Created: 10/6/2013 7:31:00 PM
Updated: 10/6/2013 7:31:00 PM

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Jack's Design Document

Century of War

Game Design

Game Mechanics

Every turn, players will use their cards and their army units in a race to capture the opposing players HQ. Each turn can be divided up into the following phases:

1) Draw phase. At the start, each player will draw 5 cards into their hand. And every turn thereafter, at the start of the turn, they will draw cards until they have 5 cards in their hand (unless blocked by special card effects or they run out of cards). This means both players should always have 5 cards at the start of the turn. The computer will automatically draw cards for the player until they have 5 in their hand.

2) Resource calculation phase. The computer will update the players current resource numbers based on the previous turns orders and card usages and card effects and display these numbers as available resources to the player.

The next three phases are interchangeable as the player will issue 3 different types of orders. But the orders will by calculated by the computer in the following order.

3) Resource allocation order. Resources can be used to train new army units. Two types of basic army units: (footsoldier and snipers). Footsoldiers wear heavier body armor than snipers. Snipers wear less armor for better mobility and for better camouflage. Snipers attack faster than footsoldiers and at longer range. Resources can also be used to increase the production of six different types of resources: oil, wheat, wine, rice, gold, and iron. Every nation in this game will specialize in 2 of the six different types of resources and they will be able to obtain the other types of resources through the creation or capture of non-HQ cities. Resources are used to determine card usage costs.

4) Card usage order. Cards will be played out on the game board. Cards will have the following targets or will have a “global” target.

Card targets:

1) Army units (can be restricted to air units, land units, sea units), can also be limited to friendly, neutral, or enemy units.

2) Terrain: one square of the map, one X or +, a 3 x 3 diamond, etc.

3) Global: card affects the entire map or affects one or more player’s resource pool or cards

4) Cities

5) Headquarters

Army units and terrain and global variables will be modified based on card plays.

5) Movement orders. Every player-controlled unit will be given movement orders (or the player may choose to have them hold their position or stand still).

6) Discard order. Each player has the option of discarding one card from their hand. They do not draw additional cards until their next turn. This is to get rid of cards that seemingly have no use to them at the moment or the resource cost to use them is too high so they will try to draw more cards they can use next turn.

7) Confirmation. Both players will lock their orders in place. When one player has confirmed their orders, the other player must also confirm their orders within a grace period (agreed upon by both players before the game starts, this grace period could be as little as 15 seconds, 1 minute, or unlimited if the players choose to do so).

8) After players have confirmed their orders, the computer will allocate the resources, play out the cards, move the units, and then initiate combat in that order. If cards or units come into conflict, then the player that has the “initiative” (the player that currently moves first) has precedence over the other player. Suppose their is an assassinate card that allows one player to kill a single army unit. The player with initiative decided to use this card on one unit. But the second player without initiative wanted to give that unit improved armor the same turn. When the assassinate card is played out, the unit that was targeted dies and it does not get the improved armor at all. Suppose the situation were reversed and the player that wanted to buff his unit had the initiative. Then he would be able to buff his unit and prevent the assassination attempt. Usually, the player with initiative has a serious advantage because  of their ability to play their cards first. But sometimes it can also be advantageous to go second as we’ll describe later. Initiative can be swapped through the course of the game based on the capture of cities, based on certain or the number of cards played, or based on the number of opposing army units killed last turn.

9) Combat is calculated by the computer. The computer allows the player with initiative to have their units attack first. Snipers attack before footsoldiers unless precedence is changed by cards. If two equally sized armies with same health pools, attack ratings, armor, and morale, and combat experience initiate combat. The player with initiative will always win. The equal vs equal situation will rarely apply though unless we’re talking about one on one combat. More than likely, players will have buffed or debuffed units accordingly to give them advantages in battle. Although it is pretty important to have initiative, it will not always decide the outcome of a battle and a healthy number of buffs will give the player with no-initiative the victory in battle over a non-buffed group.

