Today I was asked by a my friend of mine, “If you could make any videogame, what would you make?”
Well, I couldn’t really answer him all that well when I was put on the spot, but remember I typed up this idea for a game about a year ago.
It’s not quite finished, but please look it over and enjoy!
“A simple mission with epic possibilities”
Third-Person, Military action game with RPG elements, a robust one-on-one melee fighting mechanic, and a compact, but hugely malleable storyline in which a “game over” is almost impossible to attain outside of being killed.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter – Basic movement and shooting mechanics.
Mass Effect – Branching story structure based on player’s actions. Third-person shooter mechanics mixed with RPG elements.
The Bourne Conspiracy – Integration of seamless shooting-to-melee gameplay mechanic.
The player initially begins the game by creating a character.
Facial structure, sex, voice, age, build, and initial outfitting are among the customizable criteria, though the equipment available upon first starting up the game is somewhat limited due to unlockable content awarded to the player as they progress through the single-player campaign.
These are the basic Attribute Criteria available to the player to assign to their character at the outset, as well as (in some cases) build upon later in the game.
Strength – Determines the character’s carrying weight and melee damage.
Speed – Determines the character’s movement and melee attack speed.
Stamina – Determines the character’s capacity for prolonged physical exertion, as well as serves to determine the steadiness of their targeting reticule when aiming with a low or empty Stamina gauge. Additional examples of Stamina draining activities include, sprinting, and any action performed while in Melee combat.
Toughness – Determines the character’s capacity to endure superficial damage from both weapon and melee damage.
These are the basic Skill Criteria available to the player to assign to their character at the outset, as well as (in some cases) build upon later in the game.
Precision Shooting – Determines the steadiness and recovery rate of the targeting reticule when aiming down the sights of the weapon.
Assault – Determines the steadiness and recovery rate of the targeting reticule when firing while in motion or shooting from the hip.
Equipment Maintenance – Determines the efficiency by which the character is able to maintain their equipment, I.E. how quickly equipment is repaired during downtime and the rate at which said equipment declines while in battle. Also serves as a positive bonus to the character’s Critical Failure rate.
Explosives – Determines the character’s accuracy with grenades and the speed by which they are able to set or disarm explosive devices.
Melee – Determines the expanse of the character’s move set when engaging in melee combat. Also determines the ease by which the character is able to execute counter maneuvers and adds a bonus to their Melee damage rating.
Medical Skills – Determines the efficiency by which the character is able to perform emergency medical treatment on himself and others, I.E. the amount of health recovered and the speed at which treatment is administered from one session.
A character’s age affects the game in two major ways:
It determines the attribute and skill points available to the player from the beginning, as well as the rate in which they accumulate them as the game progresses.
In addition to this, the characters’ age determines their demeanor and behavior during the various cut scenes.
This system works by separating the possible ages of the character (20 to 45 years) into two base categories of “young” (age 20-32) and “old” (ages 33-45).
A character belonging to the “young” age group is given access to a greater amount of attribute points from the beginning and onward, while at once starting off the game with few, if any available skills or skill points.
Conversely, a character belonging to the “old” age group begins the game with fewer attribute points to allocate, while at once being awarded with a greater number of skill points, as well as a number of pre-unlocked and upgraded skills.
In the case of both character types, aging a character further to either end of the age spectrum results in their corresponding bonuses and handicaps being applied, I.E. a 20 year old character will have almost no skills, but will begin with the maximum of attribute points assignable from the beginning, while a 45 year old character will begin with the opposite.
In regards to the progression of the story, the age system takes the endless branching points of a well thought out single player campaign, and effectively doubles it.
As a “young” character, the player is initially portrayed as a green horn on the battlefield, with privileges such as issuing squad commands being restricted from the player until later in the game.
In contrast, an “old” player character begins the game as a combat veteran and squad leader.
Damage is inflicted on the player in one of two ways:
Either by directly receiving hits that result in instantaneous critical or fatal damage, or by receiving overwhelming fire directed at them that results in gradual, superficial damage.
The damage system closely mirrors that of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas while being somewhat more forgiving.
Direct hits on the player result in region specific damage, meaning a bullet to the thigh affects the player differently that a shot square in the chest.
When being selected, all Armors and Clothing display a semi-transparent view over the character model displaying the defensive capabilities of every region of the characters’ body using the selected armor load out.
