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Old 08-15-2009, 07:14 PM   #11
ddelisle
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It was my attempt at a joke! No nothing submitted yet. : p

Your design is solid, keep at it. I have something in mind, just not sure I can squeeze it all into a 500 word design doc.
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Old 08-15-2009, 08:45 PM   #12
Retro
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... Dude, you do know how uncool that was, right? I thought you were absolutely serious.

I guess I can call off the Assassin, good thing I hired cheap or he'd probably be done by now...

I tend to post on the forums in the hopes that other people will draw some inspiration, or if others share their ideas, maybe offer some advice. But I've always deep down suspected somebody was going to lurk around and start yanking ideas-in-progress.

I actually PM'd an admin asking what their policy is on extremely similar submissions and how they handle matters such as that. Now I feel like I've wasted somebody's time.
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Last edited by Retro : 08-15-2009 at 08:48 PM.
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Old 08-15-2009, 09:56 PM   #13
ddelisle
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Sorry! I thought the humor telegraped okay, my bad.

The Assassin would've failed. I've dealt with game producers and art directors-- I can survive anything.

Good luck with your design, look forward to seeing the finished product.
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Old 08-16-2009, 06:33 AM   #14
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(Fools. Little do they know that I had submitted this same project only minutes after the challenge went live!)
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Old 08-16-2009, 07:46 AM   #15
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dreamshade forgot to make finger pyramid of evil contemplation.
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Old 08-16-2009, 12:34 PM   #16
Retro
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Alright alright, that's enough laughing at my expense.

As an update, I've currently changed up the Descriptors and fleshed things out a bit more. This is turning out to be a really fun concept to work on. I don't blame you all for trying to steal it . Here's a preview:

Inventory Items:
Weapons: Volt Pistol, Concussion Gun, Stinger Pistol, Cutter, Blunt Objects
Ammo: Volt Battery, Concussion Battery, Stinger Cartridge
Health Kit: Restores Health; each kit holds 100 units of health.
Toxin Kit: Removes Toxins introduced by Stinger Ammo, each kit holds 10 charges.
Tech Kit: Used to access electrical systems, has a battery life of 100 units.

Descriptors:
Awareness: Nearby enemy movement revealed on the navigator.
Backpack: Able to carry extra ammo, weapons, and health/toxin/tech kits. 10 slots.
Bilingual: Able to speak and understand the secondary language of the country.
Camera: Low light mode, able to photograph puzzle elements, temporarily blind enemies.
Cutter: Cut enemies, small cables and ropes, remove Stinger darts.
Driver: Faster acceleration, vehicles have more health.
First Aid: Start with a health kit, health and toxin kits are more effective.
Flashlight: Able to see in the dark, can be used as a blunt, stealthy weapon.
Geek: Tech kits are more effective, faster computer / electrical use.
Native: Shortest route to next objective is visible, lowers visibility.
Neatly-Dressed: Lowers visibility, increases inventory space by 4 slots.
Nimble: Climb speed up, jump charge-time down.
Observant: Pick-up items are illuminated, for easier spotting. Enemy ammo counters.
PDA: Faint illumination, unlimited tech kit (slow use), improved navigator.
Quick-witted: Puzzles have a longer time limit, environmental targets highlighted.
Shooter: Faster reload time, target reticule is enlarged.
Sprinter: Larger sprint bar, shorter refresh time.
Strong: Greater damage with blunt weapons, able to force items without crowbar.
Tenacious: Greater health bar, shorter refresh time.
Wealthy: Start with 500 credits.

I'm also considering "Steady Handed" (shoot reticule doesn't sway when running, puzzles are more forgiving), "Defensive Driver" (Vehicles have more health, enemy vehicles shown on navigator), and a few others (A make-up kit/mirror for looking around corners, possibly another storage item). So far there's 20, I'd like to end up with 25.

Moved the setting to the near-future (able to use futuristic weapon concepts) and over to "Europe" (to make better use of the Bilingual ability; if you don't have that descriptor, you can't understand some of the population). No, no specific location in Europe.

