Professional Wrestling Games

Lazlo
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Post: #1
I am a wrestling fan. Most people say wrestling is fake, to which I say "It is entertainment, its something to watch, like South Park or Farscape, which are faker than wrestling". Anyway, wrestling fake/real is like mac-vs-pc, and I don't want a flame war our hands, so I will get to my point.

Professional wrestling games have been very poor in their last few incarnations. WWF RAW for xBox had potential, but when it was released it left far too much to be desired. Wrestling games have always been more of a Street Fighter like game than a true-to-life wrestling match, and even the story modes (none in Raw, semi-okay one in Smackdown1-3) are still only mild and don't do the shows they are based on justice.

After putting alot of thought into it, I have found that a wrestling game (not to mention most sports games) are a great test bed for many different video game technologies (crowd simulation, skeletal animation, cloth rendering, high quality textures and models, role playing designs, business modeling, level of detail techniques, partical effects for fireworks, etc).

In this post I will take you thru each of the above listed techs and how they could/can be put to use in a wrestling game.

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Crowd Simulation : Crowds are a major part of any sport. Without an audience, there can be no event. Simulating a crowd may not seem easy, but I believe that for a realistic movement of a crowd, a 2D coordinate system could be used. Each person in the audience would be a dot on a 2D plane, each having a sphere around them making them move away from other dots, like wrestlers and even security guards. If a wrestler moved toward a barracade, the security guard dots would move into position and push back the crowd, and then let them back into their origional positions when the wrestlers move away. If the wrestlers went into the crowd, the guards would keep the crowd away from any danger.

The crowd in the arena would have to be broken up into segments of maybe 20-25 people each. Each section would have a number of different levels of detail. Maybe 10ft, 20ft, 40ft, 80ft, 160ft+. From 40 and up the crowd could simple be flat billboard-type crowds that are found in most wrestling games (even RAW on the xBox, weird). Audience members would still be lower detail than the wrestlers. At 160ft, the sections of the crowd would just be a flat shape with a texture.

Crowd cheers are one thing that has yet been done right, but it is understandable. Truly dynamic cheers in any sports game seem next to impossiable, unless you have an RPG like system implemented that the crowd engine can syphon data from for calculations.

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RPG System : You may be asking yourself, "Why would an RPG system be needed in a Wrestling game?". Wrestling is a soap opera of sorts, though I would like to see people on Days of our Lives do a Moonsault from the top turnbuckle and land on their feet. Having RPG-style stats could build for more interaction between in-game wrestlers.

All wrestlers would use some basic stats. Strength, dexterity, intelligence, technical, and speed. Other stats would be...

Attitude (positive-to-negitive scale), which could be a big part of wrestlers starting fueds with eachother. Attitude could also be used on a per-wrestler basis, where some wrestlers like eachother, while others hate eachother. Wrestlers in Stables (3-5 person teams) would have a shared Attitude, which would effect if they interfere in matches to help eachother.

Risk (percent scale), shows how risky a wrestler would be with moves. A wrestler that takes low risks would not do many High Risk maneuvers, nor would he/she climb to the top rope. Risk would also depend on Dexterity and Technical abilities. Someone with more balance has a better chance in performing more High Risk moves without risking their body. The Hardy Boys are a good example of this type of wrestler.

Injurys can also affect a wrestler. Neck, legs, arms, shoulders, ribs, etc. All have major effects.

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Business Modeling : I have always felt that a Wrestling Business simulator (SimWWF) would be better than a Wrestling Fighting game. I want to be the owner, signing talent, setting up cards (matches), designing the set and video screen area, hiring camera men and photographers, getting arena and television contracts, holding pay-per-view events, sending wrestlers on tours, and trying to keep the company in business.

This business simulation could also lead to an online Promotion War (like WWF vs WCW vs ECW back in the 90s).

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Now there are things in current games that would be brought over, like Create-A-Wrestler, but other things would need to be added, like Create-A-Pyro, add your own Wrestler-Opening Video, theme songs, show openers. Basically, full customization.


