Author Topic: Brainstorming  (Read 1070 times)


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« on: May 07, 2013, 04:53:07 AM »
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Survival
Time Era: Current
Setting: The game begins shortly after some unspecified major disaster destroys the major metropolitan area where the survivors used to live, turning the entire city into a post-apocalyptic survival warzone. Think "The Colony" (TV show).

The Team
  • The player chooses his team of 3-7 survivors of various professions -- Engineer, Doctor, Hunter, Soldier, etc.
  • Each profession gives certain skills and benefits that the survivals have access to from the start, such as cooking, building, fighting, scavenging, etc.
  • Each survivor has random traits -- strength, stamina, dexterity, intelligence, wisdom, patience, stubborness, empathy, etc.
  • The traits govern how well they are at certain tasks, and how much happiness they get from performing them.
  • The lower the happiness, the lower the morale, and the worse the survivors become at performing tasks and the less likely they are to survive for very long.

The World
  • Procedurally generated ruins of a major metropolitan area: half-ruined buildings, rubble, few to no amenities.
  • The player's first order of business should always be to find shelter. Choosing one of the nearby buildings would be the logical choice.
  • All survivors start without any food, so finding food and water must be one of the first tasks as well.
  • Supermarkets would be the logical choice to go to in order to find basic supplies. The player needs to explore the area, find the closest ruins of a grocery store and bring back as many supplies as possible.
  • The player won't be the only one doing this, however! The game should generate several such groups of survivors, and each group would be competing with each other. At first there is enough food and water for everyone to carry, but it's a finite resource, and as such won't last long.
  • The player can even choose to make the supermarket his "home", but doing so means that other survivors will immediately know where the player's base is located, and as such it won't be a very safe place to be.
  • Once supplies are back at the "home base", the next logical step is to reinforce it as much as possible, in order to deter other survivors from taking the resources... but it's up to the player on what they want to focus on.
  • Some players will focus on defense, making a powerful stronghold. Others will venture out scavenging as much stuff as they can find. Some will want to take a more hostile approach and go after other survivors. Some may have a softer touch and focus on creation instead.
  • Crafting should be a very big component of the game. Reinforcing walls and scavenging materials is great, but being able to make stuff with those materials is even better. Scavenged a car battery? Use it to power something. Scavenged a solar panel? Use it to recharge the battery when the sun is up. A power generator? Find some fuel and have electricity even at night.
  • The goal of the game should be something the player sets. Some will want to survive as long as they can and will attempt to create a sustainable community. Others will want to eliminate other survivors, ensuring their dominance. It's up to the player.

  • Multiplayer should be fairly straightforward. There are many groups of people in a procedurally generated city. Each player can choose a survivor group of their own.

Added Challenges
  • The game should have random events happening -- for example raiders coming by the area in an attempt to loot and ransack (defend or even capture them), or lone survivors coming by and offering to join the player's band (let them in or turn them away? resources are scarce after all!). Another example of an interesting event would be a major food drop somewhere in town that all survivor groups become aware of at the same time, and can choose to go after it or play it safe and let others fight it out.
  • As survivor groups run few on resources, they will become more and more desperate, reverting to their primal nature. For some it will mean violence, for others -- depression. Others still may simply leave their group and attempt to find another in order to trade resources or simply join them outright. Either way, survival should always be a key component of the game, and in more sense than just defense. Emotional survival is also important. A sociopath may kill people left and right without remorse, but a pacifist forced to kill someone may not be able to live with the consequences.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2013, 05:02:51 AM by ArenMook »


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Re: Brainstorming
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2013, 10:34:17 PM »
  • Survivors become better at tasks by performing them. The more skilled they are, the faster they perform tasks, and the less resources they waste when making things.
  • Player progression is done by earning Leadership points from each play-through that unlock the ability to take extra survivors on the following play-through.
  • On the 2nd play through, the previous playthrough's safehouse is a possible raiding spot. It is likely to contain manuals, leftover provisions, and other goodies.
  • As survivors become better at skills, new skills get unlocked that can be chosen on the following play-through. For example one survivor becomes a skilled engineer, and another -- a skilled electrician. This unlocks an electrical engineer profession, combining both professions and unlocking new crafting recipies.


