Typical game designer, plagiarising their big hit for the follow-up :P
Today I had to deliver a game pitch for a game design class, summarizing it in no more than two minutes. Out of a class of 31 it was voted #4, so developing it (from a design standpoint, no actual code or game assets) will be the project for the next two months for my team of six. Here's the full pitch:
Pioneers is a concept for an aerial multiplayer team-based sandbox game, in the same vein as physics-based simulations such as Garryís Mod but with a stronger competitive focus. The objective of the game would be to blend physics-based freeform construction with flight sim elements in an online arena. The basic setup is two teams fighting over a square map one to three miles to each side, with each teamís base in opposite corners and a variety of neutral points around the map. The game would use a day/night cycle. During the night, darkness would make it impossible to fly, so the players would use the time to construct aircraft from a large number of modular parts- fuselage components, engines, wings, weapons, and so on. These would range from small one-man fighters to multiple-crew heavy bombers, all player-designed. This would be a communal effort, with players collaborating on more advanced designs, and able to save finalized designs, allowing quick respawning without needing to rebuild the entire plane. During the day, the players would then take off and use these aircraft to fight.
Killing other players would not be the primary objective- the primary goal would be to destroy the other teamís base (most likely a central structure such as a radar tower), accomplished with bombing. Capturing neutral bases around the map, by occupying the area for a set amount of time with no enemies nearby, would provide various assets to the team (such as observation balloons, ground defenses, or forward airbases). Each player would also have a score, increased by shooting down enemy planes and completing objectives, and decreased by suicide. Score would be used in a cosmetic fashion, allowing comparison between players, with higher-score players being able to use ace paintjobs and having reduced respawn times. The game would use a simple physics engine to calculate flight performance of the aircraft, without having the extreme complexity of a realistic flight simulation.
Each player would be able to design and store two aircraft for the day phase. These could be engineered from scratch, or copied from a teammate. The limit of two aircraft encourages players to choose useful planes that can perform multiple roles, forcing them to react to the aircraft designs of the enemy team. Parts available for construction would include fuselage components (roughly determining the size of the aircraft), wings (determining lift and maneuverability and affecting drag), engines (which could be built into the fuselage or mounted on the wings), and tails (affecting maneuverability, stability, and drag). Weapons then could be integrated into the fuselage or wings, with additional underwing hardpoints available for munitions like additional fuel, bombs, and rockets. Variations in fuel, armor, ammunition, turrets, and other such considerations, plus cosmetic modifications like paintjobs and decals, would allow for a high degree of customization in the aircraft. Heavy weapon-laden aircraft would require larger wing surfaces and more engines to fly, making them unmaneuverable and easy targets, so if statted appropriately the designed aircraft would all be balanced.
The gameplay itself would be a light flight sim, encouraging accessibility and not requiring players to be experienced with other games in the genre, but with more physical realism than arcade-type games like HAWX. Stalling, minimum airspeed, varying climb/dive efficiencies, and realistic control surfaces would all be present. Airspeed would be very low and weapon distances short, to make it easier to keep track of aircraft, and allowing the maps to be fairly small. The emphasis is not on realism, but on a reasonable appearance of realism, with the flight model given enough physical fidelity to seem like a depiction of real aircraft rather than vectors. With this foundation of player design and relatively simple gameplay, additional game modes and map ideas could be added to flesh it out and create sufficient content for a full game.
Typical game designer, plagiarising their big hit for the follow-up :P
I don't know exactly what Matthew is talking about, but this definitely reminds me of that Red vs Blue Team FPS-RTS where you're building fighters, bombers, and attack ships and then flying them over & bombing the other guy's base, as well as building your base up & its defenses.
I'm trying to remember the name. Somebody in this forum posted a 3-part video playthrough of it and made a thread with a link to it IIRC (or put it in another thread), and he kept apologizing through the whole video for being boring, haha; I know because I watched the whole thing anyway.
But that was more of a mix of simulation (all the action is FPS & physics based) & more traditional RTS (where things like "building", "upgrades", "resource gathering", etc, are automated). Your idea sounds more like it's simulation all around, including for the building phase, maybe the resource gathering too(?). I wouldn't call it plagiarism.
A New Zero is the game you're thinking of. I'm going for something similar, but without the pseudo-RTS or economic aspects, and with all aircraft (as opposed to ships and such). And, of course, a heavy focus on the physics and design part of it, since A New Zero is very simplistic in the design and handling of the aircraft. One of the goals is for it to be 50/50 sandbox/combat, where building a working and controllable plane is a challenge in of itself, instead of focusing entirely on the competitive aspect.
Granted, it's still a team-based game where you shoot each other with airplanes and try to blow up the other team's base, but I think that's a broad enough concept for some fresh ideas.