10) After combat the computer will check how many units died this turn and on which side and send them to the graveyard. All cards that were played will also go to the graveyard never to be used again. Special cards may prevent units (or cards) from going to the graveyard after combat. Like a “near death” or “fake death” card that keeps units alive even after they’ve been seemingly killed in combat.

11) The computer will also check if one or more cities have been captured this turn after combat. Cities are not captured during the movement phase until all possible combat is resolved. Certain cards may also block armies from moving into capture a city. When a city is capture, the conquerer is allowed to dedicate its citizenry to produce one of the six types of resources so that they can be used to allow additional cards to be played next turn. A captured city also generates 1 recruit every 2 turns that can become a sniper or a footsoldier. Friendly cities may also become the target of “friendly city” cards.

12) After combat is fully resolved and captured city resources are assigned, the next turn begins. Any temporary effects that only last a limited number of turns will wear off at the start of the next turn.

13) The game ends when one players units capture the opposing players HQ or by concession or mutual agreement to a draw. If both players units move into the opposite HQ in the same turn and stay alive, then the game is also declared a draw.

Core Game Play

The core game play is

1) collecting the cards needed for a deck

2) building a successful deck

3) picking a nation with their special resources

4) deciding which types of resources to produce and which types of and how many army units to train

5) deciding which cards to play and on which targets and which cards to discard and

6) deciding which direction to move army units or whether to hold a position.

Game Flow

Here’s the typical course of a game. At the start both players will begin with 2 footsoldiers and 2 snipers inside their HQ. Their HQ will also include 6 untrained units. One of the these 6 units may be used to gather one of the nation’s 2 specialty resources per turn. The other 5 units may be reserved for future use or be added to the standing army of 4. Actually an army “block” will be limited to a group of 8 so only 4 can be added and so you will always have at least one untrained unit on reserve in the HQ at the opening of the game. Additional untrained units will be recruited into the HQ at a rate of 1 every 4 turns (but at the start of the game, the next unit will arrive after 3 turns instead of 4 - balancing issue). Each player should move their first initial group of 4-8 outside their HQ in an attempt to capture the closest “neutral” city. The player will play low-resource cards to buff their army units or alternative debuff enemy units. High resource cards used to summon tanks, fighter jets, and big bombs into play may not be used in opening turns unless the required resources are met. Opening turn resource production may be sped up by capturing close cities quickly or by using special cards to boost resource production. Most cards in the 1 to 2 resource range will not have an overwhelming effect on the early game (except resource production boosters which can set you up big time next turn). As players increase their resource production, more powerful cards can be used. Units summoned or buffed with a card having a resource requirement of 3 will without a doubt dominate an opposing unit in one vs one combat (unless they are similarly buffed). Cards with a 4 resource cost will also take on a group of 2 rather easily. Cards will be balanced somewhat in this fashion: 1 basic unit somewhat equals 1 resource and 2  slightly buffed units = 4 resources. When players are able to use cards in the 4+ range, that is when there will be very powerful effects or units summoned. A card with a resource cost of 4 can be used to instant kill any unit in the game (unless they are protected with certain types of buffs). Cards with resource costs of 5 and 6 can be used to severely weaken or damage an army. Cards with a cost of 7 can both damage and delay an army. Cards with 8 can remove a an entire army grooup from the game (temporarily or permanently). Cards with costs 9 and above have extremely powerful effects that possibly affect multiple groups  or multiple portions of a map. There will only be a limited number of cards 9, 10 and above as these super powerful cards will be very difficult to balance.

