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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsDownieville | Sidescrolling Stealth Platformer
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Author Topic: Downieville | Sidescrolling Stealth Platformer  (Read 9972 times)
habadash
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« on: August 01, 2013, 10:41:55 AM »




Gameplay Overview

The game is a Story driven, two dimensional, sidescrolling platformer with stealth, puzzle, investigative, and infiltrative elements.

Think Paper Mario, minus the turned-based combat. Like Paper Mario, the game features clever little puzzles that involves things like flipping switches, extinguishing lanterns, and distracting/incapacitating enemies.

Quote

The game is a stealth-based side-scrolling platformer that requires strategy, combat, and simple puzzle solving in order to progress through the game's various levels.

Environmental factors such as light, sound, and smell affects the player's level of 'stealthiness'. For example, if the player stands near a lamp, steps on broken glass, or smokes a cigarette to increase his health, the player will become more detectable to the enemies around him. Thus, strategy and puzzle solving comes into play when the player must decide the best way to avoid being detected. In some situations, flipping a light-switch may be the best way to get passed a guard, but in another situation, killing the guard will be safer.

The game will include equipable items to help the player with different obstacles. A slingshot will help with shooting out lights and killing enemies, a flashlight will improve visibility and illuminate traps, a knife will allow the player to cut interactive ropes and wires, and etc.


Current State

Currently in the brainstorming phase!
« Last Edit: September 09, 2013, 01:01:59 PM by habadash » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2013, 10:45:15 AM »

Good concept, nice art.
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habadash
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« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2013, 11:14:07 AM »

Thanks!

Storyboard | Prologue: "A Cold Opening"

Excuse the hard to read text Embarrassed

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ITS_Mike
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« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2013, 02:30:01 PM »

Drawing out a story board like that for the game's intro is a rather cool idea.  It will be interesting to see it in-game!
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habadash
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« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2013, 03:57:56 PM »

Thanks for the reply!

Animation


Updated the walk. Slingshot is very rough. Working on jump animation.
Next animations to do: TRANSITION FRAMES, crawl, grab/climb ledge.

Messing around with the HUD.


I've been making great progress on the assets and design of this game.

I am in a sort of brainstorming phase in designing the game, which is why I am posting here: to get feedback from all the talented people here!

Brainstorm

Static Rooms or Scrolling Rooms?
My idea is to have both! (I know, a cop out). Static rooms (where the entrance is on the left and the exit is on the right of the view port) will help "contain" puzzles, making it clear what needs to be done, without worrying about enemies or traps beyond you view. Static rooms, I imagine, will also simply the stealth part of game for the same reasons. Scrolling rooms, however, add challenge, suspense, and higher levels of complexity to puzzles and stealth. I think the "you don't know what lies ahead" device is powerful in interactive media. My favorite part of playing video games and watching movies/tv is the "Holy fuck" moment when something completely unexpected happens.

Controls?
I'm trying to decide on a control scheme, especially for the slingshot mechanic (see below). Right now, I'm thinking about having an equip button that puts you in "slingshot mode." Character movement will be inhibited, and the arrow keys will be used to adjust the angle and velocity of your shot. Another button will be used to shoot the slingshot. I imagine that this will be awkward to manage. I do not want to involve the mouse, as I'm planning to support other platforms.

Sneaking will require good timing (timing cues displayed on screen?) where the player will have to press two different buttons (repetitively & consecutively) with good timing in order to execute the sneak. If timing is off, you fall and make loud noise.

Platform Depth?
Most stealth games are either 3D or top-down for the same reason I want to add "depth" to the game's platforms. To simplify things, I'm thinking about limiting the player to 3 levels of depth: front, middle, and back of the platforms. This will add more strategic possibilities. For example, the player could hide in a closet that is against the back wall of the room and wait for the guard to pass, or sneak past a sleeping dog that is on the back level, while you're on the front level. To switch from level to level, I'm thinking the up and down arrows would work best, while having a designated jump button. To make sure it is clear which level the player is on, I'm thinking about putting movement along the "z-axis" on a grid.

