Game idea: Old Assassin

You are 115 years old. You are on your way to becoming the world's oldest person. Along with world's largest cat, it is a title not held for very long. This is not acceptable to you, having lived this long, never winning anything. You decided that you must assassinate everyone older than you so you can hold the title for at most the five years you have left to live. This is not an easy task since people who live to be over 115 survived that long for a reason. Combat is like the end of MGS4. The more you kill, you start to see your victims life flash before your eyes. You become the world's oldest person but you live out the rest of your life as a monster.

9 Comments

Thoughts on the Diablo 3 beta that no one cares about

  • Got to level 7
  • Originally thought it was too washed with various colors but it looks fine now.
  • "Feels good"
  • Happy to see each piece of equipment changes my appearance.
  • I never want to hear Jennifer Hale again unless she's playing Naomi Hunter.
  • There are too many obvious gates blocking your progress that don't exist for good reason.
  • I can't max out Half-Life 2: Episode 2 at 1024x768 and have it run totally smooth on this computer but D3 runs pretty well at medium/high settings. Gets choppy when there are a lot of monsters on screen but runs at 60fps half of the time. Good for me, but bad for everyone else with a competent computer because I think they could have squeezed out a lot more detail.
  • "Hungry Torso"
  • The hotbar lets me press a number to use a skill without having to actually switch to it but each slot is blocked off by level and I can't see a good reason for that.
  • Runes effects are locked by level too. I think I would have preferred to find random colored runes. I don't really know the reasoning behind this.
  • Potions with a cool down mixed with health orbs are a good balance to solve that issue.
  • I'm worried about a lack of customization. How can you customize your character?
8 Comments

Alien researcher pt. 2

Everyone was really receptive to my first post about this idea so here is some more information, mixed with some additions from comments I left. These are my ideas about a xenobiologist game that I have no plans on making, or ability to make, currently.

Setting

The game would take place 200 - 400 years in the future. I want to set it farther out in the future that what is normally dealt with in science fiction to avoid the "It's the year 2000 and where are my flying cars?" situation. This is supposed to be a hard sci-fi universe so there is no warp drive. I have to make the concession that a nearby star has two Earth-like planets orbiting it. Let's just say they were hard to spot at this current time (they ARE hard to spot). A large sleeper-colony ship is sent from earth to one of these planets for some reason. The trip takes like 100 years using a fusion rocket. Why did everyone leave? I don't have a good reason yet but we can go with "Earth is not a great place to live anymore and a bunch of rich people want out, so they take their chances somewhere else." The colony is formed on the new planet and is successful. Years later, after they are settled in and get their own space program set up (they need one for satellites anyway), they send explorers out to the nearby planet (think of it like a life filled Mars or Venus) to see what they can find about the alien biology. You could send out robotic surveyors to find minerals but you really need humans to do complicated things like deal with living organisms. You are one of those biologists.

Technology

Sort of like a 3D printer

Everything will be grounded in reality while trying to guess the future. Like I said earlier, we have usable fusion rockets and sleeper pods. I have to assume this would be done by replacing your blood with some kind of antifreeze and chilling your body and doing something to your brain. I have to work on this part. The interstellar ark also carried numerous Standard Template Constructs (like from WH40K). These are small, automated factories capable of producing whatever a colony might need using simple ingredients until a proper industry can be set up. Battery technology is much improved. Maybe some kind of nuclear battery? This is just non-essential back story though.

Camera Drone

For actual game play, you have a normal video camera that can also take pictures, but you also have some kind of Kinect like 3D camera that can "scan" whatever you are looking at. This gives a logical reason to have a model viewer in the game world. You also have your night vision, thermal vision, x-ray vision, kind of camera. You would also be able to get camera drones able to view flying/floating organisms, or watch dangerous ones from afar. This isn't a game breaker though. They aren't invisible and they aren't completely silent. One would assume that these organisms can hear better than us, just like they do on earth. Also, you're going to miss out on ground level shots, or situations where the organisms don't know something was there.

