Judging Game Ideas: Net Quest

(if you haven’t read the main post explaining this, read this first)

Submission

  • Author: Chris Locher (calocher at gmail.com)
  • Title: “Net Quest: The Search for the win”
  • Word count: 500 words

Proposal

The game is a casual Diablo/Torchlight like dungeon crawler based on all things Internet. The player is a web browser personified in a virtual 3d world as an astronaut like being made of light in a Tron like fashion. The players view will be an Animal Crossing like convex surface.

As a browser you explore the Internet with websites/servers being the levels. The more untrustworthy a site the harder the difficulty is for that level. Forums and social networking sites will either be a high difficulty area or an arena style level. Search engines are portal worlds. Currency for vendors is either “iDollars” or bytes.

Your health is labeled either bandwidth or connection, that way when you die you get disconnected and get a 404 error for the game over screen. There was also a possibility of using your bandwidth as a game play element by making it so that you have to kill enemies to keep your bandwidth usage down. Max out bandwidth and get disconnected.

“Flamer”, “Spammer”, and “Troll” are the three different classes available. The Flamer is an all around nuking type as most of the attacks seem like excessively large forum posts in the shape of flames. The Spammer is your general necromancer summoning type with the summons being named “Spambots”. They will probably do some kind of mild ranged damage using ads or some other type of annoying spam based projectile. The Spammer’s final attack is to call down a roflcopter to shoot up enemies. The Troll is a straight up melee type. I have not decided what Internet themed weapons it will have yet. All weapons look like 16-bit pixel cursors. The doodle I made after I came up with the idea has a sword shaped like a windows cursor.

Your enemies consist of various Internet memes and other personified bits of the Internet (spyware, adware, buggy javascript etc.) and other browsers like the player.

The single player storyline is very vague in that your goal is to search for “IT” on the Internet. At the end of the journey you are treated to a cinematic of a voice saying “finally” and clicking on a link for “IT”, which turns out to be a rick roll. Once the roll loads the YouTube window folds down and rick becomes the last boss.

There is multilayer co-op in the main campaign. It would be interesting to see 8 to 16 players facing off against the hordes of the Internet but four at once is what I will be shooting for.

At a certain level you will be able to buy a server to “host” yourself. This will be tower defense like using the things you’ve seen on other servers as your building blocks. You can upgrade your server with different parts and upgrades. It may be possible for other players to try to assault your server. A reward for successful server (s/h)acking to be worked out later.

NB: there was also some very basic concept art, but as an attachment, not as a link.

Adam’s ratings

(based on typical criteria used when judging game competitions, with 1 being worst, 5 being best)

  • Originality / Concept – 3
  • Story / Theme – 4
  • Gameplay / Game mechanics – 2
  • Assets (concept art, pre-made music, links to a demo, etc) – 1
  • Feasibility (if the comp requires actually MAKING the game) – 4

Outcome: you’d expect this to get through to the next round of judging, but it would have even odds of getting into the final stage – lack of innovative gameplay/mechanics means it’s unlikely to win in a tie-break, and it doesn’t have enough points to go straight into the final without tie-breaking. OTOH, other judges could well give this a 5 for Originality and Story, and the aggregate score would push it through.

Adam’s comments

Very innovative concept, with lots of character and flavour detail (shows that the author won’t just run out of steam after the initial joke).

No core game mechanics beyond “it’s Diablo”.

TD-mechanics are tacked-on at the end, badly – the whole pitch would be better without them (shorter, cleaner), unless they are re-written to be part of the core gameplay.

Therefore, this pitch succeeds or fails on the conceit of “internet as combat game-world”, and how well you manage to fufil that theme. With the niche theme, and without innovative game mechanics, this could never be a AAA title, although it would probably make an excellent Casual title.

I’d definitely put this through to the next round of a game competition, especially one where you had to actually build a demo – I’d be particularly looking forward to playing it, even just for a few minutes. But at the very least, I’d want to see what art-style and GUI you came up with (assuming you had to produce fake screenshots, if not a full demo).

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