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 Post subject: gameplay overview (mostly outdated)
PostPosted: April 6th, 2011, 12:39 pm 
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Background:

There are commonalities to games I am drawn back to over the years, wanting to play them again, and play them differently: one such hallmark is what you might call a two-stage gameplay.
X-COM: UFO DEFENSE, Syndicate, Hitman Blood Money, The Horde all have some play component that is tactical, and then a second stage that has some major or minor strategic value which informs/feeds back into the first stage.

Even with the games whose second stage is fairly minor (in Blood Money and Syndicate the second stages are largely to allow you to buy upgrades), the game experience is still a great deal richer than if you were to play the same game without that second stage.
Syndicate, for instance, can easily be imagined without the global ability to select your next mission, and a timed progression for agent upgrades (or in a modern format, simply hiding those agent upgrades as collectibles through the level. Ugh.) Blood Money is very close to the previous Hitman games, but with the Notoriety system in place you can read newspaper articles about your killings, place bribes if you have been sloppy, and customize weapons to suit stealth or overt violence. It's not hugely sophisticated but these factors have a global effect on the missions: higher notoriety means 47 will get spotted more quickly, and so on.
It goes without saying though that X-COM may well be the crown jewel of the two-stage model. Two very different games, a tactical and strategic game (actually launched via seperate executables and chained together), are fully interrelated but also mutually dependent for how deep and interesting the total game is. You might maneuver brilliantly against the aliens on the ground, on retrieval and terror missions, or you might do very well with the strategic/economic balancing act that the Geoscape requires--but you'll need both to succeed.

I bring this up because I believe the salient qualities of two-stage gameplay are central to the conception of Animal Memory, and about how one can make a game with multiple worthwhile playstyle options for the player.


Gameplay Introduction

So how is Animal Memory structured? What are the two stages?

You play as the Traveler, who arrives in, and immediately sets about escaping the Spiral. The Spiral is very big and very old.
Fortunately you find a traincar that can run the Spiral's network of maintenance tunnels. The only trouble is that the interval between stations is very long, weeks to a month. So every time the train stops, you will need to gather supplies, and deal with whatever unknowable society that might greet you in these long isolated pockets of the Spiral (making use of the best story template of them all: a stranger comes to town.)

Image

This is to say that game is broken in the primary tactical game of exploring and scavenging the stations, and then a secondary strategic game representing how you while away your time on board the train. Convalescing from wounds, keeping your mind sharp or entertained (don't forget to finch those paperbacks) or tuning/building rifles from kits, that sort of thing. The secondary stage is life on the train as it wends it's way through these endless tunnels, and a strategic game about time/resource management.

I describe the primary gameplay as "boomerang" shaped. You arrive in a station, orient and reconnoitre. Will getting food and medical supplies mean stealing? Taking what people already don't have? Getting after something that the locals will be very, very unhappy to see go? I call it "boomerang" layout because like Hitman, you will have free run of a given level layout, but you will have points of interests and objectives of opportunity throughout, which at some point you will need to set a crafty exit plan for yourself and execute on.

I think you will be allowed to travel to the next station once you have enough food/supplies to last the estimated distance, with a host of factors influencing and connecting, however remotely, one station to the next.
There will be aspects discouraging you from simply strip-mining the entire level of all possible supplies and then moving on to the next--some kind of communication that the station might be able to send out, so that when you pull into the next stop, you have a welcoming party instead of showing up unseen? Something like that, something akin to the Notoriety system but not quite tracked on the same spectrum.

I'm sure this is all pretty abstract, but I have a brief for what I believe will be the first station prototype I will build and that will allow me to illustrate how a given level might play, how they will connect, and a better idea of the actual minute to minute gameplay of the tactical portion itself. Suffice it to say right now it is not a shooter, not in the traditional sense. I want violence to be explosive, brief, and panicky for all parties concerned; no waves of endless mooks setting out exclusively to increase your kill count.


