Harvest ideas from other overhead run-and-gun games #80

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cxong opened this Issue Apr 22, 2013 · 25 comments

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@cxong
Owner
cxong commented Apr 22, 2013

C-Dogs is an overhead run-and-gun game. It's worth looking at other games in the same genre, what they did well, what they didn't do well, what parts are fun, what parts didn't work.

@cxong
Owner
cxong commented Apr 22, 2013

Jackal

Pros:

  • Weapon upgrades, hostages encourage perfect play (lose them when you die)
  • Weapon upgrades "expand" its capabilities, rather than change them or are complete upgrades
  • Konami music
  • Homing missiles
  • Many enemy types (infantry, vehicles, ships, aircraft, turrets)

Cons:

  • Have to wait for the jeep to turn completely before shooting in the new direction
  • When scrolling ahead, very little is shown which makes it easier to run into enemies (probably intended for a quarter-muncher)
@cxong
Owner
cxong commented Apr 22, 2013

Super C (the overhead levels)

Pros:

  • Powerups
  • Asymmetrical enemy weapons (much weaker, but can fire off-axis; solves the C-Dogs same-weapon difficulty problem)
  • Hit sounds (#41)
  • Bosses

Cons:

  • Only walking discourages fast movement (with side-scrolling you could jump/crouch to rapidly evade)
  • Relatively small field of action
@cxong
Owner
cxong commented Apr 22, 2013

Crimsonland

Pros:

  • Powerups, weapon pickups
  • Huge range of weapons
  • Hordes of varied enemies (some split into smaller enemies when killed, some spawn other enemies)

Cons:

  • Repetitive - enemies just walk towards player, later levels comes down to hoping to get good powerups before dying
  • Messy action
  • Hard to balance the huge range of weapons; some weapons are great earlier on but useless later, and vice versa
@cxong
Owner
cxong commented Apr 22, 2013

Heavy barrel

Two notes, not so much pros/cons as characteristics:

  • Weapon powerups, give you a certain amount of ammo (think metal slug). This is interesting as it punishes bad play (lose them when you die), but usually enough ammo is given so that if you don't die you spend most of the game with powerful weapons, plus you are forced to use different ones as the ammo runs out, which adds variety. This design definitely has downsides, however.
  • Grenades - interesting in theory, but in this game they weren't compelling enough
@cxong
Owner
cxong commented Apr 22, 2013

Front Line

Pros:

  • Wacky graphics/animation
  • Different weapons (grenade goes over walls)
  • Tanks

Cons:

  • Slow pace, hard to aim
  • Unpredictable enemy attacks
@cxong
Owner
cxong commented Apr 23, 2013

Tapan Kaikki

Pros:

  • Effects (FOV, particles, dynamic lighting, blood, gibs, footprints)
  • Fast action (bullets travel very fast)
  • Buying weapons and items

Cons:

  • Control scheme awkward (keyboard turn and strafe)
  • Hard to aim; laser sight is an item upgrade
  • Harder enemies are frustrating - need to aim and kill them in short amount of time because it's impossible to evade
@cxong
Owner
cxong commented Apr 23, 2013

Assault trooper

Pros:

  • Weapon system based on weight (combine unbalanced weapons using weight quota)
  • Health pickups
  • Grenade key (#33)
  • Physics effects (items move when shot, can destroy fences/walls)
  • Radar (#27)
  • Different enemies (dogs, vehicles)

Cons:

  • Movement awkward (similar to Tapan Kaikki)
  • Stealth not implemented well (can hide in bushes)
  • Crouching not useful enough
@cxong
Owner
cxong commented Apr 23, 2013

Fire fight

Pros:

  • Radar (#27)
  • Mission chatter
  • Parallax scrolling
  • Off-centre camera, shows more in front
  • Interesting weapons (swarmer: homing missiles)

Cons:

  • Turning is slow, worsened by gameplay/level design (often need to turn large angles)
  • Combat is often up-close exchanges of fire
@cxong
Owner
cxong commented Apr 23, 2013

Strike series

Most characteristics shared with Fire Fight.

