9 Game Design Document
unfa edited this page 2 months ago

by unfa

TL;DR

Liblast is aiming to be a fast-paced, class, team and objective-based FPS game, will be available to play standalone or in a web browser and booted up in seconds. The game will also not show blood and gore or stay away from foul language to stay family friendly. This doesn't mean it's a game for people under the age of 12. It's about shooting others, pushing back, scoring for your team and having lots of explosive fun. Highly vertical gameplay is also an important distintive trait.

Influences

We're taking design cues from games like Team Fortress 2 and the Unreal Tournament series. We're trying to spot and avoid inherent issues present in beloved but troubled arena shooters.

Arena shooters widely suffer from skill inflation. After a couple years/decades after release a group of dedicated players becomes so good at controling the arenas, item spawns, weapon combos, movement etc., that any new players joining will find themselves immediatelly mowed down and unable to have any fun in the game, unless they keep playing against AI opponents. This can also motivate players to try cheating.

Target Audience

  • Players who'd like to try something different and stripped down.
  • Players who are tired of commercial games that are constantly pushing them to buy things
  • People with lower-end hardware or having only access to public computers
  • People who want to become a part of a small, but passionate community of players and be able to have a tangible impact on the game
  • People who are fed up with early access games taking their money and dying on them - this project is a slow burner, but we're a non-profit project
  • Modders and hobbyist game developers - the game source files are publicly available - taking apart and modifying the game is allowed and welcomed

Gameplay Overview

Intended gameplay loop focuses around pushing towards objectives on the game map to score points for one's team. The layout and type of objectives may vary greatly between each map.

Combating the opposing team's players comes naturally as means to an end, rather than a goal in itself.

The game design strives to limit an expert player's ability to devoid novice players of all fun using key design decisions:

  • The game lacks any form of powerup or weapon pick-ups (only health and ammo). Arena management is of diminished importance.
  • All players spawn with a 3-weapon loadout and enough ammo to have an immediate and meaningful impact on opposing players, without the need to first reach a weapon or armor to stand a chance in a fight.
  • The game focuses around completing objectives and not eliminating the opposing team in itself - kills and deaths do not matter in scoring - cooperation as a team does!
  • Providing character classes that accomodate various playstyles, so that more people cna find their place here
  • The game levels (maps) will lean heavily on verticality, utilizing extended player movement (jetpack) to make the environments less flat and linear.

Control points is going to be the primary game mode, but duel will also be an option.

Deathmatch is deliberately excluded, because less skilled players are always a priority target and suffer most, being the source of precious frags. Duel is very different, as there is only one opponent, so there can be no such bias. Loosing in a duel feels fair, but being targeted by everyone in deathmatch does not.

Characters

At first we'll need 3 chartacter classes. Medium, Heavy and Light. Each with a different main weapon, all using the same secondary and melee weapon at first. This will be diversified later, possibly providing different weapon loadouts letting players customize their character for each class to suit their playstyle.

Aesthetics

Liblast strives for a simple and relatively inexpensive (to produce), yet effective artstyle. Mostly plain surfaces, however with materials utilizing the modern PBR rendering capabilities to produce a pleasing image. Characters don't have distinct individual features, becoming more of an empty slate for players to customize their appearance.

Visuals are rooted in sci-fi but also abstract imagery, taking cues from SuperHot's faceless characters and textureless environments.

The environments will feature textured materials, but without much detail in albedo - most of it being in rhoughness and normal maps, providing a feeling of shape and texture without visually overwhelming the scene. Colors and contrast are key in communicating clearly what is going on in the game, and visual clarity is paramout in Liblast. If something looks cool but makes players loose situational awareness - it has to be toned down.

Ideas to consider after 1.0 release

Ridiculous Mode

As the game doesn't take iteself seriously, there's certainly room for a "Ridiculous Mode" that throws visual clarity and balancing out the window for the sheer amusement of maximum insane carnage. This is something to consider after 1.0 release.

Fridge Stacking

A fourth, outlier character is a smart fridge called Frosty. Frosty is a big box. Frosties can stack on top of each other, because it's ridiculous and fun.

Here's how it worked in the legacy version of Liblast, that stil used Godot 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUtSLNzvqvI&t=3878s This is an iconic moment in Liblast's history that old players remember and hope to be able to recreate in the future.

It's possible that the character will be available in it's own "Fridge Stacking" mode where all characters play as Frosty, to avoid balancing issues in the regular game. This could work as a co-op or team race mode where no weapons are used, and stacking fridges is the only way to get to victory!

Later on Frosty may become part of the usual rooster as a healer class, depending on how that'll affect the gameplay. A important consideration here is collision between friendly characters - should team mates block you path? It's usually not a good idea. Should Frosty be an exception? That will require playtesting to decide.

Unique character designs & Lore

There's been work done in designing unique characters with their backstories distinct looks: Niko, Queen, Frosty, Marie, Traveller...

These have been shelved due to limited resources in order to allow completing the game in a reasonable time frame. However after the 1.0 version of the game is out, depending on the game reception and hopelly an influx of people interested in contribution - these ideas may be revisited to develop a more interesting rooster of characters to play. This however will conflict with the current design of "faceless" characters, that's why it's highly probably that'd need it's own mode or be dropped as completely incompatible with the current design.