Edit: Oops, just noticed the double post. Now I get it
The other thing it reminded me of was that tv show Master Blasters (there might be other shows with this premise), where there was two teams building rockets to do some task (like shooting a car through a football fieldgoal posts; having the rocket parachute down, land, and launch a rover; who can land closest to a bullseye 1/2 mile away; all sorts of crazy tasks), and they had a week to do all the design and building, which is such a tight deadline you really have to get an idea and just build it and deal with complications as they come... then on Saturday each team sees what the other has been doing and how they dealt with different issues, and then actually firing the rockets to see who's design worked best & actually worked as planned!
That's the part of this idea that I like. There's an effective deadline in beating your opponent to the punch, unless your idea is so awesome it's worth the risk of taking longer. And I like the idea when you see your opponent's plane coming over, you finally get to see what it's capable of and how they dealt with certain issues.
What made the show fun that you might add to the game is some variability that you have to account for in the design, so it's not the exact same design considerations & process every single game. I can imagine after people have played it a number of times, they'll work out an optimal design the fastest to build and then that whole part is neutered; it's just who can follow the optimal plan fastest. But if the circumstances are variable and there isn't a single optimal design, but different options that have a mixed bag of pros and cons that even vary each game, then that stage is still fun... So maybe there's changing weather or physical conditions (even at the basic level of gravity, air pressure, etc), different terrain, distances, altitudes, different defense systems the design should account for, flak guns, radar, day/night cycle, different technology available or even differently evolving technology over the course of the game ... And then different combinations of these kinds of factors each game, so each calls for its own design challenges and you have to experiment.
Or maybe even the basic mission changes, like what your craft has to actually accomplish to "win" the level -- maybe different types of bases have to be bombed in different ways, high altitude vs low altitude, precision vs carpet, multiple buildings vs single cluster... But what about even more alt missions, like who can build the first plane that can do some obstacle course, or some particularly crazy task (but you might build that into the base scenario by putting the crazy task in the way of bombing the other guy's base). I mean half the fun of the show Master Blasters was they didn't know what the mission was they were designing for until it started, and the tasks were always very creative and out there... making you have to design to do things you didn't predict and don't typically think about. Some of that would be coming up with different scenarios, but some of that could just be what I mentioned before, mixing and matching different variables they have to design for, so there's some variation each game and needing to combine two different task goals takes some thinking. Like: our reconnaissance planes tell us we need high altitude planes to cruise over the range of their flak guns, with precision bombs to hit multiple targets, carpet bombs won't work well, but the air pressure here is X which gives us certain aerodynamic & weight limits (within reason; it's still a gamed-down version), and we just have Y technology & materials available for us to work with. So let's figure this out, build something, & experiment. That kind of thing I think would be fun.
Edit: I kept thinking of stuff that I added to the post.
Last edited by demagogue; 10th Dec 2011 at 15:18.
For example, you may have an awesome highly-maneuverable dogfighter, but if the other players see this and start building high-speed high-altitude jet bombers that can outrun you, you've got to adapt or die. So you build an unmaneuverable but fast jet interceptor of your own, but then the other guys start using small low-level fighter bombers that are maneuverable enough to dodge your unmaneuverable attack runs, and so on and so on.
Different map designs would probably influence it too- a map set in a canyon network would have very different design considerations from a map of wide open skies. Races, obstacle courses, and things like that would be a great idea for another game mode.
Something that could be interesting would be finding a way to make a team work together on just a couple of designs, so the distinction between the sides is clear, but I feel like that might encourage better players to 'hog' the design process. Maybe have it so that every player can fly any of the designs built by teammates, and a short enough build time to really encourage teamwork in construction? That way people who want to do their own thing could do so, new players could fly planes built by their teammates to see what works and what doesn't, and a team that can works together and knows what they're doing could crank out just a couple of solid designs that would do what they need.
This isn't so much a game idea as an idea that could be included in a game. What if we were to apply the Stack Overflow model of gaining reputation to games? What I'm referring to is the way that on SO, all your 'reputation' points come from other people upvoting your questions and answers. This is kind of the opposite to the way a traditional forum works, where your post count is what's displayed on your profile. It's also counter to the way games work - you get XP (I'm sort of sliding from the idea of 'reputation' to 'experience' but bear with me) from just doing tons of stuff. But what if we were to apply some sort of peer-review process to it?
Obviously, you could easily apply the idea of 'reputation' to a game, and have XP work as usual. So what I'd do is, take a game like Counter-Strike. When you get killed by someone, I'd pop up a dialogue that allows you to 'upvote' them (or whatever the terminology). Yes, you get the opportunity to increase their reputation when they kill you. The idea is that the system would encourage people to play the game fairly, as judged by their peers. You wouldn't upvote a cheap kill via exploits or blind luck, but you'd upvote a kill after a tough duel, or if someone genuinely snuck up on you.
I wrote a full post about it here. Didn't want to repost it, but nor did I just want to post a link.
The idea's fraught with problems... but I'm fascinated by the idea of ranking players not just for activity, but the quality of that activity. And it seems like other players are the most available resource for judging that quality.
While I was half asleep the other day I half dreamed/imagined a survival horror that involves you being stalked in a city by the ghost of a submarine. You can hear sonar pings when it's after you. D:
Must remember to take my pills.
