Make an FPS in 7 Days – Game idea: “Metamorphosis”

Next week is the 7DFPS challenge – design, code, ship a game in 7 Days, on the theme of “first person shooter”. I want to do something unique and interesting. Here’s one of my ideas.

(if you like this idea, please re-tweet this to vote for it – I’ll decide which to do based on which one(s) people like most) Other ideas: “Runners”, “Follow”)

Title: “Metamorphosis”

Premise: what makes an FPS unique/special among games is the visceral, immersive nature.

But our FPS’s today all project the same, boring, 1:1 flat rectangle as our window on the world.

What if we had eyes on the side of our head? (a la most herbivores – you can see to both sides, and halfway behind you – but have a blindspot dead-ahead. This is why some birds flick their heads left and right all the time – they physically can’t look directly ahead!)

What if you were a Beholder – with 360 simultaneous vision. Looking ahead, behind, up and down all at once?

What does the world look like when your camera is 2 inches off the ground? (a rat’s-eye-view) … or upside-down, attached to the ceiling? (a spider’s…)

Core gameplay

In Metamorphosis, you start in a lab with one way out: a small mouse-hole in the skirting-board. A theft gone wrong, a wizard about to catch you “in flagrante”. You have only one chance: a giant bubbling flask labelled “Rat”. You gobble the potion, dive through the hole, and escape.

…but now you’re a rat, loose in a dungeon full of nasties. Absolutely everything out there is bigger, meaner, and (often) uglier than you. And sadly: loot won’t be much good, since you’re too small to wear armour, and have no hands to hold a sword.

Special effects

It’s a dungeon-hack with a difference: you’re looking for magic potions that metamorphose you into new and useful creatures. When you metamorphose, everything changes:

  • the lighting (some creatures see by light, bats echo-locate and see only monochrome, other creates have infra-vision/heat-sensitive vision)
  • the viewpoint (high, low, upside-down)
  • the number of simultaneous “cameras” (one per eyeball…)
  • the “lens shape” of each eyeball (normal, fisheye, warped, 360-degrees…)
  • your strength/speed/vulnerability (heavy/light, low hitpoints / high hitpoints, regeneration…)
  • movement abilities (walk, jump (rats jump so high they almost fly…), fly, wall-walk, etc)

Practicality…

An old friend of mine wrote a real-time 360-degree FPS projection 15 years ago, and kindly dug out his original source code + demo app for me. With his permission, I’ll post it here ASAP, but suffice it to say: this stuff is doable, it may sound a bit crazy, but I’ve experimented with it (a little) before.

Upgrades and weapons

…entirely dictated by the creature you’re currently polymorphed into.

Summary

I like this idea because:

  • …polymorphing is fun.
  • …there’s historically been very little experimentation with FPS cameras – the best you can hope for is some post-processing screen effets (depth of field, over-saturation, blur, desaturation)

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