Last edited by gauss on March 1st, 2012, 4:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 6th, 2011, 2:28 pm 
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Combat sounds like it would be more like Hitman, where you carefully plan where all the guards are, where the target is, where you can set traps. For example, it seems like a typical level would culminate in: 1) snipe Tek Lord to disable robots, 2) detonate charges in the Galleria to kill the Waster Mercs that you just made hostile, 3) machine gun room full of Acolytes, 4) retrieve portable DVD player, 5) sneak out through vents.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 6th, 2011, 3:25 pm 
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Very possibly, but I guess that's just going to depend a lot on how things turn out prototyping. One element I am more or less set on lifting straight out from Hitman is level security concentricity.
By that I mean that most levels in Hitman have a "public" zone where you are free to traverse, if somewhat suspiciously, but getting deeper and deeper into the zones you need to go to get at your targets will require trickery in order to possess authorization (party invitation) or a disguise, that of a guard or VIP. I can think of few better models in terms of working with open level layout. It allows you to choose from multiple approach vectors and styles of play.

quick hypothetical:

Image

Since 47 has good reason to be single-minded about getting his mark and getting out, Io made it so that in Blood Money you cannot be inserted with non-concealable weapons and must pick them up at designated drops, which encourages a little more exploration of the level. In AM, the fact that the Traveler is constantly on the prowl for supplies keeps the incentive up to explore different areas of the level. I don't think the Traveler has to contend with the fact that he's quite so uber suspicious as a murderous bald man, but I think being the stranger come to town might provide similar dynamics.

As far as the violence/stealth quotient as compared to Hitman, that remains to be seen. I think it will be more about subterfuge and "getting the drop" on potential enemies, a la my Sap and the Heater sketch. Getting to your gun faster or catching you foes unaware. A model for the violence would be something more like this scene:


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 6th, 2011, 5:53 pm 
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Love the 2-stage concept and think you've got a great idea here. Might be interesting to intersperse some "wild" locales. These would be unsettled or derelict stops along the railway. Instead of infiltrating a community, the player would compete against other scavengers to collect the loot. This could give you an opportunity to do some unique environments and grant the player an occasional reprieve from the stress of deliberate tactics. My frustration with games like Hitman is that it never let me just go nuts with the tools at hand. I always had to worry about my profile or body count or what have you.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 6th, 2011, 6:23 pm 
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Monkey Wrench wrote:
Love the 2-stage concept and think you've got a great idea here. Might be interesting to intersperse some "wild" locales. These would be unsettled or derelict stops along the railway. Instead of infiltrating a community, the player would compete against other scavengers to collect the loot. This could give you an opportunity to do some unique environments and grant the player an occasional reprieve from the stress of deliberate tactics. My frustration with games like Hitman is that it never let me just go nuts with the tools at hand. I always had to worry about my profile or body count or what have you.


I am going to need to spec it with how UDK handles level loading but yes, this is a very good idea. This is another reason I enjoy two-stage game designs, because they typically allow for more variation in what level might occur: most first encounter missions in X-COM are the same but the fourth or the fifth can be very, very different.

One such idea very much in line with your suggestion would be the equivalents of a "random encounter" that might happen between the "stations" (read: full inhabited levels). Train breaks down or, curiously, comes across some sort of barricade in a tunnel and has to stop, on a stretch of thousands of miles of tunnel. You get out and there's a shorter than full level experience you explore/resolve, and then hop back into the train and resume the second stage play.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 6th, 2011, 7:35 pm 
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Somebody* should board the train at some point. Just sayin'.








*space banditos


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 6th, 2011, 7:55 pm 
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gauss wrote:
As far as the violence/stealth quotient as compared to Hitman, that remains to be seen. I think it will be more about subterfuge and "getting the drop" on potential enemies, a la my Sap and the Heater sketch. Getting to your gun faster or catching you foes unaware. A model for the violence would be something more like this scene:



I'll be interested to see prototypes of that. I'm making thinking noises again.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 6th, 2011, 8:17 pm 
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Outlander wrote:
Somebody* should board the train at some point. Just sayin'.








