Sunday, September 30, 2012

New game idea: dinosaur survival meets RTS

Here is a new game idea:  A real-time-strategy game in which you are stranded on a deserted island inhabited with dinosaurs and must gather supplies and build up your defenses to survive.  The game will have a set of levels, the earlier levels only contain small dinosaurs that are easily dealt with and basic structures to build.  As you progress through the levels you unlock new structures and are attacked by larger, more dangerous dinosaurs.

Multiplayer would be a great feature to add to this game.  What's more fun than building up a fortress with your friends and surviving waves of dinosaur attacks?  There could also be a PvP mode where two players build dinosaurs to attack each others bases and you would have some classic RTS gameplay.

MOBA goes mobile

I have always been a fan of the MOBA style games starting from playing DOTA during my junior high days and I currently play League of Legends.  I would love to see these type of games ported to mobile devices with the same multiplayer matchmaking system.  The interface and controls for this type of game needs to be carefully designed as to allow the player to feel that they are in control.  Nothing destroys a game like having clunky controls.  I think Maya has done a good job in bringing the MOBA to mobile devices in their game Legendary Heroes.  They still haven't completed the online play feature, but I do see a promising future in this game.

There are a lot of things that can go wrong when making a game like this multiplayer.  Any server instabilities can cause players games to crash and a bunch of angry players is never a good thing.  The need for a large stable server is probably why there have not been any big MOBAs on mobile devices.  I have had some bad experiences while playing League of Legends where my entire game was ruined because of some server crash.  Overall I think developing a MOBA for mobile devices is a great idea and I look forward to playing some in the future.

Bringing back retro games

One of my game ideas is to create a multiplayer game made up a of a set of mini games which are recreations of classic retro arcade games like PacmanCentipede, and Space Invaders.  Players will be able to play with or against their friends in multiple mini games, accumulating points, and whoever has the most points at the end wins.  These games will have new twists like allowing one of the players to control the ghosts in a game of Pacman.

I believe this will be a great way to turn the classics into a new popular game that friends and family can enjoy on console, PC, or even mobile devices.  The gameplay should be similar to playing on an old coin arcade machine and each mini game should be fast paced to allow for multiple play throughs.  Game developers should take a break on creating more WoW clones and revisit the classics.

Why WoW is the closest thing to my dream game

When I play games I really don't care about the story, where my character came from, or any of that stuff.  When playing an RPG leveling up and gaining new powers and items tend to get boring, as there is always some end point where you cannot progress any further.  The closest game to the "dream game" to me would be World of Warcraft, but not for the story, the questing, the leveling, the bosses, or the items.  

When I played World of Warcraft, leveling was tedious and boring and I would try to find the fastest way possible to reach the max level.  The item grind was also boring.  So how was this even close to being my dream game?  In Game Design: Theory & Practice (2nd Edition) by Richard Rouse III the author states that "The goal of gameplay is to allow for different player strategies to lead to variables of success, to reward player experimentation and exploration, and to empower players to make their own choices." The aspect of the game that fascinated me the most was the PvP.  I'm not talking about the 40v40 battlegrounds where a mass of players group up and slaughter one player.  I'm talking about 3v3 arena battles where team work and communication is key.  Other players make much more difficult opponents than scripted AI.  As a team we had to come up with new strategies, new builds, and perfect our individual gameplay.  If anyone of us messed up by pressing a wrong hotkey it could cost us the match.  What made it even more interesting was the rewards at the end of each season which were unique and could only be achieved by being on the top of the ranking ladder.  There are even tournaments where the best players around the world compete for cash prizes.  

Improving PvP skills is much more rewarding to me than collecting items and powering up my character.  Here I have an old screenshot of a basic arena scenario showing the basic HUD and all my key bindings wow screenshot.  As you can see there is a lot going on and I have a lot of different key bindings.  This allows me extra control over my character and leaves a very large skill gap between other players who don't bind all of their abilities.  Having this many unique abilities and builds allows for players to play the game their own way and lets them develop their skills and put them to the test in the arena.  This is what I believe my dream game should be about.