Collaborative Lemmings/Worms RTS ideas

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Post: #1
Quote:Originally Posted by w_reade:
Lemming RTSÖ Oh yes! You could have one lemming under your control at all times with the keyboard, use the mouse for selecting different lemmings and giving them orders and switching to controlling them - or possibly you could be a super-lemming, with certain special abilities (the ones we want to do but can't write good AI for ).

Basically, you'd be a boss with hordes of slaves doing your bidding, and so would your opponentÖ

Big 2d side-on maps with, if it's feasible, a terrain engine that can handle cave-ins, and explosions that conserve debrisÖ I think it could be done, but I'd need to try it to see if it was actually doable. Fog of war would cover places you haven't observed, so you'll need to actively search for people mining the roof of your home cavern, sending it crashing down to bury everyoneÖ it'd be great.

We might need some sort of resource-collecting thing going on so players could get new lemmings and uses of abilities, but shorter games - with strictly limited (maybe no) extra resources - would be good too. Those games would probably usually come down to the two super-lemmings hunting each other through damaged tunnels. Which would also be a good thing. Those would be simple "kill the other super-lemming" affairs, but slightly more varied objectives could be managed in single-player.

For 1P, you could be fighting some sort of monsters (bigger/tougher than lemmings?), but would be able to have wars against other lemming armies for 2+ players?

Comments?

This was brought up in the Technical forum in a discussion about tetris/breakout style games that evolved into this post above.

I think it would be a wonderful project for a group on iDevGames to work on (perhaps even an Inkubator project) so I started this thread here.

I am completely willing to do as many or as few graphics as requested to help make this game come to life, but before we can even start talking graphics we need to know who might be interested and obviously have a bit more or a solid plan than a couple posts with some great ideas :-) Why am I still blabbering??! Come on everyone, let's come up with a design document.

I'm no programmer, but I think that GameRanger (or some similar service) support would be a must for the full 2-player experience, since we won't likely be able to create an AI as challenging as we'd like (though I'm sure some of you could, if you really wanted to)... the 'monsters' idea is a good one for a 1P mode, but for this to shine there needs to be some kind of networked 2-player mode.
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w_reade
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Post: #2
I would certainly be interested in doing thisÖ I may chill out from finally submitting MAFFia and code by cobbling together some sort of draft design doc. Excuse me while I plug my gameÖ

It's at http://www.btinternet.com/~julianreade/maffia.dmg . v1.0.1, New and Improved.

Öahem.

I think the area that needs most conceptual work is the resources one. I think the most hopeful dynamic at this early stage would be an infinite supply of lemmings, coming out of a hole in the sky, and something you need to collect to pay for uses of different abilities. The hole in the sky could be destroyed by the other team, but I feel victory in the basic game type should go to the last superlemming standing. Of course other game types would be possible - limited lemmings, limited "cash".

The superlemming would have a fair few unrestricted powers, to make one-on-one fights more interesting (and give the player a suitable sense of power).

All lemmings should have an unrestricted suicide ability that takes a while to use, and doesn't work (ie they just die without exploding) if they're hit while they're counting down. Then, the only way you could destroy the enemy base would be with a suicide gruntlemming. Could be interesting.

Working out what you can pick up to give you abilities would be interestingÖ in a funny sort of way, I reckon that a catch-all magic/mana explanation could deal with itÖ I don't think there's anything illogical about using magic to make guns :?.

Needs some workÖ

[edit - yes, multiplayer is a must]
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Post: #3
Has there been a 2D sidescrolling real time strategy game before? I guess in some small way the Vikings games were. But not like this. And I hardly know every game made so someone out there can probably list off a few. But still. This is an amazingly rich and original idea for something that comes from a combination of two existing games (or is it really only just lemmings, with some inspiration from worms?)

I remember in Jr. High my friend and I would get through spanish class by drawing little stick-figure IRS attack and defense plans. We would have all these little stick figures airdropping bombs on IRS buildings while men tunneled underneath to sneak up on the IRS building to take it out from underneath. And then we'd draw the IRS defenses... like the IRS building is a fake, and the real one is 200 ft. underground with a tunnel entrance through a tree-trunk. We'd draw guys with guns, and with rope, and with pick-axe's and bombs .... for some reason this game idea reminded me of that. It was fun. IRS, don't hate me! Smile
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Post: #4
I would be willing to help in programming. Would this be Obj-C Cocoa or something else? Unfortunately, I am not a very creative person, so I will leave all of the idea-making you those of you that are. So far I really like the concept and now I really want to find the copy of Lemmings I bought...
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w_reade
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Post: #5
Another brief thoughtÖ what if ability resources were gained from the bodies of lemmings (or monsters, on whatever team) that haven't suicided? Perhaps it shouldn't be the only source of resources, but it might be goodÖ there could be difficult monsters that you don't have to kill, but if you can you can harvest loads of cash-equivalent?

