Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Enemies, a complaint on the mundane.

I think the necessity of good enemy NPC does make a game. Certain types should be avoided in order to create an original work that does not relay on formulaic rehashing. Its not really a fun experience for the player and possibly the designers/producers/programmers/artists to reuse the same enemies. Firstly, because it prevents them{creation team} from contributing their ideas and secondly, as the player how many times do you want to keep shooting at the un-dead?

Which brings me to my point: I hate zombies. They are without a doubt the most overused, over saturated, unimaginative, lame and unnecessary enemy NPC. The other are Nazis, mutants, terrorists, and soviets. Just a cursory glance at the post apocalyptic tag under Steam reveals multitudes of zombie games. All with the same grungy cover art, all with the same lighting, weapons and cliched sound effects of the un-dead. Then of course sometimes they try and mask it by making it mutantesq, think the Flood from the Halo series, the psychically wiped drones from STALKER, the feral ghouls from the Fallout series, or calling them infected having them snarl and run. These games(not the aforementioned) are boring, they all follow the same patter, keep shooting, when you run out, start stabbing. How is that fun? I recall Left 4 Dead, i was mowing them down at one point, it really became boring, though the cast was fun, and there was some neat new types, it still didnt mask the linearity of the game.

I think much could be done to fix the current state this genre is in,  particularly creating a game that is dynamic in response to the actions you take. For example lets begin with a base, your choice, coastline, mountain, urban, forest, open plain. You can build on it by scavenging supplies from local houses. Build fences guard towers, extra housing, pill boxes. Find vehicles and save people. Upgrade vehicles for carry capacity, defense, offense. The more people you save the bigger the community. The people you save should all be in some trade, doctor, farmer, soldier. The diverse the group the better the survival, better food, medical, defense and so on. Player should be give the option of destroying the environment. Say for example burning down a forest, this would allow the enemies to be in the open giving a better view of the area. There should be zones of hostile activity. The player should be allowed to liberate the zones. Doing so gain more supplies, raw resources, and people. It would all be procedural done, in fact after the zones have been liberated the map should expand and add more areas randomly. As for winning, i dont think that should be a condition. Or it could be open ended after the main city has been taken and you help with the clean up process, rescue and cure processing. Though what im describing would make a good isometric RTS.

Side note: I did make a zombie "game" once. I use that term loosely, as it was only one level, and 3-5 NPC. Shoot/win. Maybe ill put it up here as freeware, some issues i need to fix when i ported it on a few occasions.

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