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Re: Brainstorming
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2013, 10:46:04 PM »
Graphics and Sight
  • For graphics, I am thinking FTL meets Monaco. You have a safehouse containing multiple rooms, and you can designate rooms to be used for specific areas. For example one room can be chosen as a workshop. Another -- kitchen. Another -- hospital, etc. Survivors themselves can be top-down 2D sprites, slightly less cartoonish FTL style.
  • If a room has a survivor in it, the player has full sight of it. No survivor -- the room's blueprint is shown instead. One of the things the player can install can be security cameras that give sight of the room even when there are no survivors present.
  • OPTION #1: Sending an expedition is straightforward -- player chooses which survivors will go, and which ones will stay behind. When an expedition arrives at the destination, they will all begin in one of the rooms of a procedurally generated building, and can explore it by moving to other rooms, thus uncovering sight of what's there for the player. Same line of sight rules apply -- if there are no survivors in a room, the room's contents are not visible to the player.
  • OPTION #2: If I choose to make a seamless procedural city, then the player's play area won't be limited to their safehouse. Instead the player will be able to scroll the camera around the area, seeing all the other buildings in the vicinity. This is the cooler option as it will allow the player a complete freedom to seamlessly explore the world around them, and to also mount things like security cameras and lights outside of their immediate compound, thus making it possible to see more.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2013, 10:52:19 PM by ArenMook »


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Re: Brainstorming
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2013, 05:07:39 PM »
Addition thought:

Hope Gauge- A gauge that influences how well survivors perform their actions. The Hope Gauge fluctuates based on the survivors needs and gets boosts when successfully accomplishing things or finding things.

A survivors needs are:


The Hope Gauge would be ever trickling away. Whenever the survivor eats, drinks sleeps, etc. he will gain a few points to the Hope Gauge and help keep his spirits high.


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Re: Brainstorming
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2013, 01:10:58 PM »
Survival Game Notes
- Top-down camera, Monaco style, with a tile-based system.
- Buildings should be put together procedurally using user-predefined "blocks" chosen from suitable preset groups (warehouse rooms, hospital rooms, etc).
- Rooms should mainly be filled with rubble that can be salvaged by survivors, yielding materials.
- Type of salvage depends on type of the room. For example a warehouse might yield mechanical components, while an office might yield tech salvage.
- Generatd rubble should be randomly chosen from a set of suitable prests, just like rooms. For example -- broken desks, cubicle walls and office chairs in an office building.
- Clearing the room is a two step process. First, salvage usable contents. This recovers vast majority of usable materials. Next, clear the rubble. This yields a smaller amount of materials, and also clears the debris out of the way.
- Debris block path, impeding movement. Survivors can't cross debris without clearing it out of the way first, and rooms can't be designated to be something (workshop, hospital, etc) without being cleared out first.
- Images for rubble should also be chosen from a pool of suitable ones. For example, office desks in a warehouse won't make much sense.
- Line of sight based only on the room and distance from the survivor. No actual line-of-sight checks.
- If a survivor is in the room, the room's contents should generally be visible.
- Survivors have a "sight range" that's basically like a point light illuminating an otherwise dark map.
- The sight range should be based on the survivor's base sight (for example a sniper will have a longer sight), modified by the amount of light.
- This means that if the survivor is carrying night vision goggles or a light source, his sight should be greater.

Cooperative RTS Mode
- Players share control of all survivors, just like as if they were playing a single player game. Select a survivor, control them. Other players can do the same.
- This mode is meant for a more casual audience.

Cooperative RPG Mode
- Each player brings in their own survivor, and is only able to control that survivor, not others.
- This mode is meant for true co-op in an RPG-like setting, or hardcore players. Single player games with only one survivor are likely going to be very difficult.

