This week has been a mixture of high productivity and extreme procrastination as I have had to meet a couple of deadlines. One for one of my Uni projects others for secret things that I am working on, that I can’t tell you about because they’re secret!
To keep the initial post length down I’m putting the Hunter of the New Dawn update and Games I have been playing sections after the jump. Please check out the Hunters section because it what I have worked on the most in the past week!
Langstroth Game Design:
As you can see I have changed things up a bit around here. The website has a new and better look which is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. The new layout should be a bit easier on the eyes with all the key info you need readily available. It also looks pretty slick I think.
You may have also noticed that there are more posts popping up relating to wider game design ideas and theory beyond the stuff I make and post about already. Future posts like this will mainly be in the form links to news articles, blog posts, videos, other people’s ideas and whole websites centred around game design. I am doing this for two reasons. The first is so I can easily re-find and go back to game design related web content I find interesting by just going through this site’s archive. The second is because I have had a surprisingly good response to what I have been doing with this site recently and this is a way of taking the site further to bigger and better heights.
The alternating of working on this and the time travel game continues this week as Project Superman takes a back seat. The work I have done on this is fairly minimal, just getting things ready to turn into the various boards. In the coming two weeks I am planning to make major headway in this design because I really need to just to keep on top of things!
Time Travel Game:
I spent a lot of time yesterday reformatting various sections of the wiki to make them easier to navigate. I also added a bit more content to the Time Travel explanation page. Which I should get finished, proof-read and locked off later today or tomorrow afternoon. The plan for the rest of this week it to get all the key information pages finished and to begin work on the main event, Key Sections, and in particular the game mechanics. Then once that’s done everything else should start falling into place.
Hunter of the New Dawn and Game I have been playing after the jump.
Hunters of the New Dawn:
Most of my time this week was taken up with finishing the IP Statement for Hunters of the New Dawn which the above image is showing off. The final document can be found by heading here. It is also worth your time to check out the preceding Market Research Document to get the context for how the idea behind the design came about.
As ever with any documents I share, if you want permission to download or reproduce it please let me know and I will give you the relevant permissions.
Completing the document has given me a very clear picture of how Hunters will work as a game and I now have a good plan of where to go with the idea which is all good. It all fits together well and the idea of simple surface level of gameplay with deeper core gameplay hidden underneath works well as one the underlying ideas behind the game. It should also work to achieve maximum appeal for the game and IP as a whole. I also decided to include and expand upon the idea of free form character customisation that I came up with for a project last year.
The basic idea behind it is that customisation is staggered and has various levels of depth to it. Initially you have almost free-reign to make the character look and play how you want. Then in the opening sections of the game you are free to change the genetic and cosmetic features of your character as and when you wish with only things like class choice being locked in place. Then once you have finished the starting area/tutorial the genetic customisation features are locked off as your character’s physical look is set in stone. This leaves you with the cosmetic features of your character being free to change as and when you wish.
Cosmetic features include:
- Facial and body accessories (tattoos, piercings, etc.)
- Hair style and colour
- Clothes editing
- And more!
This type of customisation should serve as a work around to the problem I have with many games that offer character customisation, your character not fitting in with the game world. It is very easy in many character editors to make a character that looks great during the initial creation but when you start the game you realise that they just do not fit in with the NPCs of the game world or are out of proportion (for example, having a head that is too small). The only solution to this problem is to restart the game which completely breaks the flow which is so crucial to the opening sections of a game. Some games offer you a re-edit chance at the end of the tutorial but there is not really an option to road test your creation in the game world.
As the genetic customisation options are locked off you are left with the cosmetic features being free to change for the rest of the game. This is because people change their clothes, “look”, hair style and more on a regular basis and it is something that should be represented during the length of a game. Particularly if the game is set over multiple years like Dragon Age 2.
Dragon Age 2 does indeed have a re-edit option built into the game but it is in there as almost an afterthought. It is part of the Black Emporium/Project $10 content for the game. Which is badly implemented into the game and many players who buy the game second hand can only access it by paying extra for it and at an extortionate price too. The results are that many people’s Hawke ends up looking the same throughout the whole game which is set over multiple years. With only the equipment they are using changing.
Giving the player more choice and chance to make the main character their own can only serve to immerse them further in the game. It also paves the way for alternate revenue streams for the game in the form of DLC customisation packs which would negate the need for things like online passes and content systems like Project $10. Optional items and character flourishes as paid content work well for many Facebook and Free 2 Play games so why not try to make it work for a core console experience?
So all that is in the IP Statement for the game because it is one of the key features that would be used across multiple titles. With the idea that your paid customisation options are carried over into sequels (think of it as clothes instead of tracks for Guitar Hero/Rock Band). The IP Statement also covering topics such as the setting for the game. How combat will work and the basic structure for the environments and game as a whole.
Games I have been playing:
After finishing the IP Statement for Hunter of the New Dawn I was feeling a little burnt out so I spent the next couple of days doing little bits of work but mainly playing games. During this time I managed to complete not one, but two games!
First I completed my playthrough of the sublime Metal Gear Solid. Which is a lot harder to complete than back in the day. It can be so unforgiving at times but it works because when you overcome the game’s tougher challenges you get a great sense of accomplishment. I would recommend that anyone with an interest in game design plays the original Metal Gear Solid. Just to see how much things have changed in the relatively short time since it came out. I have since moved onto MGS2 in the HD collection and just gotten to the opening of the main Big Shell mission for the game with Raiden, the Metal Gear character that everyone loves to hate!
Playing the Mass Effect 3 Demo (more on this in a bit) got me off my lazy gaming ass and made me finally finish my Insanity playthrough of Mass Effect 2. It was tough, tense and as ever fun to run through the Suicide Mission again, especially with the higher difficulty. During the playthrough I managed to make near enough all the same choices I made the first time around and managed to have everyone survive at the end. So I am now totally ready for Mass Effect 3 next month with a great save file that should give me a few bonuses when starting the game.
I have also been messing around with the ME3 demo. I have only run-through the single player part once and enjoyed it. The changes and additions work and while the game looked a bit rough around the edges I’m putting it down to it being the demo and not indicative of the final game. The multiplayer though has been a big surprise. Initially I was optimistic about the addition of multiplayer to Mass Effect, unlike the rest of the world that seemed to scream, “THE HORROR! THE HORROR!!!!!” at the mere mention of if. I am happy to say that my optimism has been rewarded because the multiplayer is good. I am surprised though that it is really good! It is much more than your standard horde mode. Mainly due to the progression systems built into the experience. There is loads to do and unlock from individual characters to bonuses, weapons and weapon mods. It has legs as a game mode that will work alongside and complement the main, single player experience. Download the demo and check it out, you won’t be disappointed.