Guns have changed a lot though. Gun powder has been phased out for something better, and more futuristic sounding. Other types of weapons use magnetic accelerators. Humanity has perfected a man-portable laser weapon. No laser beams though. Just a bright light (sometimes) where it hits and a lot of smoke. Maybe a clicking sound. Kinetic weapons can have steerable bullets meaning you just need to paint a target and the bullet with try to change its path to hit where you want it to go. This is just as well because combat isn't a big focus. If you need to defend yourself against an aggressive animal it becomes either a stand off where you can just take your shot (it doesn't know what you're going to do remember) or you get pounced and never saw it coming and have a struggle.

Gameplay

This Picture: The Game

The game is completely first person, Half-Life style. Radio lag for this planet is probably 1-20 minutes so you can't have instant communications anyway. The game starts with your capsule descending from space, onto the planet. During the ride, you are introduced to any characters through your radio. They have since figured out how to get around that dead air time during re-entry. On the way down, your capsule hits some floating plant-animals. Someone on the radio says "It looks like you had a minor impact with something... nothing serious it seems." then an achievement pops up "First catch of the day! You have captured your first organism." Your capsule lands on the planet and you step out. Those things are stuck to it but they are dead from the impact. It gives you a free animal for a science tutorial. Then you have to set up a simple camp which is a logical, and non intrusive way of familiarizing yourself with the controls. Real simple stuff. Basically just self-assembling spring-loaded tents (FLOOFWP and they're up), plus a half sphere, perimeter wall that folds out and you secure it to the ground.

Ant-eater like animal

Beyond the opening of the game, your main goal is to photograph animals and collect samples. Photography can range from photos, video, to thermal and x-ray. Samples can be soil/water samples, to animal droppings, or whole animals that have to be dissected. Missions are mostly in your control. You are told in the beginning to have a look around and see what you can find. The scientists back home only have a vague idea of what's on the planet from the drones they sent ahead of you. They did not survive. For example, if you take a picture of some alien, they might say "Hey that's really interesting. Go study that one." and you get missions from that. If there is another alien in the back out of focus, they might want you to focus on that instead. Data is graded based on scientific value, but can also have artistic value. Action shots can be good to send back home to show the rest of the populace. Propaganda for the expense paid to send you to this planet. It is a good idea to return to your ship at night time to sleep, and to stay safe. Nocturnal predators come out during the night. I had a lot of fun playing Hardcore mode in Minecraft and realizing that I had been out longer than I thought and the sun was almost down. Then I had to run back to my house.

What spiders might evolve into on Mars

The data you sent back is a show of how worth it this trip was. Things brings us to the cargo drop system. They didn't want to send you on this trip with a bunch of stuff you didn't need/wouldn't survive to use! Space travel is expensive still but not as bad as it is currently. Basically, you get space-money that you can spend at the computer in your console to order new equipment. This feels a bit odd to me though. Shouldn't they just give you what you need? I will need a better in-universe reason for this system. It might make more sense if this is a commercial venture instead of a NASA-like organization. You might get monthly cargo drops anyway, meaning you get to pick what new stuff you want for that month. Things you can get might be a camera drone to study some of those floating plant-animals you ran into. Scuba equipment to study underwater life. Rock climbing gear to see "bird nests". A snake-bot to look through tunnels.

More ideas later.

Start the Conversation

Game idea: Alien researcher

I was inspired by a thread about Pokemon Snap plus fake Peter Molyneux to hopefully start a series of random game ideas.

