Author Topic: Shattered Haven -- Another Upcoming Project  (Read 21746 times)

Offline x4000

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Re: Shattered Haven -- Another Upcoming Project
« Reply #30 on: August 02, 2012, 08:44:24 AM »
Yeah, there's flexibility and then there's having a complete sandbox, and we're more in the former camp. 

The levels are most directly inspired by Lode Runner:TLR (awesome game from the early 90s which is now freeware, by the way, if you've not played it) in terms of how they are basically flexible puzzles.  However, Lode Runner: TLR puzzles tended to be pretty one-note in solo play in particular, really only opening up when you had two players playing at once (on one keyboard, ahem).  Because SH is top-down rather than side-view, that lets us make better use of the space than a game like Lode Runner (or indeed AVWW) can.

It's just too different dynamics, and when you're talking about a single screen at a time (no panning) then having that screen real estate matters.  The individual screens in SH have more tiles than Bomberman or Zelda 1, so each level can be more intricate.  Like Zelda dungeons, a given level can also span more than one screen; but those are more the minority rather than the majority outside the overworld, because the multi-screen levels both take us a lot longer to design as well as are a lot more advanced-feeling to play.

Anyway, even Lode Runner is a pretty bad analogy when you get right down to it.  This game is much more action-oriented than that in terms of how you execute your plans, but also more planning-oriented in how you set up your plans.  Each level starts out with you invincible like happens in AVWW (or Zelda 1), and then you get to look around as long as you want, then make a run for it.  The roofs on buildings, or darkness or hidden tools/traps in destructible objects, usually makes it so that you can't plan out everything if you haven't tried the level ever before, though.  There is a pause function that lets you still see everything that's going on on the screen, and in fact it shows little denotations for what kind of Grays each on-screen Gray is.

Depending on how a level has been designed (and the 80+ levels we already have in place really vary in this, a trend I expect to see continue), the level of linearity can really vary.  Some levels really do just have one intricate sequence of events that you have to go through, but how you deal with the monsters along the way determines if you meet the bonus objectives or not.  A few levels are very open-ended and can be tackled in numerous ways, mostly involving more skill than tactics.  Most levels are more in the middle, requiring a mix of skill and tactics, and allowing for some flexibility in order of operations that can make a great difference in the overall outcome.

At core, this is kind of a puzzle game in the same sense that AI War or Zelda 1 are puzzle games: there's all this realtime action-y stuff in all three games, and longer-term goals that you're trying to accomplish (self-set in AI War, set by the adventure storyline in Zelda and SH), and then there's these individual spaces that you come across that have environmental puzzles for you to unravel (procedurally assigned planets in AI War, dungeons or specific screens in Zelda, levels in SH).

It's a bit hard to compare it to other games, because honestly I don't know of anything else that does things like this.  But I did start from the premise of wanting to make a Lode Runner type of game from the top-down rather than the traditional side view, and the rest of the game grew from there (in the same sense that I wanted to make something kind of like Supreme Commander in space when I made AI War).  As with AI War (and indeed, before AI War even existed), SH grew like crazy compared to its original concept and took on much more unique overtones.
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Offline Misery

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Re: Shattered Haven -- Another Upcoming Project
« Reply #31 on: August 02, 2012, 09:13:22 AM »
If you're gonna get inspiration from somewhere, Lode Runner (any of them) is a pretty darn good one to choose. 

So, trying to get a grasp of what you're saying here.... if I'm understanding correctly, the game has a certain similar feel/whatever to Lode Runner (without having very similar mechanics).   That game had puzzle-y stuff, but also had the constant enemies chasing you, yet the player was never really able to directly attack them; you had to be good about getting them stuck in holes (and often had to be careful about WHERE you had them get stuck), while at the same time navigating the level and getting the gold.  So it took some planning and thought instead of just jabbing everything with a sword, but still required some degree of actual skill.

Which, to me, is more interesting.  Essentially using the level structure & objects to keep the baddies in check, while going after your goal.   Is that the same sort of idea you're going with here?   Though I'm guessing with at least the difference that the enemies in this one can be killed, whereas the baddies in Lode Runner were immortal, you could delay them, but they WOULD always come back.

If that's the case, then I can see where the appeal of this one is going to lie. 

Offline tigersfan

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Re: Shattered Haven -- Another Upcoming Project
« Reply #32 on: August 02, 2012, 09:15:22 AM »
If you're gonna get inspiration from somewhere, Lode Runner (any of them) is a pretty darn good one to choose. 

So, trying to get a grasp of what you're saying here.... if I'm understanding correctly, the game has a certain similar feel/whatever to Lode Runner (without having very similar mechanics).   That game had puzzle-y stuff, but also had the constant enemies chasing you, yet the player was never really able to directly attack them; you had to be good about getting them stuck in holes (and often had to be careful about WHERE you had them get stuck), while at the same time navigating the level and getting the gold.  So it took some planning and thought instead of just jabbing everything with a sword, but still required some degree of actual skill.

Which, to me, is more interesting.  Essentially using the level structure & objects to keep the baddies in check, while going after your goal.   Is that the same sort of idea you're going with here?   Though I'm guessing with at least the difference that the enemies in this one can be killed, whereas the baddies in Lode Runner were immortal, you could delay them, but they WOULD always come back.

If that's the case, then I can see where the appeal of this one is going to lie.

This is pretty close actually, but with one major change. In SH, killing the enemies IS the goal, and the gold is the bonus.

Offline x4000

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Re: Shattered Haven -- Another Upcoming Project
« Reply #33 on: August 02, 2012, 09:20:50 AM »
Yep, what Josh said.