All of the weapons are non-lethal (well, except the cutter, but I may not keep that in). The people tracking you down are from a corporation, not a military, and they need you alive to reacquire the virus. The Volt Pistol fires charged bullets (so it's like a taser), the Concussion Gun is a shotgun-like weapon that uses sound to subdue enemies, and the Stinger Gun shoots toxic darts. I'm thinking of adding a proximity-type weapon for stealth (trapsetting) or combat (throw it like a grenade). Very adamant about having non-lethal combat in this game, all of the characters you assume the role of are average people, not commandos.

And before anyone mentions it, yes, I did kind of want each Descriptor to start with a different letter of the Alphabet, but until I have everything laid out I don't want to get into cosmetic details.
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Last edited by Retro : 08-16-2009 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 08-17-2009, 03:12 PM   #17
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I'm gonna take the indigo prophecy style of gameplay/design. Where your actions decide the fate of what happens or could have happened to those around you.
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Old 08-17-2009, 10:32 PM   #18
Retro
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Default Final Submission

Well, here's my entry, which I'll submit during the day tomorrow (I like to have my entries up for at least a little bit, so you guys can give me some feedback). It clocks in at 516 words, but the 16 words are my name, affiliation, and directions on images, so.. I'm hoping they don't count against me.

Hopefully the second image isn't too large; image guidelines have not been posted, but they are the same width as the images from the Strider submission and those were unchanged.

I guess I 'kinda' cheated a little, sneaking all of the descriptors in. They're important for giving a 'taste' of the gameplay, but aren't needed to understand the concept's basics... but by having them there, readers get an idea of how each player character might be built.

Also, the odd effect around each image is sort of a decorative element. It might look odd on the forums, but it will match the background color of the actual article (assuming I'm selected, that is).

Hope you all enjoy, feel free to give me any feedback you'd like to make.

-----------------------------
Name: Will Armstrong IV
Job Title: Seeking Employment


Chain is a first-person adventure game that combines racing, shooting, exploration and puzzle-solving. Players assume the role of five different citizens living in a near-future metropolis; each character must find and deliver the letter to the next person in the chain or perish.

The Letter:
The letter you hold in your hands is electronic in nature. It is coded to your DNA. It has just released a highly-developed viral agent, also coded to match your genetic profile, into your bloodstream. This virus will kill you in 2 hours unless you can deliver it and this letter to the following identity. The virus will then sync with their genetic profile, vacate your body, and return you to your former health. Be warned that the virus you carry is valuable to the corporation that created it, and their agents are now tracking you. This is not a hoax…Do not delay…

The Gameplay:
Chain puts the player into the shoes of five ordinary citizens, one at a time, who by virtue of their life experiences and possessions, have unique ways of navigating the open-world city and overcoming obstacles. Each citizen is comprised of four descriptors (from a pool of 26) that determine what they are capable of. Each time the game is played, the members of the chain are randomized, allowing for near-limitless replay.


Upon being infected, each citizen is given the name and location of the next member of the chain; it is up to the player to determine how they get there, be it on foot, car, or public transportation. Along the way, they will have to evade capture by the corporation’s agents.

By using the advantages each descriptor offers, the gameplay can be a mixture of combat, puzzle-solving, stealth, or racing. The exact method the player chooses can be anything, but the descriptors define specific strengths. For example, any player can use a gun, but those with specific descriptors will perform better.

Combat involves the use of non-lethal weaponry (the corporation needs you alive) to take down enemies. Players may also use found items as blunt instruments to knock foes unconscious. Injured players can make use of Health and Toxin kits to heal themselves, but these items, as well as all weapons not currently in use, occupy inventory space.


(Image source: Halflife2)

Puzzle-solving gameplay involves solving timed logic-based puzzles, such as security systems and computer networks. Players can also opt to use “Techkits” to hack through these puzzles if they are in a hurry. Techkits are also used to unlock vehicles, access doors, and even upgrade weaponry, but must be purchased with credits or found.

