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Shadowcrunch
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PostSubject: Game ideas and mechanics   Sun Feb 12, 2017 3:55 am

I know game ideas have been touched on elsewhere in the forum, but I would like to keep things semi contained in one area, so when I'm feeling focused, I can zwoop right to where I need to be. Like I said, this section is supposed to be helping me compile thoughts as I continue through my course. At some point, I will track down the aforementioned other threads and try moving them here.

Anyway, my reason for this particular post is to try to figure out (and maybe get feedback on) a train idea. I remember when I first started toying with Unreal Engine 4, before the course, when Zack's Youtube tutorials were guiding me, I had an idea that centered around a moving train. I also remember my reasoning involved entire games taking place on planes and ships and spacecraft, but I couldn't think of any games that were JUST a train. Add to that a map from the original Unreal Tournament that involved a team going from the back of the train to the front, while the defending team tried to stop them, and if you fell off the train you went splat. That map was sooo awesome and chaotic. You could use the top of the train, but that left you open to defender sniper fire. You could traverse the interior narrow corridors, with the occasional enemy automatic turret, but the claustrophobic environment made everything feel that much faster. And of course, there was almost always a way to fall off the damn train.

So okay, you can't make an entire game of assaulting the front of a train. I started picturing a Fallout style RPG-ish involving moving around the train and talking to people, and suddenly I was head-designing Snowpiercer. Shit, it's been done. A couple more train possibilities, and suddenly I heard Archer saying "It's like, you're still on the train..."

So I went from excitement at making a game centered on a train to realizing there's only so much that you can do being on a train in a game. I suppose it would be possible to use a train for an escape the room, where you have to make it through each car to get to the master brake lever before the train hits a broken bridge...That would work. But I was hoping for something with some story, some reason for you being on this train. I thought of the idea of making the train like a double-decker, two or three times wider than normal trains, really long... so there was room to explore and the possibility of a story hidden in the 'whys' of the train's size. Right away my brain flashed to post-apocalypse and the train was a sanctuary, and BAM I'm back in Snowpiercer. I know I had a decent idea back when I first started those UE4 tutorials, but I can't remember what it was*. Now that I'm seriously thinking about it, I'm at a serious loss as to what purpose a train could serve for a central topic.

*Can't remember what it was... which is why I'm trying to record these thoughts now....

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PostSubject: Re: Game ideas and mechanics   Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:46 am

There's plenty of games that can be based on a train. Like at such things as Murder on the Orient Express... the movie or book or whatever (was a murder mystery). Then there's the Cthulhu RPG adventures such as Horror on the Orient Express or Train to Shanghi.

The thing about trains is that, while it may be linear (ba dum tss), it's encompassing. This makes for a great horror survival situation because you cannot escape. You literally can only go forward or back, the person that murdering others or the creatures that are hunting you can only come at you from the front or the back. It adds an element of... not suspense... but... umm... anxiety?

There was this great SyFy movie series (I only saw the third one) called Hypercube. It was a military experiment with tesseracts. You are in a room, there are a limited number of doors. Walk through from room A into room B, and there'd be something different; maybe instead of walking in from ground level, you drop in from the ceiling (even though you entered from ground level in Room A); maybe there was no gravity; so on. Manage to go back through the same door to get back to Room A, and you are instead in Room Alpha Tango 213.

A similar concept was seen in Brian Lumley's books House of Doors, where a house mysterious appeared, people went in to investigate this house, and every time they entered a room, it took them to a different realm where they had to overcome obstacles or challenges to get to a door which led them to yet a different realm where they had to... In this, the house was an alien construct, in which the aliens created it to test humanity, to see how we overcame things or handled things; they observed us like scientists putting rats in a maze; if we passed, humanity lived in, but should we fail, we were not fit to exist any more. In the second House of Doors, there was an added hindrance: one of the aliens so wanted Earth to be colonized that he rigged the system and sent a creature into the house to hunt and kill the humans, so not only did they have to figure out what the new realms were trying to teach, but they had to worry about that thing crawling at them.

Hell, craft together a story based game where each train car represents a segment of your life; you interact with those car riders, experience or relive some memories, until you've went through the entire train, only to find out that that was a journey to the final afterlife.
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