Another game concept: "Castle-Prime"

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Another game concept: "Castle-Prime"

Post by Koenig on Wed Nov 18, 2015 3:57 pm

Summary:  "Castle-Prime" would be a first person Metroid-Vania game in which you play as a living robot wondering through the ruins of a once great empire in the hopes of completing your last mission.  Putting the pieces together of what brought the downfall of your creators and fighting through rogue machines, biological abominations, and magical beasts along the way.

Gameplay:

The player would control the robot (who for the team being I will refer to as "M.H") and make your way through the corridors, chambers, and buildings of the ruined city in which you were activated.  The game would take place entirely from M.H's perspective, it's optical sensors and computer information acting as the HUD for the user.  Once the game started no menu navigation or prompts would take place outside of this HUD. Health, Mana, Ammunition, Radar and the like would all be displayed through the HUD and bound by a pixelated or iconic design to match.  By design, the game would try to emulate the immersive aspects and first person mechanics of Metroid Prime, albeit in a more Gothic setting reminiscent of the Castlevania series. (Hence the current project name)

As the player progressed, M.H would come across different types of powerups:
-Upgrades
-Equipment
-Expendables

Upgrades are just that, permanent enhancements that the player would acquire by design and would be required to unlock new portions of the map and defeat certain enemies.  Often these would be given after defeating a boss of some sort or from completing certain puzzles.  Much of if not all of the games level design would be built around these permanent editions. The only exceptional to this would be numerical upgrades, that is upgrades that increase the players capacity within an existing upgrade (IE Heart Containers from Zelda, Missile expansions from Metroid, etc)

Equipment on the other hand would be optional items which the player could equip or remove to augment their abilities slightly (such as having increased health, reduced damage, improved defense against certain attacks of effects, etc.)  No equipment would be specifically required to beat the game, however certain pieces of equipment would make portions of the game easier or even unlock slight alterations.  Unlike upgrades, equipment could be dropped by regular enemies in addition to being found in hidden rooms;  rewarding exploration and giving the player a reason to fight standard enemies.

Expendables are also just that; items that are used up by the player.  Health, Mana, Ammunition, Power Cells and the like.  All items which exist to serve the upgrades and equipment that the player gains throughout the game.  (though it should be noted that power cells would be finite, but would be distributed by the player along a skill tree)

The game would have a limited range gunplay and melee weapons, though combat is a means to an end and the focus is more on exploration.  With the exception of boss fights and select hazards, most of the weapons in the game are meant for traversal or puzzle solving.

Altered perception is another mechanic the game would include.  Much the like visors from the metroid series or the "sense" used in other games, M.H would eventually upgrade such that he could switch between lenses and percieve objects, enemies, and events in ways the regular camera would not show.  Things like a Magic lens would allow the player to see or determine what objects were enchanted or where a magic current might be coming from, while other vision upgrades like the Spirit Eye would allow the player to see ghost NPC's and enemies, along with the messages and traces they leave behind.

I would absolutely love to incorporate a scan mechanic similar to Metroid Prime in order to further flesh out the world  and provide useful information to the player.  (I honestly don't see why the  Scan mechanic has not become standard in the industry at this point)

Level Design:
Rather than being an open world or sandbox game, Castle-Prime would be a collection of maps connected via access points, much like that of the Zelda Dungeons and Metroid/Castlevania games that inspired it. (In part because they would be easier to create with a tight design focus in mind, and it would make it easier to create the game with a stable frame-rate)  With this in mind however, most rooms would always have at least two or more access points, dead ends being reserved for upgrades, bosses, and equipment finds.  While they would be a labyrinth at first glance, most of the map would be design such that if they player took the right direction he would rarely ever have to cross the same path again; a strait line that loops back on itself.  This would give a sense of exploration while not forcing the player to back track.  

(Though for clarification here is an example:  Say that the play go's through door A to find a room with three other doors; B,C,D. Door B leads to another room but is a dead end with the current power ups, Door C leads further into the dungeon, while door D has a special lock on it. If the correct path was taken, lets say C in this case, it would eventually lead back through a number of other rooms to door B (The dead mentioned before being a one way scenario),  assuming door D had been locked the first time around but the player had found the key/powerup needed to bypass it after traveling through door C, he could now proceed through it.  All of this without ever retracing the exact same path. Likewise, with a little forsight this junction room could have a minor upgrade/equipment item hidden in it, requiring an upgrade found in path C. Rewarding the player for passing through it in order while still feeling exploitative.
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Re: Another game concept: "Castle-Prime"

Post by -Mazer on Wed Nov 18, 2015 8:56 pm

Is this a First Person game or 3rd person ala Super Metroid? (the 2nd being easier to actually make with the programs we have)

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Re: Another game concept: "Castle-Prime"

Post by Koenig on Wed Nov 18, 2015 9:08 pm

As mentioned before, the setting for the game would be a ruined city; but I wanted to elaborate on its back ground some more for the sake of artistic understanding and story perspective.

The city in question was created by a number of magicians, inventors, and priests and was built with each others interests in mind. Magic, Science, and Religion were all considered normal aspects of day to day life here. Though each respective group did have its own specialists, for the most each aspect overlapped with the other.

This is how the setting allows for the inclusion of robots and magic, swords and guns, along with the odd bit of architecture. It was not a mundane origin. By extent this is also how M.H is able to use and be affected by magic; he was a machine hybrid. (The origins of his current abbreviation, M.H)


Story: Almost all of the story would be optional, told via text entries, science journals, and recordings which the player would find scattered throughout the city. These recordings would be told from the various perspectives, such as the three main specialist groups, various entries by the common folk, and a few key characters with no particular allegiance.

