Sunday, July 17, 2011

A chess/checkers-like game that lets you play in whatever style you prefer.

Game Type:  Strategy   -  Chesslike
Players:  2
Playing time: 30-60 minutes.

Played on an 8x8 Chessboard, this game features many different kinds of pieces, unique pieces designed just for the game, as well as Chess and Checker pieces-Which behave exactly as they do in their respective games.

Before the game starts, you place your pieces as you like, in your own formation anywhere on your half of the game board.  This alone allows for quite a bit of unique player decision making, but we add another layer of depth on top of that:

Before you create your formation, you need pieces.  In this game you get to decide the pieces you'll use, and the pieces you won't use.  Each player is allotted a certain amount of points to spend on pieces, and each piece given a price in points.  A pawn, for instance, is worth 1 point, while a Queen is worth 8 points.

To summarize, you spend your points purchasing your unique selection of pieces, then place them in any formation you like on the game board.  Then the game begins in a turn based fashion as Chess would with White being the first to move. 

Some players may prefer a larger number of cheap pieces, while some may prefer more powerful but fewer pieces.  Others still may go for a balanced approach similar to a standard chess layout (which would certainly be an option.)

The Chess Pieces move like they do in regular Chess, as well the Checker pieces also remain unchanged.  Checkers capture by jumping over the enemy pieces.  While their limited movement may seem underpowered compared to the other pieces available, their ability to potentially capture multiple pieces in one turn makes them a dangerous piece to have in your army.  

Our piece selection consists of Checker pieces, all standard Chess pieces, as well as the following specialty pieces-

  1. Shield:  May move 1 square forward or backward, left or right.  May not be captured if attacked from the front.
  2. Movement:  May move 1 space in any direction.  Any piece directly adjacent to this piece (both friendly and enemy pieces) has its movement range doubled, if applicable.
  3. Lancer:  May move 1-2 spaces in any direction, but not backwards.  If this piece captures another piece from the front, it also captures any enemy piece that is directly behind the captured piece.
  4. Witch:  May move diagonally  up to 3 spaces per turn.  May switch places with any friendly piece you control (doing so counts as your turn).  Each Witch piece can only perform a switch once per game.
  5. Sacrifice:  May move 1-2 spaces forward per turn.  Cannot move in any other direction.  If this piece is captured the capturing piece is also removed from the board.         
All specialty pieces capture in the standard way.  That is, moving onto a square that is occupied by an enemy piece.

The Win Condition:  Each player has 1 Nexus piece that they must place.  It would be wise to place it within the safety of their formation.  There is no checkmate mechanic in this game, however, the Nexus piece can be captured in the same manner that any other piece can.  It would have to be protected well.  The Nexus may move 1 space in any direction per turn.

Each player has 40 points to spend purchasing their army before the game starts.

Pawn-        1 Point  (Limit  8 per side)
Checker-    2 Points (Limit 8 Per side)

For all Chess and specialty pieces below, there is a limit of 5 for each piece.

Knight-       3 Points
Bishop-      4 Points
Rook-         5 Points
Queen-       8 Points

Specialty Pieces
Shield-        6 Points
Movement-  6 Points
Lancer-       5 Points
Witch-        5 Points
Sacrifice-    5 Points

Again, once the pieces are purchased, players begin the formation phase, placing their pieces in any way they see fit on their half of the board.  The game then begins.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

'Dungeon Runners' Loot, Build, Customize.

My personal favorite Zelda game.  Link to the Past
In Dungeon Runners, every player account gets both a Hero and a Dungeon.  Imagine a top down 2d grid.  On this grid, players place pieces:  floors, walls, traps, mobs, etc.  This basically constitutes the dungeon.  Let's say I log into the site and I want to try out your custom made dungeon.  Your dungeon is simply stored as values on a grid or an array and that information is sent to me.  I play it out of the browser, but the beauty is that all the gameplay happens offline.  So you don't have to worry about net code.  In a way it's a massively multiplayer game without direct interaction.  Let's say I successfully make it to the end of your dungeon.  I would then earn gold which I could spend at the marketplace, either buying new gear for my Hero; like boots that let me run a bit faster, or a better sword for killing mob heavy dungeons, or maybe a shield so I can try and block those pesky fireball traps.  Or I could spend the gold buying new pieces for My dungeon.  When I'm done, it's off to quest in another user created dungeon.

How do we ensure players create decent dungeons and not just easy to beat garbage to feed their second accounts or their friends or unbeatable levels?  I've spent some time coming up with a few simple rules, and I believe with these in place the quality of the levels would increase dramatically.  Basically, we want to create and nurture an environment of competition.

1.  Both the hero and dungeon will have their own unique rating.  If I overcome a tough dungeon that has a rating near that of my Hero rating, then my rating goes up, that dungeon's rating goes down a bit, and I earn some nice gold for the marketplace.  Likewise, if I am defeated in a dungeon, that dungeon's rating goes up and the player who's home dungeon it was earns gold, even if they weren't online when I played it.  Someone tries to make a simple dungeon to feed gold to their friends?  The often beaten dungeon would quickly gain a low rating and would provide a miniscule amount of gold when passed.  They'd be better off playing the game legitimately.  Bonuses may be given for players with dungeons on a winning streak, that is, not beaten in so many days.  Little things like this encourage players to make the best most challenging dungeons they can. 

2.  No blocking.  Dungeons must be passable.  Like most tower D's just ensure that blocking is not allowed.  Very basic rule.

3.  Piece limits.  'I think I'll just place a long hallway with 30 statues that shoot fireballs out so that players simply must take damage to pass.'  We will establish a maximum number of any one kind of piece that can be placed on the map.  Perhaps you can only place 7 fireball shooting statues in any dungeon, for instance.

