Archive for September 16th, 2010

September 16, 2010

In two minds…

Just over a week ago I posted about game design documents and decided that I would start working on my Game Concept Document for the game I’m planning to develop. As soon as I’d finished that post, I had the Core explained and a feature set which, according to game designer Brenda Braithwaite, should be a list of elements that all make the experience of the Core possible.

Braithwaite uses the example of a pirate;

Let’s say we wanted to be a pirate. What things would we need to simulate that experience?

  • A pirate ship
  • An ocean we could explore
  • Other ships that we could plunder (and steal, perhaps)
  • Seaport towns that we could plunder
  • A combat system that allowed us to attack and defend
  • A place to sell our stolen goods or people to sell them to
  • Cannons and swords
  • Some indication of the power we have and the fear we generate as a pirate
  • Fellow pirates

I’ve done all that too, all features which emphasize and create my core goals.

Also required is a description of how a user experience would work. This has been taking me more time. It’s strange. I’ve got this concept in my head, I’ve had it there for months and I know I could explain it very easily to someone in person. However, I can’t seem to settle on a description. Yes this is a concept document, I’m sure not everything is set in stone, but I’m asking myself questions about the description which could possibly impact the core.

Here’s my core so far:

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Project Rumble is a multiplayer top-down shooter which pits an eclectic bunch of combatants against each other in a battle only a few miles above the Earth.

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Pretty simple, yet it has enough to come up with a detailed feature set. The problem I’m facing is that I’m still not entirely convinced with the theme and setting. Unfortunately in a game as simple as a multiplayer shooter… the setting is core. The setting determines your character, your weapons, the battleground… everything!

This is where I’m in two minds.

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1st Mind

Using a Space theme gives huge flexibility when it comes to weapon design. Now I know that’s lazy (only a poor workman blames his tools) but it does seem space is a pretty versatile playground. Another reason space is great is that it’s a zero gravity area… this gives the opportunity to include space physics which really do make these dogfighting style games a lot more fun. Finally, and this is a big one, I’ve got quite an interesting plot that involves a link with Earth. Being in space is the only thing that makes sense for my story… if I change the setting the whole thing has to be scrapped.

2nd Mind

Space is really, really overdone. I was reading various articles about Flash games, and a few tutorials, and space really is the training example and result of a lot of independent productions. Geeks and sci-fi is so bloody generic. I want to do this project to showcase my creativity and innovation, which is difficult to do in the most standard theme known to the gaming world. Furthermore, the game I’m basing this on (Rumble in the Void) is set in space… which will make it difficult to avoid comparisons. I’m not just cloning it, but people might think that way.

So this is where I’m at right now. I can’t finish my concept because I can’t settle on a theme. Perhaps my next few posts will consider various themes I can give for my multiplayer shooter… discussing the pros and cons of each theme and the potential plot lines that can result from it.

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Sam

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