Yes, a wrestling simulator, from what I have posted, is a great undertaking, but the rewards are almost unlimited in the eyes of wrestling fans. Being able to set up their own WWF Raw, WCW Nitro, or Wrestlemanias on their computer and have them act like a TV show rather than just another game is the dream of any wrestling mark (fan).
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Founder
Posts: 1,139
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #2
That was a very interesting post. As I gew up in CT (home of the WWF) I was a fan when I was a kid. My cousin even fought in the WWF as the Caveman. "Tony Atlas", if you are a fan, you will know who he is, hurt him and he was out of wrestling forever. It is interesting to see the progression that wrestling made from those days to what it is today. About a year ago, my wife and I started to watch WWF (and Alliance) and we liked the out-side ring stuff. Lately though, we are getting a tad tired of it.

Anyhow, your idea on the crowd is interesting. I like the SimWWE idea even more. It would be interesting to not only control everything like Vince, but to also have a hand in the characters themselves, like Sim People. Throw in the AI from the "Creature" series (most advanced AI) and that would be a good game I think.

You should create a design document and then look around for some programmers and artists.

Cheers

Carlos A. Camacho,
Founder
iDevGames
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Feanor
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Post: #3
At first I wasn't sure what to think of it, since I'm not a wrestling fan. But I'll admit that the soap opera element can sometimes be engrossing (note choice of words). Smile

However, your post in fact is a very good idea and I almost worry that the idea would get poached, since I imagine you'd almost have to do such a game commercially. It's almost like a whole bunch of games in one, except that there is really good reasoning behind combining them all. And while it would at first be weird to switch between business manager and wrestler-controller, it would of course ensure that you were involved in everything and the game was always engaging.

This could be the birth of the next level of sports game simulations! Especially the business and the soap opera parts, I love that.

FÎanor
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Lazlo
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Post: #4
I rented Tony Hawk and loved the idea of the Scatepark Editor, and then started to think of a Stage/Arena editor for a wrestling game.

With the money you earn you can do shows in larger places. Once you build up to small arena status, or places with rooms big enough to house a set, you could buy ramps, video screens, pyro designs, sound systems, set objects which could be made by the community like how models are made for FPS games. Sort of like The Sims, but with building sets. Sets can also play a roll in what happens in the match. I personally liked the WWF's SummerSlam sets, the double oval video screens, one on top of the other. Shane did an elbowdrop onto the Big Show from the senter of the upper screen. I think it was 30ft, but I would have to review the tape.

The nice thing about external model support is that new weapons could be made as well, new objects for the superstars. Stylized announcers tables, rings (pro wrestling squared circle, UFC octagon). Different rings could be an option, so one could have ropes, one with no ropes, one with barbed wire ropes, cage, Hell in a Cell, Wargames (2 rings, cage all around). Matches could have basic scripting for the rules.

I have a feeling that a game of this type could, in theory, be made with the Quake1 engine. *gasp* It already has the speed and an open codebase (both the engine code and the game code/quakeC). Many people have already added some things to the engine. Level of Detail for handling the crowd segments, wrestlers, and the stage. Shaders have also been implemented in many Quake based engines, including the now defunct eQuake on the Mac. Shaders have the ability to remove alot of geometry by doing simple OpenGL filtering techniques. The 1990s style "WWF Raw Titantron Steel Frame" could be done with around 32 triangles. And that is at ANY level of detail. With processor speed saved on geometry data (hell, even hardware T&L is releaved), alpha data could be used to determin how a wreslters hand placement should be for climbing onto the Titantron. The rest of the Titantron geometry would have to be different.

The AI would have to be crafted with care and play tested alot in order to get it right. Thru playtesting, base characters could be created that could be downloaded, saving players the time of creating a superstar from scratch. This would also allow players to start at different parts in the business. From the Beginning (ecw), Into The Thick of Things (WWF stature), Close Competition (WWF vs WCW in the 90s).