Game Chapters?
Right now, I have 5 "chapters" or settings in my head. The game is centered around ousting the Mayor for trying to blow up the town, and it is the Hero's mission to find evidence against him.

The first chapter is at the town. This is when the player will get a feel for the Mayor and all of the townsfolk. At the beginning of the game, the Mayor seems very charming and everyone in the town is completely enamored with him. However, in this chapter you notice minor incongruities in his character (things like littering, or kicking puppies). This chapter may involve the classic "follow this person, but not too close" missions which will introduce the player to stealth. At the end of this chapter your discover (by hearing it from the Mayor himself) his plans to wipe the town out and to make it look like a natural landslide. The town is sitting on precious gold deposits that he wants to mine. This chapter seamlessly leads into the next :

The Mayor's Mansion will focus on infiltrative gameplay. Not going to spoil much here.

Other chapters include: Mountaintop explosive testing site, Mine shafts, train depot. I had an idea to have chapter set in San Francisco, but I decided that would be too ambitious. 


The Slingshot

The slingshot has many uses in the game, and is an important part of the gameplay.

Incapcitating
The simplest use for the slingshot is to shoot projectiles at enemies to stun/damage/kill them.

Example Projectiles: pebble, exlplosive, smoke device, flashing device, knives.

Interacting
The slingshot can also be used to interact with different objects in the game. You can hit switches, extinguish lanterns, ignite ropes.

Example Projectiles: pebble, flaming object, water-filled object.

Lurring
Lure enemies and other objects to you to get in better position to incapacitate, pickpocket, or other modes of interaction.

Example Projectiles: gold nugget, food.

Repelling
Repel things to avoid being discovered or damaged.

Example Projectiles: gold nugget, stinky things, rabbid animals.


Example Scenarios

One scenario would be to use the slingshot with a sardine projectile to get your cat companion (yes it's true) to jump to a high ledge and trigger a swtich.

A more complex scenario: Let's say there is a guard dog blocking your way to the end of the room. There is also a mouse beyond the dog that is popping his head out of his little mouse hole. In the previous room, the player picked up a morsel of cheese, and figures that if he shoots the cheese near the hole, the mouse will be lured out, and your cat will chase the mouse. This in turn will cause the dog to chase/be distracted by your cat, and allow you to reach the end. The cat will escape the dog and rejoin you.

I don't want to spoil the other puzzle ideas I have Smiley
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habadash
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« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2013, 12:08:20 PM »

3D Platforms



Starting working on the fake 3D. The shadows and image depth are a bit buggy.



Inventory, Projectiles, and Smell



You can switch between items, and items are deleted when used up. Different projectiles have different weights and momentum. Sardines emit stink that can't travel through walls.





Projectiles lay flat when they come to a stop. Projectile's weight affects gravity.


All art is placeholder!

« Last Edit: August 07, 2013, 12:17:54 PM by habadash » Logged

karlozalb
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« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2013, 01:20:44 PM »

Sounds very interesting Smiley

Please, keep the "Congrats!!!" poster of the election in the final version, please please!  Kiss
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emacs
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« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2013, 02:17:35 PM »

This looks really interesting, that sardine mechanic seems pretty cool.  The art on this is excellent as well!
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habadash
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« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2013, 02:19:52 PM »

Please, keep the "Congrats!!!" poster of the election in the final version, please please! 

No, but I'll keep the tuba  Smiley



Smell

Smell will play an important role in the game. Things will make you smelly, and other things will make you less smelly. Your level of stink determines the distance it takes for someone to notice you.

The Buff-stink Tradeoff
Using items will increase various "stats", some of them will make you stink (garlic, onions, coffee, alcohol, tobacco). Dog urine may make you stealthy to dogs but more detectable to humans (ok I'm having second thoughts about this one).

Stink Sources
You can become stinky  from the environment. You come more smelly if you hide in a garbage can, mud puddle, or a dead body. (I didn't mean hide in the body, but that actually sounds kind of awesome.)

Deoderants
To get rid of your stink, you can use other items (deoderant, cologne, new pair of clothes [possibly from a guard], mint, toothbrush), take bath in the town, or find a hot spring.