Idea: You are a scientist sent to an alien world to do research on native life forms. You collect data on them by taking pictures/video/sound, capturing them alive, or killing them so they can be dissected (scientists do this sometimes right?). Most are harmless, some are dangerous if provoked, others are aggressive. Combat is only for hunting animals and for defense and is not the main focus by far. You must return to your base at night time because of the nocturnal hunters. You could potentially stay out all night but it's very dangerous. The more research you send back, the more funding you get, and you can choose want you want to buy through some "space internet" and a shipment will arrive some days later from the sky. The logic behind that is, you only have so much funding to do this mission in the first place so you need to prove yourself to your backers before they send you more money.

The game hinges on a believable alien world, full of interesting aliens, as hard sci-fi as you can get within reason. They can't just wander around like in an MMO, but need set routines, eating habits, migrations, etc. The world needs to be "dynamic" and react to your presence. For example (over a long period of time though), shooting all of the predator animals because they keep attacking you should cause overpopulation of its prey species. I was inspired for this idea by Pokemon Snap, Pikmin, Metroid Prime, and the art of Abiogenisis. http://abiogenisis.deviantart.com/

Here is some of his work.

27 Comments

Digimon World distilled RPG advancement.

A common occurrence.

Growth and advancement are one of the main attractions to RPGs. Every time something in a game gets bigger, or more advanced, or more complex, you get a little bit of satisfaction. It must be some deep rooted human nature thing related to growing crops, hoarding, or raising children/animals. This RPG element is done very will in Digimon World for these reasons: Growth is significant, visible, and common.

Most of this relates to the growth of File City. The story of Digimon World is that for some reason, the city in the middle of File Island, lost all of its Digimon inhabitants. It's only left with a handful when the game starts. The player's quest is to find everyone who left and recruit them. This is why growth is significant, visible, and common. Each Digimon you find is significant. Think of this growth as a little "packet". You get a small amount, all at once. Compare this to stat growth. When a character in an RPG gains a level, it's usually so small, that it is completely insignificant. More on that subject in another blog post. When the Digimon is recruited, it moves into town and (usually) adds something useful or makes the game easier. The first Digimon usually recruited is Agumon. He opens up the item shop and will hold excess items for you. Some of the other earlier Digimon are Palmon who expands the cities meat farm (more food for your Digimon), and Betamon who opens up an item shop.

After recruiting enough Digimon, Jijimon's House's interior will be improved.

These tie into the visibility of growth. Each Digimon recruited is visible inside the city. Each one distinct. The shape of the city changes too. The city starts off empty and lonely but as more Digimon come in, they also build new buildings, and the pre-existing ones are fixed up. Like my last example, Betamon comes in and puts out a tarp and sells items. Unimon comes in later and builds a building for the shop. File City acts as a central hub to the rest of File Island. You always come back to it after an adventure so you always see it grow.

There are 50 or so Digimon that you can recruit to File City (and a few more outside that you make friends with) so advancement is rather common. Most quests (totally informal) involve finding someone anyway. These three principles aren't just related to city building though. You have one Digimon companion that follows you around and fights for you. These grow, die, and are reborn to repeat the cycle. Stat growth is a little different in this game than other RPGs. Battles are really only good for money and for learning new attacks. Stat growth is neglible. Training is the only good way to raise stats and it accomplishes that rather quick. There is a short turn around for improving your Digimon that is offset by their short lifespan. Learning new moves is much more satisfying than just having a stronger main attack. Different attacks fill up a grid in your status screen for a sense of completion. Visiblity is a given becuase of Digivolution. All of this is common because you're going to end up with a lot of dead Digimon from old age. This is either a pro or a con. It's bad if you don't like having to retrain a new Digimon, but good if you like seeing all of the possible Digimon you can have. Really, having one Digimon the entire game isn't preferrable. It's too long of a game to only have one of them as a partner.

8 Comments

Would you play a modern educational game?

I grew up playing a few of these in the late 90's, early 2000's. The Oregon Trail: 3rd Edition "Now there are three Oregons!", Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego?, MindMaze, the Magic School Bus demo that came with Windows 95 (YOU KNOW THE ONE), Reader Rabbit, and then a game with an interactive farm and jungle. Also, I watched people in my 5th grade class play Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego? and Math Blaster. Would you play an educational game made for adults? Does your child-like hunger for knowledge still exist?

