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Topics - James Edward Smith

Pages: 1 2 [3]
Assorted Creations / General Game Design Wankery
« on: February 04, 2008, 11:02:34 AM »
I got an idea for a roguelike I should make for the blackberry. The fact that these things have a full keyboard makes me think that rogue like would be a great game for the blackberry. Plus the turn-based low amount animations, etc, would make it very kind on battery-life. You could press the alt key and then a dialog would slide up from the bottom of the screen, covering the map with a keyboard diagram that told you what all the keys did commandwise.

I dunno, it would only appeal to people who like roguelikes but they are pretty addictive to those who do. I sorta had this funny idea to give it a mole theme to sort of ape on Wordmole just because in roguelikes you are always in a sub-terranian maze of tunnels and rooms and that seems like a natural place for a mole.

Main classes would be

Mole Miner
-expert digger
-proficient with picks and shovels
-high endurance but slow and unstealthy
-has access to the better digging abilities like "cave-in" and "pitfall"

Mole Muncher
-expert eater
-can eat many types of food without ill effects -good at fighting with no weapons by bitting enemies -gains life and food from attacking at later levels -high attack and health but poor endurance and intellect

Mole Minister
-classic priest/cleric

Mole Mystic
-classic wizard
-maybe has good sight/scrying abilities

Mole Mole
-classic Rogue/thief

Mole Musketeer
-gun using ranged class

Weapon types

Assorted Creations / Devils in Heaven
« on: January 20, 2008, 02:19:28 PM »
At work I am forced to work on a word finding game called Word Mole that is sort of a garden themed verson of Boggle with all the extra bells and whistles that it being a video game affords it. It's an okay game as far as boring puzzle games that try not to scare away anyone and appeal to as wide an audience as possible go, but it is what it is and I will probably throw a little party when it's done and I no longer have to look at it anymore. It's just not my style.

While I've been working on it, I have also been working on what I believe is a much better mobile device game in my spare time which is a game that I currently call Atlas' Stone. It's a sort of Marble Madness meets Zelda 3 meets Cave Story Blackberry game that stars a little beetle called Atlas who is forever pushing a ball of muck around that he can increase in size by rolling in mud causing it to pack more punch when it hits things but also become generally harder to control. He has adventures using this mechanic and tries to not get his ball broken or lost. I think it's clever because it uses the Blackberry's trackball or "pearl" as its only input and it's a cool scrolling game in a world of puzzle games, card games, and lame sim games that is the mobile gaming world, at least in a general sense.

But as I am sure most game developers or would be game developers do, I have many other games in my head and although no one other than I has played them because I have never told a computer how to simulate them for you, I still enjoy them often in my head. The framerates are amazing. The game I find myself playing most often at the momment is called

Devils in Heaven.

The title is dervived from the reflection of the Japanese Airline trainee turned natural born killer Shin Kazama, the main protagonist of Kaoru Shintani's manga series Area 88.

"We fly in heaven but we are devils, everyone of us."

Tricked into a contract to serve as a mercenary fighter pilot during a civil war in the fictional North African Country of Asran in 1979, Shin finds himself forced to constantly take the lives of enemy pilots just so that he can survive and earn enough money to buy out of his contract and return to his sweet-heart Ryoko back in Japan. Shin constantly struggles with his morality as he tries to convince himself that he is only killing as many people as he has to in order to free himself from this deadly situation he is trapped in but often realizes that even though he spends his days in the heavens, he is no angel, he is a devil and may very likely die like one, plummeting to the ground in a flaming wreck before he ever sees the shores of Japan again.

It is this world of mercenary pilots flying whatever jet fighters that they can afford to purchase and keep flying, hoping that their experience and skill will keep them alive long enough for them to upgrade whatever they have to something better so that they stand a chance of surviving and getting through the war both alive and with some money in their pockets, that I wish to recreate. But in a way, the other thing I want to recreate is fun we had as ten-year-olds holding micro machine Migs and Tomcats in our hands and dragging them around in the air infront of us making cannon noises with our lips and wishing that those little planes really flew and actually shot missiles at eachother.

The game will be a 2D side-scrolling jet fighter game that in many ways will be akin to the old bi-plane starring #finalfight favourite Sopwith2. But as more advanced as a Su-27 Flanker is to a Fokker triplane, this game will be to the afore mentioned CGA classic. The game will control predominantly with your mouse which will move a cursor around the screen in the center of which sits your jet. Wherever you move your mouse on the screen, your jet will manuver itself as best it can according to it's flight characteristic so that it is flying towards your cursor again. Moving the cursor to the edge of the screen will cause your view to zoom out where as moving it back closer to your plane will cause it to zoom back in again. By holding down the ctrl key, your cursor now becomes a "looking" cursor and will behave just as already stated except that your plane will no longer follow it and will just keep flying in it's current direction. Letting go of the ctrl key will cause your cursor to go back to where you had it when you pressed it. This will simulate the head cranking that you see pilots doing in Topgun and stuff like that where they are looking for hostiles above and behind them, etc. Your air speed is dependant on the position of your throttle which is controlled by the scroll wheel on your mouse. This throttle will correspond directly to your mouse wheel such that one complete scroll downwards will deploy air brakes and one complete scroll up will put you back to full throttle. A left click will obviously fire the currently selected weapon where as the right mouse button will deploy the currently selected counter measure (flares, chaft, etc). The rest of the controls will be on the keyboard and probably assigned to the number keys (weapon, counter measure selection) and the basic "wasd" cluster that most PC gamers know and love now (barrel rolling control, auto landing, radar, hangar, and radio hot keys, etc).

