Firstly, a huge thank you in advance to anyone who reads all this (or even tries to!).
I'm posting this introduction to what I intend to turn into a full and detailed project proposal. Whilst you are all reading this, and probably telling me how silly it all is, I shall be knocking up some high level UML class diagrams in a bid to show you how serious I am about this project.
It is going to be a fairly strange project proposal, in so much as my first step is going to be to try and find a good, reasonably experienced lead programmer
I myself, although familiar with some Java (mainly servlets and EJB), have no games programming experience at all. I could only work on my own project as a designer, and assistant developer. To start with, at least. Until I find my feet.
So, I'm looking to see if there are enough people out there who like the sound of this, and don't mind working on a project where the initiator is a newless cluebie...
I'm planning on having a nice, sedate, and very open approach to this project. Although I realise that what I am about to propose sounds very ambitious, there are large sections which can be worked on independently of each other, or added in much, much later. No rush, no hassle, no pressure.
So, let me know what you think. And if you think it's a bunch of crap, then just wait till you see my next idea...or the one after that...
(Note: Will also need graphics and sound people...oh yes, very much so...)1.0 "Warbands" - Game Introduction
The small but proud nation of Garamandor finds itself in the grip of chaos. The king has been murdered, the heirs have vanished and the nobility bicker amongst themselves as they vie for power.
Lawlessness is on the rise, and reports of bandit attacks on small villages and unprotected travelling merchants are increasing dramatically. The people are becoming fearful, and the dukes and barons find themselves forced to increase military patrols in their lands to safeguard their holdings.
Where do you fit into all of this? Who are you? How have you come to be where we find you now? Are you a fallen member of the nobility; disgraced, stripped of your titles and cast out? Maybe you are a foreigner, exiled from a distant realm, lost and confused in this new land? Or are you just a victim? Reduced to nothing by outrageous fortune and eking out a living any way you can. How did you come to find yourself part of a murderous, despicable and disorganised rabble of bandits and thugs?
Whoever you are, it doesn't matter. Your past is nothing. Your future is all that matters. Now is your time, now you can carve a name for yourself in this troubled land and take for yourself all that comes your way. But first you need to assume your rightful place as leader of this dark gathering of criminals...
(The player will now be given the option to play the tutorial)2.0 Overview
The vision for this game is of a massively multiplayer online game where players control a medieval/fantasy warband, with which they simply seek to cause as much carnage and destruction in the persistent game world as possible.
Warbands will be a squad-level, tactical turn-based combat system set inside a pseudo-real time campaign map.
Players will move their warbands around, using up a daily movement allowance, and have the option of laying waste to AI-controlled settlements and parties, or hunting down other player-led warbands and fighting them.
The combat system will be reminiscent of X-COM/UFO, but more like the more modern Laser Squad Nemesis ( http://www.lasersquadnemesis.com
). Combat will be handled through a client-server set up. Players plot their moves for the turn, before submitting to the server. As soon as the player's opponent has submitted their corresponding turn, the turn-file is sent back to the player who watches the results, and then plots his next turn. Of course, if the player is fighting the AI, then turns will be almost instantaneous.
When two human players engage in battle, then one of a pre-set selection of time limits must be agreed upon in the battle setup screen.
Players can replenish warband losses at inns, which are scattered across the map. They may even have chance encounters on the campaign map with thugs for hire. Although a player can manage a warband of up to 60 individuals, he will never (i.e. can not) commit more than 30 to any one battle. No self-respecting warband leader is going to risk putting all of his eggs in one basket. Besides, if we did let a player get himself into a situation where he lost his entire warband in one go...we might find we get a lot of unhappy players quitting the game quite quickly. The emphasis is going to be on small, fast, brutal skirmishes, and lightning-quick raids to grab loot, food, weapons, or some sort of quest item (introduced to the community as a sort of treasure hunt periodically to keep interest levels high).
One worry with a game in which players have to wait for turns from another person is that the player will become agitated that he is being left behind as the game world carries on without him. There are numerous ways to think about handling this. One thing to bear in mind is that at some point all players will be held up, so in the long run, nobody "gains". But to assist that feeling, the player is able to divide his maximum of 60 warband members into as many smaller raiding parties as he wishes. The active player should always aim to have as many fingers in as many pies as possible to keep his excitement levels high.
The game is set in a medieval fantasy land, so combat will be melee-based. However, it is clear straight away that having ten men standing next to each other taking it in turns to hit each other with a sword could get boring. So there will be a large emphasis on missile weapons in this world. Repeating crossbows, hand-cannons, glass globes filled with explosive powder, possibly even magical relics from a time gone by, which have ranged, explosive possibilities. Not to mention throwing daggers, axes, spears, bows, etc.
The main aim of the game is simply to be the nastiest, dirtiest, scariest, toughest, richest warband in the world. To climb to the top of the warband ranking ladder, and stay there as long as possible. How long will it be before some upstart, or alliance of weaker warbands tears you down like a pack of ravenous dogs?
What follows is the introductory portion of my unfinished, first draft, game overview. There are 50 more pages where this came from... 3.0 Game World
This game takes place in a medieval fantasy land called Garamandor, which is a small country consisting of one large, fortress-city surrounded by a host of towns, villages, keeps, coach houses, inns, country estates, farms etc. Merchants and assorted other travellers ply the roads and armed tax-collectors and military patrols roam between the towns and villages, going about their appointed duties.
Vicious groups of unscrupulous bandits infest the countryside, raiding villages and outposts, attacking merchants and ambushing patrols.
The authorities try their best to respond to bandit attacks, increasing local patrols for a period after each raid. Merchants begin to employ more guards, better equipped to protect the precious cargos. Villagers arm themselves with whatever tools or weapons they can find. So the warbands must grow and become more cunning if they are to continue to thrive on the chaos they create.
The world will have a tangible economy, and the effects of raids and attacks remain visible for some time after they take place. A raided village for example, will be poor pickings for any other warbands for some time to come as the survivors try to rebuild their economy.4.0 The Players
The players of this game will assume the roles of leaders of these bands of criminals. Their aim is to simply become the greatest, most powerful, feared and respected warband in the land.
The NPCs that a player recruits into his warband all have personalities, needs and desires. Some desire only gold, gold, gold, whereas others are there purely for the blood. The player will have to ensure he attacks the right targets, and enough of them to provide all the things necessary to keep his warband loyal. A rebellion in the ranks could be deadly...
The game will be massively multiplayer with a host of human participants controlling the actions of their own warbands in the same game world. Perhaps the best way to obtain greatness is for these warbands to prey on each other. Survival of the fittest, or at least, survival of the most cunning.
Players start with a small warband that they acquire by completing the introductory tutorial (The player's in-game persona challenges the leader of his warband, causing a 50-50 split in the ranks). Or they can skip the tutorial and have a small warband generated for them, as if the introductory battle had just taken place.
The player is then free to do what he will with his warband. He can hunt down other players and fight them, he can raid towns and villages, he can do what he likes, causing as much carnage as he is able in order to gain a fearsome reputation (scoring points and climbing the warbands ranking ladder).