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June 23, 2018, 01:19:42 PM

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsReset Hard: A time-traveling puzzle game with co-op and competitive multiplayer
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Author Topic: Reset Hard: A time-traveling puzzle game with co-op and competitive multiplayer  (Read 89 times)
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Quidquid latine dictum, altum videtur

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« on: June 13, 2018, 08:01:31 PM »

"Teach yourself to time travel in five minutes!"


Reset Hard (original announcement) is a top-down time-traveling puzzle game, taking inspiration from games like Monaco and Frozen Synapse. Players are placed in pseudo escape-rooms and are tasked with completing objectives to escape.

When players die, they reset to the start of a level (up to 5 minutes in the past). No physical time travel occurs, but the player can keep any information they've acquired such as passwords or the locations of other players. This is a fairly standard mechanic that other forms of media have already explored to a certain degree (think Minit or Edge of Tomorrow).

Here, a player uses time travel to collect two passwords. The green arrows show one-way doors. The player enters through a door, memorizes the passcode, and then resets so they can collect the next code. Once they've collected code 1 and 2, they can unlock the main door and exit.

Here, a player is tasked with collecting both limited-use physical keys (which will not be retained when they reset) and passcodes. By using strategic resets they can reuse physical keys to get at different passcodes.

Single player levels are used to introduce players to basic time traveling mechanics and to get them comfortable with the game's puzzle style. Multiplayer is where things get complicated.

When a player resets, their position on the timeline changes but other players continue traveling through time as if nothing had happened. This means that players can occupy different points on the timeline. A player in the past can use their knowledge of previous events to get different vantage points or exploit choices that other players made.

If a player's actions in the past would require another player to make a choice, that player will get pulled back to resolve the choice. For example, let's say you shot me with a gun and I traveled back in time and unloaded that gun. When your past avatar tried to shoot me again, the outcome would be different. This would require you to take control of that avatar again, so you would get pulled back in time to resolve the situation.

Pushing and pulling other players (and yourself) backwards and forwards in time is essential for solving puzzles and getting the jump on competitors. You'll need to think of time as a manipulable, continuous 3rd dimension.

Technical Details

I'm developing Reset Hard using web technologies and NodeJS. This is in part to make it very easy for people to set up their own servers, mods, etc...  I don't plan to centrally host anything, I suspect that Reset Hard will be a much better experience via local multiplayer, so it's important to me that you be able to set up a LAN party without requiring participants to install anything. The game controls will be touch friendly and I will likely try to create an official mobile version.

I'm also targeting the web because I want to experiment with Open Source design. This is kind of a pet project that I've been interested in for a while, and Reset Hard is a nice, small, iterative project that's serving as a good subject to experiment with. To that end, Reset Hard will likely be licensed under the AGPL and Creative Commons at some point in the future, and I'll be building out tools to make it easier to mess with the game's internals.

The game mechanics are very close to what is actually programmed. I don't have a lot of abstractions, so for the most part there's no trickery - mechanics are all internally consistent, unit-tested, etc... I even use many of the same naming schemes in code. A timeline is a collection of frames, and players and objects that move through it are given keyframes. Mechanics are all completely deterministic, which enable me to do some nifty compression tricks, but for the most part none of them have been necessary.

Most of the game's logic, including lobbies, player progress, etc... is coded using the same timeline system - you'll be able to reset and solve small meta-puzzles within the main lobby, which should provide a nice playground outside of the official levels. I'm putting a lot of effort into making sure that there are no 'mechanical plot holes', for lack of a better term.

Reset Hard is a game about understanding systems, so there will never a point where a player asks "why did X happen?" and the answer is "don't think about it."
« Last Edit: June 13, 2018, 08:19:08 PM by latinforimagination » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2018, 12:13:21 AM »

the concept looks promising

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