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Author Topic: Make AliensRL More Awesome  (Read 6015 times)

TheDrill

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Make AliensRL More Awesome
« on: April 10, 2011, 20:45 »

Haha I was going to make a giant wall of text as to how AliensRL can become the best RL ever, but then I read the 7DRL post and realized that the original vision was very in-line with these suggestions. Well, I guess I'm going to post my wall of text anyway. Here goes:

Contents:
Panic meter + Tactics from doomRL
Vision cone (notion of front/back etc...)
Sprinting
Motion tracker + Vent system overhaul
Room Names
Concept of Day/Night (3 hour day, 6 hour night. Multiple satellites YEAAA)
Far longer game. (Can you survive the night?)
Sentry guns & Security Cameras
Far more common pistol ammo and huge pistol nerf
30mm grenade launcher on the M41a Pulse Rifle + Hand grenade mechanics overhaul
Better technical & medical skills
Consoles & electronic systems
Sync'd music

I know I'm asking for a lot here; however, seeing as how this game bears the name of the only science fiction movie I ever liked, I really want to see this game completely unique perfection!

--- Stress Meter & View Cone ---

As of right now, you're basically the terminator. The only way you can really be ambushed is through the gamey ventilation system. I think that AliensRL should really dip into its horror roots and enforce a few awesome restrictions on the player. I don't think I've actually seen the vision cone successfully implemented into a roguelike before, but I have complete faith that this can be done. It would greatly enhance the horror atmosphere of the game.

The panic/stress meter is central to the view cone and to-hit bonus and is manifested as an audible heartbeat sound. If you're calm, the heartbeat sound plays 40 times per minute. (because you're a badass) If you're panicking, your heart rate can go up to 180 plays of the heartbeat sound per minute. (any more and it'd be more extremely anoying than anyone would want) Your stress temporarily increases when you spot enemies, when you're in the hive, when you sprint, and increases a whole lot when you take damage.

The stress meter applies penalties as a percentage of total in the following manner: (1.4 beats per minute = 1%)
40bpm: 360 view. "Cautious." No penalties. (no stress)
41-75bpm: 180 view. "Nervous." No other penalties. (25% stress)
75-110bpm: 135 view. "Sweating." Light to-hit penalty. (50% stress)
110-145bpm: 90 view. "On the edge." Moderate to-hit penalty. (75% stress)
145-180bpm: 90 view. "Panicked." Heavy to-hit penalty. (100% stress)

In addition to the to-hit penalties. Having higher stress should give you the benefit of increasing your burst size, and decrease the fire time required to squeeze off rounds for semi-auto weapons. Bye bye ammo conservation skills. But being panicked should actually be a benefit to weapon masters at point blank range, so people can go around 3/4blind 'zerkin.

A player would be able to reorient their view cone with either shift/control+one of the 8 direction keys. Shift/ctrl+numpad1 would set your facing to south west for example. Also, if you move in a certain direction, your view is reoriented into that direction. Ellen Ripley doesn't have/need a neck.

The meter goes down over time, but the absolute lowest amount it can go down to is also a function of your total HP. So you'd need 100% HP to have 360 view. If you have 99% HP, your heart rate will slowly decrease to 41.4bpm over time. If its 50% your heart rate will slowly increase/decrease to 110.

--- Sprint ---

The "change tactic" function from doomRL. Sprinting increases your movement rate, but also increases your stress level by a certain amount for each tile sprinted. You're also the ultimate badass. You can sprint forever, until you hit your "change tactic" key again. The maximum heart rate you can get to is obv 180bpm, but reaching that doesn't kick you out of sprint mode, so any sprinting after that point doesn't incur any additional penalty.

--- Vent System Overhaul ---

Many rooms should have floor, ceiling and wall vents. A finite number of invisible "name of alien [in vent]" entities should be generated on the map. These [in vent] aliens should be able to noclip and path their way through any wall and any terrain feature to get to your current room and exit out the vent in the room. When they reach the vent exit, they're converted into the real alien type. The only way to detect these invisible things should be with a motion tracker. This would also add the unreliable element to the tracker. Is your device showing a real alien behind that wall or is it just an invisible vent crawler? Far more [in vent] aliens should spawn during the night.

