Friday, 16 September 2011

Hidden in Plain Sight...

In a burst of inspiration, I've put the broad strokes on a new game.  Actually, I have so much reusable framework stuff in place, it really didn't take too long to put something together.

The working title is "Hidden in Plain Sight", and it is a game (actually a couple of different game modes) that revolve around the theme of accomplishing goals while trying to remain hidden.  The original impetus was learning about SpyParty, by Chris Hecker.  That is a 3D game which pits one person (the Spy) against another person (the Sniper).  The Spy wanders around a cocktail party, trying to accomplish goals, but he tries to ACT like he's a computer controlled character.  The Sniper watches carefully, and tries to figure out who the Spy is and kill him.

In my own mind, I questioned if the complicated 3D'ness of the game was necessary.  Could the game be boiled down to its essentials, and be a simple 2D game?  I whipped up a quick prototype (which I called "SpyParty2D", and thought it worked pretty well.  I showed it to Andy Schatz (of Monaco fame), and passed it on to Chris Hecker himself, who thought the idea was pretty cool (I don't think he ever actually played it).  Andy, however, did play it with his wife, and thought it was a lot of fun, and encouraged me to make a full game of it.

So after some time off, I've decided to press forward with a similar game.

There are three game modes.  All of them are local multiplayer (that is, all players are in the same room watching the same TV).




Ninja Party

This is a free-for-all multiplayer.  There are a bunch of ninjas in a room.  Most are controlled by the computer (aka "non player characters" or NPCs).  They just wander around aimlessly.  Each player also controls a ninja, but at the beginning, they don't know who they control.  So the first part of the game is trying to figure out who your guy is.


Each ninja can do an attack, which will knock down anyone who is in front of them.  NPC ninjas will stand back up again after a few seconds, but player controlled ninjas will die.  So the object of the game is to figure out who the other players are and kill them, while trying to not be detected and killed yourself.



This is a pretty straight rip off of a flash game called "Puji".


Catch A Thief

In this game mode, players are either a Sniper or a Guest.  In the game, there is a room full of characters (not all ninjas this time, but lots of random character types).  There are also little coins strewn all around the room.




When a Guest walks over a coin, a sound is played, but the coin doesn't immediately disappear (that would make it obvious who was picking them up).  However, when the Sniper moves his crosshair over a coin that has already been collected, it fades from view.


The object of the game is for the player controlled Guest to wander around and collect the coins.  The Sniper (who is just an aiming crosshair), is looking around and trying to figure out who the thief is.



 Assassin


Like "Catch a Thief", again, there is a room full of guests, some of whom are controlled by players.  Also, there is one or more Sniper (controlling an aiming crosshair), who is trying to figure out who the player-Guests are and shooting them.

This time, however, the Guests are able to kill other computer controlled Guests.  They do this by walking over them and pressing the attack button.  A small sound is heard, but the victim doesn't immediately die.  Instead, the victim dies only when seen by the Sniper (think of it like a slow acting poison).


So, the Guest is trying to kill as many people as possible, while the Sniper is trying to figure out who the killer is.  Kind of like the game "Mafia".





Like I said, the broad strokes are all laid out, and each game mode is playable, but it needs to be refined.  There are no win/lose conditions coded in yet, nor any scores or countdown timer or anything.  But it's in a state that I'd like to get some playtesting and feedback.  Let me know if you're a Creators Club member and interested in giving it a shot.


 

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