Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Scrub level design docs

So this isn't really as concise or detailed as it should be, but I do have most of this in my head anyway. Since I'm not exactly relying on anyone else here, it's fine to stay that way. However, this was useful to visualise a couple of areas I hadn't fully fleshed out, plus it's allowed me to pick up a couple of possible development and gameplay issues I might not have noticed until it was too late, so it definitely had some advantages. I'll flesh these out later though, when I start doing work on them.

1. Intro Screen:
Contains Main Menu art in the background (maybe) as a quick way to provide something interesting as a background. The problem there might be that its not really all that musical so it kind of doesn't convey what the game is really about. Name and Icon obviously need to be better thought about too.

Only options for Press Start / Credits at this stage. I'm sure something else is going to come up that will need an option, so there will be space at least. A title/intro screen doesn't need to be too cluttered though so this should be fine.

I may also need to think about a first time/tutorial detour from this screen too.

I want to be able to port this across a variety of screen sizes pretty easily, so I'm going to see about having mobile be a sub-view of the tablet/screen view. I'm pretty sure I can do it, but either way its just going to be re-positioning of the same art assets so it shouldn't be an issue.

2. Main Menu:
The Main Menu is the central hub that allows you to select what time period you'd liked to focus on. It'll take the form of a city that's separated into districts that can then be selected. Each district will differentiate itself using palette and architecture to make obvious the divisions between the districts. The district graphics themselves should be kept as fairly separate vertical bars as well, so that districts can easily be added or removed if the schedule dictates. Districts will move left to right in chronological order, and at this stage will include: 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, 00's, and Current.

Selecting a district will bring up the name at the bottom of the screen (and maybe some information, like what types of genres are available in that district).  Selecting that  district name takes you to the sub-menu.

There will be some little animated details to keep the screen from appearing too static (clouds, water ripples, etc). It might also be nice to have a day/night animated cycle as well.

Player and Options buttons are kind of just placeholders at the moment. I know I'm going to need something there but I just don't know what yet.

3. Sub Menu:
The Sub Menu is presented like a map that highlights clubs/concert halls/discotheques in the time period. They'll each be represented with an icon that quickly conveys what genre is at each club. Players can scroll around this map to see all the available icons.

I'm a little worried this screen will be a little too static, but I don't know what else I can do here without increasing the workload significantly.

Once again, Player and Options buttons are just kind of placeholder. Player button at this point should probably be a Back button or something.

4. Genre Selection:
Tapping on any of the icons should bring up more details about that club. Specifically, exactly what music and time frame its in,  who the leader is, and how many people you've beaten there already/how close you are to fighting the leader.

Selecting to go to that club should play some kind of animation... Something that can also be played between opponents as well. In a standard game like this (i.e. Pokemon) the player would walk around until they hit someones point of view. Doing stuff for that may be too much work, and if I'm going to do art for that, shouldn't I then also give the option to walk around and stuff?

Club names will hopefully be a little more inspired, but it was late and I was tired.

5. Encounter Start:
So both the player avatar and the enemy should kind of slide in from the sides of the screen and face off. There should be plenty of bells and whistles for this section but it should also be pretty much skippable by tapping anywhere.

I may make the size of the characters bigger and angle them so it makes them look closer together. Also I don't know if I should even have a player avatar if I can't make it customizeable. I kind of think it might look lacking without something to balance the enemy though.

6. Encounter Part 2:
So having life doesn't really work here, because its not like anyone's actually going to be physically attacking. Clearly what is really on the line is credibility, so we'll be using that to track fights instead.

So each encounter (aside from leaders) will feature randomly generated enemy. It'll take a random body shape and then attach a random selection of genre appropriate attachments (shirts, pants, accessories, etc). Names and taunts will also be taken from a pool of genre specific options.

Leaders will have Custom sprites and possibly more of a conversation prior to battle.

7. Gameplay 1:
So this is similar to the current prototype... Main difference is that:
a) There are more letter tiles, since song names could be a lot longer. I really have to look into what the average length of a song title would be. I'm pretty sure 24 characters should be enough but who knows. Also this does have an effect on the difficultly, but I suspect that most of the time being able to hear the song will make it easier anyway. I can also make the question "guess the artist" to double the amount of questions compared to song samples in the game.

b) If you get it wrong, instead of just trying again, you lose credibility. Lose too much credibility and you lose the battle. You have enough cred to get 3 answers wrong before losing. In a similar vein, Each battle consists of 3 rounds of back and forth. If neither battler damages the others cred, its a draw.

8. Gameplay 2:
So when you answer a question correctly, that artist/band gets added to your database of known bands. When you attack, 3-4 of those artist are picked at semi-random, and its up to you to pick the one your opponent most likely won't know.

When I say semi-random, I mean that at least one option will always be a "correct" option (providing that you have an correct option in your database). One will also always be an "incorrect" option (i.e. an artist from the same genre and time period, providing you have one in your database). The other 1-2 will be picked at random, but may be weighted to similar genres or time periods. Each artist can only be used once per battle. Players will start with a small selection of artists in their database, but all of them will be super-well known bands so they can't be relied on to win.

Winning is based off of percentage and chance rather than perfect picking, so even picking something in the same genre and time period might win if you get lucky. The percentage chance to win will be something like:
+40% for same genre
+40% for same era
-/+ X% depending on artist (like a measure of how well known the artist is)

So just based on the guy in the pic (70's punk)
Ramones = 70's Punk, relatively well known = 40 + 40 + 10 = 90% chance of losing.
King Crimson = 70's Prog Rock, not all that known = 40 + 0 + 5 = 45% chance of losing.
Whitney Houston = 80's Pop, very well known = 0 + 0 + 15 = 15% chance of losing.
Beatles = 60's Pop, bigger than Jesus = 0 + 0 + 100% = 100% chance of losing.

I am a little worried that this is a little too simple and/or boring, but it works really well with the other mechanic and extends gameplay quite a bit so I'm going to go with it for now.

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