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24Jul/080

8bitrocket Diatribe July 24, 2008: Mini Retro Challenge: Design Doc

After examining the concept I have so far, I have decided that this game may not be very fun to play. So, I have merged my ideas for the Air Sea Battle game with my idea for a casual game based on a collection of smaller retro games.This will allow me to plan and execute each of the retro games in a 24 hours of dev time (maybe less). This will result in a much more robust game final. Air-Sea Battle will remain one of the games, but I will scope it down to fit in the mini retro theme. With 24 hours for each of the mini games, I will have time to make something pretty decent for each. I will be re-using some of the games I have already created, so there will be both a Pac man and an Asteroids, as well as other games I have been working on: Gravitar, Boids of Death, Berzerk, etc. Each level will progressively get more difficult. This also fits the Point Blank concept I have been running with for progression through the levels. This concept will also allow me to make small versions of a number of games that have been swimming up in my noggin.

There are multiple ways to create a game design document. We have a simple game, so we are going to use a simple model of a scope document that found in the excellent book, Game Design, A Practical Approach

Platform
Flash CS3/AS3 for web browsers

Players
1 Player

Genre
Shooter/Arcade, casual puzzle

High Concept
8bitrocket Mini Retro Challenge (current name) will be a casual game where the user must connect 4 squares together in a row: vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. This is a one player game but the player is going up against the computer in a unique way. The player chooses a square on a 4x4 grid and then is tasked with completing a level of a retro game with in certain constraints. If the level is completed satisfactorily, the player wins the square. If the player fails to finish, the computer will get the square. If the player is able to connect 4 of his own squares together, he will beat the level and move on to the next, if not, or if the computer wins, the game is over. I will refer to the overall game as the 4x4 game from now on.

I will have 8-10 different retro games included. Since there are 16 squares, some may need to be repeated on a level. When a 4x4 level is started, the player will see a logo for the retro game that needs to be beaten in order to complete the level. If two Asteroids squares are next to one another (for instance), the first one he selects will play Asteroids level 1 (or whatever the current level is). If he completes that level, then he will get to play the next level when he chooses the Asteroids game the next time. If he loses and the computer takes the 4x4 square, then he will have to play Asteroids level 1 again (if he chooses to play it again). On 4x4 level 1 there will be 4 retro games available to play. A new retro game will be added each 4x4 level until they have all been discovered. The level passed in any one retro game will carry over to the next level of the 4x4 game, so the player chooses to play 4 levels of Asteroids on 4x4 level 1, if he chooses to play Asteroids on 4x4 level 2, then he will start at Asteroids level 5.

Goal
The goal is to complete all 30 levels and be crowned Mini-Retro Champion. The score for each game will be added to a total score. As well, bonus multipliers and other features will be added. An attempt will be made to make the higher scoring games more difficult and bonus points will be award such as multipliers for playing higher/harder levels of a game.
The actual final number of levels will depend on the number of retro games I complete and the suitable max level for each.

Features (the games I have though of so far)
4x4 Game: A 4x4 grid tic-tac-toe like game. There is no CENTER square in tic-tac-toe, so this will add a little more strategy. The player must create a 4 in a row line vertically, horizontally, or diagonally to move on to the next level. If a player cannot take the square by beating the retro game level associated with it, the computer will take that square. If the computer gets 4 in a row, the game is over.

Here are my current ideas for mini retro games to be included:

Air Battle: Similar to what was discussed before, but I will take one solid game concept and run with it. At the moment, I plan to give the player a limited amount of time to destroy a certain number of air craft from a stationary cannon that can be "rotated" left and right in 30 degree increments. The aircraft will come by in waves, with some being bombs that that player must avoid shooting. Once a wave is complete, another will be added until time runs out. The player will need to destroy a increasing % of total enemy in the time limit with a given ammo limit. The player will be able to shoot clocks to add time and bullets to add ammo.

Rock Battle: The player's ship is sent into the middle of an asteroid field and must destroy all of the rocks with out being smashed. Power ups include rapid fire and shields. If the player is hit by a rock with no shields left, he doesn't pass the level.

Boid Battle: This is very similar to Demon Attack. The player must destroy all of the swarming mechanical birds. They shoot back and when hit they split and dive bomb. Double fire and shields will be the power ups.

Micro Chip Maze Battle: The player must travel the mazes pac man style and collect all of the micro chips. He is being chased by computer bugs. Can attack them back is he collects a memory power up module.

Gravity Battle: Play player must navigate around a planet with his Rock Battle ship. He wins by shooting all of the enemy cities with in the time limit. He loses if time runs out or he crashes into the planet. Gravity will be constantly pulling him toward the surface of the planet. Power ups are shields and time.

Defense Battle: The Player is encamped in the tower in the middle of the screen. His tower has a limited number of shields and must be protected from on coming enemy. Power ups will be rapid fire, enemy freeze, shields

Here are more basic concepts that I have been kicking around. They represent many similar retro games.

Helicopter Rescue: The player must fly behind enemy lines, and destroy enemy bunkers to free captives. Tanks and other ordinance will fire up at him. He must land to save the prisoners?

Robot Battle: Similar to Berzerk, the player must run through a room, shoot all of the robots and make it to the exit with out touching the walls of being shot by any robots.

River Battle: Fly up the river, destroy the bridges, and aircraft. Don't run out of fuel or get destroyed to completed the level.

Tube Battle: The player is in the center with multiple horizontal tubes to his left and right. He can move up and down and shoot left and right down each tube to destroy oncoming enemy.

Space Castle Battle: The player must battle an encamped enemy star castle style.

Bug Battle: The Bugs are attacking the flowers. Kill them before they kill you or steal all of your flowers.

That's 12. They are certainly not earth shatteringly original, but I want the player to feel like they are familiar. I think this concept will combine the Gorf and Point Blank features I wanted to create for this game, but it will be big enough to maybe be sponsored or go on GameJacket or Mochi. My next step is to start creating some basic old skool visuals for the Air Battle game.

One last thing. All of these games will be created using the most optimized game loop I can create, bitmap blitting, event listeners, and a new simplified game object model. Why do this if I can't do it that way I want?

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