- Free for all mode means each player controls only one survivor, and it's up to them whether to venture forth with others or not. Line of sight is not shared, and friendly fire is allowed.

360 Controller
- Left thumb moves the survivor, right thumb turns the survivor. Right trigger shoots. Left trigger takes cover.

Touch Controller
- Tap on the survivor to select. This brings up two joystick thumbs. Left one moves the survivor, right one turns the survivor.
- On-screen button to take cover / leave cover.
- Tap or hold on an enemy to shoot.

Mouse and Keyboard
- Click on the survivor to select. Mouse controls sight, WASD / arrow keys control movement. W/Up = +Y, not forward.
- Left mouse button to shoot.
- Right mouse button to take cover.

- Melee weapons are simple, powerful with the right attribute (strength for a baseball bat, dexterity for a dagger), easy to acquire and craft, but quite obviously can only be used when right next to the enemy.
- Melee combat is dangerous, as the survivor has a very strong chance of getting hurt in the process. The goal of melee combat is to kill the enemy faster than they can kill the survivor. Armor helps here (damage reduction). So does the defensive skill (damage avoidance).
- Ranged combat is far more preferable, and revolves around taking cover in order to avoid getting shot.
- Ranged weapons take time to aim. Press the trigger button, and the aiming reticle starts large, and gets smaller the longer the player holds the aim button. Release it to fire. Gun/bow skills helps here as they reduce the time it takes to aim.
- Some rapid-fire weapons such as flamethrowers have a "charge time" instead of aim time, but it's essentially the same, except that once they start firing, they keep going while the player holds the button.

Cover System
- Taking cover in the open should make the character crouch. Movement while in cover like that will be slow, but will reduce the chance of getting hit from distance. If the target is close, taking cover this way won't have any positive effect.
- Positioning the survivor behind an object such as a table reduces the chance of getting hit from distance by 50% (partial cover).
- Taking cover next to an object such as a table or a window reduces the chance of getting hit from distance by 100%, but only if the fire comes across the object behind which the survivor is hiding.
- Aiming makes the survivor leave cover (or enter partial cover if behind an object), which is dangerous, so flanking the enemy with another survivor is very important.

- Each survivor should have an individual inventory.
- Items can be given to nearby survivors or placed into containers.
- All items should have a size they take up in the inventory. Small items should take only 1 cell, and larger items can take a grid, for example 3x5.
- Item icons should reflect this as well. No point in making large items with tiny icons. Calculate the item size based on the icon size.

- Crafting items requires a room to be designated a workshop, and a survivor to be standing in that room.
- Survivor with an appropriate skill set standing in a workshop should bring up a new button -- Craft.
- Crafting recipies should be done minecraft style (but since items can take more than 1 cell, it's more complicated).
- Draw the item by placing items in a pattern, and this will offer an ability to craft this item.
- Crafting should take time. While the survivor is crafting, he can't do anything else.
- Crafting can be put on hold at any time and resumed later.
- While crafting, the survivor can't be moved. On mobiles, the thumb sticks will not be visible. With a 360 controller they won't do anything.
- Once crafting begins, the items for crafting are removed from the stockpile and become "locked".
- Canceling the crafting process refunds the items.
- Many items should require multiple crafted components. For example, can't build a gas generator without first building a gasifier.
- Crafting raises the survivor's skill.
- The higher the skill, the faster the survivor is able to craft the item.
- Certain items require a certain skill level, or even multiple skills. For example a solar array requires both electrical and mechanical engineering, and both should be at mid-level before this even becomes an option.
- Crafting recipies should be randomly hidden all over the map, and should show the item's crafting diagram in addition to the skill levels required to craft it.
- Once a recipe is found, it becomes permanently unlocked by the player. A recipe is not required in order to craft something. If the player already knows the recipe, and his survivor has the needed skills, he can craft the item. Once an item is crafted, it becomes unlocked as if the player found the recipe.

