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earthQUAKE

Postby ajay » Thu Sep 09, 2010 7:45 pm

Just thought I'd write a few notes on my mod in regard of "Gameplay & Design" and explain why I'm making the decisions I have and how I'm implementing them.
My first thoughts on eQ were that I wanted to make a Quake-related mod; my previous efforts being somewhat unfaithful to the source.
However I was keen to do something different, to not just make a mission pack; better people had done this successfully and I wasn't particularly motivated by that kind of idea.
I came around to the idea of basing it on earth after seeing a number of games and films including, but not only: 28 Days Later, Gears of War, Shaun of the Dead, Hellgate London even I am Legend. The inspiration may not be entirely apparent for some of them, but they all gave me ideas and 'an angle'.
I liked the idea of setting it after the invasion; humans have been beaten and the world (in terms of the population) has been harvested and the remaining survivors are not fighting as a resistance force, they're just scrabbling about trying to stay alive and stay hidden; scared that the monsters will return.
My next design choice was to set it in an English city. This was for two reasons; firstly as I'm from (originally) London, so it's what I know, and secondly as there's not that many games set in England.
It was a good fit with Quake also; London cities (while not made in square 'blocks' like some other countries' cities) lend themselves to being made in straight lines and square shapes. Although the map is large and has significant outdoor areas, Quake isn't struggling too much, even with my virtual construction skills. After trying and failing to make outdoor, organic, levels in Lunkin's Journey, it's nice to be forcing Quake in a direction it kind of wants to go.
However I was faced with a fairly significant problem after making a very small percentage of the level. It was going to take a huge amount of time to make a series of maps telling the story of the player's journey
[Speaking of which, the basic storyline of the mod is: the player is one of the very, very, very few survivors, who, with his son, have been hiding in a cellar, only leaving it when supplies were needed. If they spent too long outdoors they would be spotted, 'The Gate' (TM) would fire and monsters would appear (the only monsters that constantly remain on the planet are: zombies - which were once humans, and zombie dogs - which were once, err, dogs) . However one morning the player wakes and his son is missing from the cellar, he therefore has to leave the cellar and search for his son, with less regard for his survival]
But making levels after levels as the player searched for his son was clearly a task that would take, literally years. I've always been a lone mod-maker; as I've said to people before, I've never committed to being part of a team, 'cos invariably my life gets n the way and I'll not code or map for years. The consequence is that I do all the mapping and coding (with much help, can't think from where...) myself and making multiple city maps would be an impossible task.
I therefore had a fairy significant problem to solve; how to make a mod that would have a large amount of 'play time', tell a story, yet not mean I either had to resign from my job and ignore my family or spend a decade making it.
My inspiration came from Gears and secondly Halo... They both had modes which enabled one map to have a prolonged game experience; Horde and Firefight. Each sees players in a level with wave after wave of increasingly challenging enemies port in.
A variant would obviously enable me to solve my problem. However I'm not that much of a fan of the modes in their own games, Firefight especially bores me somewhat... I think because there's no story as such, no narrative progression.
So I've built an outline of how eQ will work. They'll only be one map; it's going to be fairly substantial, complex and full of nooks and cranies. The player will still be motivated by a story; by trying to find his son. The player will have to search the city, looking for clues, trying to find where his son has gone. As he does so, The Gate will fire and monsters (other than zombies and dogs, that'll be there anywhere) will 'port in. Each firing of the gate will be triggered by the players actions;
- killing a set number of monsters (e.g. all of the last 'wave')
- finding something (ooh mysterious!)
- a 'story' event
The Gate mechanics are coded in; lightning fires into it, a sound bellows out and monsters port in. It's fairly flexible code, as the type of trigger event, the time delay between the trigger event and the lightning, between the lightning and the sound and between the sound and the 'porting and the particular monsters (and number) are all adjustable for each wave/mission.
So once the map is done, the story can be told within it, the mission number (will not be infinite!) and types can tell that story, and I can do it within one, large and long-in-the-making map.
Hopefully.... I could quit again for 2 years... or fail to get it all working. But thats the challenge.
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Postby frag.machine » Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:25 pm

I loved the idea! Specially the survival being the main objective. Being the one man army gets really old quickly, and mods like this are a fresh challenge.

A question: will the entire map be acessible to the player during all time ? You could make areas accessible/unaccessible based on time and/or events. That would turn simple tasks (like returning to your refuge) more challenging.

EDIT: You may consider reading about Left 4 Dead gameplay design decisions, they can help you a lot since there's some ressemblance in the game mechanics.
I know FrikaC made a cgi-bin version of the quakec interpreter once and wrote part of his website in QuakeC :) (LordHavoc)
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Postby dreadlorde » Thu Sep 09, 2010 9:43 pm

Sounds interesting.

