|Looking for Feedback on a Team-Oriented Single-Player FPS Concept||Locked|
|Nov 12 2013, 5:14pm Anchor|
Hello! I have been considering a team/strategy-based FPS concept for a while now. There are FPS games like BF: Bad Company or Homefront which have a cast of characters in the story mode, but aside from a few cut scenes I don't feel like they are any more important to the game than the random cannon fodder is in other games like the old Call of Duties. My concept is intended to be used for a game where such characters are important, while adding new gameplay elements.
The overall idea of this game concept is it would be a single player first person shooter with a strong emphasis on strategy and teamwork. The player is not meant to, or expected, to be some sort of one man army or Hollywood action hero. They would need to rely on their teammates and be responsible for leading their team to glory.
The most defining feature of the concept is the ability to open up a command menu in-game in order to quickly and easily control teammates. The menu would appear in a corner of the screen and allow the player to continue moving and shooting regardless of whether the menu was "open" or not. The menu would be opened by pressing the H key by default, and list every friendly AI (up to 3) in the area. After an AI character is chosen, the game would open sub-menus so the player can decide exactly what to do with that AI. (Should the AI defend something? Should they follow someone?) This would allow the player to have nearly unlimited control over an AI, so they can devise strategies and complete the same parts of the same missions in completely different ways every time they play. However, if the player does not want such strict control on the AI during more stressful parts of the game, the player could type something like "H413" to allow the characters to do whatever they want - although that wouldn't be recommended.
The command menu would only have a few choices per sub-menu and would be organized like this: In the first menu, the player can choose 1 to select the first AI, 2 to select the second AI, 3 to select the third AI, or 4 to select all the AI. Then a second menu would open where the player can choose 1 to attack, 2 to defend, 3 to follow, or 4 to move to a location. The third and final menu that would open would depend on the player's second choice. If the player chose to attack, they would be allowed to attack a specific target (1), a general area (2), whatever they wanted (3), or nothing at all (4). Other options, such as "follow", would not get the same sub-options.
To further emphasize the importance of teamwork, guns would have heavy recoil when fired by the player. Although it wouldn't exactly be realistic, the recoil of each shot will raise "exponentially" on most weapons. So firing most weapons one shot at a time will not be a problem, and many weapons can be burst fired while still having reasonable recoil. However, if guns are fired full auto, the player will quickly find themselves in a situation where they can only point their gun in the general direction of an enemy and hope they hit. This level of firepower will make it easy to drop one, maybe even two, enemies at any significant range, but the player will not be able to wipe out an entire platoon by themselves. When faced with multiple opponents like that, the player will need to let the friendly AI do some of the work.
As one would expect in a team-based shooter like this, the player or the AI can be incapacitated. When an AI is incapacitated, the player will have between 30 to 120 seconds (depending on the difficulty setting) to revive the AI before that AI is "killed" and removed from play. To revive, the player would simply have to look at the incapacitated AI and hold the use key (F by default.) If the player is very close to the AI, the player will revive the AI themselves. If the player is far away, holding down the use key will automatically issue a command to the nearest living AI to revive the incapacitated AI. This is pretty standard. However, the game concept takes this idea a little further. If the player is incapacitated, the game is not immediately over. The player will have 15 to 60 seconds (again, depending on difficulty settings) before "bleeding out" and reaching a game over. During these 15 to 60 seconds, the player cannot issue commands and the AI will automatically try to push towards the player to revive them. After all, the player is not alone; the player is part of a team. If the player does not want to wait or if the AI got stuck doing something else (which is always a possibility with any AI, needless to say more complex ones that can follow a variety of orders) the player can hold down the use key to cancel the bleed out timer and immediately reach the game over screen.
Aside from this, the game would be fairly similar to the typical current-day FPS formula. Health regenerates over time, there are more enemies than there are teammates, the player can only hold a couple of weapons rather than run around with 10 different weapons, that kind of thing.
What are your thoughts? Is this a good idea? Are there huge flaws I'm not seeing? Any feedback or suggestions are welcome and appreciated!
|Nov 12 2013, 6:02pm Anchor|
My idea! You stole it! Get out of my head!
Anyways, that aside, I'm gonna share my ideas for a similar concept.
First off, a team is still a team even when there not fighting. Therefore, the game would be very heavily story driven, and if two characters get angry at each other in a story, putting them together probably won't work out too well. But, if two of them end up developing a friendship, they could be extra-protective of the character (by prioritizing targets that are shooting at their friend). It would make for a ton of replay value, but it could cause the workload to inflate exponentially. However, this could be averted by reducing the actual length of the campaign.