Every map will have 1 to 3 cities close to your HQ and 1 to 3 cities close to enemies HQ. There may or may not be a “central city” where armies can clash. If a central city exists, it may become the focal point of the game in the early game and whoever takes the central city will have good momentum going forward into the middle-late game. So the early game is about resource allocation and sending 1 to 3 armies to capture the closest cities with the largest army usually assigned to take on the central city if it exists. Cities may also be bypassed entirely in a rush to reach the enemies HQ but this has the downside of slower resource production and less army recruits (recruits can be trained faster at a captured city versus the HQ). Again, the army that is first at pushing into the enemy HQ and surviving wins the game even if a bunch of other army units are left throughout the game board. So if you capture the enemy HQ you win and if you allow someone to enter your undefended HQ then you’re a goner (loser).

There may be rewards offered to game winners (such as rating point increases or even card prizes).

The loser may suffer rating point losses (unless game is unranked) but may receive a consolation prize (cards to be determined) even if they lose. One idea to keep people playing is to offer a single free card whether you win or lose but the winner may get 2 cards instead of one or have the opportunity (additional luck) to get rarer cards.

Characters

Basic Army units: footsoldiers and snipers

Tanks

Fighter Jets

Submarines

Statistics:

Armor

Attack

Health

Speed

Morale

Level/Experience

These are the actors in the game controlled by the players or the AI. This should include a brief description and any applicable statistics. Statistics should be on a rating scale i.e. A to Z or Low to High, so that it’s clear where units stand in relation to each other in broad terms. It’s a waste of time plugging in the actual numbers until the programmers have written the technical specification and created an environment for you to experiment with the numbers. Special talents or abilities beyond the statistics should be listed and briefly described, but if they are complex, they should be expanded upon in the game play Elements section.

Game Play Elements

The player can interact with the game menus, the cities, the HQs, the units themselves, the cards, the terrain, the global environment, and the graveyard. There will also be a matchmaking lobby and an attached deckbuilder program. A card trading system and card purchasing system also needs to be set up.

Game Physics and Statistics

Terrain is pseudo-randomly generated on a square-tile based map. Terrain can be plains, mountains, lake, desert, swamp, ice, forest, barren land, wasteland, toxic radioactive dump, etc.

Army units move from tile to tile and normally do not cross water or mountain squares. Submarines may be played in water squares. Mountains may be tunneled to be land-accessible. Army units normally do not “collide” but when they fight they will be adjacent to each other on the tiles. Army units on opposing sides will initiate combat when adjacent to each other.

As for the cards themselves we want them to have special effects when played such as flips, rotations, or whirls. Terrain changes and creation may also have special “rising” and such effects. We want the game to look realistic and not cartoony. Terrain will be very detailed and we want our forests to be look lush. And for birds to be flying around. We also want our army units to move correctly and across the board as they would in real life. Tanks wouldn’t be able to climb mountains or go into water for example (unless its a hovercraft tank).

Artificial Intelligence

Initially there will be no AI or a dummy AI (a computer player that issues no commands each turn) In the future, we may create an AI that mimics an actual person using cards but this will be very complex.

Multiplayer

Initially this game will be one vs one. The game board and view will be somewhat  symmetrical so that it looks fair for both sides. Players will have the option of choosing symmetrical or assymetrical maps to play on. Players will have the option of setting game time limits and grace limits on how much time is allowed a player when the other player has already confirmed their moves (so games do not get dragged out and players do not intentionally stall)

User Interface

The requirements for the user interface are as follows:

* Less is more. We want the user interface to be very minimalistic. Elements that do not directly impact gameplay should be hidden or on a submenu. The most essential elements will always be visible.

*Essential elements

1) Current hand. The gui should always show the player’s current hand of cards.

2) Game board and units on board. The game will show the tiled squares and the units placed upon the board.

3) Resource pool indicators. The player will be shown his current resources and # of cards used and # of cards remaining. There will also be a trash heap to dump unneeded cards. (Note trash heap can become a recycling factory).

*Non-essential elements

1) text chat/voice chat. players should be able to communicate with other players while playing. This includes the opposing players and players in the game lobbies and players in their guild or alliance. However, this is non-essential and can be turned off. We want the game board and the cards themselves to have the priority and the emphasis. Some players will be very talkative while many players will prefer making “silent moves” and concentrate on strategic use of cards and unit movement. We will accomadate both styles of play and also those in between.