The game itself as well as the makers website couldn't offer actual wrestlers as that would be copyright infringment, but that doesn't stop outside model makers. Just no large community wide mods like the old "Aliens" mod for Quake 1 that got "FOXED". Or the DragonBall Z Quake3 mod called "Bid for Power" that got hosed by Funimation.

The voices of the superstars themselves could be almost like what The Sims did. Blah blah, bo blah blah blah. Works for that game, almost like watching a subtitled movie. Conversations between wrestlers and managment could be automation, where the AI would determin the best direction to take, and what would/could make ratings better. That is, if the superstar is loyal enough.

If you don't use talent, even top card talent, they could no-show on you. They could even come in and screw with you (austin pouring cement into vinces car).

There would be the mechanics to have total control (well, minus controling the crowd). Book a finish (The Rock wins via pintfall after his Finisher), script specific spots to be done in a match (roughly 7minutes into the match Undertaker chokeslams The Rock). Even set up an interference to swerve the crowd (HHH runs in on Rock/Taker match and hits Taker with a Sledge Hammer, Rock does Peoples Elbow afterward). Even set up events after the match (HHH hits Rock with Sledge Hammer). Backstage interviews and conversations could also be multiple choice.

Each event would have options to choose. If a wrestler is injured, you could either not talk about him, do updates, or even push him as a good guy to raise the chances of the crowd liking him/her when they return. Announce return dates for injured stars to raise attendance numbers and buy rates at shows, or better yet PPVs.

I am trying to remember what game had a conversation setup that let you select "Emotional" options as to how to react to the NPC characters. I think Return to Zork had this. Maybe Hell, and even Angel Devoid. And I have all of these games, but the Hell CD has a glitch on it.

For the most advanced part, you could just have it run on it's own for a day and have it generate multiple shows for you to watch.

Even more detailed RPG stats could be used, like character traits and personalities, skills and abilities. I usually looks towards the RPG called RIFTS for great personality and gimmick-type generation, and then there is the text based wrestling simulator called TNM7 (http://www.TNM7.com, I am not affiliated with them in any way, shape, or form, and anyway, it is PC only) which has enough stats for a small simulator, but not enough to make it realistic enough.

Like I said in my first post, wrestlers would have positive or negitive attitudes/loyalty for other wrestlers and even the managment. One wrestler could also be flaged as the Owner. Hell, Owner/CEO could also be a title to be held, since ownership of the current WWE has be passed around alot, between Vince, Shane, Flair, and now 100% back to vince.

I'm not sure if it would be possiable to duplicate Mick Foley in a computer game though (Mankind, Cactus Jack, Dude Love, know for his classic Hell in a Cell match with Undertaker).

Would love to hear some more thoughts, ideas, and suggestions.
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Founder
Posts: 1,139
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #5
Don't forget, the factor of injuries. Put on a crazy match and you may get your wrestler's hurt, thus out for a few weeks and that affects ticket sales.

Wow, a lot could be done with this idea...

Carlos A. Camacho,
Founder
iDevGames
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Lazlo
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Post: #6
"This could be the birth of the next level of sports game simulations!"

I call it the next level in gaming period. Look at the games by Maxis. They have gone from City control in SimCity, to world simulation in SimEarth, life simulations with SimLife and The Sims. Years ago Will Wright stated that he wanted to combine all of these elements, but has yet come thru with his original dream.

The Wolf3D and Doom games by ID Software were major leaps in the area of 3D games, but Quake 1 was the first and still only game to have such a vast open architecture†for creating maps, modifications, models, and even movies (Seal of Nehahra is a 4 hour movie made and played within a modified Quake1 engine, http://www.planetquake.com/nehahra). Quake 2 switched over to C based game code rather than QuakeC, and Quake 3 used ANSI C which was sort-of in the middle of C and QuakeC, since you didn't need a comercial compiler like CodeWarrior to make the data files (just like the old QuakeC). This switch from a nice open and easy to use code to a more high-end code was what greatly reduced the content community. I am not a C coder, only work with PHP (which is a great language for web design, hell, it could even be used as game scripting code), but learning to use QuakeC was very simple and I made a few weapon mods.

