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  • Results from Game Design Challenge: Weapon

    [09.04.08]
    - Manveer Heir and GameCareerGuide.com staff
  •  In a recent design challenge, you were given the opportunity of designing a new weapon for a first-person shooter game.

    This was a difficult assignment for most. It's easy to get caught up in the game world and not in the actual functionality of the gun itself when thinking of a weapon.

    However, it's key to think about the role of the weapon, what its best and worst case are, and how enemies react to it. Trying to find a twist on a basic idea is often the best route.

    Unfortunately, many of the submissions completely missed the boat. Instead of reading about new weapons, for the most part, we read a lot about new projectiles. Some of the ideas were interesting, but as far as being solutions to this particular challenge, they lost out on half of what they had to work with.

    Occasionally on the forum, readers approach the game design challenge by asking themselves, first, "What is the challenge really asking me to do?"; second, "What are the limitations?"; and third, "What are the component parts of the challenge?"

    The limitations here were that the weapon had to exist in a first-person shooter game and had to fire a projectile. The component parts, or the things that could be changed, included: the projectile, how the projectile is fired, the effect of a hit from the projectile, the chamber, the trigger, how the weapon is held, how the weapon creates power to propel a projectile, and so on and so forth.

    Thus, this week's best entries tended to be the ones that thought about the whole weapon and not just the projectile. Let's take a look at them.

    Best Entries
    Andy Morris, ITT Tech, Green Bay, Wisc., The Harpy

    Andy Morris' entry caught out attention because of the many and varied uses he designed into his weapon. The Harpy is part harpoon launcher, part grapple-hook, part rope ladder, and much more. He addresses both what the player will do with the weapon how it will affect enemies, and offers a wide range of options in both courts.

    Luca Breda, contract designer and developer, Puzzler Powder
    Although Luca Breda sent in a long list of ideas, the Puzzle Pounder was our favorite. All of Breda's ideas showed how the weapon would impact gameplay, and the Puzzler is no exception. Read his submission and ponder for a moment how a co-op game that incorporated this weapon might play out.

    Erlend S. Heggen and Peter Kan, members of the Radakan game project, Totemgun
    Erlend Heggen and Peter Kan's Tommy gun-inpired totemgun could only work if it were the focal point of the whole game. But it's crazy enough to possible be able to do just that. The gun itself is laded with rules and requirements -- it may just be its own enclosed game system.

    Honorable Mention
    Reed Gonsalves, DigiPen Institute of Technology graduate, gameplay programmer at Zipper Interactive, Viral Gun

    Reed Gonsalves' entry focuses entirely on the weapon's projectile, which consists of a bullet that infects the target with a virally-spreading disease. Game designers would have to work long and hard to make this function well balanced in a game, but it certainly has potential. What if different bullets had different diseases? What if the player could not be sure which bullets carried which diseases? There's potential in this idea, but it would have to be play tested pretty vigorously before anyone could really be sure if it worked well as game play.

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