Quad (new game, working title)

I would like to share some details on my next game, Quad.

I won’t be sharing the full game design document, because if there’s anything I’ve learned while developing Ignition Impulse, it’s that ideas get cut or radically changed. However, I would like to share some of the design concepts that I’ve been brainstorming.

I like RPGs. The character progression, the phat lewtz, and controlling a party. But I have two issues with most RPGs these days:

1) You always start off weak and work your way up to become powerful.

2) You can go back, grinding on low level mobs until you are able to defeat the higher level mobs in your way.

 

Traditionally you upgrade your character by getting more health, more magic (or relevant non-fantasy secondary resource), and upgrading equipment. You also have ways of resurrecting party members and getting yourself back up to full strength before the next battle. The funny thing is, the most fun parts of RPGs to me are the times where you can’t do those things. When you’re running a gauntlet and there’s no save point. You can’t go back and grind levels to beat this bastard, you have to figure out a way to kill him with the tools you have on hand.

 

Besides those issues, I’m also a fan of survival horror. Of the Resident Evil series, the second and third are my favorites. You needed proper resource and inventory management. Poor management was punished and good management was rewarded. They also had an awesome limited save system dictated by ink ribbons you found during the game which also translated to your final score at the end (less saves = higher score).

 

To that end I have several goals for Quad:

1. Heavy focus on resource management. Little ammunition, rare health gain/regeneration, and permanent death for marines.

2. You start the game off strong. Marines are well armed and armored and have plenty of ammunition. As you progress you will inevitably lose health, armor, and expend ammunition – as enemies get stronger/more numerous and the dungeon levels get more complex.

3. Saving the game can only be performed in safe rooms, and then only if the party has the proper inventory item (save crystals, we’ll call them for now).

4. Each character/monster has a turn, and actions are dictated by Action Points. Different actions can cost a different number of Action Points depending on stats, skills, Marine class/rank, and other factors.

5. Explosives are consumable items looted from slain enemies/supply crates that not only do area of effect damage but can blast new paths, either to circumvent an undesired location and/or reveal more loot/monsters.

6. While doing away with the “starting off weak” concept, I also wanted to keep the sense of character progression. Character levels do not grant extra health, but they do grant additional Action Points and points the player may spend in a variety of skills.

7. Each individual Marine has his or her individual achievements that grant permanent bonuses. Killed that giant fire ogre? Everyone who survived that encounter gets +1 Fire Resist. Killed four enemies in one turn? Get +1 to your maximum Action Point total.

8. But Marines can die. How do you get more? Mini-Bosses hold Marines captive. They are weak, without armor or proper weaponry. When you rescue these Marines you can recruit them if you have room in your party. If you don’t, they’ll offer you a save crystal.

9. Each Marine can only carry what is on his or her back. The exceptions to this are save crystals and ammunition which are shared across the party. When a new piece of gear is found it must either be equipped or discarded (permanently destroyed).

10. I’m of two minds on equipment durability. If I implement fully tiered, hand-assigned stat items there will probably be no durability. If I implement randomized gear there will most likely be durability. The idea is to force the player to make an intelligent decision. For example, if there is durability, which is better, the +10 Body Armor at 50/100 durability or the +7 Body Armor at 100/100 durability? Note that I will not implement durability for weapons. I think that would be far too frustrating without adding much to gameplay value.

11. Experience is the same among all party members regardless of size. There are no bonus points/larger experience gains for running with less than four Marines in the party.

12. There will be a final goal in the game, but in keeping with the more hardcore nature of this beast, you will be allowed to continue playing after the final goal is accomplished.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read! Feel free to post any comments or suggestions either here or on the Quad forums.

Ignition Impulse v0.9.6b Preview

Ignition Impulse v0.9.6b particle effects

The upcoming changes for Ignition Impulse v0.9.6b are on the forums. They include:

  • Bringing back ship thruster particle effects.
  • Adding projectile hit effects when colliding with shields and armor.
  • Having a special node will allow the player to active a special ability.
  • Increasing weapon damage so ships can be killed easier before they escape.

The update should be pushed during the weekend (8/9 October 2011).

I’ve actually been super squeezed for time the last few days since so many people downloaded my game and gave me good feedback. Thanks, guys and gals!

Archives vs. Installers

I made a post over at Reddit concerning distribution of software (my Ignition Impulse beta to be precise) in Archive and Installer form. Basically I had gone to game forums to ask for feedback on my game, and someone told me that he preferred archives to installers for random games off the internet. His reasons were good: ease of install, uninstall, and no adware surprises.

It also seemed to solve a portion of a problem that had perplexed me for the last few days, namely that about 25% of the people who made it to my Ignition Impulse beta forum post, which contains a direct link to my beta installer, never downloaded it!

Since then, about 18 hours ago at the time of this posting, I’ve put up three flavors of archive (rar, zip, and 7z) and taken a look at the download numbers:

57 of the exe installer (60%)

20 of the rar archive (21.1%)

10 of the 7z archive (10.5%)

8 of the zip archive (8.4%)

Note that there was some overlaps – that is, some IP addresses downloaded multiple versions of the beta. I removed those numbers from the above but have appended them at the bottom of this post. I should further note that the order of the links provided, from top to bottom, was exe, rar, zip, then 7z. That may have influenced some people – I don’t honestly know.

The other thing to mention is that I didn’t post the file sizes (which I should have – oops), so people apparently downloaded purely based on file format/install preference/blind shaky mouse hand syndrome.

Using the above numbers, only about 15.8% of people who visit my forum post end up walking away without downloading my game.

 

 

Multiple download numbers:

– Three people downloaded all four versions.

– Four people downloaded the exe and rar versions.

– One person downloaded the rar, zip, and 7z versions.

– One person downloaded the rar and 7z versions.

 

Including these numbers, about 13.8% of people who went to my forum post left empty handed. It’s entirely possible that at this point 13.8% of people look at my YouTube teaser, screenshots, and game description, and decide that they’re just not interested in my game at all. Bummer, but my game can’t appeal to everyone.