We'd need to be clever with grouping lemmings, thoughÖ I think it would be very important to make controlling your hordes as easy as possible, but as powerful as possible too. A tricky proposition, butÖ

About abilitiesÖ I think lemmings should probably be able to carry more than one abilityÖ perhaps if one merged little single-ability lemmings one could make bigger better ones with more slots? Abilities should be a mix of limited-use (grenades?) with permanent (grappling hook?) - that is, permanent until the slot is overwritten by a new ability.

Bigger lemmings would be tougher and have more abilities, but need stronger floors and wider tunnels to move around. Perhaps the previously-mentioned base-killing suicide would need a 5x lemming with no extra abilities? (ie 5 slots, still all containing suicide). It'd basically be a vulnerable short-range heavy weaponÖ

The superlemming could perhaps regain health only by merging with its own smaller lemmings?

I'm liking the idea of living things as resources more and moreÖ maps could have finite or infinite: starting creatures; wandering-monster sources; enemy-monster sources; lemming sources. It could easily be done as "sucking mana out" or something, which allows us the opportunity for nice little Soul Reaver style particle effects.

Not such a brief thought in the endÖ

[edit - grammar]
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jamie
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Post: #6
Sounds like a very cool idea, I've always been a big lemmings fan. Never played worms though, sounds like I've been missing out on a good thing.

Anyway, I was thinking about the supply of lemmings. What if the supply is not unlimited but if both sides started with the same amount. And when a lemming on side A dies for whatever reason, side B gets a new one added? I like the idea of suicide lemmings but that could lead to all out suicide runs to over-run the other side quickly, might add a bit more strategy if you knew for everyone of your own lemmings you killed the other team got a new one added?

just a thought...
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w_reade
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Post: #7
My view on suicide-rushes was that, since a suicide lemming would fail to explode, and simply die, if it were hit, the suicide-rush tactic would be pretty useless anywayÖ it basically gives your enemy a whole load of bodies to plunder enough to fit out a bunch of stealthy-tunnelling-ninja-demolition-lemmingsÖ with bazookas. You, meanwhile, can't get access to the battlefield and have to send some of your few remining lemmings off with spud guns on risky mammoth-hunting expeditions so you can buy abilities while your numbers gradually drip-feed back up.

However, I reckon there are definite opportunities for resource-limited battlesÖ potentially players would simply merge with half their lemmings, slaughter the other half, suck the mana, tool up and go hunting. It'd be the "quick game" option I suspectÖ 2 minutes of preparation, 5 minutes of stalking, and a final battle of indeterminate length. A good contrast with the paranoid undermining strategy of the unlimited-resources game.

Good choice of different game rules/types is always an asset. Random maps would be goodÖ how hard that was would depend upon the terrain engine I suppose.
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Post: #8
Well, instead of outright giving team A's lemmings to team B when they die, why not allow team B to harvest the dead team A lemming as a resource to build a new lemming. Actually, this is precisely what w_reade said :-) I think that it is fair to trade-off the ability to kill a suicide lemming to prevent the explosion (and then you can tear apart his limbs and use them to make your own lemming... or, you know, whatever).... So if you send 20 suicide lemmings in to blow up an enemy base, the enemy can grenade them all in one shot and then make 7 lemmings of his own with the remaining lemming parts.

The more destructive the lemming-killing, the less lemming is left over to create a new lemming with. Stabbing a lemming would let you drag the whole thing back to your pool of biomass to add .95 lemming units to it. A grenade would leave something more like a third, and a suicide would completely eliminate both the lemming and those standing too close.

The biomass pool could grow as long as there is some biomass in it... and it could grow at a rate determined by the amount of biomass in it. If you have .5 lemming units of bimass in it, then it would take much longer to grow an army than if you have 5.5 lemming units in the pool. Dragging dead biomass into the pool would very advantageous. Also, you could wait at the start of the game (using your superlemming to set up defenses) to get more biomass quickly.