One other big difference is that in Lode Runner you can use the base terrain to trap or kill the enemies that are constantly chasing you.  In SH, you can't do that (you have no default actions when you're not holding an item, other than moving around or interacting with things like switches).  So early in each level you can do nothing but run around and pick up items while avoiding enemies.  Sometimes they are actively pursuing you in a Lode Runner fashion, other times they have various behaviors; there are about two dozen enemy types that all act differently.  Versus it all being the mad monks in lode runner.

That makes each level into a mix of acquisition and avoidance and attacking.  Once you kill an enemy in a level in SH, it's gone for good until you restart the level (unlike LR, where the mad monks respawn immediately).  As Josh noted, killing the enemies without getting killed yourself is the puzzle here -- the "gold" equivalent items are all for bonuses and score and getting a gold completion marker on the level.
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Offline Misery

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Re: Shattered Haven -- Another Upcoming Project
« Reply #34 on: August 02, 2012, 09:37:44 AM »
Well, this is sounding better and better.   Now I'm interested to try this.

What about stuff like level sharing and such?  Like, you know, being able to upload to and download from some.... er.... place, from within the game, rather than having to scour boards or something to find new ones (which is often annoying as heck, as with games like Knytt Stories).   The gameplay formula is sounding like it's gonna really cater towards that kind of thing, making levels with the editor, just like Lode Runner always has.

Offline tigersfan

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Re: Shattered Haven -- Another Upcoming Project
« Reply #35 on: August 02, 2012, 09:46:16 AM »
It definitely bodes well to the sharing of levels and such, like Lode Runner.

As for the question about being able to share from within the game, that's not in there now. I'll let Chris answer whether or not that's feasible for 1.0.

Offline x4000

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Re: Shattered Haven -- Another Upcoming Project
« Reply #36 on: August 02, 2012, 09:48:12 AM »
Glad it's sounding good!

In terms of having a central place to share levels from... maybe, but probably not at 1.0 of the game, and possibly not at all.

What we instead intend to do is take the AVWW approach: letting players post their stuff either to the forums or to mantis, and then we (mostly Josh) curates those things and we integrate them into the game and distribute them to all players.  With that sort of process we can request revisions from the players if there is something amiss that they didn't notice, and they can either choose to ignore that (and thus have it just through the forums that it is distributed, which is fine), or they can choose to make slight tweaks to bring it up to the final quality we'd want to have in the game (or if they are willing, we can make the tweaks, but often people don't want someone else messing with their levels).

That way everyone gets the new content just by upgrading their version of the game, and they know that it's gone through the normal Arcen QA process that any level we'd created directly would have gone through.  That gives a lot of high-quality content directly, rather than having you have to sort through a massive pile of lower-quality content in something like what Little Big Planet did.  Given that this game supports the creation of whole adventures in addition to standalone levels, that's also something that we may see some of (depends on how into this people get).

Having the process be curated does create some extra load for us, but I think that it results in a higher quality experience for players.
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Offline Aklyon

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Re: Shattered Haven -- Another Upcoming Project
« Reply #37 on: August 02, 2012, 09:52:34 AM »
For some reason, I misread that as 'other people messing with their towers'.

Sounds interesting anyway, though.

Offline madcow

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Re: Shattered Haven -- Another Upcoming Project
« Reply #38 on: August 02, 2012, 10:11:42 AM »
While I'm sure its a little early to think about sharing levels. Steamware would be a pretty good way to do that. Though that has the issue of not really being an option for non-steam purchasers. I'm sure there are -some- of them out there.

Edit: Just read some of the above posts, a combination of steamware with a "dev's choice" option could work.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2012, 10:14:15 AM by madcow »

Offline yllamana

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Re: Shattered Haven -- Another Upcoming Project
« Reply #39 on: August 02, 2012, 10:15:27 AM »
Sounds super exciting! :) I can't wait to try it!

A sort of puzzly anti-zombie thing sounds very entertaining and enjoyable.

Offline zebramatt

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Re: Shattered Haven -- Another Upcoming Project
« Reply #40 on: August 02, 2012, 10:37:53 AM »
I've played games where all the player-created material is accessible from an area in the game menus; I've played games where it's curated; I've played games where it's available to download on forums and/or online databases; and I've played games where combinations of those approaches are true.

I'd say curation, especially at the frequency Arcen would probably do it, is amazing. Definite win, there.

But I also know that if it picks up much of a dedicated community then a forum for player-created content is a must, and an online database just makes the whole thing hang together in a much more friendly fashion.

Offline Wingflier

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Re: Shattered Haven -- Another Upcoming Project
« Reply #41 on: August 02, 2012, 11:04:10 AM »
Sounds exciting, I can't wait!

I hope your new "The Game that Shall Not Be Named" is the Final Fantasy Tactics-type game.  Seriously in the 10+ years since then, nobody has made a game even on par with it.  Arcen could reinvent that entire genre.
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Offline tigersfan

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Re: Shattered Haven -- Another Upcoming Project
« Reply #42 on: August 02, 2012, 11:07:50 AM »
Sounds exciting, I can't wait!

I hope your new "The Game that Shall Not Be Named" is the Final Fantasy Tactics-type game.  Seriously in the 10+ years since then, nobody has made a game even on par with it.  Arcen could reinvent that entire genre.

That game is so early in the process that it's completely pointless to talk about, TBH. :)

Offline Tankor Smash

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Re: Shattered Haven -- Another Upcoming Project
« Reply #43 on: August 02, 2012, 11:23:16 AM »
This sounds really neat so far. Hopefully it'll be a smash hit!
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Offline LayZboy

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Re: Shattered Haven -- Another Upcoming Project
« Reply #44 on: August 02, 2012, 01:54:01 PM »
for instance -- someone just has to commit suicide and then they're on top of you as a New Gray.  Yikes.

Sounds like it'd get really annoying really fast :/