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.
Premise: what makes an FPS unique/special among games is the visceral, immersive nature. How many Oculus Rift games are not first-person?
One thing FPS’s should be particularly good at is wish-fulfillment. Well, something I’ve “wished” I could do ever since seeing the opening sequence of The Matrix … is superhuman jumps from rooftop to rooftop. (YouTube: the ‘jump’ program and YouTube: the opening sequence)
(I especially like the second clip – this is the point at which we first get proof that the film can’t quite be real; it’s the first leap down the rabbit-hole…)
Runners is simply an excuse to do desperate, death-defying, running jumps from rooftop to rooftop, while being shot at (and shooting back).
Challenges to the player
Moment to moment during the game, the player has the following decisions:
- Big jumps require big runups; you get faster the longer you run (Super Mario Bros stylee). Better plan your run-up, and don’t chicken-out and slowdown at the last minute!
- It’s easy to stand-still and snipe: so we make you invulnerable while in mid-air, and create lots of obstacles on the rooftops, that prevent “easy” shots from a distance
- You can’t jump forever (remember the bad old days of deathmatch quake bunnyhopping? Ugh). You have a fatigue meter that forces you to periodically stop and hide while you get your breath back
- “Guns. Lots of guns” – long distance, wide-open spaces, enclosed target areas? This is a perfect excuse for overblow weapons of insane destruction. Remember Syndicate’s supremely over-the-top Gauss Gun? Oh yeah!
Three conflicting tensions (no upgrades in this one! Just choice of weapons):
- Movement: speed, jump-distance, acceleration (run-ups) … heavy weapons = fail
- Accuracy: sniping and head-shots requires keeping still, keeping fatigue at a minimum (no jumping for a while!)
- Positioning: is it better to circle round behind an enemy and catch them unawares (lots of jumping, weak weapons) … or go straight at them, guns blazing, and try to scare them into running while tired (they fall to their death)?
I like this idea because:
- …who doesn’t want to play in The Matrix?
- …”Canabalt … with guns”
- …most FPS’s give you infinite mass and infinite acceleration … this one makes things a lot more realistic and interesting
- …level-design will be easy! (procedurally generating skyscraper-roofs = WIN)