Thursday, December 19, 2013

Design Thoughts for Saga of Erik


So most of the people who've worked on The Brothers Erik either got jobs or are busy with BFA work, which is cool but it means development is gonna slow down. So the people left (Me, Chris, and partly Luis) are working on a mobile game using the old (modified) assets for a prequel game over the winter.

People are gonna be really upset that I used ms paint again

The Hero

The game will revolve around Erik the Red, father of the Eriksson brothers, and him and his badass lonesome wrecking face and pillaging cities.

First pass of design sketches Chris

Gameplay is going to be derived from these two games, I'll be trying to quickly re-engineer them and when that's done add and adjust mechanics to give it a sense of itself.

Zombie Diary by Mountain Lion

Third Blade by Com2uS

Check them out here:
 Zombie Diary and Third Blade

Core Essential Mechanics

1) Control Scheme-
will either be a virtual dpad or thumbstick, with compatibility with physical controls. Apparently there's a pretty huge dislike for virtual controls so designing an alternative will be a priority.

For now the controls will be move left, right, jump, and crouch using the dpad/thumbstick, and either a virtual button setup on the right or touch and swipe enemies for combat.

A slightly less terrible control scheme that probably won't be used

Combat is currently designed to revolve around three key mechanics, Combo-Timing, Dodge-Rolling, and Countering.

There will be two ways to combo [A] attacks, chaining your combo, which means that a weaker attack animation will automatically be cancelled and combo'd into a follow up attack, but if timed correctly attacks can be combo'd during a specific time window in which Erik will glow or flash for more powerful, rewarding attacks that are flashy and have cool particles (and gain more beard meter).

The player will also be able to roll, to quickly move out of danger, but has a fairly long recovery animation. This will be used to avoid large smashing enemy attacks, some projectiles, or avoiding being cornered.

Additionally the player will also be able to counter attack certain types of attacks by tapping a certain icon that appears between him and certain melee attacks that will soon hit him to avoid and deal damage, and create space between him and his attacked.

2) HUD and GUI
Health Meter, pretty standard and doesn't need much explaining. Beer and meat replenish your health and and can be picked up off enemies or found.

Special Meter, I want to call it the Beard Meter and have it extend off the beard in the player portrait. It's the number of special moves you can preform consecutively at a given time, the [B] button in the bottom right will preform a special attack. Special attacks can be selected using a round dial which you slide, the selected attack will be highlighted in the [B] area. Beard Meter is gained through killing enemies, consecutive comboing, and [A] button fighting, just like in real life.

Objective, your goals for the level will be listed in the top right.

3) Monster Instantiation
Waves of enemies will be spawned in waves of 5±3 enemies on either the left or right side of the screen. 

The wave will either be all on the right or all on the left. 

The waves will be generated 2/3rds of the time from the right, and 1/3rd if time on the left.

I'm hoping to make this game slightly goal oriented, so reaching the far right end of the map will give you a reward, so to hinder the player's success most waves will be spawned from the right.

Types of enemies will be randomly generated from the available pool of potential enemies.

Avoiding synchronized characters will be avoided through variance in movement speed, jump height, random calling of animations and offset instantiation times.

Optimization and avoiding garbage collection will be attempted by first generating a pool of enemies at the load screen, which will consist of all possible enemies on screen at a single time during the level, enemies will be placed off screen in the pool and moved to and from the active level when called and killed, with their variables being reset on return to the pool. All pooled enemies and environment assets will be deleted on completion of the level while returning to the menu to avoid noticeable slow down during garbage collection. I'm pretty unsure how efficient this will be so expect this implementation to be changed and slow down release. Nevermind.

4) Maps
Not 100% sure on gameplay at this point but assuming we're sticking with the simpler design maps will be backgrounds with no affect on gameplay and have no player interaction until we get ahead of ourselves.

Environments will be designed in 5 layers,
  1. Foreground, a layer for objects at a depth in front of the player, that parallaxes quickly across the screen. ex: poles, shadowed things, shrubs.
  2. Midground, a layer for objects at a depth the same as the player. that moves at the same speed as the player. ex: the ground, enemies.
  3. Background, a layer for objects at a depth directly behind the player. that parallaxes slowly. ex: trees, walls, buildings.
  4. Far Background, a layer for objects at a depth far behind the player, that parallaxes very slowly
  5. Skybox, the sky, clouds, and distant mountains, that parallaxes minimally.

5) Goal/Challenge Oriented Levels
A list of goals and challenges in the game that will be used to instantiate levels.
  1.  Defeat ___ enemies.
  2. Survive ___ waves, or for ___ minutes.
  3. Kill ___ in ___ time.
  4. Kill ___ groups of enemies (2+) with Beard Meter.
  5. No health drops.
  6. No beard meter.
  7. Fisticuffs
  8. Giant enemies
  9. Defeat ___ enemies in ___ attacks without dying (Infinite Beard Meter/No Meter)
  10. Escort a lantern and protect it from swarms of enemies at the end.

6) Rewards/Progression

7) UI and Interface

The user interface will loosely function as shown in the above diagram, with the green section to be extended at a later time.

Extended Potential Mechanics

1) Swipe AoE Executions-
When enemies reach a health threshold an Icon will appear above their heads which can be dragged and swiped to preform a large attack that immediately executes enemies in a nearby area.

2) Challenger Enemies-
Big enemies with large sweeping attacks that you either duck or jump to avoid, and sweet spots

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