Luke Vernon (c3285181)
Streets of Rage (1991) is a 2D Platform, side-scrolling, action RPG, beat-‘em-up. What this means is that the playable character will progress through levels in a linear fashion and fight through a horde of enemies in order to progress through levels and ultimately complete the game.
This genre of gaming first appeared in the 1980’s; although the most influential of these games from the Arcade era is Double Dragon (1987), which has recently been re-released and remastered for XBOX 360. When the game was originally released by Nintendo, fighting games predominantly consisted of one-on-one combat between two players. Karate Champ (1982) is attributed to making this style of game popular.
In the main ‘Story Mode’ of the game we have created, our player can take control of one of the two playable characters, each exhibiting a unique special ability and back-story, progressing through each level sequentially in order to reach a final boss. Giving the player a choice between characters will increase playability and re-play value, as the different characters each have their own style of combat, making them more effective at defeating different types of enemies, which introduced a sense of strategy within this archetypal genre of platform gaming.
The game will have three or more levels, all containing two checkpoints and a final boss stage. The player cannot progress through the level unless all enemies are defeated, signifying the completion of the respective area. This type of level progression has been used in games such as Super Mario Bros. 3 (1988), although it is only apparent in specific levels, i.e., the airship stages. We may make use of a world map system for level selection, also seen within said text. Also we have determined that this type of level progression is much easier to script within Unity. I believe that a ‘Story Mode’ is a good way to make the game playable and enjoyable for not only co-operative campaign, but also a solo mode. As our game exhibits a storyline narrative, we could also create a related animated preamble, to play as the game commences; and subsequently proceeding each boss stage. This addition would increase the over-all professional aesthetic of our game, and create a more immersive playing experience through the use of a narrative structure.
When Streets of Rage was originally released, co-operative mode was only available when two people played the game on the same console. The game we are creating will make use of a server that will be programed to allow the capability of hosting online multi-player games, available to play across-system, and perhaps across platform. This method mixes a more traditional style of gaming with the highly popular contemporary genre of online play, which has emerged following the creation of consoles with sophisticated networking capabilities. This multi-player set-up will comprise of a co-op ‘Story Mode’ where our two protagonists will take a character each and progress through the game. We could include a versus mode where the players would fight with each other one-on-one, as seen in Tekken (1994) although we believe a co-op mode would be more enjoyable and more achievable.
Our game will essentially be the same whether played by one person or two people, although there are some differences. The amount of items dropped and enemies spawned will directly relate to the amount of players, in order to ensure the game remains challenging. This is a game play element that we are taking directly from Streets of Rage; although difficulty is similarly determined in all co-operative games.
In Streets of Rage, there is an alternate game ending that can only accessible once the game has been completed in co-operative mode. This is also seen in Double Dragon. We could replicate this in our game and create an achievement for unlocking both endings. An advantage of having our game connected to a server is that we can implement an awards system, as seen with XBOX Live Achievements and PlayStation Network (PSN) trophies, for completing certain conditions within the game.
These conditions could potentially include rewards for; the ability to defeat an amount of enemies within a predetermined timeframe, rewards for speedy completion of levels, and reward players that are able to defeat a string of enemies consecutively, which is a theme that exists in titles such as Resident Evil 4 (2005). These achievements therefore add additional replay value, as players are not only attempting to surpass their own high score, but that of their friends. Within the game our players will be able to gain reward points, accumulated by defeating enemies. These points will also be integrated into a tailor-made online ranking system that will be openly available online.
As well as an ending, Streets of Rage also includes an animated intro sequence, as seen here.
(Link : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hikFCwduCIQ). In older games like the original Streets of rage, the animation was much simpler, due to less sophisticated technology being readily available to developers. In order to set up the story line of the game, the animated introduction sequence relies heavily on a text-based narrative. The same can also be said for setting up the back story of the characters, for example, one assumes one is familiar with the characters in Streets of Rage, (Adam, Axel and Blaze) whom are all ex-cops, as this plot device is stated clearly from the outset via text, as the animated intro comes to a close.
We will make use of motion capture data we have gained in order to create animation cycles for each of our playable characters as well as our enemies. These animation cycles will include the main attacks of the protagonists, which consist of both a punch and kick special move. We may additionally decide to include both high and low versions of each move, with differing levels of range and damage (high-kick/low-kick, high-punch/low-punch); as is the case in most “beat’em’ups”. We could also include a combo system in order for our player to chain attacks together, thus creating a stronger, more aesthetically interesting fighting experience. The use of combos was first seen in Street Fighter 2 (1991) and has become a staple game element within fighting games ever since. Although implementing a combo system would drastically improve the playability of our game, it may be unrealistic to achieve within the time we have. We may decide to include special abilities for our playable characters. Mortal Kombat (1992) is paramount example of this. The entertainment value exhibited within Mortal Kombat relies on its interesting and diverse fighting styles. Finishing moves (or fatalities) are an element of that has been present in every Mortal Kombat release to date. Upon defeating their opponent, the victor is given a limited period of time for what is essentially a free hit. In this time the player can attempt to press the correct button combination in order to initiate their playable characters fatality animation sequence. These fatalities are unique from character to character and game to game, and are unlocked alongside achievements for successful play, e.g., an undefeated streak.
