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TIGSource ForumsCommunityJams & EventsCompetitionsVersus (Moderator: Melly)The Snap [Finished]
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mcc
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« on: January 17, 2011, 01:25:19 pm »

The Snap
A first person shooter

Download (1.0, r219):

* Mac version
* Windows version
* Linux version (requires SDL and Freetype)
* Source

How to Play:



The Snap is a deathmatch shooter with time travel. Time in the Snap arena takes place in a loop. 20 seconds or so after the start of each game, the events of the game will begin to repeat themselves. You can also jump back in time by about five seconds or so by performing a Snap.

If you interact with the past, you will change the present. If you shoot someone in the past, you will damage them in the present. If you block a bullet in the past, thus preventing someone from getting hit by that bullet, damage in the present will be undone.

For best results, I suggest using a gamepad with analog thumbsticks (you can fit both players on one gamepad if you try!); also, since the game uses stereo sound with the sounds "heard" by one player going to each ear, I suggest plugging in a pair of earbuds and giving each player one earbud.

10 levels are included, and you can make your own; if anyone plays around with the custom levels feature, please do post and let me know!

Future development?

This is sort of a prototype, and I'd be interested in making a more complex game using the time engine someday. If I open sourced this, would anyone use it?

Development Logs:

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« Last Edit: May 10, 2011, 09:36:38 pm by mcc » Logged

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mcc
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« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2011, 02:32:28 pm »

This is an idea that sprung out of two conversations: One years ago with my friend Chris about how you could make a game with four-dimensional gameplay; and an argument a bit more recently with some people I know about my opinion that first person shooters all feel the same to me, because they seem to me to just provide the same gameplay from game to game while changing only superficial tweaks to mechanics. After this argument I started trying to think about whether I could come up with a mechanic you could introduce into an FPS that would alter gameplay fundamentally rather than just presenting a more refined version of that same gameplay mode.

Here's the basic idea:

- Deathmatch FPS. Machine guns. Scattered ammo packs. Health canisters.
- Gameplay takes place in a room or building where time is occurring in a loop, say 60 seconds long. All players materialize in places throughout the building at time 0.  At time 60 copies of the players rematerialize in their starting positions and the game "replays" their actions from that point.
- In addition to their weapons, each player has the ability at any time to perform a "Snap". When they do this, they jump back 10 seconds in time. (If you jump back before time 0 you loop back around to time 50-something.)
- A multi-track timeline at the top of the screen shows where each player is "now". Because the snaps only move you a fixed amount, at any one moment in "real time" there will only be (say) six points in the in-game timeline each player could be at.
- Changes to the timeline propagate. So if you shoot someone 10 seconds in the past, they lose 10 health throughout the timeline after that. If someone grabs an ammo pack, and then you jump back in time and grab it before they do, then they lose 10 bullets throughout the timeline after that. If you fire a bullet, and kill someone, and then someone goes back and retroactively steals all your ammo so that you did not in fact have any bullets at the time you killed the other player, then your bullet fire is undone and the player springs back to life.
- The hope is that the game will thus be about strategically managing the timeline and trying to cause, or retroactively prevent, certain events, rather than just about shooting and cover.

The plan I had originally was:

- 4 players, on 2 teams. This allows for the interesting "resurrection" mechanic of trying to bring your teammates back to life by preventing their deaths.
- Actually a first person shooter
- Some sort of networked multiplayer
- Physics of some sort-- you can push people's "past selves" out of the way as you run past them, for example, and physics would "rubberband" so that the past selves  simply run a little faster around you to get to the point they were supposed to be at for the next "event" (like getting hit by or firing a bullet). The game would attempt to present an illusion that small changes to the timeline (like shoving people two feet) correct themselves but large changes (like killing someone) alter the timeline and propagate.

But I didn't think I'd ever actually find the time to do this, so at some point I mapped out a simpler, "mockup" version I thought I could do in a month. This is what I'm doing for the compo.

- Overhead Robotron 2084 style shooter, Apple // graphics, maps like Atari "Combat". All players are colored squares. The game will still be prominently labeled "a first person shooter" as a joke and/or commentary along the lines that "FPS" is a type of gameplay rather than a camera angle. The game will make as few acknowledgements as possible it is anything other than a 1990s cliche FPS. For example the blue square will be "Biff, the grizzled space marine" and the red square will be "Sophia, the beautiful and brilliant scientist"
- No physics, no networking. In order to make multiplayer still possible, maps are probably no bigger than one screen and players probably need to use gamepads.
- Also to accommodate the above, probably only 2 players.
- Z axis and jumping might be included.

The mockup should be enough to at least try to identify where the "exploits" in this type of gameplay are (i.e.: do players just repeatedly jump back to time 0 and try to pump bullets into the helpless past selves? And if someone tries to play this way, are there countermeasures the other player(s) can take?) or determine if the game concept is workable at all. I intend to write the mockup in a way I can move it forward to the "full" concept if the opportunity ever presents itself while maximizing code reuse.

Pitfalls:

- I haven't really played FPS type games for a long time, so I may wind up reinventing some gameplay wheels
- The "mockup" version seems like just an arena shooter. I think there have been a lot of these in indie-world lately; I haven't really been playing them. I may wind up again reinventing some wheels or producing something not terribly different from existing arena shooters
- Will continually having to re-adjust the "timeline" be excessively computationally expensive? I think I know how to do it such that the answer is "no", but I'll have to watch out for this.
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ChevyRay
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« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2011, 02:35:34 pm »

You had me sold at:

Quote
- Gameplay takes place in a room or building where time is occurring in a loop, say 60 seconds long. All players materialize in places throughout the building at time 0.  At time 60 copies of the players rematerialize in their starting positions and the game "replays" their actions from that point.