*space banditos

are they bald

this is important


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 6th, 2011, 8:23 pm 
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Outlander: absolutely. The train is about fostering a mobile base of operations, a safe zone that anchors the traveler's picaresque... and once you build a safe zone at some point it's hard not to transgress it for dramatic effect.

orikae: I believe I will start on a few tacks. One, making use of realistic engagement distances for different weapon classes (no, really, it's tough to hit things with pistols at a distance; sniper pistol syndrome is one of the very dumbest things games have ever produced)--which would make rifles superior for just about everything past very close quarters fighting, as they ought to be, but with pistols having the notable advantage of concealment. Concealment tactics combined with different, perhaps somewhat exaggerated timings on slinging/unholstering weapons and AI threat postures I think will be able to get a lot of this done.

I like the "traveler approaches two guard checkpoint" setup and will likely be making use of it once some kind of idiot AI can be cobbled into place to try it out. So you approach a checkpoint from a distance. Let's say that the AI could hopefully evaluate the player's threat index based on several factors:
  • appearance (wearing an outfit non-native to station raises threat, familiar garb lowers perceived threat)
  • visible weaponry (different societies may have different weapon policies--some will be more "wild west" flavored and people will carry weapons as part of normal behavior, which would defer this factor in threat assessment)
  • weapon carry/posture (does the player have a visible long arm or pistol? Is either being carried in the hands or slung on the arm? Actively shouldering/aiming the gun = most threatening, sling carry = nominal, concealed pistol = lowest threat level)
  • environmental factors (has gunfire/explosion been heard by the guards recently?)

These factors, combined with distance they are first seeing the player (presumably a lot of these factors wouldn't be fully recognizable at distance but would go higher as the player gets closer) would modify the guards' own combat posture. Like the Blood Diamond scene, you want to do what you can in order to lower the guards' readiness. Hopefully this might even involve tactics like approaching with concealed weapon and offering the guards a cigarette or even money, something like that, an offering that would require them to sling their own long arms in order to accept--and as they reach for the proffered item, you pop them.

I think there will be a kind of distinct timing hierarchy on which weapons can be gotten to fastest--rifles are always slower shoulder, but have so much better range than pistols. Pistols are the fastest (though faster from simply holster compared to concealed carry? Hmm), but have limited range.

I stress again however that I do not consider the game a shooter, probably even less so than Hitman. I think it has more to do with exploring the spaces that typically get throttled past immediately in shooter games--the tense points where people might escalate to a firefight but would much rather not.
Certainly no regenerating health--likely not even health packs. At this point I think the lethality is so high that wounds are either instant kill or not, and if they don't, then you probably need to staunch the blood flow and then the rest of the time spent in that station is curtailed, because you need to get back to the train and get out of there before the adrenaline runs out and the shock sets in.
But, like in Hitman, while AM may penalize blunt force tactics I won't disallow them. I think "every NPC is killable" is a code of purity more games should stand by.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 6th, 2011, 8:35 pm 
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Isn't holsters being faster than concealed carry the entire point of holsters existing in the first place? I have no idea. I've never touched a real gun except for that one time and I didn't know it was real until after I picked it up and it wasn't loaded but oh god that was terrifying anyway.

I'm curious about what suave/debonair options will exist. Will it ever be feasible to smooth-talk my way back to the train with the McGuffin in hand and the High Priest's daughter around my arm? Will this be a DeusEx style skill allocation thing, or will the character be assumed to be awesome at everything?


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 6th, 2011, 8:47 pm 
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GIRP really got me thinking about control surface -> difficulty of action relationships. Perhaps shouldering a long rifle requires a finger contortion on the keyboard a la action reload. You can shoulder it without it in a sniping or ambush situation, but in a hurry, you want to do things quickly and with precision.

e: Particularly if it's not conceived as a shooter, since the skill challenge is in getting the weapon up fast enough, not aiming it explicitly at the head.

