When designing a game, I tried to think of the games that I have played in the past that were fun to play. The genres I liked were 3D FPS type games and also adventure games. Also I liked detective type novels and some science fiction as well. Hence my game will be a 3D action and adventure game with a detective like character
Setting the scene
After some brainstorming, my opening of the game will go something like this:
“In a dark alleyway somewhere at night, you lie unconscious, stooped over the curb. You stir slowly, feeling dizzy and a throbbing headache emerges. You rub the back of the head and say “What the heck?” You can’t remember who you are, where you are and what you are doing here. You look at the night sky and see you are surrounded by buildings and filthy rubbish dumps. A street lamp flickers on and off nearby. You feel for your inside pocket and pull out a flashlight. You instinctively put it back inside your long coat. A shiver runs down your spine as you are cold and notice that it’s lightly raining. Thunder is heard in the background. You get up and stagger out of the alley, not knowing what happened to you.”
Theme / Look and Feel
The look and feel or atmosphere of the game will be similar to Blade Runner, the Matrix and the Girl with a Dragon Tattoo. Also the storyline is sort of similar to the Bourne Identity though of a different narrative.
Game Design – The Object of the Game
The object of the game would be to find out who you are (a member of a secret organisation) and what your objective is (to stop the syndicate operation). The end of the game would be to successfully beat the syndicate.
The main thrust of the game is that you are a detective in search of an underworld syndicate, possibly an ex-cop and even a secret agent. This syndicate is able to manipulate time and space, so you must stop them at all costs. But because you are suffering from amnesia, it will be difficult at first. You will wander aimlessly around the world(s) and some characters will try to kill you, but you will not know why. You will be able to pick up clues and eventually stumble onto your identity and hence your objective. You will also stumble across some unknown friendly people muttering something about the SWO (Secret World Organisation). I will try and put even some love interest – who knows? :-)) Also I am thinking of putting in some flashbacks from the main character’s memory.
I aim aiming for a way to make it so that each time you play the game, you will be forced into a new adventure or things may actually change, but essentially the object is the same and that the story would be somewhat linear, as in an adventure game. For multiplayer capabilities, things might have to be different. Maybe some players could play the good guys, and others on the side of the syndicate.
Game Design – Gameplay
Essentially, the aim is for a 3D game played in a FPS view. This seems to be easier to visualise in that you can see more things around you, turn around a room or even look at the sky. The player should be able to move around using the keyboard and mouse for movement and shooting, picking up objects, etc. Earlier adventure games tend to make you type things if you are trying to talk to a character, so I am thinking of incorporating this into the game. I have seen that some games give you pre-defined reponses, but I want to “frustrate” the player in trying to respond themselves by typing some words and seeing what happens. The player will be able to bump into things, go into rooms, caves, doors, travel through time and space portals (maybe by using his magic watch), etc. The time travel part will be fun as I could incorporate “future” technology, or the player may be forced to use a piece of flint to start a fire if you are back in the cave-man era.
The gaming interface will have to be simple as nothing is more frustrating than having to learn too many key strokes. Hence I may use the right mouse button to “use” an object (and I’ll need a keyboard equivalent for those that don’t want to use mice!) or to click on someone to talk to them.
Game Design – Game World
The game world will have to be worked out in advance, though I will try and develop it as I go. I will probably need to create a map of “rooms” representing each part of a city. Each time zone would have it’s own map of rooms (hence I will need many maps, one for each type of level). I am aiming for around 20 – 30 rooms per each map. Probably 10 to 20 such maps would do for a game. If I can do one map at a time, then I am hoping to reuse parts of the other maps, although each map needs its own artwork to look different. All of a sudden, my game could get very big!!
In each “room” (which can also be part of a continuation of a scene), I can put in objects, dead-ends, other characters that you have to meet, etc. Each room would have to have a starting point with these items in them, though I could then organise to put the objects in random locations. A portal could be marked in some rooms so that you can get to other maps or rooms. Traps could also be designed so that the player gets “stuck” in a bad room. The player should be able to roam around freely in any map.
Some ideas for maps would be:
- for the starting scene, a present day city with buildings, parks, lakes and roads
- a futuristic city with some cool technology
- somewhere out in the country (bush)
- a sparse desert with mountains thrown in
- a base for the syndicate
- caves and mountains (stoneage)
- in an uninhabited world – or different world (aliens?)
- a setting in a spaceship, train, plane, bus, or other vehicle of transportation
- a parallel world – maybe the same city as before, but “not quite right” (added for confusion)
Note: these maps could be drawn in 2D just on paper to get a rough idea. These maps would then actually represent scenes in your 3D world.