I agree, w_reade, having living things as resources is a great idea :-)

Having a limited amount of mana that grows could work. Have 10 mana to start, and to create a lemming from the biomass costs a mana point. Then to give it the "tunnel" ability *requires* a mana point, but only *costs* half a man point. The other half of the mana point is restored when the lemming dies or when you take away the lemming's ability. This way you are expending mana points, but you also have to manage a "stock" of mana points that don't completely go away. Of course, the actual values would be tweaked to economic perfection, my numbers are just examples. This would help balance the number of lemmings with the number of abilities.

I like the combined lemming idea, probably because my fave race is SC is the Protoss and I loved creating massive armies of Archons :-) The larger tunnels/stronger floors.

I can just imagine the floor caving in beneath a large lemming as he falls into a trap set by the enemy :-) To do this right though we would have to have pretty smart fog of war that would only show you tunnels that you have actually seen with one of your lemmings. Of course, there could be 'tunnel vision' abilities that allow lemmings to see further down tunnels (still limited to line of sight) or some kind of 'x-ray vision' ability which is more expensive but allows the lemming to see tunnels in a cicular area regardless of line of sight. You could then send a scout in with your massive lemming to check for such "thin floor" traps that a normal lemming wouldn't sense. Etc. Etc. Etc. :-)
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Post: #9
Yes, random maps. That had to be one of the coolest thigs about Worms. Nah, you can't beat bannana bombs and sheep ... but random maps is definitely a close second :-) The grappling hook would come in third :-)

So should mana come from lemmings, or should biomass come from lemmings? Or perhaps when you kill a lemming with an ability, the amount on mana spent on that ability is 'lost' to the player and whoever gets to the body first can harvest it for herself? Then what is to stop the player from quickly taking away a power that a lemming has before it dies? ...or how about abilities have to be granted and taken away by the Super Lemming player, i.e. the lemmings need to come to the Super Lemming to be granted powers, or else the Super Lemming needs to go to the lemmings. So a super lemming on the front lines would be quite advantageous, but it would also be very very risky! So when a lemming dies with mana, a player can drag the remains back to his super lemming to reap the mana and then drop it into the biomass pool so that it can fester with the rest to become a future lemming, or it can take it straight to the biomass pool. Then the Super Lemming would get all the mana stored up in the biomass pool whenever he visits the pool.
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Post: #10
Quote:Good choice of different game rules/types is always an asset.


Yes, definitely! I can see people wanting to play quick 10 minute death matches or long, super strategizing, base-building, multi-player most-paranoid-player wins type games that take as long as a good starcraft match. Maybe not *that* long, but who knows? Options! :-)

Okay, so what abilities can lemmings have? An incomplete list of possibilities:

(we can pick and choose and modify and add new ideas, etc.)

>Suicide explosion (every lemming comes with this)
>Extra-explosive suicide (costs extra/takes a slot)
>Merge ability (allows a lemming to merge with another lemming or with the player. The need for this ability makes it harder for 40 lemmings to run through a small tunnel, then merge on the other side and attack the enemy base, among other things)
>Tunnel vision (see further within LOS)
>X-Ray vision (see through walls within a radius)
>Infra-red (like X-ray vision, but you can only see where enemy troops are within a radius, you can't see tunnels)
>Parachute/Umbrella (fall from heights without splattering messily all over the place)
>Climb (climb vertical walls)
>Dig (dig down)
>Tunnel (dig vertically/diagnally)
>Grenader (fire a limited number of explosive grenades. Grenades can be on-impact or timed and are subject to gravity.)
>Duelist (come up with a better name for this. Gives the lemming limited but numerous bullets to fire).
>Jump (jump over short distances. Good for setting up defenses that only a prepared 'ninja' lemming can overcome.)
>Build bridges (build a short bridge to overcome pits. Can be dug through.)
>Build ramps (similar to a bridge, but with a veritcal incline. Can also be dug through)
>Stealth (this lemming would not be detected by other lemmings until it was very close. It can still be seen by infra-red and can be seen sooner by tunnel vision. Also gives the lemming with this ability a really cool ninja outfit ;-))
>Swords (this has a limited range, but unlimited use. Also, does allows for the best conservation of post-death lemming body part recovery.)
>Throwing stars (what's a good ninja lemming without 'em?! Limited in number, less range, but also conserves post-death lemming body parts well. Subject to gravity.)
>Mine Layer (mines will kill your lemmings as soon as the enemies, so don't go crazy with them! These will be difficult to spot (but still visible), and will stand out to lemmings with x-ray vision or infra-red.)