(Can't figure out how to indent this damn thing) The second question is, do they even make educational games anymore? Being an adult now removes me from the world of children's video games so I wouldn't really know, but judging from the Quick Look of Oregon Trail for the 3DS, even that series is dead in the area of education. Maybe games have become so expensive to make that educational ones have fallen by the wayside like some other genres. I don't think that stops some indie-developer from making one though but the issue is if the audience for it exists, especially for the older crowd. (I actually don't have any proof of dying genres from increased development costs. It just FEELS true.)

I would readily play an educational game if it was fun (I only play fun games) and it existed. The only real experience I have recently is a mod for Rome: Total War named Europa Barbarorum. A bunch of modders didn't like what Creative Assembly did with that period of time. Mostly by making Ptolemaic Egypt into New Kingdom Egypt because these damn kids today will see the Egyptian faction and say "What the hell is this? Where are my pyramid units?" Even though New Kingdom Egypt didn't build any pyramids. The mod was filled with historical fluff information and if you cared to learn more about something, you could take your time and read the descriptions. I'm assuming they did their research correctly, but it showed me how weird the world was back then. Weird is probably the wrong world, but it did not look like what other depictions of the ancient world would have shown you. It was surprising, really. Do you know what a falx is? It's a crazy weapon. I ended up putting over 300 hours into it. I had almost as much fun playing, as I did learning!

Other than Europa Barbarorum, I can't think of any modern educational games except maybe simulators and maybe Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster. In retrospect, the only thing I really learned from The Oregon Trail: 3rd Edition was that poisonous berries almost always look poisonous.

23 Comments

Why I did not enjoy Quake 4 as much as Quake II.

I grew up playing Quake II somewhere around 1997-99 and I think the game still holds up today. I was really looking forward to Quake 4 but I do not think it compares well to the original for a number of reasons.

  • Bad vehicle and on-rail sections. During the game there are a few sections where you have to pilot a hover-tank, a mech, and man a machine gun. They were not only less interesting than the rest of the game, they were actually quite harder. I didn't have much trouble with the difficulty throughout the rest of the game, but these sections I found myself cheating through because I couldn't get past them. Had they been overly-difficult, but also very fun, it would have been a different story. The vehicle sections consist of mostly straight paths where you can just skip past most of the enemies. The environments were rather empty (and ugly) because of the increased scale. Driving the tank wasn't so bad, but the mech was just slow and plodding. The on-rails segments actually didn't start off too bad. You were defending a convoy and protecting an engineer who had to disarm mines. After that though, you had to shoot down missile pods before they shot heat seeking missles at you and it became very difficult. Same goes for the second tram ride mounted machine gun mission later in the game.
  • Inferior aesthetics. This is a more subjective category, but Quake 4's art didn't match Quake II's. The changes made were partly due to technology. Lack of polygons in the models in Quake 2's caused the designers to have to work around this so many art assets had flat sides. This is in-part why the game looked cool. Everything in Quake 4 was rounded off some what unnecessarily. All of the grunt enemies had these badass face shields in Quake 2 but in Quake 4, they're all bald, Colin-Mochre looking mother effers. The Tank bosses used to have flat armor plates and were big and mean looking but now they're round and boring. The original model looked much less human and more like "Let's give this tank legs and a human? face." The origional shotgun (probably one of the greatest shotguns in video game history) looked like you were firing a book. Now it's just "ugly green shotgun with LCD on back". It's hard to put into words, but most of the enemies and weapons are just ugly and don't have the same punch that they did in Quake II. This is less of a big deal but Stroggos in Quake 2 was far less dry than it was in Quake 4. Q4 Stroggos was a giant desert but Q2 Stroggos had a lot of water and some mossy looking grass every so often. All of the humans had weird heads.
  • Super lame final boss. Spoilers here. The last boss fight is fighting the Makron again. It's more or less the same fight you had with him in the middle of the game except he can summon enemies. Then you have to blow up a giant brain. This all takes place in an incredibly generic brown room, made worse by the rather interesting architecture in the level before the boss fight.
  • Where is the BFG? Instead of giving you another BFG, they give you a Dark Matter Gun which is basically the same thing except it sucks guys up instead of shooting a big "ball of death".
  • Nerfing the railgun. In the name of realism, all of the guns in the game were given clips. This is good, and to be expected but the clip size for the railgun was three slugs. Was that really necessary? It fires so slow that you could have just assumed it was reloaded after every shot.