It would be nice if you could format your post, because it has no structure and is kind of hard to read.
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Postby ceriux » Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:21 pm

sounds pretty awesome. if i was home i would love to assist you with anything you needed in the making of it. (im guessing models?) sadly im not home for at least till the end of this month possibly the next. SOON though!
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Postby ajay » Fri Sep 10, 2010 4:55 pm

dreadlorde wrote:Sounds interesting.

It would be nice if you could format your post, because it has no structure and is kind of hard to read.


Gotta disagree. It has structure; it has paragraphs, sentences and punctuation. Although there is a degree of 'stream of consciousness' it is in no way hard to read.
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Postby leileilol » Fri Sep 10, 2010 7:06 pm

As generations march on, the average attention span dwindles. For your sake, i'll clarify the "tl;dr" text for them:


Surviving post-apocalypse London in Quake (and it's not a football result-related hooligan survival scenario)
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Postby frag.machine » Fri Sep 10, 2010 7:54 pm

ajay wrote:
dreadlorde wrote:Sounds interesting.

It would be nice if you could format your post, because it has no structure and is kind of hard to read.


Gotta disagree. It has structure; it has paragraphs, sentences and punctuation. Although there is a degree of 'stream of consciousness' it is in no way hard to read.


Ditto. But, as leileilol pointed out, younger people has a really hard time parsing more than 144 characters at once. :P

EDIT: Regarding the map limits you may already reaching: remember that you can grow the environment in the vertical dimensions (often a overlooked approach); having as background an ancient city like London, you can create a good variety of sewers and dungeon-like rooms (and even tooking the liberty to using more of a medieval style for those areas, because it would fit nicely in this case).
I know FrikaC made a cgi-bin version of the quakec interpreter once and wrote part of his website in QuakeC :) (LordHavoc)
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Postby dreadlorde » Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:54 pm

ajay wrote:Gotta disagree. It has structure; it has paragraphs, sentences and punctuation. Although there is a degree of 'stream of consciousness' it is in no way hard to read.
It's one big block of text. It's hard to read. It has nothing to do with my 'attention span,' that's just a strawman.
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Postby ceriux » Sat Sep 11, 2010 12:00 am

i read it fine.... maybe it has to do with your reading level?
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Postby dreadlorde » Sat Sep 11, 2010 12:04 am

No. It's one giant block of text. A 'wall of text,' so to say. They are not easy to read.
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Postby ceriux » Sat Sep 11, 2010 12:09 am

ceriux wrote:i read it fine....
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Postby frag.machine » Sat Sep 11, 2010 3:15 am

dreadlorde wrote:No. It's one giant block of text. A 'wall of text,' so to say. They are not easy to read.


An interesting text is not less interesting because it's long (actually, it's quite the opposite). Try not pay attention in the text length; instead, focus in the ammount of interesting information you can drain from what's there, and the text length magically won't be an issue anymore.
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Postby Spirit » Sat Sep 11, 2010 7:55 am

Stop being an ass, dreadlorde.

The text would be easier to scan over if the paragraphs actually had empty lines between them.

And what always bugs me are sites that use all horizontal space. That makes lines way too long. Just create custom CSS for your browser and set the body to eg 750px.
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Postby ajay » Sat Sep 11, 2010 8:35 am

Not really the discussion I was expecting when I posted, but it's interesting nevertheless.
Although spacing between paragraphs would make it 'easier' to scan, it makes no difference to 'reading' it. There's quite a distinction between reading something and scanning it, if you want to read my first post there's no problem, if you want to scan it then you're somewhat hindered; but it's hardly War and Peace, so it doesn't take much effort.
I think it may be a bit lazy to just see this as a young > old thing, although I am considerably older than the complainant - having said that I'm probably older than many who didn't have a problem with it, and I've got all of my kids (20, 16 and 8) to read it and none of them had any problems.
Finally, if I was writing a formal essay/report/published writing or even just a page on my website, I'd adjust the spacing, but a forum is none of those things.
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Postby Feared » Sat Sep 11, 2010 8:45 am

ajay wrote:Not really the discussion I was expecting when I posted, but it's interesting nevertheless.
Although spacing between paragraphs would make it 'easier' to scan, it makes no difference to 'reading' it. There's quite a distinction between reading something and scanning it, if you want to read my first post there's no problem, if you want to scan it then you're somewhat hindered; but it's hardly War and Peace, so it doesn't take much effort.
I think it may be a bit lazy to just see this as a young > old thing, although I am considerably older than the complainant - having said that I'm probably older than many who didn't have a problem with it, and I've got all of my kids (20, 16 and 8) to read it and none of them had any problems.
Finally, if I was writing a formal essay/report/published writing or even just a page on my website, I'd adjust the spacing, but a forum is none of those things.


But good formatting is pretty to my eyes! ;)
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