--- Motion Tracker ---

Hey. Know those evil alien-spawning vents? Well what if there was a way of knowing when those baddies would arrive? What if you could tell where the baddies were on a little indicator at the bottom of your screen. In the dark. Behind walls. You're the big boss hunter now. The problem is that this is a cutting edge piece of technology. You know that there's exactly one motion tracker on this planet, and you know just where to look for it. When you enter the world, you should get a locator that pinpoints the direction to the nearest activated personal locator beacon. There's exactly one (randomly placed) personal locator on this map, and that's where you're going to have to go if you want to get your hands on the motion tracker. When you find that spot, you get the tracker. You have to change your weapon (new weapon slot for it) to the motion tracker to use it.

--- Room Names ---

Since rooms would have to somehow be tracked by the [in vent] aliens. (They'd want to path to the vent in the room you are in) You'd want to know which room you are in. If done right, it would greatly help with orienteering.

Each room should be given an alphanumerical sequence, starting from the top left of the floor. (The floors aren't square so it might take a bit of brain power to outline, but it's very possible) The floor number should also be a part of the room name. Here's the awesome naming convention:
[roman numeral floor number][row number][column letter](space)[room purpose]
So a first floor mess hall that's six rooms from the left and two from the top would look like:
[I6B Mess Hall]

Room names are displayed on the bottom of your screen.

If there are floors below the entrance floor, they should have lower case roman numerals. So a floor below I would be i. Four floors below that would be iv.

--- Concept of Night & Day ---

Aliens are nocturnal hunters. They swarm during the night. Luckily, your new planet is a highly-desireable phenomenon with multiple natural satellites. These moons orbit in such a fashion as to guarantee that the night is exactly twice as long as the day. Fancy, huh? Lucky for you, you've entered the compound only an hour before nightfall. This leaves you with the following question: Do you try to destroy the nest before nightfall, or do you spend your precious daylight time salvaging supplies and forming barricades, complete with sentries around an isolated system of rooms and hallways?

--- Far longer game ---

Increase the size of the generated map to truly impressive proportions. This colony would be perfect if each tower became three times as big in terms of length and width as it is now.

--- Sentry guns & Security cameras ---

Oh yea. Now is the time to put that vision arc system to the ultimate test. Sentries can be placed and rotated in a direction of your choosing. They have a 90 cone of fire. Once you're happy with the orientation you can activate it and stand clear of its firing arc. Should you need to walk into the danger arc, prepare to experience very unfriendly fire. Sentry guns should be found in locked sentry gun crates. Each sentry crate should always contain a sentry gun. This will cut down on the pain people experience when all they want is a humble pulse rifle.

Security cameras can be accessed from security consoles and the camera spawns are randomized along with the map. When you use a security console, you get a list of cameras and the names of the rooms they are in. Accessing a security camera from the list gives you a rotateable 90 view of the immediate surroundings. What a great way to scout out exactly what you want to find!

--- Pistols ---

Pistols are just too good right now. Starting as a scout turns the game into easy mode.

Solution: Nerf the hell out of the 9mm to make it barely worth consideration. Fighting a juvenile should cost you a good chunk of your health, going up against something like a warrior should be suicide. Sprinting should be your new hobby.

BUT throw 9mm ammo and pistols EVERYWHERE. This will make this colony look more like a final stand occured there and less like a graveyard. Instead of spawning nothing, supply crates should, at the very minimum, spawn 9mm ammo.

--- Grenades ---

Instead of detonating on contact, regular hand grenades should start a 3 second fuse. It would mean that if you wated to kill aliens, you'd have to drop them on the tile in front of you and then sprint the hell away. Unless you're breaching a room known to be infested. In which case you can be awesomelike and take your time. See how useful security cameras are?

Hand grenades should be more plentiful than they are now to increase the amount of tactical choice the player has.

30mm grenades should be rare, but they'd give your pulse rifle the ability to vaporize groups of enemies more efficiently than ever. 30mm grenades are frag grenades.