Stealthy players can stick to passages, interiors and rooftops, or pass unnoticed through crowds. By avoiding open areas and ‘acting normal’, players can avoid detection.

Finally, players can try to outrun their pursuers on foot or using ‘borrowed’ vehicles or public transportation. All roads and rooftops are open to players, and the majority of buildings are accessible. Thrilling footraces are the norm.

Thank you for reading.
-----------------------------

Just a few things to point out that I am really proud of.

First, I only needed two images, so I figured "Hey, might as well do a little logo banner". I tend to think in visual terms pretty early in developing an idea, and tend to doodle in the margins and things like that. One of the doodles, I liked enough to work on a bit more, and that turned into the little logo seen here.

Second, I am really proud of a very subtle element in the descriptors image; behind the title is a decorative horizontal element that is a chain with alternating chain links and DNA strands. Again, another idea that just kind of came together while working, and I really like the way it turned out. I like little things like that.

Finally, if selected as a winning entry, I'll post more details on my blog. If anyone is still interested in the extra content I had left over from the Strider submission (which was only an honorable mention...), please let me know and I can share that too.

Thanks for reading (again...)
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Last edited by Retro : 08-17-2009 at 10:37 PM.
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Old 08-17-2009, 10:59 PM   #19
ddelisle
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I like it. The premise of the letter just grabs you. And the variable system adds a lot of replay value. The artwork template you used is very well done.

A couple of notes:
I believe the name of the game has to be called The Letter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cnutt View Post
You will design a game called The Letter
Brilliant use of quotes if I may say so! To the point. You could probably subtitle it: "The Letter: The Chain"

I like the use of juggling 5 protagonists. Very 'Lost Vikings'-ish

The linear nature that the game revolves around-- being informed of the name and location of the next letter recipient-- seems a bit simplistic. I think it might be beneficial to have these letter recipients be very difficult to locate. The player would have to resort to using in-game means of search, like interrogation, tracking, and even internet terminals GTA IV style! It helps avoid a 'connect the dots' style of gameplay. The players would also have to be very diligent in remembering places and faces...maybe even keep a journal to help.
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Old 08-17-2009, 11:30 PM   #20
Retro
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddelisle View Post
I believe the name of the game has to be called The Letter.
Indeed it does, though I think if everyone submitted entries titled "The Letter", things would get a bit confusing. I think as a subtitle or even as just a 'Project name", chain works.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddelisle View Post
I like the use of juggling 5 protagonists. Very 'Lost Vikings'-ish
Well, you play them in order; you don't switch between them at will. I think that would make the game a bit too chaotic, and defeats the purpose of it being a 'chain' of people. Essentially, the game is a relay race... with guns and stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddelisle View Post
The linear nature that the game revolves around-- being informed of the name and location of the next letter recipient-- seems a bit simplistic. I think it might be beneficial to have these letter recipients be very difficult to locate. The player would have to resort to using in-game means of search, like interrogation, tracking, and even internet terminals GTA IV style! It helps avoid a 'connect the dots' style of gameplay. The players would also have to be very diligent in remembering places and faces...maybe even keep a journal to help.
The idea is to have the game take only a few hours to complete, but each game is unique based on which descriptors you get. Having a journal and remembering faces are all cool ideas, but they would slow the game down a bit. I wanted to keep the pacing frantic; you are an average person running for your life from corporate agents while your life literally ticks away.

Finding the next member of the chain isn't supposed to be the hard part; getting to them alive and in time is. That said, you are not given a specific location at which to find the next person, just an approximate location (A circular radius on the map that they wander around in). So there is some degree of searching involved.

I had considered terminals and tracking; The PDA was originally going to function as a GPS device, and the Resident descriptor would decrease the next member's wander radius so they are easier to find. You would also have to stop at terminals and actually look up each person's data, but again; these things slow the game down a bit, and I'm kind of focused on the speed and visceral pace.

Good ideas though, just not really fitting for this specific idea.
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