Game Design – Characters and Objects
The main character is Benjamin (a male). The main character is controlled by the player. Other characters are the syndicate, helpers to the main character, and miscellanous people to build the scene. Each character will have to be documented later in detail (age, sex, name, etc). As you can see, the detail is the hard part when designing games.
I really want to make an ability for a player to play as a female character. I will then need another main character named Natasha or Tash for short. That way I suppose I can make the player choose a male or female character – a bit like in The Matrix game. Also don’t forget Tomb Raider 🙂 Don’t know if I will link both characters in the storyline – have to see about that one, though it could lead to a love interest of some sort.
Don’t forget that I will have to throw in some inanimate objects and maybe a robot (bot) or two.
Game Design – Other Details
Below are some points to consider and to flesh out in detail as the game is developed:
- name of game
- design start-up screen(s)
- design intro screen / movie
- design menu screen – this is where the user is able to choose setup options, save game, etc
- design a “loading game” screen (when user waits for game initialisation)
- design end of game screen and credits
- design each map – with rooms
- do characters – names, scripts for talking, looks, clothing (include main character), actions
- do objects – name, purpose, look and feel, actions
- inventory database to hold objects and clues picked up / dropped
- text database if you decide to interpret player’s responses
- sound effects and background music
- do art for scenery (rooms)
- need to develop storyline AI (in conjunction with map design)
- multiplayer design
To make it simple, I will try and stick to single player first, then move on to multiplayer (need to develop server and brush up on networking).
Note: Another thing I thought about is to make the game a bit more comical in flavour – not too serious. This might make it more interesting.
Name of Game
I have called my game Blind Fate.
Having brainstormed, I was thinking of something to do with the person finding his / her identity. This gives rise to concepts such as destiny, fate, etc. I thought of other titles such as The Second Coming (memory was lost first, but regained later), Soul Mate, Destini, but they didn’t grab me as much.
This is a 3D game, but you also need 2D graphics for some items such as menus, a logo screen and Heads Up Display.
Use your favourite 2D paint program to create your graphics. Some examples include Microsoft Paint, Adobe Photoshop, and Gimp (very similar to Photoshop, but free).
You draw everything from scratch in your 2D paint program, use a tablet or pen device to draw electronically, or even draw on paper, then scan it and edit using your paint program.
Creating a Logo screen (Splashscreen)
Most games contain a logo screen where the game creator displays their company name and / or logo. Sometimes this is given as an animated logo / image with sound instead of a graphics screen.
I decided to call my logo “RuzzGames” and used Photoshop to create it. It is shown below:
In order to create the above logo screen, I used one of my oil paintings that I created (yes I learnt how to oil paint for about 3 years – found it useful to learn about art and colours). It is the beach scene below and I did it on canvas. Then I used a scanner to import it into the computer – you may notice lines towards the right hand side as the painting did not fit on an A4 scanner – hence had to scan the right hand bit separately.
I then opened my scanned file in Photoshop, and used some of the special effects to distort the painting and create the “grey clouds”. I used a font for the name which has some 3D shadow effects on it. When creating your logo, just be creative and play with the software.
Creating a Menu screen
In progress…this will be a 2D image of the menu that the user can choose items to play the game. We may need several 2D images to represent each menu selection.
Creating a Heads Up Display
In progress…this will be a 2D image of elements to display. This could include health, lives left, etc.
There are 2 ways to create 3D graphics as follows:
- use a 3D modelling program such as Maya LT or Blender
- use maths to create the models
I will use both methods in my game.
This part is how the user (or gamer) interacts with the game. For our design, we can list the types of input devices to support.
Keys used in this game (keyboard)
- W – walk forwards
- S – walk backwards
- A – rotate left
- D – rotate right
- Q – step or strafe left
- E – step or strafe right
- Space – fly up
- X – fly down
- 1 – hold down to show the 3D game in wireframe mode
- ESC – quit the game
Think about what gamepad you wish to support (if any).
For example, I will use the Xbox controller for an Xbox version. Will need to figure out which buttons and sticks to use for movement.
There are two options:
- get the user to press somewhere on the screen to move around
- provide buttons for the user to move around
Sound, Voice and Music
To record and create your sound and voice, you can use a simple program such as Audacity and your computer’s microphone.
If you want to create music, Garage Band will do or if you prefer, you can use any other DAW software. I use FL Studio now as my preferred DAW. You can also use this software to record voice and sound effects, then do special effects on them. A good article to read from Samplified is about comparing two DAWs and which is right for you.