  • Auto-aim (helps with awkward control scheme, also included as game mechanic with better gunners)
  • Fuel keeps tension up
@cxong
Owner
cxong commented Apr 23, 2013

Battle city

Pros:

  • Powerups, upgrades
  • Gameplay focused on destructible walls
  • Ground effects (#35)

Cons:

  • Huge penalty when losing powerups
  • Limited number of in-flight bullets per player
@cxong
Owner
cxong commented Apr 24, 2013

GTA 1 & 2, the on-foot portions

Almost a different genre, more focus on the vehicle driving parts. The steering took a while to get used to, but worked surprisingly well. The on-foot sections were much less fun because aiming was hard (although there was autoaim) and you couldn't strafe.

@cxong
Owner
cxong commented Apr 24, 2013

Mercs (sequel to commando)

Note that there are a few games like this: ikari warriors, gun smoke...

Pros:

  • Up to 3 player co-op
  • Enemy grenades encourage movement
  • Powerups like health

Cons:

  • Repetitive
@cxong
Owner
cxong commented Apr 24, 2013

Zombies ate my neighbors

  • Interesting weapons (freeze gun, a gun that pushes the player back)
@cxong
Owner
cxong commented Apr 26, 2013

Smash TV (also robotron)

Pros:

  • Great control scheme that allows more intense battles
  • Loads of pickups to encourage movement, create tension between getting powerups and staying in safe spot

Cons:

  • Hard to fine tune the experience, need to think about crowd dynamics, powerups can be make-or-break
  • Experience is either too easy or too confusing, hard to create a middle ground
@cxong
Owner
cxong commented Apr 26, 2013

Gauntlet

  • Classes
  • Level design focuses action
  • Health/time as a resource - health drains over time, food replenishes health
@cxong
Owner
cxong commented Apr 30, 2013

Alien Syndrome

Pros:

  • Great bosses
  • Enemies move at random, harder to hit

Cons:

  • Some backgrounds clash, making things hard to see
@cxong
Owner
cxong commented May 1, 2013

Binding of Isaac

Pros:

  • Huge range of enemies, powerups, bosses
  • Complex economy/inventory system with health, coins, keys, bombs etc.
  • Randomly generated rooms and items (but this makes the pacing uneven)

Cons:

  • Uneven variety in player "weapons"
@cxong
Owner
cxong commented May 28, 2013

alien_breed

Alien Breed

Pros:

  • Great atmosphere, music
  • Claustrophobic corridors, doors etc.
  • Ammo/health/key pickups, and purchases
  • Limited ammo plus constantly spawning enemies creates tension

Cons:

  • Tension could be improved by using occlusion instead of having a small screen
  • Apart from music, not much use of sound to create tension
@cxong
Owner
cxong commented Jan 14, 2014

image

Crack Down

  • Game mode: plant bombs and escape in allotted time
  • Patrolling AI encourages stealthy, tactical gameplay
  • Variety of terrain: lava, conveyor belts, electrified
  • Can lie flat against wall to evade fire
@cxong
Owner
cxong commented Jan 15, 2014

image

The Ninja

  • Upgradeable weapon (via drops from enemies)
  • Hazards like falling boulders, floating logs
  • Can block enemy shots with own shots
  • Enemies that disguise as rocks, transform into wolves, teleport
@Bertram25

This issue would be worth a blog post. ๐Ÿ‘

@cxong
Owner
cxong commented Jan 15, 2014

@Bertram25 I don't have a blog ๐Ÿ˜„ this issue is just a random collection of ideas anyway, maybe some time later I can distil some conclusions on what makes these games good

@Bertram25

@cxong Would be worth knowing how you came to the conclusion one or another feature is good and why, indeed. :)

I guess on a release post in free game dev?
Best regards,

@cxong
Owner
cxong commented Jan 16, 2014

image

Vindicators

The review of the game made an interesting point that although the level design encouraged tactical play, in practice it was frustrating because the game also had timing pressure with a constantly-depleting fuel gauge.

@cxong
Owner
cxong commented Apr 7, 2016

Hey @Bertram25 ; after 2 years I finally got around to that blog post ๐Ÿ˜† I couldn't cover all games listed here because then I'd be repeating myself a lot and I tried to add some chronological structure, but it still reads a bit like a brain dump. I hope you enjoy it anyway: http://cxong.github.io/2016/04/a-review-of-overhead-8-directional-shooters

@cxong cxong closed this Apr 7, 2016
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