Still making thinking noises.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 6th, 2011, 10:01 pm 
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Doesn't the fact that each level will end badly for either you (you don't get that thing) or them (you get that thing) mean that the noteriety system you are proposing would basically just be a reward for failure (since presumably if you stole their thing they would complain about you to the next station)?


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 6th, 2011, 11:26 pm 
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Outlander: concealed carry usually involves a holster still, but yeah probably is a longer draw than a pistol pulled from a belt in a holster. Maybe not significantly, I'm not sure. In this case it's about stratifying gameplay elements in non-idiotic ways (see sniper pistol syndrome).

orikae: funny you'd mention that, GIRP struck me as inspiring in a similar way, a surprising evocation. GIRP actually kind of gets at the coordination of climbing through its control scheme. Similarly, Cactus' Norrland does a neat thing of including an directional combo that successfully evokes working the bolt on a hunting rifle, and while I don't think I'll get down to that resolution, playing with control resolution related to firearms is rather interesting.

I had a thought related to that a few days ago. I wanted some kind of gameplay mechanic relating to the issue of Mr. Magic and His Expert Knowledge of Guns problem (instantly picking up and expertly cycling every single gun you come across, or the reverse which is even worse--gunhaver man having no competency unless he applies skill points).
My original thought was that certainly you could pick up any gun and pull the trigger, but past whatever magazine was loaded into at that stage you'd have to at least familiarize yourself with the weapon outside of a combat situation. The non-play solution was the first, which would simply have the player character have a short "hey look at this" animation, but that's dull.
The new concept was a reverse key-assignment. You had the keys bound, as they are normally (R for reload etc.), but upon examining a new weapon there is a minigame of sorts that represents familiarization. A standard "model viewer" type window is presented of the weapon in question. At the bottom is a set of weapon functions common to virtually all firearms--safety, magazine release, charging handle, etc. All you need to do to familiarize yourself with the new weapon is to assign each of these features by dragging them onto the gun to the actual feature on the gun, exactly the kind of thing you actually do with a new firearm turning it over in your hands. A small thing to be sure but it replaces a static animation asset with a piece of novel gameplay, usually preferable.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 6th, 2011, 11:34 pm 
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Endrite wrote:
Doesn't the fact that each level will end badly for either you (you don't get that thing) or them (you get that thing) mean that the noteriety system you are proposing would basically just be a reward for failure (since presumably if you stole their thing they would complain about you to the next station)?


I'm being a little coy with the "getting the thing" portion of the level because I'm not entirely sure how that's to play out just yet. I envision something with the kind of verve that a panic event brings on in L4D, but allowing the player more preplanning and less arbitrary cutoffs on their options. To appeal to cinema once again, I think of the Raiders of the Lost Ark opening sequence, particularly Indy's dash to the plane once he nabs the idol. Not that the game is about dodging boulders a la Dragon's Lair, but the idea that you would have a lot of time to think and to plan, but there might be certain key opportunities where you execute on a dicey plan and haul ass back to the train as fast as you can manage. Still a point to be developed. I just didn't want to simply make the game about finding some dude you're assigned to kill and killing him a la Hitman/Assassin's Creed.

But you're right, hopefully it will map in a way that makes more sense, something more interesting than the be an angel/kick a puppy spectrum we're all so familiar with. It can't just be a one to one mapping of more killing = more escalation in later levels. I think it will also factor in just how much you take in terms of food and supplies as well; I want to encourage exploration but I think it best to discourage strip-mining every single potentially useful item from the gameworld. I want to discourage it partly because it's my typical tendency in RPG games with inventories and partly because if you leave this kind of thing open in a game players can develop a dim view of your game if only because their sense of best economy makes them play the game in the most tedious way possible and they hate you for it.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 8th, 2011, 1:53 pm 
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I'm not sure whether you'd get this specific, but a recent experience had me thinking about weapon handling in way that doesn't normally come up in games, namely the assumed accuracy of scopes. I recently dusted off my father's K98 with a x4 scope, only to find that the scope was so off that I couldn't even hit a body sized target at 100 meters.