I was thinking of representing smells graphically as an animated sprite or particle effect. Each "smell-type" will have a different colored smell trail and an icon representing the smell-type will hover above the source.

In addition, smells will have varying degrees of stinkiness, which determines how far they can travel.


Gettin' Caught / Dying

I don't know how to handle being caught or dying in the game. Different ideas:

1. You have an amount of health. Things can hurt you, and being discovered by a guard should be devastating to your health / hard to manage. Guards will readily call in back up, which will lead to a virtaully impossible situation. Dying will send you back to a designated checkpoint.

2. No health. Being discovered sends you to jail from which you will have to post bail to get out (which will send you back to the room from where you left). If you can't post bail, you have to revert back to a checkpoint or the beginning of the chapter. Gives incentive to collect coins (how original!).

(Edit: maybe you only get caught when you black out. In other words, you do have health, and are only caught sent to jail when that health is depleted.)

3. Yes health. If you black out (i.e. run out of health) you "wake up" in a hospital. Instead of posting bail, you have a number of "lives". Run out of lives = start at checkpoint instead of where you blacked out.

Checkpoints will be rare enough to punish careless playing, but common enough to avoid frustration.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2013, 05:06:38 PM by habadash » Logged

habadash
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« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2013, 04:59:52 PM »

The Haberdasher

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emacs
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« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2013, 05:04:47 PM »

Gabe Newell?

This is looking nice, a stealth game based around your BO seems pretty novel.
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RyanHuggins
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« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2013, 05:58:10 PM »

I really like how this game is coming along; and since I've had a similar idea about doing a stealth system with a ridiculous number of states that can influence how enemies can/cannot detect you, I have a few suggestions that you could ignore if you want. These are not suggestions to change your game at all, btw. Haha

NOTE: I'm not calling into question your design or programming skills, but I hope you know how difficult it can be to manage this many states and modes. Tongue I would use excel or flow charts to figure this stuff out as early as possible.

Anyway, it seems like you're going to have some pretty interesting systems in place that would lead to things like enemies requiring some pretty diverse path-finding queues and states that affect what "layer" they're going to check in. Me saying that is basically saying that I think that you should spend some time considering what the enemies will be doing (and if you have, show us!), because despite the player having a slingshot and BO as pillars of gameplay, the enemies and they way you handle their awareness and active states seems like it could be one of the more important pillars.

To this degree, I think that your ideas so far are pretty solid. I just personally have an issue with focusing on what the player will be doing too much and ignoring enemy design until later (which sometimes ends up poorly).

As far as an idea for handling death/your lose state; I think that if you're planning on creating a game with so many different states and so many potential scenarios that could naturally emerge from your game, that you should consider a few scenarios where the player is actually interrogated by NPCs and that with some sly dialogue choices or uses of the environment, they can get away from a "failure" having with mild/no repurcussions. This might work better in a more open-ended game though, and I'm not certain what direction you're trying to take.
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habadash
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« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2013, 09:03:00 PM »

You're more than welcome to call into question my design and programming skills! I really love honest feedback  Hand Thumbs Up Right

I'll definitely keep all of your suggestions in mind. I realize this game will, in the end, be built upon enemy ai and design. Most of my effort will be put into this area. Before I start the actual programming, I will make sure to keep organized / plan everything out because I know from experience it can all turn into a huge mess if you're not careful. I'll update this thread with my ideas as they are fleshed out.

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habadash
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« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2013, 09:05:18 PM »

THE BADASS
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« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2013, 01:02:06 AM »

I wouldn't mess with him!
His motorbike seat looks very comfortable.
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karlozalb
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« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2013, 01:31:40 AM »

Quote
No, but I'll keep the tuba  Smiley

Done! Take my money please
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habadash
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« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2013, 03:04:17 PM »

THE CHEF
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habadash
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« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2013, 03:16:42 PM »

Worked on rope burning physics. It's very buggy (as you can see from the gif), but it's given me so many problems, I just want to show off what I have.

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habadash
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« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2013, 11:36:08 PM »

CAT
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« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2013, 02:23:47 AM »


get that goddamn cat in the game!!
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