A freeroaming survival horror in a submerged ruins of a city? Sounds like a pretty good idea.
Kind of a reversal of Neb's idea, I'm imagining a submerged city (like, say, after the polar ice caps melt or w/e) and the player is a diver exploring the remains, with ghosts/hallucinations/flashbacks occasionally putting elements of the pre-flood city in. Like, say, a sequence forcing the player to dodge ethereal traffic to cross a street. Something like an underwater Cryostasis.
As long as you could keep the pace up. Wouldn't want it to drag too much moving through the water.
I wanted to see a kind of sub-fighter shooter Freespace-style in a vast scifi ocean setting, with many underwater cities, bases, and pirates.
The other kind of setting I want to see a game treatment for is something like the city in The Fifth Element, Blade Runner, Back to the Future II, and an Anachronox cutscene... where you have impossibly high skyscrapers, aerial traffic, free & open movement GTA style, and car chases through it.
I was just thinking about a Saint's Row 2D platformer, with Hoverboards in it. Sure, that game might not have appealed to everyone, but I'm not talking about one dope game. I am talking about having enough wild ass ideas, dope ass original concepts, and shit no one has ever seen before, that could help a company win. Like my idea for a Saint's Row: Dogs and Cats. At the start of the game, you pick a dog or a cat, choose its fur color, etc. Then, you are unleashed, as a stray, into the game world. I am imagining an open world game, as big as a city in GTA or SR, only instead of playing as a human in a city, the whole world is a lot bigger than you. Since you are pet sized, the whole game world could be the size of a single neighborhood, but huge, with all these little paths that only a pet could take. I imagine giving the cats claws, the ability to climb any surface, and 9 lives. The dogs would have a much larger health bar, barking and biting powers, but only one life. Everyone gets night vision. The mission of the game is finding a home, and survival. You are a stray, so the pound is after you as a major enemy, like the police in GTA or SR. You will need to find, or steal food. You will encounter other animals, that you can befriend, or fight. You will encounter people, some nice ones who might throw you a bone, or set out a bowl of milk, but others might be mean to you, hit or kick you, and abuse you. Michael Vick dog fighting, check. Finding a nice young lad, who always wanted a pet, check. Your main mission in the game is to find a home, level up, and just have a new dope ass type of world to play in. My vision is a lot bigger than Tokyo jungle, by the way.
The first idea I had when I read about Tokyo Jungle was what you just mentioned, and then I actually watched the play through videos and was disappointed because it wasn't really an open sim at all but really gamey. What you just mentioned would kick serious ass IMO.
I thought about a survival sim for an animal in a jungle, but an urban setting would probably be cooler. And playing to get an owner is an actual objective that naturally fits. Something you might add is the idea of controlling turf, pissing on stuff to set your boundaries, if you're a dog being all alpha and maybe building a pack for yourself.
If you pushed that idea, you could even have a kind of animal underworld that you're scrapping to control, and you have to fight your way to the top of the hierarchy. (And even natural factions, cats vs dogs vs rats, with people being like you described.) It'd need some thought to get the gameplay right, but I think there's a game there.
Wasn't my idea! It was someone's response to THQ closing down on Kotaku. I posted it because the language was so 90s Vanilla Ice it hurt.
But it's absolutely batshit and totally playable and I fully endorse it.
Here's a cool game idea I don't think anybody has explored.
I'd call it "Me and the Devil Blues", and it'd be something between an adventure game, 1930s guitar hero, and RPGish.
It's basically the mythic story of Robert Johnson. You start as a nobody sharecropper's son in 1930 Mississippi, can't play guitar, can't do jack. Then you hear rumors about how to summon the devil & become a master bluesman by going to the crossroads and performing some ritual (this might be cutscene material), which warps you to some surreal alt timeline where you get guitar tutorials from a mysterious character, and then you appear back home like 6 months or a year later and everyone is bewildered at your disappearance... And from then on, things are never what they seem and the real world & alt world bleed into each other, and you're not always clear which one you're in, or what forces are acting to what ends.
But the actual game is basically going from town to town to build your reputation as a bluesman, with guitar-hero like blues challenges, and other adventure game & RPG like things you do (well, I'm not sure how RPG it needs to be), but getting to bigger and bigger towns, with more & more cash to throw around... with Chicago & the gangster highlife being at the top of the list. But lots of dark forces are also intervening, corrupting your life; sometimes you have to work in their world (you'd often enter that world in dreams, I think)... The more you compromise with them, the more success you find, but the bigger the cost it takes on those around you & taking you down a dark path. Or you can choose the higher road & try to extricate yourself from the curse, though it's not always clear it's "better" for you or your career... Leading up to a major moral confrontation in the end.
Now that's something original & interesting I think. Atypical setting, protagonist, gameplay, story & plot...
That's excellent, and I would play it. I'm willing to bet a lot of other people would, too. Sounds like a well thought-out arc.
It reminds me a little bit of The Real Texas, which is a game I should really start playing and see if it's any good.