[Prototype] Top-down shooter with sight mechanic

edited in Projects
Apologies for the recent influx of prototypes I've been posting. I've been in a bit of a creative rut and trying to find an idea I'm willing to spend time on.

Without further ado here's some game play of my latest prototype. The question I'm asking with this prototype is what if I made a top-down shooter and limited the character's vision to only being able to see what's in front of them. It made the player really cautious around corners which I really enjoyed, but I quickly realized the limitation can feel a bit frustrating at times. So I decided to add a radar that can be emitted from the character to see nearby enemies and their movement for a split second. I think this added some nice strategy to the game. Now instead of being completely unaware of your surroundings the player can predict the enemies movement and plan their attack.

I don't have a stable build yet but I'll be uploading one soon, hopefully.

Looking forward to your feedback and advice.

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Comments

  • I think the radar has a good "result" but renders uniqueness of the line of sight pointless. If the radar is made to be used in a limited fashion, like every X seconds recharge or something, then it just promotes waiting... So I think perhaps incorporating something *like* the radar but build it into the moment-by-moment gameplay... Maybe a sound mechanic, where moving enemies emit sound pulses that either pinpoint them or maybe you can just see the sound pulses. And keeping a "last seen" location for enemies even when they break line of sight from you would be more player-friendly, I think. Memory, imo, is one of the worst things to challenge a player on.

    Thanked by 1flobar
  • Thanks for the constructive feedback @Tuism.

    Tuism said:
    I think the radar has a good "result" but renders uniqueness of the line of sight pointless.
    The idea was to limit the usage by needing to recharge the radar, but as you mentioned it just promotes the player to wait, which I don't necessarily want.

    Tuism said:
    So I think perhaps incorporating something *like* the radar but build it into the moment-by-moment gameplay... Maybe a sound mechanic, where moving enemies emit sound pulses that either pinpoint them or maybe you can just see the sound pulses.
    I did have a similar idea with adding foot step sounds and the closer the enemy gets the louder they become, but the player would still not be able to tell where it's coming from. Adding sound pulses will visually give the player a clue to where the enemy might be. Which I like more.

    I have a few ideas how I can incorporate the "sound pulse" mechanic but would like to hear your opinion on them:
    1. Have every enemy pulse every second or so
    2. Only enemies near to you pulse, so you can't see the ones further in the distance, or
    3. You need to stand still to "listen" to the visual pulse by the enemies near to you

    Tuism said:
    And keeping a "last seen" location for enemies even when they break line of sight from you would be more player-friendly, I think.
    I had something similar to this but I wasn't quite happy with the result. I think it might have been the way I visually presented it that might have needed some work. But I'll try to add it again and improve on it.

    Thanks again. I appreciate your feedback. It helps a lot.

  • I dunno exactly how it might or might not work, so I'd say play with it and see what feels right. When do people make a noise? Think along those lines perhaps. When can you hear people making a noise?

    But it might come down to not realism but fun. And that's hard to tell by just talking about it :)
    Thanked by 1flobar
  • edited
    @Tuism here's a quick attempt at the sound pulse mechanic. Not sure I'm entirely happy with the result. Maybe it shouldn't be part of the core game mechanic and rather an add on to help in more difficult scenarios. But yes I'll need to play around and find the fun factor.

    image

    Edit: sorry the gif came out a bit wonky. Some of the characters seem to be invisible
    Thanked by 1Sigh_Leeeee
  • Well if you can hear EVERYONE everywhere then there's not much challenge is there? To continue the limited visibility idea you should only "hear" them when you can "hear" them. Proximity matters. What they're doing matters :)
    Thanked by 1flobar
  • I think something like this might work well. When the player stands still a hearing ring appears around the player indicating in which direction nearby enemies are without giving away their position directly. Will start implementing this and hopefully have a playable version to upload.

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    Thanked by 2Tuism mattbenic
  • Obstacles could also play a part in the audio detection, like distance. So enemies on the other side of obstacles can be "heard" from a shorter distance than those with no obstacle in the way. Obstacle thickness/material could also become an element at some point.
    Thanked by 1flobar
  • edited
    Maybe there's a way to show the impression of enemies constantly, like a heat map, and then when you stand still and concentrate the blurry impressions resolve into much clearer indications of the enemies.

