Rebirth is a survival horror sandbox game with a focus on procedural environments and dynamic AI. Influenced by games such as STALKER and Silent Hill, all set in a sandbox world ready for players to explore. Use our complex melee system to fight your way past grotesque foes. Use your wits and stealth to conquer unsurmountable challenges. When all else fails, use your guns and risk enemy detection. How you play is up to you...But remember, you only have one life to live. Make it count.

Report article RSS Feed Gameplay is King - My Design Philosophy

During the last few weeks, I've been steadily working on new features, as well as fixing up old working ones. We are also close to finishing our custom character. I have also been thinking more and more about what the final game should be like.

Posted by Rico21745 on Aug 5th, 2012


Rebirth Concept
Gameplay is King


I do a lot of work on the game. Pretty much, I do a little bit of code every day for the game. At least an hour or two every weekday, and a lot more during the weekends.

There's a lot of work involved in making gameplay feel like a game. When you have shooting mechanics, taking the easy way out and not making it polished and nice can really put people off your game. I'm a firm believer that gameplay comes before anything else.

I'm one of those guys who's disappointed about a lot of the current state of games. Games are too easy, games are too focused on providing a "cinematic" experience. They are too focused on trying to be "art". So many of these developers become so focused on making games into other things, that they forget why games are unique experiences. Games are not movies, they are not books. Games can be art, but art itself is subjective. I've seen a lot of paintings and sculptures that to me are not "art" yet to others, they are the epitome of it.

I am a firm believer that games can be art, but that the art of games is not just in how it looks, not just on the story being told. The real artistic element in a game should be first and foremost the one thing that distinguishes the medium from all other audiovisual experiences: Interaction.

Interactivity makes a game what it is. Gameplay can inspire deep feelings in a player. From fear in Amnesia: Dark Descent, triumph when you beat a difficult game like Demon Souls or Ninja Gaiden. Excitement about the prospect of getting a shiny new weapon. Gameplay can instill all these feelings and more, yet, so many games out there try so hard to impart these emotions through means they see in other mediums: Story and Visuals.

Don't get me wrong, a good story and great visuals are a boon to any game. However, why is it that people play a game like Minecraft when it has neither? The answer is gameplay. This is our focus for the game. Gameplay is king.

Updates

Now that you know a little about the design philosophy behind the game, let's open up a few more of the mechanics I have built in the last two weeks:

  • Hunger: As time passes, your character gets more and more hungry. Hunger will be an important element, and it is there to serve gameplay. The design choice to have hunger is very simple: Hunger drives players to explore, rather than to sit still in some unreachable corner of the map for hours on end.
  • Stamina: You can't run forever, can you? Neither can your player pawn. Stamina will be used as a resource you need to manage when performing physical actions. Melee combat, jumping, running, etc. Stamina will also dictate how much you can carry.
  • AI: AI is pretty important. It will run the behavior of all of our enemies. As such, I have been trying to optimize it and make it easy to add new enemy behaviors to it later on. For those of you interested in technical stuff, I am using behavior trees to do this. The AI is still being optimized, with my goal being to have 50 to 100 active agents doing things at the same time smoothly.
  • My goal is to design unique enemies that change the gameplay experience for players. So many games have enemies that simply require that you shoot them until you die. They don't really change the way you play the game in any major way. In Rebirth, the aim is to make enemies unique and memorable. We will have more about our enemies later, as we are still in the design stages.
  • Weapons:I did a bit more work on the shooting mechanics for weapons, as there were some quirks that were bothering me. Shooting them now feels a lot tighter. I also added the ability to right click and aim your weapon. This gives you a slight zoom effect as well as a little bit tighter spread on your bullets.

I think this is enough to mull over for now. As always, please leave your comments and ask any questions on your mind. Suggestions and ideas are always welcome :-)

-Rico

Post comment Comments
Undisputed_91
Undisputed_91 Aug 6 2012, 4:08am says:

The gameplay aspect sounds great - you obviously seem to want a story and visuals too, but it's good that you're focusing on the gameplay first and foremost. Everything seems genuinely realistic and simulative of a situation of a crisis and the hunger system rocks. I was wondering, since you are going for realism, if you could tie the stamina with the hunger system - If you are hungry or starving, you'll hardly be able to run as fast or as long as you would with a sated stomach. Your melee and other abilities would also suffer from hunger as it takes up a lot of energy. My bet is,as I know nothing of coding, that you could have hunger as a 0-100 value that,as it decreases(maybe from 60/70 downward), decreases also a percentile of the stamina value. Either way, it looks like you're putting a lot of effort into this, so I hope it goes smoothly and that this post was useful in some way.

All the Best!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Rico21745 Author
Rico21745 Aug 6 2012, 8:43am says:

Hi Undisputed, thanks for the comments!

For the gameplay we're going for a mix of realism and action. The survival aspects of the game will be "realistic" but don't expect to see things like bullet drop, or other hyper realistic shooting simulation type things. Basically, we're going realistic when it adds to the gameplay.

Regarding hunger and stamina: That's actually exactly how it works. Hunger is backwards however, it starts at 0 and goes to 100, at which point you start starving to death and losing health periodically. It's a good idea to tie stamina to hunger and it actually wouldn't be very difficult to do. I'll probably add that in today :-)

+1 vote   reply to comment
Danaz
Danaz Aug 13 2012, 4:09pm says:

Hey Rico

Really interesting game! The one thing i would like to mention is just that i think it would be really neat, to add the terrain interactivity.
Its something that most certainly draws me towards games! But really looking forward for a playable version. Good luck with the project!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Rico21745 Author
Rico21745 Aug 13 2012, 10:53pm says:

There is likely to be some element of terrain interaction, but it may be limited to building on top of it and perhaps chopping trees down/using water.

Maybe some light digging even, but that's definitely something I'd need to think about first, to see how much effort its worth putting into.

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Rebirth
Platforms
Windows, Mac, Linux
Developer
Dead Man Walking
Engine
Unity
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