--- Medical Skill ---

It's a pain how most medical lockers are empty. Instead, they should always have at least low value-healing items, thus:

First-Aid Kit - Can heal you at most to a percentage of your total HP, modified by your medical skill. If you have no medical skill, you don't even know what to do with these and can't use them. Max level medical skill should let you use them like medical kits.
Medical Kit - Work as they do now. The healing amount depends on your medical skill.

Unnecessary cute stuff to turn this into a viable profession:

Level 2 medical equipment: (you can recognize this stuff apart from the toxic stuff that will kill you at this level of medical skill)
Painkiller Hypo - You no longer feel pain for a set amount of time.
Antipsychotic Hypo - You no longer feel stress for a set amount of time.

Level 3 medical equipment: (you can recognize this stuff apart from the toxic stuff that will kill you at this level of medical skill)
Combat Amphetamine Hypo - Increases all speeds across the board for a limited amount of time.
Combat Steroid Hypo - Increases move speed and gives you a sweet-sweet damage resistance bonus.

If you take the last two together, maybe you'll sprout longer legs and become some kind of a champion sprinter.

--- Technical Skill & Electronics ---
This profession has real potential in the game, but it will take the most work to make viable.

The trap: (requires tech1)
Use a hand grenade of your choice to leave your alien friends a nasty present. When an alien gets within 1 square in any of the 8 directions, the grenade trap detonates.

The blowtorch: (requires tech1)
Your new favorite melee weapon. When you're not using it to suicide against aliens, you can use it to make the compound your bitch. Wall an eyesore? Remove it. Hole in the wall an eyesore? Get some metal sheets, and make a barricade. This process takes a while, so make sure you're relatively safe behind traps when welding. Cutting open security doors and broken elevator shafts should take an extremely long time. Walls in the higher-profile compounds should be reinforced against this very process.

Doors & Barricades:
Doors should have HP. If you're holed up in a locked room and aliens are trying to path to you, they should start pathing to the doors of your room and attacking them. If they can't get to those doors, they should start attacking the closest ones to you. Locked security doors should have far more hp. Welded regular doors should act like locked security doors. Using a metal sheet or a table on a locked security door/welded regular door should reinforce the door and give it even more health. Using a welder on a piece of bolted down furniture should make it moveable. Using a welder on a moveable furniture should make a barricade.

Consoles:
Security Console (Requires tech1 to access) - Can access video cameras on your level.
Master Security Console (Requires tech2 to hack into) - Located somewhere in the security tower. The map of the entire compound is revealed and can be viewed. Notes can be written over rooms. (Displayed as light green text) All security doors and crates can be locked and unlocked.
Engineering Console (Requires tech1 to access) - Located somewhere in the engineering tower. Can give you access to elevator shafts of broken elevators.
Surgical Machine (Requires tech1 to access) - Located somewhere in the medical tower. It will heal you to full HP.
Armory Console (Requires maxed tech to hack) - Located in the military tower. Unlocks the armory. This place should make you feel like a kid in a candy store. It's guarded by armed sentry turrets.

Max tech level + blowtorch should let you bypass all security doors.

--- Sync'd Music ---

When the songs loop (esp the medical one) they sound pretty bad. I think that it can be fixed by making them fade out near the end.

There you have it. The grand suggestions for making this game kick ass.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2011, 20:59 by TheDrill »
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Kornel Kisielewicz

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Re: Make AliensRL More Awesome
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2011, 07:32 »

*bump*!
(awesome list of ideas BTW)
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Kornel Kisielewicz

grommile

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Re: Make AliensRL More Awesome
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2011, 08:37 »

A better suggestion regarding day/night cycle - one that won't strain my suspension of disbelief past breaking point - is the nice, simple, realistic "the station is at a high latitude, and it's your bad luck to have wound up here in the middle of winter".
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bfg9001

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Re: Make AliensRL More Awesome
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2011, 15:02 »

Fantastic ideas. I especially like the stress idea, and how more stress/fatigue inhibits your FOV. Although it seems like a facing system would have to be worked in (actually turning your character.)