4.  Saturation limits.  All this means is that you can't place all your mobs and traps right in one spot on the map to maul the player.  This would be poor, unimaginative  level design.  Only X number of action pieces may be placed in a certain size area of the grid.  By action pieces I just mean anything that can damage the Hero.  In short- You have to spread your mobs and traps out.  By forcing players to do this, we encourage much healthier level design. 

With some simple limits like this in place, we can really see some nice creativity from the community.

We can keep all kinds of fun stats to help the players feel more connected.  Let's say I come in from work, log in to the server and see that 5 players tried my dungeon today.  3 were defeated and 2 conquered it.  I can investigate further and see that neither player took damage from my spike traps.. and both took damage from my goblins.  Perhaps I'll sell the spikes and buy more mobs. 

The marketplace could be monetized by allowing players to purchase in game gold if they didn't want to earn it by playing the game. 

Well that's basically it.  I've thought out some nice details for the gameplay but I don't want to make this post too long.  Just wanted to lay out the concept

Multiplayer Tower Defense Game

Ok here is my idea for a 'Wintermaul Wars' type tower defense game:

This is a two player competitive tower defense game.  Each wave will be divided up into top and bottom (like innings in baseball). During the first part of Wave 1 (top of the 1st inning), one player will be sending the monsters as they walk through the path, and the other player will be defending.  So you have an offensive and defensive side.  Then during the second part of Wave 1 (bottom of the 1st) the players trade roles.  The player that defended before will now be on offense, and vice versa.  After this Wave 2 will start.  In short, each player will get to play both offense and defense for every wave.
Element TD.  One of the best Tower Defenses out there.
In between waves, there will be a 30 second preparation period so the defending player can get ready, and so that the offensive player can prepare as well.

OFFENSE:  I will spend more time explaining this aspect of the game because it is more novel than the rest of the idea.  It might take a couple of readings to fully understand this as my writing isn't the best.  And feel free to ask any questions about it as well.

      The Grid:  At the beginning of the game, as well as in between waves, the offensive player will be given a 4x10 grid window as well as a monster window.  The player chooses monsters from the monster window and places them as they like in the grid.  When the wave starts, the monsters will spawn onto the map in the order laid out on the grid.  For example-  If there are 4 monsters laid out horizontally across the bottom of the grid  (the most that can be beside each other on our grid because there are only 4 columns) then during the first moment of the wave, these 4 monsters will spawn at once.  If there are 2 monsters across the bottom row of the grid, and above them 2 more monsters-   2 monsters will spawn during the first moment of the wave, then a couple of seconds later, our last 2 monsters will come out.  I hope this gives you an idea of how monsters are read off the grid and spawned.  The offensive player will have full flexibility to lay out their formation of monsters however they like.
TL;DR- You get to set up your own monster formations that best exploit your opponents weaknesses.

      Monster Cards:  This is the core of the offensive section and what makes it a truly unique tower defense.  Besides buying/unlocking extra monsters during the course of the game, players can also buy Monster cards.  Once purchased, these cards will be placed in the hotkey menu bar at the bottom of the screen.  They will be actively used during the wave by selecting a monster then either clicking the icon on the menu bar or pressing its corresponding hotkey.  By default, monsters walk forward through the path unless acted upon by a monster card.  This cuts down on tedious microing. 
Example monster cards:
Speed Boost - Gives a quick burst of speed to the monster.
Dodge -  Causes a monster to double back for 2 or 3 steps before continuing on, in effect allowing a skilled player to avoid an incoming mortar round etc.
Chill Nova -  Upon activation slows the attack speed of towers in a certain area of effect.
Some monster cards may be passive, essentially acting as an equipment piece for the monster.  Also the different monsters themselves will come with their own attributes and some with their own abilities.
Some cards will be one time use but with a short cooldown (multiples of the same cards are allowed provided you have the currency to purchase them in between rounds).  Other cards may be used over and over again but may have a longer cooldown and will be balanced accordingly.
TL;DR-Monsters run through the level automatically until acted upon by a monster card.  How you use monster cards is where individual player skill shines.

Offensive Currency:  The offensive player will gain experience points depending on how well they do.  Getting a monster through the path to the exit will result in a nice sum of experience points.  However, a certain amount of experience points will be gained regardless depending on how far down the path each monster goes before dying.  In between waves these experience points can be spent on either unlocking the ability to use different monsters and/or purchasing monster cards.

Balance:  If limiting the offensive player with experience points is not enough, then there can simply be a monster point cap per wave.  For instance-  The basic cheap monster may take up 1 unit point.  A stronger monster may take up 2 unit points.  A player may only have 10 unit points to spend on wave 1.  On wave 2 this cap may increase to 15 unit points.  This creates a balance barrier but also forces the offensive player to choose wisely their monsters they select for the wave.  They may choose to zerg rush with a hoard of smaller monsters, or send fewer, but stronger, monsters.

DEFENSE:  The defensive aspect is more in accordance with 'standard' tower defenses.  Gold is obtained from killing enemy monsters and is used to further upgrade towers.  The towers will have large skill tree paths so that he/she may defend in their own unique style. With the 'monster card' system implemented for offense, we could have a similar 'spell system' for the defensive player to take a more active role during the waves.  These would be hotkeyed across the bottom of the screen in the same way that monster cards are.

Games can be set up to run 5,10,15,20, or 25 waves long.  If no team can eliminate the other team at the end of the number of waves (by running enough monsters to the end of the path) then the winner can be determined by a scoring method.

Ok that's the gist of it.. there may be a few little things I forgot to put in here but you get the basic concept.  If you read to the end, thanks!