Second, I would add a few more team members, each with there own role. IMO, a sci-fi setting would work well, as you could have a wider variety of enemies and allies (You, Medic, Engineer, Heavy, Sniper, Rogue). I mean, when's the last time you've seen a real-life bipedal tank with a weakspot on the back that is vulnerable to a knife? Or seen a real-life cloaking device? Or been able to hack an automated enemy turret? Furthermore, you could easily find an in-universe explination for the player being omnipotent, and give them a host of other data, such as enemy ammo counts or shield strengths.
Third, NO regenerating health (Regenerating shields, maybe, but a significant portion of their health should be static). You shouldn't be able to just brush off mistakes. If you make a strategic error, you are punished for the rest of the mission. You're rogue character won't be able to bumble into a firestorm and just erase every single scratch from that encounter. Furthermore, if a squad member is downed they are either incapacitated for the rest of the mission, or die a true story death. The sci-fi setting would help here as well, as you could use shields/armor to explain why they can take so much damage.
Being able to queue commands would be nice as well (For example, you could send your allies to different strategic places, wait until your engineer has finished setting up a turret, and then have everyone open fire.).
Edited by: Squared55
|Nov 13 2013, 3:04pm Anchor|
If you ask me, I suggest playing Battlefield 2: modern combat (very old but you can ebay it thats if you own a xbox360, xbox original or a ps2), any one of the games from the brothers in arms series and take a look at how the AI acts, how important they are, and how nearly everyone on the battleground is important and try not to make any mistakes that DICE or gearbox has made. I'm also telling you this because they're great games.
Oh and you should listen to that guy i've learnt a couple things from him.
But you have a very good idea so do what you can to complete this.
Edited by: thatotherdude1
|Nov 14 2013, 9:12pm Anchor|
Great minds think alike, eh? I agree with almost everything you have said, but it looks like I have considered some different aspects when developing my concept.
I have considered having the characters be able to like/dislike teammates, but like you said that could really increase the workload. At first my idea was really out there (have an opposing team made of NPCs that you encounter throughout the story; depending on how you act, you might convince enemy NPCs to betray their team and join yours - or you might end up making a teammate hate you so much they leave and go to the opposing team.) Another idea I had which would be more simple is teammates hesitate or refuse to listen to the player's orders if the player keeps causing them to become incapacitated due to bad choices. Even with something like that, though, that could potentially make a long-term consequence for a relatively trivial mistake (typing H211 instead of H212 or something) so I'm not sure how great of an idea that would be.
I have been a little indecisive with how many characters the game should have, too. I made a little experiment/prototype a few years ago for this idea, where the player would eventually gain access to over 50 characters. (Yes, the concept was not so well thought out back then!) The relationships were pretty impersonal, though, the only "personality" each character had is what their biography said and how they chose to carry out commands (one character might see 10 enemies and decide to use a pistol, another character might see 2 wounded enemies and decide to request an air strike.) My most recent idea is to have 3 characters, because then the player can learn each character's strengths and weaknesses without neglecting, or never even using, other characters. I guess there's no reason to choose between extremes, though, maybe 10 characters would be a good number?
Something I didn't consider for my concept is roles (like medic or engineer.) I'm a little embarrassed now; roles would have such a great and obvious potential for a team-based game. Currently the command menu I was thinking of allowed the character to attack, defend, goto, or follow. If medics and engineers were added, I think it would be important to have a "support" option as well. It would probably be best to combine the "follow" option with the "goto" option (if you tell a character to go to a car and the car moves, the character would follow) and replace the follow option with "support" for medical assistance, ammunition, repair, etc.
A sci-fi setting is just personal taste I think, but I would argue that the player doesn't need to be omnipotent (and obviously the player wouldn't need an explanation for being omnipotent if they weren't.) It's actually something that bugs me a bit with games like Mass Effect. What's the point of having a team and playing the game strategically when you're a living legend who can literally just run up and stab everyone in the face (unless you're playing on the highest difficulty setting, of course)? Personally, I like the idea that the player has a team because the player needs a team.
I completely agree with your thoughts behind no regenerating health. Really the only reason I would like to add it to the game is basically: Many shooters today have regenerating health. Even Spec Ops: The Line has regenerating health, and it certainly isn't a game that disregards consequences. This game concept, though, would rely heavily on giving characters orders along with playing the game "normally." That's a lot of multi-tasking / balancing, and I think it would be a bit much if the game was being too demanding but then punished the player for being human and making mistakes. In my old prototype, there was no regenerating health but every character could hold 3-10 medkits (depending on their level and the potency of the medkits) which could be resupplied at the spawn point if no enemies were nearby. This way there is a "buffer" unless the player really messed up, and the player gets theoretically infinite health unless the enemy begins to push out.
Being able to queue commands would be very useful and could really add to the replayability of the game I think. In fact, I never considered anything like that before and I don't even have the slightest clue of how I could add that to the game so there is not much I can say about it other than I should figure out a way.
