So I'm currently working on a little indie shooter I'm calling goRe houNds. Right now its following the path of a minimalistic, retro, arcade style shooter. And it involves zombies...
Oh, of course, zombies! That hasn't been overdone at all! (/sarcasm)
However, I originally had no intentions to create a game about zombies. It evolved from a prototype of something that I started for my multimedia class. Now it seems to be evolving again, I'm beginning to experiment again, messing around with game play styles, characters, and story telling methods. I already have an alternate slime mode that replaces the zombies and I want to see what else I can get away with...
above: slime mode
The game started as a prototype for a game revolving around the half serious concept of relations between boys and girl. Basically the idea was you were a girl and you had to manipulate guys in order to get them to follow you and give you what you want, as well as get them to protect you from other girls. Pretty ridiculous.
As I worked I found that the reactions of the boy characters were very zombie like and since I was still in the concept stage I decided to maybe try out a zombie game.
The first variations of the zombie theme were a slower paced, survival horror style game. It had large, mazelike areas, and slow shooting.
When working with all the initial concepts I used basic shapes to represent all of the characters. This helped me focus on working on gameplay as opposed to graphics. It was not until later in development that I began to create the minimalistic graphics that I now use. By that time I already had players getting scared by the appearance of the red square (the stand in graphic for what would eventually become the fast zombie variant).
My next step in development was to add new characters to the mix. However, I wanted these characters to be more than just a different skin for an existing character. Instead I took a fighting game approach to the characters, where each character has the same basic controls but different characteristics and abilities. That way each character would provide a new experience, not just a different face.
Tricia is a psychic character that can make enemies explode into gore bombs
This approach provided an alternate to a common convention of shooters. Its been established that you start off with something weak, like a pistol and eventually upgrade to more powerful weapons. The problem with this is that it takes quite a bit of time to get these weapons, and more often than not you don't get much ammo for them, severely limiting their use. Instead each of the characters in my game have different weapons, strengths, and weaknesses. One character has incredibly powerful weapons that can destroy groups of enemies. But careless use of these weapons will have them ricochet back and kill them. One character has short range attacks, but moves very fast and can command survivors to attack enemies and protect him. Of course I'm still working on the balance of each characters weapons, but so far each character provides something different.
My most recent addition is what I call the BLOODY DIE! system. Basically its a small addition that randomizes locations of objects and elements to slightly change the layout of the areas. I added this when I felt that enemies and arenas were getting predictable. A little randomization helped a lot with this.
That's all a for now. I'm finishing up the next version of my game at the moment, so expect to see it up sometime soon. Some more discussion on the creation of the game, and game design in general will follow.
For those interested in playing the last version of the game, try the link below. I've changed quite a bit in the new version, but it should give you an idea of the basic gameplay.
(just so you know, it has the old title screen and name)
left click- primary fire
right click-secondary fire
middle click/f- knife (places movement cursor with Ben, which survivors rally around)
Q-command survivors to stay
E-command survivors to follow
SPACE- open/close orange doors, break brown walls.