In the original Mortal Kombat, the fundamental game play consists of one-on-one fighting scenarios in front of a fixed background, which conclude when one player depletes the other player’s health points, represented by a ‘bar’. The fights are structured into rounds that determine the over-all winner, best two-out-of-three and so forth. When Mortal Kombat was first released, the backgrounds, in front of which the players fought, were a lot more simplistic than in contemporary texts. The same could be said about the fighting system, as other than different special abilities, the characters were limited by a shortage of move variety. In Streets of Rage however, the levels were much bigger and consisted of much greater detail. The fighting system was also more complex, including combo moves such as throw/grapple attacks. Although these are both fighting games, they rely on different game play elements in order to create effective playability, and are very influencial texts in their own rights.
We will use a HUD (Head-up display) system that has a health bar that shows the player / players current hit points. HP will decrease when attacked and only recover when the player starts a new life, completes the level or picks up an extra health item, as seen in Zelda: Link to the past with the (1991)
We could use a regenerative HP system that causes the health of the player to increase as time goes on, provided they allow ample time for it to do so. This system of heath ‘regen’ can be seen in games such as Call Of Duty: Black Ops (2010). Although, as the game we are making will be side scrolling, this would cause problems as there will be waiting time when enemies are spawning and the character is moving to the next part of the level. This might make game progression too easy if the player recovers too much health between each checkpoint.
The HUD system in Streets of Rage is fairly simple. It includes a health bar, timer, lives and points. We will therefore be replicating this in our game. In the original Streets of Rage, only the boss enemies are given names and a health bar, that appears on the player’s HUD. This however was changed in the subsequent franchise releases, whereas the standard enemies were also given individual names, as well as a health bar.
The enemies in titles such as Streets of Rage and Castlevania (1986) are re-used throughout the game, although they increase in difficulty as you reach a higher level. This increase in difficulty is sometimes signified by a small change in appearance of the enemy, such as base colour of their outfit or the weapon they are carrying. This can be seen within Altered Beast (1988) where the bosses are essentially identical structurally, with the exception of the difference in colour scheme.
These changes are aesthetic only and the difficulty of the enemies will be determined by the amount of health they have, the amount of damage they give out, or their speed. We will replicate this within our game. In order to create some variation between enemies and game play we will create an enemy with a ranged attack. This will allow our character to make use of the environment to gain cover from these attacks. An example of this can be found within Gauntlet (1985), where the common enemies solely relied on melee attacks, the “demons” had the ability to shoot fireballs, preventing the player from fleeing unharmed.
After defeating an enemy we will implement a system that randomly drops item pick-ups such as extra health, extra lives and extra special ability points. We may also give our playable characters a ranged attack. If that comes to fruition then we would also include an ammo pick-up or other ranged weapons for our playable characters to use. Other pick-ups we could use include; double points item, a timed invincibility item, faster walk speed item, etc. These power-ups, colloquially referred to as “buffs”, can be found throughout a wide variety of game titles, regardless of genre. For example, Super Mario Bros. includes a power-up ‘star’ that grants the player immunity from damage for a short period of time. An example of an entirely different genre that utilises power-ups is that of racing games. The famous Mario ‘star’ is additionally used in Mario Karts in order to gain the same ability. Blur (2010), a contemporary text, also contains a shield buff that presents damage from shunts and ranged weapon attacks.
As previously stated, we will use a boss enemy at the end of each stage to signify the stage is complete. These bosses will range in difficulty between stages, as seen in many games such as Altered Beast. (1988)
Game brief and overview
Third person, side scrolling
Fast paced, arcade style beat ‘em up
Single Player and Two Player Coop (1 Male Character, 1 Female Character)
Revenge against Faceless organisation
Three suburban levels, each level with several areas/sections to fight enemies
Three boss characters
Three types of enemies – assorted to three colours (Blue, Green, Red) according to difficulty
Kick, Jump, Punch, Walk, Run and Block Moves
Special areas for gunfights
Pick-ups including Health, Guns, Ammunition and Power-Ups for special attacking moves
Online Reward and Badge system
Second play-through – Character on fire, increased damage but time limit
Tuesday 14th February (Week 3)
Group Meeting – Individual aims and outcomes:
Create initial character concepts for ‘Playable Female’(5 hours)
Finalise basic model mesh(5 hours)
Continue research towards the contextual research essay(2.5 hours)
Blueprint level and storyboard level progression(2.5 hours)
Start to build level and create relevant game objects(5 hours)
Tuesday 21st February (Week 4)
Group Meeting – Individual aims and outcomes:
Finalise character concept for ‘Playable Female’(5 hours)
Finalise hi-poly mesh for unity integration (10,000 poly)(5 hours)
Finalise level for unity integration (10,000 poly)(5 hours)
Complete contextual research essay(5 hours)