Now ID is working on DOOM 3, and while the graphics for this game are amazing, I doubt that it will be make an impact like Quake 1 did. Go check out WWF Raw for the xBox, the graphics in that are amazing, yet they really dicked the WWF fans on options and gameplay. We are at the point where games are not just displays of great graphics. I know ID is putting more into the single player aspect for Doom3, but we already had that with Half Life, which is basically just the Doom storyline anyway. Orginization opens gateway to alienworld or hell, and all hell breaks loose. Yadda yadda, same old same old. And I think we have had enough with Tetris clones as well.

Then there is the mass of new MMORPGs on the horizon. Star Wars and Matrix are coming along. Asherons Call 2 by Microsoft, and the rumored online version of Final Fantasy. Too many to care about anymore.

Companys are craming all of these copy-cat games down out throats, and even shareware and freeware game developers are making games that are just carbon copies of old and overdone games. Quake 3 Arena, Unreal Tournament. Baulders Gate, Never Winter Nights.

But I digress.

A wrestling game brings multiple genres together in a very interesting way. The sports elements of the wrestling, story elements and character building/interaction of classical RPGs, business managment and control like Sim games, and the open-architecture for almost endless game expansion. I could even see a content updater like the software updaters found in MacOS X.
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Lazlo
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Post: #7
"Don't forget, the factor of injuries. Put on a crazy match and you may get your wrestler's hurt, thus out for a few weeks and that affects ticket sales."

Injurys don't have to be durring crazy matches either. Anyone here remember the Owen Hart incident? He was going to ride a cable down to the ring, but he didn't slow down and slamed into the ring, died on impact. Or Austin getting hit by that car durring Survivor Series 1999. He saught revenge for that and hunted out the person who ran him over, who turned out to be Rikishi who was hired to it by Triple H.

The Owen Hart thing was a very sad time for the company, and for the entire industry. The Austin thing was more of a stunt to have a reason to put austin out on vacation for a few months, build up more stars, and let austin rest for awhile.

But yes, injurys would play major parts in a players talent pool, and in how your wrestlers react to you trying to put them in almost carrer ending matches. Misusing talent is another factor. To push a wrestler to a high status, and then suddenly stop using him, or trying to have him/her job to (lose to) some new wrestler, could result in that wrestler not wanting to work for you anymore. If he goes, his fanbase goes as well. Lower card wrestlers (non-main eventers) wouldn't mind being told to lose matches to newer talent, as long as they get paid and get to perform in front of the crowd.
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Lazlo
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Post: #8
Here are some example screenshots of WWF RAW for XBox. keep in mind, these are running in game at a fluid 60fps.

Kane's Fire Blast Ring Enterance

THE ROCK!!!!

Undertaker coming out with Motorcycle

Rope Physics

Wide Arena Shot

Edge with Chair, and Jericho going to top turnbuckle

You may need to delete the cookies from ign.com and mediaserve.ign.com so the subscription page doesn't keep loading up after 3 image views..


Only problem with the character animations is that they are not realistic enough. All of the people waddle around or have bull legs. ID Software goes nuts trying to NOT have this in their games, but a wrestling game trying to look as authentic as possiable skips over that. Shows where priorities are in the game industry.
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ibullard
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Post: #9
Quote:Originally posted by Feanor
[snip] However, your post in fact is a very good idea and I almost worry that the idea would get poached, since I imagine you'd almost have to do such a game commercially.[snip]
FÎanor
Contrary to what many people believe, game ideas are a dime a dozen. It's the implementation that counts. You'd also be surprised how many people have the same ideas for a game.

That said I think Lazlo has a good idea in the rough. I agree with Carlos, you should get a design document together and try to get some programmers and artists. Whatever you do, don't pitch it to a game company because they take immediate ownership of all game design documents sent to them even if they never plan on making the game.
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