Something like this could be another factor in approaching weapons that you haven't used before, or in attaching a scope to a new platform (though I wouldn't make the game version as onerous as my own experience). Picking up some rustbucket rifle is doable, but the sighting might be way off-- the corresponding minigame could be as simple as firing the rifle once while scoped and then dragging the crosshairs to the point of impact in order to adjust it. A fun little step in getting to know a particular weapon better, and something terrifying if you're in a panic situation.

Just a thought.

[edit]

also, I'm happy to see consideration for actual variations in engagement distance. Gotta fight the power when it comes to sniper pistol syndrome. That and actually putting a mechanic in place to prevent hoovering entire areas of anything usable. I hate nothing more than being a profiteering soldier who strips naked everyone he kills, especially when the game enforces that behavior.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 8th, 2011, 2:22 pm 
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Is there any procedurality in this? It seems like a lot of level design to do by hand.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 8th, 2011, 2:28 pm 
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As awesome as it would be to generate working levels on the fly for this, i think this model might lend itself better to specifically crafted levels, similar to how hitman does it. The main concern is that there's enough complexity in the gameplay itself that procedurally generating levels might be pretty tough to pull off.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 8th, 2011, 3:21 pm 
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Well, you don't have to proceduralize all of it. Maybe just random enemy placement and patrol loops based on pathfinding information... Although random level generation is certainly possible. See http://forums.mapcore.net/viewtopic.php?f=57&t=15974 maybe combined with the Hawken environmental style, blocks cleverly covered in gubbins. I know UDK has city building generators too. Or have random chunks and pre-designed chunks.

Anyway, I'm just skimming this and thinking it would take a year for a team of 20 to make something barely playable.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 8th, 2011, 3:32 pm 
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Wake: yeah there are ideas around that, too. It always bothers me to be "the hero" and never really manage to stop myself from stripmining everything like some kind of weird junk collector. I plan to address that by partly modifying how the pickups themselves work (strip magazines out of rifles for instance if you already own it, not magically make the whole rifle disappear), and partly by bringing the setting to some of that gameplay. After all, the character really does need supplies.

Radiatoryang wrote:
Well, you don't have to proceduralize all of it. Maybe just random enemy placement and patrol loops based on pathfinding information... Although random level generation is certainly possible. See http://forums.mapcore.net/viewtopic.php?f=57&t=15974 maybe combined with the Hawken environmental style, blocks cleverly covered in gubbins. I know UDK has city building generators too. Or have random chunks and pre-designed chunks.

Anyway, I'm just skimming this and thinking it would take a year for a team of 20 to make something barely playable.


Good to see you again Mr. Yang.
Level design is one area I'm the least worried--I banged out very large chunks of Darkest of Days' level design using feature-weak first iteration proprietary tech/editor, and that was fighting the engine most of the way. Yet we still turned in a roughly 8-10 hour game severely undermanned.
UDK feels like thought transmitting into reality, effortlessly by comparison. Certainly it's going to come down to some bottleneck or the other, but that's a lot of why I am moving forward to prototyping and finding out what gets cut. Unquestionably a great deal of it will be, but it will be interesting to playtest and find which elements prove vital and which don't.

But a procedural approach to certain things--populating the level, arming guards/enemy NPCs, certain loot drops or what have you, all sound like smart candidates for investigation. I love building levels--as in the physical layouts and such, lighting and dressing them--so I'm going to keep firm on that point, but getting a little systemic-level assist on other aspects I think likely.