As a result, taking direct hits to well armored regions typically results in less than fatal damage, though the player’s armor will break down after taking a few direct hits.
Direct hits to unarmored regions of the character can result in Wounds, which, until properly attended to, will cause the player’s controls to become sluggish. Examples of this include:
Leg Shots – The player receives a limp, greatly reducing mobility, though physically strong and fast characters are still capable of hobbling quickly.
Arm Shots – The player receives damage to one of their limbs, resulting in heavily reduced accuracy and stability of the targeting reticule while aiming. An ambidextrous character can counter this effect somewhat, though the lack of a second arm for use in stabilizing the players’ weapon still results in a reduction in accuracy, though the effect is less pronounced upon switching to the characters’ “good” arm.
Gut Shots – The player is forced to cup their wound with one hand while moving, resulting in one-handed and thusly largely inaccurate firing while moving. The player is still able to aim normally while stable or in cover. In addition to this, the player also receives gradual superficial damage until they are healed or die from the damage.
Neck Shots – The player is forced to cup their wound with one hand at all times, forcing the player to carry their weapon one-handed. In addition to this, the player rapidly receives superficial damage until they are healed by a squad mate (the player cannot heal themselves of a Neck Shot) or die from the damage.
All Wounds remain until healed, however superficial damage from incoming fire (not Wounds) will automatically fade away upon taking cover from enemy fire for a few moments.
Armors are divided up into sectional pieces that defend one of the 10 damage quadrants of the character.
These quadrants include the: head, neck, upper arms, forearms, chest, stomach, thighs and shins.
Each individual piece of armor worn by the player is assigned a specific weight statistic, which, when totaled together with the weight of their weapons and equipment, results in a degree of encumbrance that scales directly to their character’s Strength and Stamina statistics.
Despite this, characters lacking in these attributes can learn or develop certain Skills to allow them to handle heftier Armor load outs.
Armor serves the dual purpose of preventing fatal or critical damage from direct hits to the player, as well as increasing the volume of incoming fire necessary to damage or kill the player through superficial damage.
When hit directly, the player’s Armor is damaged in the process, and can eventually break down when specific damage quadrants are struck one too many times.
Direct hits to well Armored damage quadrants results in critical to mild damage, which then in turn translates to superficial damage, I.E. the player can be killed by too many consecutive direct hits to well armored regions of their character, even if their armor is never broken or pierced.
Though the basic mechanics of the game are based on typical third-person tactical shooters, RPG elements in regards to character customization serve to enhance the experience by giving the player noticeable feedback upon upgrading their character.
For instance, upgrading a characters’ marksmanship skill will result in noticeable changes to the steadiness of their targeting reticule.
Not only that, but unlocking other skills, such as Awareness, which provides the player with visual or auditory clues regarding enemy positions just before ambush situations, with the clarity and timeliness of these cues being more pronounced with every upgrade until enemies are permanently visible to the player at almost any range.
Downtime is an option available to the player upon fulfilling one of two very specific conditions: either by reaching certain safe zones/checkpoints during the campaign, or while prepping for defensive missions.
Downtime represents the only time the player is capable of assigning newly acquired Skill and Attribute points.
Downtime also affords the player with a number of options, any one of which can be enacted or omitted to varying degrees.
The actions available to the player during Downtime consist of:
Equipment Maintenance – Restores the quality of weapons to prevent Critical Failures such as jams and overheats. Not only this, the squad’s armor will be repaired to varying degrees.
Resting – Restores the Fatigue and health of squad members to a degree.
Searching For Ammo/Supplies – Potentially awards the player with extra ammo and equipment.
Scouting Ahead – Provides varying degrees of intel regarding the upcoming battle zones, including enemy locations and equipment load outs. Can potentially result in triggering combat, thusly canceling Downtime.
Downtime lasts the duration of a 10-15 minute period, allowing the player to divide the time among the above listed actions between individual squad members as they see fit.
Every action available affects squad member morale either positively or negatively.
For instance, ordering fatigued squad members to Scout Ahead is irresponsible, and thusly will irritate said squad members.
The best tactic in selecting Downtime actions is to be sensible.
Fatigued squad mates need rest, fresh ones need to be made useful, and squad mates that have high morale are most likely better suited to Scout Ahead.