The game was not without its good points

  • Brining back some Quake weapons. It was pretty cool to see the return of the nail gun and the lightning gun, even though we did see it in Quake 3.
  • A couple scenes. After a hectic period of the game (I think it might have been after that first on-rails segment), a large human spaceship lands out in a field and you enter it. It's a nice break in the action and there are some interesting scripted events involving Strogg biology and human technology. Also, I thought the infamous transformation scene was pretty awesome/terrible and very hard to watch. Games usually don't make me want to turn away because I can't take what's going on in a cutscene.
4 Comments

Good Sound Effects in Games pt. 1

Sound design is something that is often overlooked in games. Everyone talks about graphics or music, but rarely about sound effects. Here are some of my favorite. I'm sorry but I couldn't embed the videos at the specific time where the sound effect occurs. If anyone can tell me how to do that, I would appreciate it.

1) Chrono Trigger - Ice Sword EeeeyOOOWEE toTATATATEE CHOOCHOOREE

http://youtu.be/D3h3xYeMYA0?t=3m2s

2) Quake - Grunt being shot and killed eYEH eYEH YAAAH

http://youtu.be/5dNoPiK7uhw?t=32s

3) Baron of Hell scream HUNNNNNNHHHH

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJ2j4GvJiZw&feature=youtu.be&t=1m15s

4) Final Fantasy Tactics - Male death sound AAAHHaaa...

http://youtu.be/o1qo4dXku1c?t=11m31s

5) Banjo Kazooie - Banjo in the opening DUH HUH

http://youtu.be/vm_yAwnbyIg?t=32s

6) Sonic the Hedgehog - Act completion CHOPA CHING

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqOlpQ7sepE&feature=youtu.be&t=3m18s

7) Final Fantasy Tactics - Transformation (Chapter 2 Spoilers) - WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP

http://youtu.be/mcYm5lxztiY?t=1m50s

8) Final Fantasy Tactics - Wizard's Death spell (also like whoop whoop whoop)

Can't find it anywhere

9) Quake 2 - Super shotgun

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4_uGTF-oJc&feature=youtu.be&t=16m10s

10) Quake 2 - id logo PUM PUM chhh PUM chhh

Can't find it either

11) Fallout 1/ 2 - Level up sound

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZyy2WYNLzo

12) Legend of Legaia - Tornado Flame TAWNAYDO FURAME

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpXMX7kv-Lo

13) Legend of Legaia - Thunder Punch ZAITSU

http://youtu.be/QJblb3zrbfY?t=7m34s

14) WOONOONOO

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tBqdKGiqnI

15) Resident Evil 3 (Mid-game spoilers) MOOOROE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HanEBMeas28&feature=youtu.be&t=2h15m12s (link is a little off)

16) Metal Gear Solid - Trap door, Snake's death scream, PSSSSSOOOOWWWW

http://youtu.be/bagPyvhg21c?t=40s

17) Cool Boarders 2 - UEP Systems, WEP SYSTEMS also COOOOOOOOOOL BOOOOOOARRRDEEERRRRRSSSS

http://youtu.be/iy_Rx1AK8QU?t=19s

2 Comments