Replay Value
- Majority of the professions should be locked from the get-go, and should be unlocked via playing.
- For example, can't unlock "Sniper" profession without having a survivor that's skilled in guns and has some combat experience.
- Profession unlocks happen on the account, and allow the player to choose this profession for his survivors on the next play-through.
- Combo professions, such as "electrical engineer" provide bonuses to multiple skills, as opposed to just one skill (example: engineer -> engineering).
- Crafting recipies that the player finds also unlock per-account, being added to the player's journal, and are available on subsequent playthroughs.

- Lock multiplayer and only allow lower tier crafting recipies in the Free version?
- It's probably better to sell packs of credits, and credits can then be used to unlock things, rather than having individual IAPs for things.
- Full game can be an IAP unlock on Android/iOS.
- Optional: Unlock a profession IAP.
- Optional: Unlock all recipies IAP.
- Optional: When a trader comes by the player's outpost, the player can choose to use credits to purchase items instead of trading what he has.


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Re: Brainstorming
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2013, 02:25:29 PM »
Writing down some other ideas/clarifications after a conversation with Ed.

- Perma-death. Survivor dies? It's permanent.
- Death of one of their own should have a very profound effect on other survivors, resulting in a big hit to their morale.
- It should be the player's goal to keep the entire group of survivors alive. One of them dying is a big hit. Two is a disaster.
- When a new survivor comes along and offers to join the player's group, it should be the player's hard decision whether to take them in, or turn them away. I don't want it to always be a "yes". I only want it to be a "yes" if the survivor is likely to be an important addition to the team. Taking an infirm old man with no skills is dead weight to the rest of the group, and when that old man gets himself killed, it will severely hurt the group. Sometimes it's better to say "sorry, we can't take you in" and be blissfully unaware of what happens to that survivor later on than to watch him wither and die in your care.

Victory Condition
- Survive for as long as possible? This can be one option.
- Another option is to have the victory condition be successfully escaping a city by building a reinforced vehicle capable of safely transporting all of the survivors elsewhere.
- When survivors escape this way, the game can generate a new city and start a new game with all the survivors that escaped being present from the start, regardless of the game's limits and starting rules on the number of survivors.
- Another feature can be that instead of generating another city in the same setting, a different type of an area is generated instead -- for example rural country, with fields suitable for farming, or a nearby forest that's great for hunting. This ties into Progression.

- The new area can be an "unlock". In the beginning the player only has one starting option -- The City. Once the player escapes that one, a new starting option is unlocked for the next game -- The Suburbs, etc.
- Since the player's team for escaping one area may not be suitable for a different area, it's entirely possible that the player will die on the 2nd map. But since this map becomes unlocked, the player can choose a more suitable survivor team to tackle it with instead.
- Running from the first map to the very last with the same group of survivors can be a unique challenge in itself.
- Escape the first city by repairing a land vehicle to take all survivors out. This can be a car with a small group, or a bus with a large group, for example.
- Bus runs out of gas in the suburbs, which is where the 2nd group begins. Escape this area by repairing a plane on the nearby airfield.
- Plane crash-lands close to the coast, out in the sparsely populated country. Escape this area by repairing a boat.
- Boat takes the player to an island with no civilization at all. Time to live off the land! Possibly the last area.

Sense of Urgency
- The game should have a time limit to it on the first few maps (last one can be unlimited) -- a clear threat that the player's time on the map is limited. For example on the first map it can be limited resources. Cities don't have any sources of renewable food. Eventually survivors will starve.
- On the second map (suburbs) it can be raiders that assault the survivors from time to time, gradually ramping up the attacks. Survivors will run out of bullets, and raiders will win, unless survivors escape before that happens.
- On the third map it can be number of people in the area. More and more survivors will trickle in, depleting resources, sparking fights, until the entire map is so contested that the player has no choice but to leave it behind.

- Part of the game's appeal can be tidbits of information thrown here and there that explain how the world came to be the way it is -- how people died, how cities lie in ruin.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2013, 02:56:37 PM by ArenMook »