Especially if there's to be any intra-level feedback, the simplest example being something like you kill too many people on station A, then station B has certain behavioral tweaks in response. Sounds like a recipe for drowning if not addressed through procedurally populating the level to some degree.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 14th, 2011, 1:45 pm 
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A lot of content here, so you get a bullet list with my sincerest apologies:

~If it takes weeks/months between stations, how does word of your exploits get out?
~The Traveler = The Prisoner?
~Picaresque - "Of or relating to an episodic style of fiction dealing with the adventures of a rough and dishonest but appealing hero." I love that there is a word for this.
~X-COM had the "dogfight" mini-game, too, which provided another kind of break from resource management.
~I like two stages in general and your two stages in particular. It is Yojimbo at every stop.
~Thumbs up to the gun-familiarization mini-game. It passes the mini-game test: it is interesting the first time, and naturally recedes so it doesn't get monotonous. The second time you pick up that gun-model, you can shoot it, no problem. Your mini-game mimics actual learning. Oblivion-style skill points through usage is the next closest thing, and buying skill with experience points or something is the most abstracted.
~Gauss: "you will be allowed to travel to the next station once you have enough food/supplies to last the estimated distance" Let the player leave whenever he wants, but he will just die on the way, Oregon Trail-style. No mercy. :custer:
~Gauss: "(don't forget to finch those paperbacks)" - Mount&Blade has books that you can read to upgrade while you are camped when time passes more quickly. So, How to Win Friends and Influence People 47% Complete
~Re: Blood Diamond scene. Will there be a Pretend to be a Prisoner button? It isn't feasible to allow the player to be completely creative, so you will have to think of a certain number of ways to approach a situation. Joke, Coerce, Bribe and Admire were the options inthe Oblivion persuasion mini-game.
~Re: Procedural vs. Design. I picture this working a little like a level in The Incredible Machine, where there is flexibility to solve the "puzzle" in multiple ways, but it may involve tweaking your timing or execution. In that case, it is important that the objective and props be consistent. Maybe Groundhog's Day is a better example.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 14th, 2011, 2:51 pm 
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johnb wrote:
~Gauss: "you will be allowed to travel to the next station once you have enough food/supplies to last the estimated distance" Let the player leave whenever he wants, but he will just die on the way, Oregon Trail-style. No mercy. :custer:

its one of my biggest fantasies to be left on the side of a road without any food/supplies and have to be used by many indian chicks in exchange for more food/supplies, how weird is that? :custer:


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 14th, 2011, 4:44 pm 
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Have you thought about implementing various firearm holding stances? They could add more depth into combat, what style you're good at could determine which tactic would be best suited to you. But then, if you find yourself in a situation where things aren't going your way, your preferred style might hamper you.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 19th, 2011, 8:29 am 
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I think the most logical mash-up of GIRP and gun handling would be just to have each gun use a slightly different set of keyboard keys for common functions, and it would be up to the player to remember what does what on that particular gun.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 19th, 2011, 12:56 pm 
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johnb wrote:
A lot of content here, so you get a bullet list with my sincerest apologies:

~If it takes weeks/months between stations, how does word of your exploits get out?
~The Traveler = The Prisoner?
~Picaresque - "Of or relating to an episodic style of fiction dealing with the adventures of a rough and dishonest but appealing hero." I love that there is a word for this.
~X-COM had the "dogfight" mini-game, too, which provided another kind of break from resource management.
~I like two stages in general and your two stages in particular. It is Yojimbo at every stop.
~Thumbs up to the gun-familiarization mini-game. It passes the mini-game test: it is interesting the first time, and naturally recedes so it doesn't get monotonous. The second time you pick up that gun-model, you can shoot it, no problem. Your mini-game mimics actual learning. Oblivion-style skill points through usage is the next closest thing, and buying skill with experience points or something is the most abstracted.
~Gauss: "you will be allowed to travel to the next station once you have enough food/supplies to last the estimated distance" Let the player leave whenever he wants, but he will just die on the way, Oregon Trail-style. No mercy. :custer:
~Gauss: "(don't forget to finch those paperbacks)" - Mount&Blade has books that you can read to upgrade while you are camped when time passes more quickly. So, How to Win Friends and Influence People 47% Complete
~Re: Blood Diamond scene. Will there be a Pretend to be a Prisoner button? It isn't feasible to allow the player to be completely creative, so you will have to think of a certain number of ways to approach a situation. Joke, Coerce, Bribe and Admire were the options inthe Oblivion persuasion mini-game.
~Re: Procedural vs. Design. I picture this working a little like a level in The Incredible Machine, where there is flexibility to solve the "puzzle" in multiple ways, but it may involve tweaking your timing or execution. In that case, it is important that the objective and props be consistent. Maybe Groundhog's Day is a better example.