I have actually never played Battlefield 2: Modern Combat or any Brothers in Arms games. I don't have any good reason not to; I simply haven't. I should check them out, thanks for the suggestion!
|Nov 14 2013, 9:59pm Anchor|
Characters: Similar to Mass Effect, I think the overarching story could be relatively simple (TEH ROBOTS ARE GOING TO KILL US ALL!!!!!!), and put almost all the focus on the characters & the team. As for calling in airstrikes and the like, my personal opinion is that the characters should do whatever they want, until the player specifically overrides them. This would eliminate most of the micro-managing. That said, if you want your engineer to save their uber-plasma grenades, they would do so. Otherwise, whenever X amount of enemies are close together, they would lob one. Making the allies capable of fending for themselves would take some of the stress off of the player, and allow them to actually shoot something once in a while.
I like the idea of having 5 allies, personally. You can bring all of them on a mission at once, so there's no waste, there's enough for lively group character dynamics and combat strategies, and each one can have a unique role (the aforementioned Medic, Engineer, Heavy, Sniper, Rogue). Any more would probably result in diluted characters.
I had an idea to give the player a small drone they could fly around. This would let them get a full 360 degree view of the battlefeild. Another idea, which would be much trickier to program, would to bring up a hologram that shows whatever the player and their allies can see. Again, they could fly around in this hologram view.
Menu: This is a quick visualization of what I was thinking for the command menu. (While flying around in the drone/hologram):
Obviously, everything would have hotkeys. On harder difficulties, the game would not pause when the menu is up (although it may go in slow-motion).
A thousand people can believe a stupid thing. It is still is a stupid thing. (OK, that's a bit harsh- but I've always wanted to use that quote!) Anyways, the player and their allies would be superior to any individual group of enemies. Plus, the first few missions would be easier, in order to ease the player into the gameplay. And, there would be a medic, and maybe an engineer who can rig up shields.
On the player's power:
Edited by: Squared55
|Nov 15 2013, 6:49am Anchor|
Any time man, just remember you can only play battlefield 2: modern combat if you own an original xbox, an xbox 360
As for any one of the brothers in arms games, if you're going to look for Brothers in arms: road to hill 30
In borthers in arms, whenever you're in combat theres always this feeling where if you tell your team-mates to flank an enemy and they end up being killed you just feel so, so damn guilty like as if he was a real person who died because of you. Theres another feeling where if theres an MG nest or a tank or something you feel like you can't make it from one side to the other without having your squad-mates there to cover you. Oh and by the way, in Brothers in Arms hells highway (the third game in the series) there is a health-regeneration system so if you play this game before the other two don't think that it's a terrible game coz in the first two games your health stayed the same even if you completed a level (i think, i can't really remember oh well) well they're all good games anyways.
You should also try Operation flashpoint dragon rising. It's a great game, although the ai can be stupid, but, but they're still very essential, because no matter how dumb they are in operation flashpoint, you cannot take out an entire encampment on you own, don't even try to, it's like one-shot to the head and the next thing you know, you're back at the last checkpoint.
P.S. if you don't decide to go sci-fi try a modern setting or ww2. If everything goes well you could probably get an award for this game (none of that was sarcasm it was 100% ligit). Good luck with it man.
Edited by: thatotherdude1
|Nov 16 2013, 8:07pm Anchor|
I like those ideas on the characters, I wonder when the character's default AI should stop being overridden, though. Say there's an objective to disable some generators or something and all the teammates are following the player, then the player tells two of them to go off and disable two generators by themselves, alright. But what will happen after the generators are destroyed and the next objective appears? Will the AI just assume the player wants them to stand by the generator until given further orders? Will the AI check to see if they're 2km away from the next objective then ask the player if they should return or not? Will the AI just assume when the player wants them to return? (I don't think this is really that good of an option because they could decide to return even though the player wanted them to stay and by the time the player notices them it might be too late.) This all assumes the AI doesn't have multiple commands queued, though. If another command is in queue they would obviously just do that.
I'm getting excited just thinking about a game that uses the drone/hologram idea [and has it work properly.] I think the hardest part about a drone/hologram wouldn't be coding that actual feature, but making sure the AI is competent enough for the drone/hologram to be viable. CoD: Black Ops 2 had a mode where you could watch all your troops from the sky and tell them where to go or control an individual troop. But since a bag of bricks is smarter than the AI, just taking a tactical backseat didn't work at all. Aside from that, would enemy AI try shooting at the drones? It could be an interesting "fog of war": you can't tell exactly what is around that building because your drone was destroyed before you got there.
Again, I forgot all about the medic and engineer roles. Yeah, regenerating health does seem kind of pointless when everyone can hide behind a shield and get healed (unless the medic is killed, but of course that's what makes watching out for the medic important.)