During the single player campaign, the player will encounter several formal checkpoints in the form of road blocks or camps populated by friendly units.
Upon reaching these areas, the player is awarded with an extended Downtime session during which the player and his squad are fully resupplied and rested, as well as receive a fair amount of intel.
In addition to this, the player is also given the option to change their outfitting and weapon load out as well as suggest load outs to their squad mates.
The squad assigned to the player from the outset of the single player campaign maintains a persistent Morale system that is responsible for gauging the trust and respect they hold in regards to the player character.
This system is affected by numerous factors, including the efficiency of the orders issued by the player during combat and downtime, as well as more specific actions the player takes, such as assisting squad mates individually during combat.
Battlefield maneuvers that can embolden the trust between the player and his squad mates include:
Giving Medical Attention
Moving the Squad from Cover to Cover
Defeating Enemies Via Melee
Performing Well in General (Not taking too many hits)
Properly managing Downtime activities for each individual squad member is one of the most important factors in maintaining Morale.
As detailed in the above Downtime section, properly ordering mutinous and loyal squad members during Downtime can be responsible for making or breaking the chain of command of a squad.
Mutiny is a possibility throughout the duration of the single player campaign.
Mutiny results in one of two events transpiring:
Either the player is forced to battle the mutinous squad members, or the player can relinquish their command of the squad.
Upon initiating a Mutiny, all squad members receive a minor penalty to their Morale, though only those whose Morale ratings bottom out will join in on the Mutiny, all others will remain loyal.
Upon relinquishing their command, the player will resume play as normal, but without the ability to issue concrete squad orders.
The player can still issue orders, but only squad members whose Morale rating is over 50% will follow them.
During this time, the player also receives orders from their new leader, though they are not obligated to follow them.
Move orders issued by the AI squad leader are represented by columns of light on the battlefield.
The above listed positive Morale boosting methods all apply to the AI squad leader during his time in charge, and thusly, if the player is able to raise the formerly mutinous squad mate/mates’ Morale rating from 0% to at least 50%, the player’s command will be restored.
It is entirely possible to play through the entire campaign while following the orders of an AI squad leader.
Awareness – The player is given visual and auditory hints at oncoming enemies prior to their engagement with said enemies. Can be substantially upgraded from its initial capacity of being like a momentary “Spider-Sense” prior to an ambush, to a permanent radar system of sorts.
Muscle Memory – The player’s reloading speed is increased. Initially, this skill comes with a slight handicap tagged onto the player’s reloading skill in the form of a negative bonus to their critical failure rate for full reloads, (reloading from an empty magazine position) however, this handicap quickly diminishes as the skill is upgraded until it is no longer apparent.
Quick-Draw – The speed at which the player is able to change equipment or weapons is increased. In addition to this, as this skill is upgraded, an added feature is awarded to the player in the form of causing the player to automatically draw their sidearm upon being disarmed.
Battle Cry – Upon discharging their weapon for an extended period of time, or charging the enemy, the player lets loose a chilling battle cry, greatly increasing the potential for suppressing the enemy and/or negatively affecting their accuracy.
“Walk it off” – The player’s capacity to absorb damage is increased by allowing the player to psyche themselves up and fight through the pain. Essentially, the character’s total hit points and durability are unaffected by this skill, rather, the player is simply given the ability to refill their life gauge slightly when near death, but only every so often. This skill is represented by various animations detailing the character slapping themselves in the head, cracking their neck, or breathing heavily in exasperation.
Range Finder – The player is granted the ability to lock-on to enemies at short range when equipped with grenades. This skill only becomes active when throwing grenades when in cover. The skill is activated when the player peeks out from cover with a grenade equipped and places their targeting reticule over their desired target. At this point, a lock-on is acquired and the player becomes capable of throwing grenades, both blindly and while popping out of cover, with pinpoint accuracy.
Blood Thirst – Upon eliminating an enemy with a knife or melee weapon, the player and their squad briefly gain a slight bonus to their suppression capability and weapon accuracy. This bonus stacks for every successive kill in this manner during any engagement. Adrenaline – When critically injured or near death, the player’s targeting reticule will not be jostled when firing for a brief period or until the player recovers. Also, unless the character has sustained damage to their legs or neck, their movement speed will be slightly increased during this period.
Well, that’s all I’ve got for right now.
Please don’t steal my ideas, and feel free to chip in with ideas of your own!