In a nut shell however, the the city prospered through the various individual and collaborative works done by the groups, culminating in a utopia project. The project did work, however something else happened shortly thereafter, turning the sides against each other and claiming the Utopian project for itself. As a result Machines went rogue, Magic turned dark, Blessings turned to curses, and the society fell.

(For a tutorial segment, perhaps we could have M.H participate in one of the final battles before being disabled in the fight? This would give us a bit of context for the game while providing an excuse to give the player a little extra power and leeway at the start)
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Re: Another game concept: "Castle-Prime"

Post by Koenig on Wed Nov 18, 2015 9:10 pm

-Mazer wrote:Is this a First Person game or 3rd person ala Super Metroid? (the 2nd being easier to actually make with the programs we have)
First person. This is more or less a development exercise rather than a game we could actually make right now. I wanted to test our ability to design and put onto paper the blueprints for a game, as well as debate our idea's and settings accordingly.
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Re: Another game concept: "Castle-Prime"

Post by -Mazer on Wed Nov 18, 2015 9:16 pm

Koenig wrote:
-Mazer wrote:Is this a First Person game or 3rd person ala Super Metroid? (the 2nd being easier to actually make with the programs we have)
First person.  This is more or less a development exercise rather than a game we could actually make right now.  I wanted to test our ability to design and put onto paper the blueprints for a game, as well as debate our idea's and settings accordingly.

Sprites or 3d?

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Re: Another game concept: "Castle-Prime"

Post by Koenig on Wed Nov 18, 2015 9:18 pm

-Mazer wrote:
Koenig wrote:
-Mazer wrote:Is this a First Person game or 3rd person ala Super Metroid? (the 2nd being easier to actually make with the programs we have)
First person.  This is more or less a development exercise rather than a game we could actually make right now.  I wanted to test our ability to design and put onto paper the blueprints for a game, as well as debate our idea's and settings accordingly.

Sprites or 3d?
If we were ever to actually make it? A mix of both.  Think N64 graphics with mine-craft textures. Simple geometry with even simpler textures and sprites. Something that where the assets could conceivable be made in spare time.
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Re: Another game concept: "Castle-Prime"

Post by -Mazer on Wed Nov 18, 2015 10:42 pm

Koenig wrote:
-Mazer wrote:
Koenig wrote:
-Mazer wrote:Is this a First Person game or 3rd person ala Super Metroid? (the 2nd being easier to actually make with the programs we have)
First person.  This is more or less a development exercise rather than a game we could actually make right now.  I wanted to test our ability to design and put onto paper the blueprints for a game, as well as debate our idea's and settings accordingly.

Sprites or 3d?
If we were ever to actually make it? A mix of both.  Think N64 graphics with mine-craft textures.  Simple geometry with even simpler textures and sprites.  Something that where the assets could conceivable be made in spare time.

If you stick to a Robot theme that may be very doable...

(*is strictly thinking of the art side/modeling side right now*)

Enemies? Or puzzle and exploration

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Re: Another game concept: "Castle-Prime"

Post by Koenig on Wed Nov 18, 2015 10:47 pm

-Mazer wrote:
Koenig wrote:
-Mazer wrote:
Koenig wrote:
-Mazer wrote:Is this a First Person game or 3rd person ala Super Metroid? (the 2nd being easier to actually make with the programs we have)
First person.  This is more or less a development exercise rather than a game we could actually make right now.  I wanted to test our ability to design and put onto paper the blueprints for a game, as well as debate our idea's and settings accordingly.

Sprites or 3d?
If we were ever to actually make it? A mix of both.  Think N64 graphics with mine-craft textures.  Simple geometry with even simpler textures and sprites.  Something that where the assets could conceivable be made in spare time.

If you stick to a Robot theme that may be very doable...

(*is strictly thinking of the art side/modeling side right now*)

Enemies? Or puzzle and exploration
Mostly puzzle exploration with enemies acting as some of the obstacles and info sources. In or for a better example, Imagine the gameplay from Metroid prime but set in Dracula's Castle.
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Re: Another game concept: "Castle-Prime"

Post by Koenig on Thu Nov 19, 2015 12:30 am

Do you have any particular thoughts or suggestions about the current layout I posted? This is mostly for the sake of debate and analysis.
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Re: Another game concept: "Castle-Prime"

Post by Koenig on Thu Nov 19, 2015 7:19 pm

Notes on aesthetic and graphical design:

For the purpose of reducing development costs and to reduce the needed system specs for ideal performance, all of the rooms and character models in the game would be intended to have a low polygon count. Keep that in mind for the following comments mentioned.

Textures would either be cell shaded or intentionally pixelated to match the low poly count.

From an artistic standpoint, the majority game would essentially be a cross between , Roman and Gothic architecture, along with a heavy focus on either nature dominant scenery or clockwork and analogue machinery. In a nutshell meant to represent the society of wizards and inventors were to have created. With the general guidelines laid down however, I would like to move onto more specific areas and character art.

Areas: Each area would typically have its own theme and focus primarily on one aspect. The wizard complex for example would be almost entirely comprised of Gothic architecture and runic design, a few machine would be present for the sake of aesthetic and functional reasons, but for the most part it would be designed as if it were a living place infused with magic.

The Science halls on the other hand would be primarily based around neoclassical architecture and littered with human furniture and devices.

The Machines Hive by contrast would be almost entirely mechanical, with little to no furniture and humanoid devices.

Other places like the Overgrown Arboretum would be Gothic and neoclassical in initial frame, but would focus primarily on natural overgrowth and decay. Similarly, the Frozen Observatory would also be run down by time and in a state of disrepair.

(note these are all just working titles I have for conceptual areas)

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