The way your jet manouvers to get itself pointed back at your cursor will depend on what plane it is. All planes in the game will be modelled after the performance and characteristics of the real jets. Obviously this will be far from perfect since the game takes place in a 2D slice of real airspace and all the planes will be able to do is dive or climb, but my goal is to make the planes really feel different (or similiar depending on the case) from one an other based on how the real planes actually fly. The game will include a list of pretty much every fighter, multi-role, and attack jet that there has been from about 1950-199X. In addition to this, all the planes will have their real armourment capabilities from fighters with their guns and air-air missiles to attack aircraft with their bomb loads and air-ground missiles. Fuel consumption will be based on the real jets too as well as perhaps somewhat fudged maintanence and rearmourment times so that planes that can be in the air longer or can get back up there faster can have an advantage against other planes that maybe better in terms of straight up dogfight performance.

How do you afford these planes and who are you fighting them with? The game will be played online by connecting to a server that is running a chosen map. In this respect the experience will be similar to Counter Strike or Team Fortress 2 or what have you. Players will be divided into two teams each of which has an airbase. The game will be some what DotA inspired in that each team will have numerous forward bases that extend towards the middle of the screen which separate their base from the enemy base. All of these smaller bases have automatic defences that get progressively tougher as you get closer to the main base. Each side also has "Ground forces" which will operate much in the same manner as creeps do in DotA. They will spawn automatically at the main base of each side and then charge towards the enemy side. There may also be some airbased creeps as well, but this is yet to be determined. Without any player intervention, these computer controlled ground forces will fight to a standstill in the middle of the map just like the creeps in DotA do.

Each player starts with enough cash to buy their choice of bottom rung jet. They can buy a fighter and go after enemy players, they can buy an attack aircraft and attack the enemy ground troops and bases, or they can choose a multirole aircraft and try and do both. A player can buy as many planes as they like of whatever type the like and they will be stored safe in the base except for the one he is currently flying. He must also pay for his fuel, his ammunition and weapons, and his repairs/maintainence. If a pilot is shot down or crashes while flying, that jet is gone. They can immediately take off in one of their other jets if they have any but if they have none they are grounded until they buy another one. During the game every player receives a salary as a merc pilot, this is reflected as a small automatic increase to their balance that happens slowly over time. in addition to this any time they kill anything they receive a large bounty for doing so. Destroying enemy ground troops is worth the smallest amount, while destroying enemy bases or enemy player's planes is worth a much larger sum. Thus being shot down is not always a terrible thing if you were killed while destroying a wave of ground forces and an enemy plane or two. The game would end when one side had destroyed the enemy base and then you could either start a new game with some other people if this was handled like WC3 or wait for the next map to load up if it was more pick up and play like TF2 say.

I think this game has the capability to appeal to people on many levels; the fun of a mouse based dogfight, the fun of trying out all the planes and weapons, the fun of trying to find the best "build" strategy to get the better planes and armourments the fastest, and the team dynamic that it allows for where certain people can focus on ground strikes while perhaps other players in fighters can focus on escorting them or seeking out the enemy.

Originally, I visuallized the game as looking like the old SNES era shmup based on the manga that first inspired me, Area 88/ UN Squadron. I saw little sprite based F-8 Crusaders chasing after little pixelly Mig-21s that had just attacked their A-4 Skyhawk flying teamates. The background of the level scrolling by in majestic mode 7 style paralax. The retro feel of the graphics was sort of one of the things that got my excited about the game since this game would sort of be an over the top SNES game that the SNES itself probably would never have been able to run itself and that seemed really cool to me. But after realizing the reasons for the current trends in game developement, and realizing the possibilities that open up to a 2-D game that uses a 3-D engine I've sort of changed my idea for the visuals. The game Undertow is a good example of just what this game could be. Replace Untertow's watery lighting effects and rocky underwater caverns with dog fights happening infront of beautiful, thick, mountainous cumulonimbus cloudscapes and attack craft swooping over wonderfully detailed desert airbases or majestic fleets after taking off from their completely dynamic aircraft carriers with radar dishes spinning and tiny little ground crews running around their little F-18s and you can see just how cool this game could be running on a 3-D engine while still running just as well on the same machine. Planes could gently sway from side to side as they flew, impressive explosions from dropped bombs and smoke trails from fired missiles could be accomplished far more easily, Laser guided bombs could cause a little PIP CNN-Desert-Storm style bomb camera display to come up on screen as they raced towards their unfortunate targets, planes could have truly dynamic death results with wings flying off sometimes, engines jamming and planes going down in flames other times, and planes being split in two after being the unforunate receiver of a SAM in their belly. I'd have plently of over the top  anime style effects in the game of course such as lots of visible shockwaves and air currents and jet wash.

movie 1
movie 2

The UI for the game would be very fighter jet HUD looking in appearence with scrolling airspeed and altitude meters, identification and missile lock on boxes appearing over other aircraft, bomb targeters, and a trailing gun sight "pipper" appearing and shaking around showing you where your bullets will actually hit once they reach the distance of the currently targetted plane or perhaps once they get as far away from your plane as your flight cursor currently is. Your flight cursor would probably just be a simple crosshairs sorta dealy.

Yeah, that's the game. It's a highway to the danger zone.

* None of my images from the original post on the OTHER BOARDS work here because they are hosted on my site which is on pyoko and someone's hilarious text altering macro on the word pyoko fucks up all of my URLs.

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