    I'd like to see something like what @Mattbenic is suggesting, as it makes the environment much more important. If you do do something like a heat map, perhaps that effect can be obtained by doing something like a liquid simulation, with each sound propagating through the grid (with open spaces letting sound through, walls mostly bouncing it and letting only a little through), and then learning to read the resulting heat map requires understanding how sound propagates and is absorbed and might be quite interesting to master. Maybe what I'm describing is more like ripples on a pond than a heat map...

    Other considerations might be that walls can be shot through, but only kill enemies right next to the walls. i.e. providing ways of exhibiting the player's mastery of understanding the audio tracking system by letting them perform trick shots.

    Another thing I imagine you're going to want to implement is some stealth on the player's part. What I like about the direction you're going in, particularly in the first post, is that you're providing the player better information of the enemies than most games do. (And if done well, I think the result of this might be a game where the player feels more badass than most games).

    So maybe when the player shoots and makes a sound you can see the sound-impression of yourself that the AI then searches for...

    That obviously extends to manipulating the environment in a way that creates false AI targets, and then being able to outsmart the AI better than in most games because this game provides better information to the player.
    Thanked by 1flobar
  • edited
    Thanks for the feedback @mattbenic.

    mattbenic said:
    Obstacles could also play a part in the audio detection, like distance. So enemies on the other side of obstacles can be "heard" from a shorter distance than those with no obstacle in the way. Obstacle thickness/material could also become an element at some point.
    I like that idea. It makes the environment play a much more important role then it usually would in games. I just need to find a good way of presenting it in an understandable way.

    Thanks again.

  • edited
    Thanks @EvanGreenwood.

    Maybe there's a way to show the impression of enemies constantly, like a heat map, and then when you stand still and concentrate the blurry impressions resolve into much clearer indications of the enemies.
    That sounds rad. I think it should only display the blurry version of the heat map that's in close proximity to the player though, not the whole map. But it could work really well I'm thinking. To add more difficulty in later stages external sounds could be introduced to interfere with enemy sounds, like a radio playing music or something like that.

    Another thing I imagine you're going to want to implement is some stealth on the player's part. What I like about the direction you're going in, particularly in the first post, is that you're providing the player better information of the enemies than most games do. (And if done well, I think the result of this might be a game where the player feels more badass than most games).
    I personally tend to enjoy games more where I feel like a badass :).

    That obviously extends to manipulating the environment in a way that creates false AI targets, and then being able to outsmart the AI better than in most games because this game provides better information to the player.
    I'm not sure what you mean by false AI targets. Can you please elaborate on this.

  • edited
    @flobar Have you played games like Mark of The Ninja, where you interact with the world in ways to call over the enemies?

    What I meant was that if you can attract enemies (like say in Hotline Miami), and it's possible to trick enemies (like by making a noise remotely and then planning an ambush) then visualizing what the enemies are targeting would give the players more certainty and let players feel more mastery over the system (and so feel more like badasses). It might not be the best term, but the "false AI target" would be then the target that you've tricked the AI into targeting.

    That's all assuming you want to visualize the AI's internal thoughts. But that seams like the direction this game is going in (that of giving the player special information about things like enemy movement that allows for outsmarting despite being outnumbered).
    Thanked by 1flobar
  • Other considerations might be that walls can be shot through, but only kill enemies right next to the walls. i.e. providing ways of exhibiting the player's mastery of understanding the audio tracking system by letting them perform trick shots.
    Ooh, depending on the length and structure of levels, this adds a nice element of strategy, since shooting enemies through walls could destroy or weaken those walls, making the player themselves more detectable if they should return there.
  • Playing around with the ripple effect @EvanGreenwood suggested. Still need to hide the ones furthest from the player but I like where it's heading.

    Again I'm not sure why the enemies don't show up in the gif. Might be the gif's colour limitation or something.

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  • I would try to represent the sounds in a way that's not as busy as individual waves. An overall colour blob field that's brighter would probably be more legible/less chaotic than what there is now.
  • Maybe reduce the sound wave frequency so it doesn't overwhelm the play area quite so much? Maybe it's a high-tech scanner that reveals tiny heart-beat blobs.
  • edited
    @Tuism

    Tuism said:
    I would try to represent the sounds in a way that's not as busy as individual waves. An overall colour blob field that's brighter would probably be more legible/less chaotic than what there is now.
    It does look chaotic.

    ---


    Thanks for the comment @mgeorgedeveloper

    Maybe reduce the sound wave frequency so it doesn't overwhelm the play area quite so much? Maybe it's a high-tech scanner that reveals tiny heart-beat blobs.
    Kinda like my original idea :).
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