I as well would love to see more Horror elements. DoomRL is a coffee-break fun shooter, but AliensRL has the potential to be a good tension/Horror type game. 
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ZZ

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Re: Make AliensRL More Awesome
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2011, 09:30 »

I just want to state that no roguelike can be a horror game, since the core element, the tension is plain impossible to implement there. Because of randomness, after a few runs you'll be ready to any type of ambush, and because of the fact that it's turn-based, you can think a lot and decide what's the best solution, making ambush not much different from an ordinary encounter. Making ambush harder will only make the game harder, but won't add neither tension, nor any other horror element. And also, horror type games usually play on your imagination, forcing you to believe that you're constantly in danger. But roguelikes already use your imagination just to show what's happening, and no sane person will imagine something terrible.
So, to sum up, there is a big difference between making the game harder and making the game more fearsome. Most of the suggestions just make the game imbalanced, the rest are quite good, but have already been suggested.
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Kornel Kisielewicz

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Kornel Kisielewicz

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Re: Make AliensRL More Awesome
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2011, 10:37 »

I know that using different plot tricks it is possible to achieve a little bit of horror atmosphere, but any other things just won't work. As I've said, there is no point in making the game harder - player will just stop playing it, feeling rather cheated than scared. And also the 'turn-basedness' still remains the key factor here. When the player will encounter scary monster, he will stop for a minute, thinking about all possibilities, and choose the best one, not just simply run away scared. Thus, there is no point in throwing tough, but beatable encounters on the player. Why? Because roguelike players are more used to patiently wait and kill everything, rather than synchronize his thoughts with the ''@' sign that he's saving' ones. It's absolutely true what you've said about the need to show the player that he's really in danger, not in the safety of his chair, but in the roguelike it's harder than anywhere else. Probably even impossible.
I possibly exaggerated things by saying that it's impossible to create a horror roguelike, but the point remains the same - by just making the game harder you won't achieve anything. And also, with the text you provided I can say that we badly need plot in the game.
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TheDrill

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Re: Make AliensRL More Awesome
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2011, 19:05 »

I think that making a decision to hit the sprint(panic) button when faced with aliens due to having no ammo to fight them with is sufficiently scary.

I think that shutting a door to a room and turning your character to find a room full of horrible ASCII death is also probably pretty scary. But yea, if you play it often, it'll just stop being scary. That can be said of anything that has anything to do with horror. Even if that's true, the Aliens atmosphere will still be there, and that's what counts.
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bfg9001

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Re: Make AliensRL More Awesome
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2011, 23:49 »

Fantastic article.

Still waiting for GenRogue, Kornel ;)
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zchris13

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Re: Make AliensRL More Awesome
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2011, 19:57 »

In case you're wondering, serious cardio athletes (runners, cyclists) can have some stupidly low heartbeats. The most extreme cases are in the high 20s, mostly pro cyclists. 40 bpm seems okay for a marine in great physical condition.  What would be really funny would be having the minimum heart rate depend on fitness skill. ~60 for no skill, ~35 for max.
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Kornel Kisielewicz

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Re: Make AliensRL More Awesome
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2011, 02:49 »

ROTFL, at the first moment I thought this post was some medical spam :D. Thanks for the tip!
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Kornel Kisielewicz

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Re: Make AliensRL More Awesome
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2012, 23:48 »


--- Vent System Overhaul ---

Many rooms should have floor, ceiling and wall vents. A finite number of invisible "name of alien [in vent]" entities should be generated on the map. These [in vent] aliens should be able to noclip and path their way through any wall and any terrain feature to get to your current room and exit out the vent in the room. When they reach the vent exit, they're converted into the real alien type. The only way to detect these invisible things should be with a motion tracker. This would also add the unreliable element to the tracker. Is your device showing a real alien behind that wall or is it just an invisible vent crawler? Far more [in vent] aliens should spawn during the night.

Greatest improvement would be to have aliens escape into vents and either heal up or reappear closer to the player. This would add a tactical and atmospheric element without cluttering up the controls/inventory.

RE: barricades. Effective escaping could be made into the primary action of the game. I've seen it done in mainstream games like Resident Evil 4, Dark Corners of the Earth, and Mafia. A sprinting mode can be offset by reducing the vision radius of you but not the aliens, making it more likely for you to rush into danger.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2012, 00:15 by ujk »
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