That alone sounds awesome. I imagine the level just going batshit insane after several rounds! Kiss
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« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2011, 02:42:28 pm »

You had me sold at:

Quote
- Gameplay takes place in a room or building where time is occurring in a loop, say 60 seconds long. All players materialize in places throughout the building at time 0.  At time 60 copies of the players rematerialize in their starting positions and the game "replays" their actions from that point.

That alone sounds awesome. I imagine the level just going batshit insane after several rounds! Kiss

i was sold there too, lol  Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2011, 02:47:15 pm »

My mind was blown at
Quote
- Changes to the timeline propagate. So if you shoot someone 10 seconds in the past, they lose 10 health throughout the timeline after that. If someone grabs an ammo pack, and then you jump back in time and grab it before they do, then they lose 10 bullets throughout the timeline after that. If you fire a bullet, and kill someone, and then someone goes back and retroactively steals all your ammo so that you did not in fact have any bullets at the time you killed the other player, then your bullet fire is undone and the player springs back to life.
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ChevyRay
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« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2011, 02:49:30 pm »

The real question: will non-physicists be able to play it? WTF
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mcc
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« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2011, 02:51:38 pm »

You had me sold at:

Quote
- Gameplay takes place in a room or building where time is occurring in a loop, say 60 seconds long. All players materialize in places throughout the building at time 0.  At time 60 copies of the players rematerialize in their starting positions and the game "replays" their actions from that point.

That alone sounds awesome. I imagine the level just going batshit insane after several rounds! Kiss

Yeah it's completely possible that once I've got the mockup done it will turn out the game is actually more fun with the "snap" mechanic removed and only the time loop in place! I think by the end of the mockup project it will be more obvious how I "should" have done this, it seems very difficult to predict how the game will feel once actual players are let loose on it.

Bah, it's only just now occurring to me that single-screen multiplayer is actually going to be impossible, because players can simultaneously be at different points on the timeline. Maybe I'm gonna have to do some kind of simple LAN networking after all.
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mcc
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« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2011, 02:52:57 pm »

The real question: will non-physicists be able to play it? WTF
I think, if all players are continually in a state of "HOLY GOD I DON'T EVEN UNDERSTAND WHAT IS GOING ON", then this is a good thing, since as long as all players are confused equally then being continually baffled just counts as part of the game
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ChevyRay
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« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2011, 02:54:42 pm »

Ahahaha fair enough!

I imagine it as one of those types of games that one person gets REALLY good at, but then some newb comes in and by fluke just totally whups his butt so bad out of sheer 4th-dimentional luck. Cheesy
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« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2011, 02:57:24 pm »

I also have to admit that the idea of making a video game that confuses and horrifies everyone who plays it excites me terribly

Probably this is not a healthy mindset for a game developer

Oh well!
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« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2011, 04:00:16 pm »

Speaking of physics game that are more confusing than fun, see greg egan's Quantum Soccer
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« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2011, 04:13:15 pm »

Speaking of physics game that are more confusing than fun, see greg egan's Quantum Soccer
...wait. This is the Greg Egan who wrote Quarantine?

OMG awesome :O

EDIT: Needs some UI work.
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« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2011, 05:37:26 pm »

Question: Will you actually be able to code this? As multiplayer?

Because it sounds like something that would take a couple of months of prototyping and research. o.o
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« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2011, 05:48:57 pm »

I was thinking about your idea more, it seems like the player loops would almost be reminiscent of a snake game (or tron lightcycles), where trails are left behind which can affect the other opponents...except your trails are loops of your actions.  What if the bullets shot by looping players could harm all players, both current and looping? Hand JoystickEpilepticHand Any Key
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« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2011, 05:49:39 pm »

Question: Will you actually be able to code this? As multiplayer?

Because it sounds like something that would take a couple of months of prototyping and research. o.o

This is actually an idea I've been kicking around for over a year, so I've been thinking for a long time about how to implement it. I think I know how to go about it. As far as "prototyping" goes, this IS the prototype Smiley

So the questions are "am I actually going to finish this in the given time?" and "will it be any fun or a bizarre, unplayable mess?" and the answer to both questions is, I don't know I feel more confident about question one than question two.

Like I said, I am putting NO effort into networking on this. So this is going to be either a single-computer game or a LAN thing. This restriction makes me much more confident I can get something working by the end of the compo.
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mcc
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« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2011, 05:51:23 pm »

I was thinking about your idea more, it seems like the player loops would almost be reminiscent of a snake game (or tron lightcycles), where trails are left behind which can affect the other opponents...except your trails are loops of your actions.  What if the bullets shot by looping players could harm all players, both current and looping? Hand JoystickEpilepticHand Any Key
Oh, they will :D however bullets shot by "past self" players are unlikely to hit anyone because the players will not know how to aim.  Although I guess that depends on how big the hitboxes are. (I showed my writeup to a friend he said that were he to play this, his strategy would likely to be a chokepoint or hallway in the map that people are sure to walk through and then just fire into it for 60 seconds).
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« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2011, 06:42:56 pm »

This could be incredible.
If what you have at the end of the competition works, you should definitely keep going with it!
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« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2011, 07:46:14 pm »

Speaking of physics game that are more confusing than fun, see greg egan's Quantum Soccer
...wait. This is the Greg Egan who wrote Quarantine?

OMG awesome :O

EDIT: Needs some UI work.

yes Smiley
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« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2011, 07:51:20 pm »

I think that gameplay mechanic would work well in a simple 2d tile-based environment.
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« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2011, 08:08:07 pm »

This music video wraps around 60 seconds in.



It does feel like it doesn't have enough guns and violence though.
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