Project Rumble: Deciding my battlefield II

For those who haven’t been following Project Rumble, I’ve become sort of stuck with where I want to set my multiplayer deathmatch style top-down shooter. For the full story, check this post. My next posts about PR will take a look at various settings that I could use, and evaluate them.

Space

You know, I was thinking about how many settings I could choose from in Project Rumble and I’m hit somewhat of a roadblock. I thought I’d have at least 3-4 posts, analyzing the sorts of locations that my combatants in PR could duke it out. Alas, I’m doing Space already and I’m only on part II.

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Space.

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Physics

As I’ve mentioned time and time again, Rumble in the Void had a very interesting way of piloting your ship. Since there is no matter in space, there is nothing to resist an object in motion. Therefore if you use your throttle, you’ll continue moving forward until something (or someone) hits you. How this was used as a game mechanic is that energy for weapons could only charge when the craft wasn’t using throttle. You pay for power with manoeuvrability… and only the masters could balance it right and escape any situation.

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There’s a compatibility bug with RitV that when you don’t use your throttle, it bugs movement. This still shows what I mean, despite that annoyance.

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If I use the space setting then I’ll most definitely have a similar method of flight, perhaps without the exact throttle=energy mechanics but still something similar in regards to action and reaction. It’s nice because you don’t have to constantly hold down forward when travelling vast distances. It also has a sort of Mario Kart powerslide style effect when turning corners. It’s much easier to direct the craft in a sort of free-fall and use small bursts of throttle to push yourself round a corner… rather than use braking systems or deceleration. It’s difficult to explain, watch the video!

As with my underwater physics, I don’t really remember much from school. So I’ll have to do more research into how to portray collisions effectively, how the mass of the ships/obstacles effects that… etc.

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Action & Reaction - Newton's Third Law

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Flexibility

The great thing about space is that as long as your IP is set in space, there’s no real limit to what you can do. The average guy knows nothing about the limitations of space because it’s still sci-fi; it’s the realm of possibilities. Space is still like Mordor, and magic can happen. In my underwater analysis, I complained that the underwater setting would forbid certain weapons like bullets and flamethrowers. I had a point, you try using fire in water! However, in Space you couldn’t really use a flame thrower either… there’s no oxygen! But if you put a flamethrower on a space ship in a game, I doubt many people would kick up a stink. I’ve got a concept design for a ship at the moment, which uses a massive flame attack… should I drop it? Maybe, I’ll see what the feedback says!

Otherwise, space is super versatile. Everything works and if it doesn’t then you can just say it’s ‘alien technology’

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Dead Space - Flamethrowers in Space

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Aesthetic

The main problem with space is that it’s so clichéd. While there is the endless flexibility of technology, space is just a black void that’s been used in countless games and movies for the past 60 years. I even thought about how ancient civilizations viewed space… Vikings used to imagine Kraken in the ocean and various beasties. But nah, I can’t find much yet. People only started drawing and writing about space when the intrigue had mostly been extinguished (even Aristotle was boring!). So it looks like if I use space, my shooter is going to be very generic style wise. I guess that gives me a challenge, to make space exciting again!

However, much like with everything else, it does provide more flexibility than water. Apart from Space Stations (abandoned of course), Asteroid Belts and Black Holes, I can also move battles above Mars, the Moon… other places like that. While my story is connected to Earth, I could probably come up with a reason for the fight to be moved to crazy worlds not even in our solar system. At least the background for every battle won’t be restricted to a blue colour palette…

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Space - It'll never get old looking like this.

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Conclusion

I started this post stating that I was having a hard time thinking of alternative settings to Underwater and Space. Out of those two, the obvious choice is Space despite the fact I’ll be adding yet another space shooter to the shelves of your favourite flash gaming site. Yes I don’t like it either, but the core gameplay kinda requires it be in an atmosphere with a zero turning circle. It wouldn’t work with cars.

Whatever the case, this whole project is a big challenge so why not add in the challenge of making space fun again? I also doubt many people have experienced more realistic space physics (regarding Newton anyway), so it still has the opportunity to be exciting.

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Sam

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