-Not sure yet how word gets out. The Spiral's stations may not be wholly isolated. Maybe there are still some lines of communication open, even couriers.
-If the Traveler manages anything like the Prisoner's sense of tenacity for the player, now that I would thrilled by.
-'picaresque' has long been a favorite niche word, was happy to realize it fit exactly.
-some other kind of equivalent would be good for the second stage train gameplay, I am considering options. I am confident a lot of it will reveal itself in the prototyping.
-thanks. I have also considered certain bonuses going the more traditional route, but for mapping skill concepts in an interesting way to the player's own, I think this is the best so far.
-The Oregon Trail comparison does keep coming up for me personally, and I like it--but how to make the game in such a manner that players don't feel entirely cheated by an early death, starving in the train tunnels, despite it being their own fault? Is it a communication issue?
-Many good books to be read and referenced, yes
-I think bribes and others non-violent responses will be a part of it. I am not making a shooter, shooting is not your own verb, so there needs to be an expanded palette of interactions. And most of the people you meet I do not think will be strictly bad dudes, not even somewhat in places--I think everyone will just be more desperate souls generally.
-procedural anything is on the 'to research' category. The trouble for me with it, at this point, is that it stresses a skill I have only just begun to develop (coding), rather than what I have years under my belt with.



Chaya wrote:
Have you thought about implementing various firearm holding stances?

Yes, I have. I am reticent to get into any schemes that put more work on animation than necessary, since that's something I know I can do but likely not very well, at least for now, and is time consuming. But yes, I have considered just this. There's a fascinating range of expression as far as that goes, and I will continue to explore the possibilities.

Ninjas wrote:
I think the most logical mash-up of GIRP and gun handling would be just to have each gun use a slightly different set of keyboard keys for common functions, and it would be up to the player to remember what does what on that particular gun.

Ninjas: I thought of something like that, GIRP-like in that some functions of a gun might be mapped further away on the keyboard, but both ideas suffer from having to, in some way, lock down the keyboard mapping from the player in order for it to work properly, which I think is against the code of ethics for PC games. So I'm going to avoid any scheme that would involve unchangeable key bindings. This way the gun familiarization minigame is connected to the mental "mapping" of the weapon layout. Firearms are like that; once you know where the pieces are they function very much the same.

I still think there might be some interesting variation present by further increasing resolution on the weapons handling; something I am only considering because this game is not a shooter in the sense that shooting is all you do. It isn't, so I think a little more fidelity here and there with the actual gun handling will serve certain ends.


Please keep discussing and commenting people, even this early this is vital to the development of the game!


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 19th, 2011, 1:16 pm 
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Joined: August 25th, 2010, 12:09 pm
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The train reminds me of the sentient train that made me stop reading Stephen King's The Dark Tower series. But I am sure this will be much better. :)

Also, from Roger Ebert's (very entertaining) Glossary of Movie Terms, maybe this could be used for inspiration:
Quote:
Ark Movie
Dependable genre in which a mixed bag of characters are trapped on a colorful mode of transportation. Examples: AIRPORT (airplane), THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE (ocean liner), MAROONED (space satellite), THE CASSANDRA CROSSING (train), ALIENS (outer space), THE HINDENBURG (dirigible), THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE (subway train), ABYSS (undersea station), and of course the best of them all, STAGECOACH.


Except your colorful mode of transportation is mysterious spiral cavern train.


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