I actually haven't played Mass Effect 3's multiplayer at all (I gave up paying for Xbox Live a while ago and I'm not even going to think about putting Origin on my PC.) I'll have to look at some videos of that.
Battlefield 2 Modern Combat sounds like another concept I had (that never really went anywhere) so I'm definitely going to try getting it.
But now I also really want to try out a Brothers in Arms game, too. The whole feeling of "I messed up and it ended up hurting a character in a game" is something I always kind of wanted to see in a video game, especially a shooter, but I haven't played any games that actually made me feel like that. (Spec Ops: The Line's ending got close to that feeling, but at that point it felt more like the plot caused it to happen rather than my own decisions. I'd suggest getting the game and playing through the campaign if you haven't already. The gameplay isn't anything spectacular (also warning: it's third person) but the story is good at encouraging you to do something and then getting mad at you for doing it - but in a good way.) I'd like to see how Brothers in Arms pulls off a feeling of guilt just from telling teammates to flank an enemy.
I actually know a little bit about Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising and considered getting it, but then I heard about problems with the AI and such and decided not to get it. If it's still a good experience regardless I might try looking for it (after Brothers in Arms and Modern Combat, though.) Can't go wrong with a game where the player is just as vulnerable as everyone else (unless "everyone else" has embarrassing AI, that is.)
Thanks for the support. I've started to consider a cyberpunk setting (it's not exactly modern, but it's not full-blown alien sci-fi either.) The cyberpunk series, Ghost in the Shell, has a lot of scenes where combat isn't just "run in guns blazing" but more "we saved the day because of organized teamwork and the target fell into our trap," and it's made me want to make a game where you feel you've won because of effective teamwork, not because you can shoot better.
Edited by: Alkasirn
|Nov 16 2013, 8:27pm Anchor|
Then, the allies would use the same AI as the enemies, IE: A search-pattern, before fighting any enemies they encounter. They would form up after they can't find any more enemies, or after all the enemies are defeated. Obviously, an order would overwrite this.
As for the drone, that's another thing that can be chalked up to the difficult settings. I'd not let the enemies notice it by default, but the player can explicitly turn that on if they want a challenge. If it gets shot down, they're locked in their third/first person perspective (I'm not sure which would be better) for the rest of the mission, or, if it took minor damage, the engineer could fix it. Or they could replace one of their guns with a spare drone.
I like the idea of a cyberpunk setting, largely due to the fact that there would be room for characters that aren't military stereotypes. Good idea.
On the topic of Spec Ops: It gets a pass for regenerating health and being a third-person bland-fest by basically mocking other Modern Military Shooters. More on the subject here: Youtube.com [Be warned: If you don't already watch Extra Credits, be prepared to spend hours consecutively watching all their videos]
|Nov 18 2013, 2:57am Anchor|
Like I said before, any time man, it feels good to support someone. Thanks for suggesting to play spec ops the line and i don't mind if it's thirdperson as long as it's a good shooter. The cyberpunk setting is actually a nice choice good one. I wish that there was some way i could help but i've got barely any experience with game development (i'm still learning).
Edited by: thatotherdude1
|Nov 20 2013, 8:11pm Anchor|
I like that idea about the AI, as long as the player knows what the audio transmission means. ("Did you see Homer punch the head off that robot?" "No but okay, thanks?" then about 5 minutes later "I wonder when they'll be done with what I told them to do.")
I guess having an option for enemies spotting drones or not is probably the best way to go. I just can't imagine the option being off. The drone would basically make me omniscient while showing that literally every enemy in the game is oblivious to a drone staring right at them. Yet if the game's difficulty is set in such a way that it expects the player to use it, permanently losing the drone for the second half of a mission would be pretty extreme, too.
On the cyberpunk setting: Thank you
And honestly, the thing I think I'll be remembering The Line for is its ending; not how it parodies other modern military shooters. That game was all about its story for me. Sure, the overall concept of the story has been used in books and films, but The Line is a game that gets the actual player, not the player character, involved by the end of it. (Which is something Extra Credits mentions in that video, actually!) I'm just kind of disappointed the player is relatively detached from the story, and what happens in it, up until the very last few minutes of the game.
Well hey, there's no shame in having only a little experience in game development; everyone started out with no experience at all. (Unless, of course, you're going to be interviewed by a game developer tomorrow...) It might just be a naive belief I have, but I figure the most popular games today aren't focused on being played by other game developers; they're just focused on being played by gamers. To some extent, not knowing a lot about game development is a good thing because you might have a similar perspective to the game's target audience. Again that obviously doesn't cut it if you want to be part of the team that makes the next big thing, but in the meantime that doesn't mean your feedback can't be valuable.
|Nov 26 2013, 4:05am Anchor|
Thanks man you made my day. I haven't been on in days due to internet issues.
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