode.

maybe putting something near the ground where you have to pass through so you jump from the mountain and then nosedive to that. while nosediving you could fight against the opponent to reach the pass point first.

* Thermals & Stamina: This is highly tangental, but there could be some gameplay involving boosts you get from thermals near cliffs and such. You'd need to research hang-gliding or similar sports.

interesting.

* Wall climbing: Just a random thought, maybe this could be a natural hybridized part of gameplay along with terrestrial and aerial movement.
i dont know, i want it to be more flying that anything else.

* Nanune needs to do more: Even as a love interest, there doesn't seem to be enough to her. The player can frequently visit her, but to what ends? This maybe needs to be fleshed out in order to be an actual reward for the player (just oogling a 3D model isn't going to cut it, there needs to be some substance). Maybe there's a gameplay reason, where only Nanune can help you with certain open ended challenges (like hunting???) or something, and she always has something nice to say when you come by. (If done well, this could encourage the player to come back of their own volition).

yes, right now she only appears in key points like you meet her, you start knowing her, she worries, she loves you etc.


* Cultivating fields: Could this be practice for using bombs? The gameplay here needs beefed up. I think there should be targets, otherwise the only skill involved sounds like just flying over an area and dropping something. How about patches of ground where you have to drop seeds based on color?
yes, it was originally planned to practice to later use bombs.


* Skill / gameplay for mill repair: I'm not sure I understand this, or what it teaches the player to do later in the game.

hmm, the mill is there because later on it will be transformed into a shooting machine.

* Can you shoot birds, nose dive after them, and catch them for hunting gameplay in addition to the net? EDIT: Maybe different sized birds, with different flying tactics and falling weights, bring different levels of reward. Perhaps the smaller, harder to catch birds are more prized delicacies. (But the player will need a structure to be rewarded for this, in practical gameplay terms).
shooting birds!! hehe, yes there is a bird town and they should be different, like 3 different sizes for example.
hey you seem to get the idea of play i want in the game. i didnt specify how to do everything but you came up with things that can be made in the game.


* Plants should have something that rewards you (maybe a pearl or treasure?) I'm imagining giant venus fly traps that you have to swoop into, land on, collect something, and get out before they close up and do a modest amount of damage before you break free.

yes, these are all this additional toys i refer too in the doc.

* What trains you to deal with firing towers? Up til now, it seems no one but your rival could have been firing back at you. Maybe you could, for training purposes, create a camp of the terrestrial creatures mentioned earlier who have archer towers?

yes, the terrestial creatures and the winged ones missions train you how to fight.



* Training for invisible enemy or hints? Can cloud generator help here? This is just sprung on the player with no preparation, it seems.

the cloud generator is there because the ground generator dissapeared... :S

* The climax should involve the use of all skills in an area that emphasizes need for all skills. The end boss fight should not only be both terrestrial and aerial, the level should require that in order to defeat him you must nose dive, use the generator, maybe catch falling things, etc., etc. After all, this should be your chance to show off and use all those skills the game has spent hours teaching you.

ok, i will include something like that.

* In the more open ended parts, what about random encounters vs. terrestrial and air enemies? I'd like to see this only because I'm a player who would want to mess around for awhile before getting back to the story, and having spontaneous encounters while exploring the world would be a highly enjoyable and replayable way of doing that.

exactly, that is the point. you can play with the environment, fight with birds, plants, nosedive into the lake etc and then if you want continue with the story.

* It's too bad that rather than winged shoes, the upgrade to cloth wings isn't something cooler, like magical gossamer wings. Winged shoes to me are, sorry to say, just... a bit underwhelming. You have so many other fantastical things in the world that winged shoes (and their hermes / nike association) just throws me off.

ok, it is just an object that lets you get somewhere else. it could be replaced.

* Object idea: What about a shield, or shield ability with your wings if you went with the gossamer magic idea? Then it's not just being shot at and shooting, it's shoot and defend gameplay along with flying.

hmm, i thouhgt about the shield idea but didnt include it. i will think about it.

* How do small rocks distract DAs? I'm not sure that makes sense, unless you're talking about throwing a pebble and making the AI go in the direction of the sound (like the coin in No One Lives Forever).
yes, like that.

EDIT: Oh, yeah, how is health and repairing damage taken in combat handled? I didn't see that listed in items and such.

after playing halo i think the auto generating idea is very good. you dont have to collect and collect health packs. you play, fight and then every x minutes you regenerate to 100%.

SPELLING / GRAMMAR

isnt Word supposed to do all this??? hehe.


CONTROLS
Invert controls for entire game should be standard for any shooter. (Jedi Starfighter has this, as do Quake and Unreal)



LEVEL DESIGN

This game cries out for lots of arches, mesas and spires and such to fight around and on. Mabye you could even fly into enemies and bump them off of mesas or towers so that they fall to their doom?

yes, i see arches too.

I'd like to see a few more cave levels. Even just cool little areas with twisty passages to fly through would be nice.

there can be non story based areas where you just play around, like cannyons, waterfalls, hidden caves etc.


STORY / ENVIRONMENT

* Possibly show NPCs naturally doing some of the stuff you're going to have to be doing for the sake of foreshadowing: For instance, as Martin leads you around, maybe show some guards fighting some birds briefly, or someone seeding crops. This helps show the town as a living place, and maybe helps it become a more immersive game when you do it yourself.

exactly!!! you imagined it just like it is.

* Need some story connecting Nanune to the character more closely, and explaining why the boss is using her as a chip against you. Maybe your rival sold you out? But for that to be true, you'd earlier have to have proven yourself a substantial menace to the DAs. Otherwise, you'd be just another faceless, non-descript enemy-- meaning it would be contrived for the boss to think you or Nanune were special.

actually the bad guy came here again because of your father and because he defeated him. you are the son, now it is your turn...

* Why were there bombs inside the mill? Plotwise, this just sounds weird. What do sky gods need of a primitive, junky mill?

lol.

* You mentioned a mystery but I'm not sure I understood what it was.

hmm, the mistery, let me remember. the wizard and master must hide something, or act like they hide it. nanune worries.
you dont know what it is.

* My absolute biggest complaint: "Dark Ones."

yes, i hate dark ones too. that´s why i write DAs.


But how are you going to stop a player from flying to a bounding mountain, and then walking over it (unless you just say "you can't go this way" which is a bit lame).

yes, i started a topic about "gameworld limits" while i was writing this. some people said, make it infinite like tribes or put an invisible wall but i prefer having physical limits like you cant fly too high because you cant breathe or it is too cold or too hot etc.


* The DAs suit sounds like mecha armor, btw, which you could have real fun with.

also it is a way of having more flying speed etc once you learned how to fly.

TECH
* As noted above, if you go through the trouble of doing day and night, I'd actually add modifications to AI or gameplay (or both) based on time of day. Even just visibility vs. enemies would be an improvement.

* You will probably want a section on AI itself, listing behaviors per each entity (including even the simple turrets and birds).



thanks!!!

http://www.amiganr1.com

[edited by - sara_qq on May 3, 2002 6:21:21 AM]

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