Some abilities would be lost when you stop using them, and will usually be of limited duration (the builders/tunnellers, for example.) Other abilities would remain until taken away or the lemming dies (swords), and others will go away when ammo runs out or when taken away or when the lemming dies (grenaders, duelists)
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w_reade
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Post: #11
vague ideaÖ how about: whenever you replace/remove an ability, sparkly mana comes out of the lemming and hangs around waiting to be collected. So doing it on the battefield is useless, but if you're behind the front lines you can just switch a lemming's abilities and suck up the spare mana without worrying.

Possibly only the superlemming could pick up mana, but peon-type lemmings (cheapest upgrade above suicide fodder) could collect biomass from battlefields and take it back to the pool. The whole biomass idea is brilliant.

In fact, good ideas all Smile. A grappling hook is a must. I also like only the superlemming being able to grant powers - it would tie in nicely with only the superlemming collecting mana.
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Post: #12
So what does a lemming with no abilities do? It should be able to punch and kick, then strangle an enemy when down. Punching a suiciding lemming wouldn't kill it right away, but a couple of blows should do the trick.

It would be humerous to watch a group of lemmings punching each other in a massive brawl and doing very little damage to each other. Then, an Ninja appears and chops off the heads of all its enemies in a series of fluid motions.
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Post: #13
I find it hard to imagine a lemming using a grappling hook (unless the player is specificially controlling it) because the AI might not know when/how to use it. The player should Definitely be able to have a grappling hook. And maybe we can offer the grappling hook ability to lemmings if players are willing to micro-manage them. Maybe only big lemmings can have them? Maybe they can carry smaller lemmings across in their arms?

Quote: vague ideaÖ how about: whenever you replace/remove an ability, sparkly mana comes out of the lemming and hangs around waiting to be collected. So doing it on the battefield is useless, but if you're behind the front lines you can just switch a lemming's abilities and suck up the spare mana without worrying.


That sounds good to me :-) I like sparkly special effects :-)
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Post: #14
Sounds...

It would be good if the player could hear primarily the sounds that are the lemmings on his screen can hear. There would still be faint sounds that all the rest of his lemmings could hear, too.

Picture this: you are digging a tunnel and you think you hear the faint sound of a pickaxe other than your own. You tell your lemmings to stop digging. You can still hear the sound of a ramp being formed in the distance, but you know that is you building off screen. There is still a faint digging sound. You realize what is happening and place a few mines and ready your ninjas as the digging gets louder. Then, all of a sudden, the tunnel opens up and your enemy sees you, is surprised, and then gets blown to bits when your ninja fires a throwing star at a mine, setting off a massive explosion.

Perhaps it would be near impossible for it to be so realistic that you would hear an enemy in a nearby tunnel and that its volume would reflect the amount of dirt between you and her ... but it sure would be cool.
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Post: #15
OK, so... base defense. Basically as I picture it, a base consists of nothing but a biomass pool so far. The pool can be destroyed only by a suicide, which means that you need to basically kill everything near the pool before you can destroy it. Sounds fair enough. But you could also sneak up and tunnel in behind/above/below it, drop in a suiciding lemming just in time to blow it up...

What else would a base contain? Or should I ask, what does it need?

How does a lemming form? It spawns from the biomass pool at a cost of mana. Does the superlemming need to be present??? (ideas anyone?)

How does a lemming gain abilities? The superlemming spends mana to grant them to a lemming. The lemming must have an available ability slot and the superlemming must be present.

Are all abilities available immediately? They probably shouldn't be. Do we need to construct "buildings" to learn to grant certain abilities? Works for me. Maybe the 'buildings' need to be built from biomass too?

That leaves "biomass" and "mana" as the resources in the game. Both grow at a given rate. Biomass can be gained depending on "what the cat drags home" (that is, what lemmings bring back from battles) and it also grows as long as there is some biomass present. Mana can be recovered by the superlemming from sparkly areas (left behind by lemmings leaving abilities) and also is replenished over time. Therefore both resources are by default unlimited overall, but you will have a limited supply of each at any time. Should there be a max cap of mana or biomass? Should there be any other resources?
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