2) Game menus: Menus like turning music/sound on/off graphic quality options and even the option to concede or draw a game should be on a submenu. People should be encouraged to play their games all the way through. Throwing in the towel should be at least two or three clicks on different areas of the screen to avoid a misclick.

3) Alliances/guilds: To foster the growth of a player community, there will be a menu for guilds as well. The basic guild will have leaders/officers and regular members. guilds can earn special rewards and can represent themselves in tournaments.

4) Game messages: Bugs and invalid card/movement orders may be fed back to the player so they can make corrections.

*Control scheme

1) Mouse/pointer. Most gameplay will be done by dragging and dropping.

2) Keyboard instructions. A keyboard shorthand can also be used to play the game much like in chess.

*Game Lobby

1) There are two options: a 3d lobby or a 2d lobby. With a 3d lobby we could make the game a little more interactive but this is more complex. A 2d lobby would be more like a chat room showing all the players currently logged in and they may have an avatar/icon to represent themselves.

*Deckbuilding program

1) Players will need to have a separate window/menu in order to build their decks and select the optimal cards to be used in their game.

Players will need to be able to do the following:

-Download / update their collection of cards from the server

-View all their cards

-Filter out cards by resource type/resource cost/rarity/card type/expansion pack/etc.

-Add/subtract cards into a deck

-Save a deck onto their hard disk. (do not save onto server because it might overload server).

Flowchart

First of all, the players will need to obtain the game client  from our website/mirror (or from a downloads server like CNET). The installation package should be easy to use and pretty generic or we can have fancy splash screens or even game music.

After installing the game, the player should have a shortcut on their desktop or their games folder or internet browser to launch the game. When the game is launched it will automatically check to see if the latest client is installed and if not the game will automatically update and patch itself. The only options the player should have are to enter their username and password (also a forgot my password link and a save my password option). All game menus will be in English for now. But in the future, translated menus may be an option. After logging in, the user will be taken straight away to the game lobby and from there they can challenge other players for a game, launch the deckbuilding window, and there will also be a menu for account management and several links to the Century of War website.

This charts the navigation through the various screens and windows. Use VISIO or similar flowcharting tool to connect labelled and numbered boxes together, representing screens, windows, menus, etc. On the corner of each sheet, put a numbered list of all the items for easy referencing and ease of defining tasks for the programmers.

Functional Requirements

This functional breakdown of every screen, window and menu lists the user actions and the desired results and may include diagrams and mock-ups. While the specific interaction (buttons, hotspots, clicks, drags and resulting animations) can be listed, it’s often best to keep this separate from the list of functional requirements as these can evolve during implementation. Of course if it’s just easier to think in terms of clicking a button or it’s really important that something work a certain way, then by all means get specific about the method of interaction.

Mock-ups

Login menu

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0_VcBHpJesRdFR6VmVZUmJSQjA/edit?usp=sharing

Game Lobby

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0_VcBHpJesRTURXLVY5OVlMSmM/edit?usp=sharing

Game Deckbuilder

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0_VcBHpJesRLXMxVXFoV3V2ZzQ/edit?usp=sharing

Create a mock-up for all the screens, windows and menus. This may end up getting ignored, but it’s a good starting point for the artists if they have no idea what else they may want to do. Don’t waste your time creating anything really pretty. Just create simple line drawings with text labels. Color can be very distracting if it’s bad, but if it’s important, go ahead. Some drawing programs have templates that make creating mock-ups very quick and easy.

GUI Objects

For the Login menu

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0_VcBHpJesRdFR6VmVZUmJSQjA/edit?usp=sharing

  • Splash screen image on left

  • Thou Curator logo on top right

  • fields for Account Name and Password

  • checkboxes for remember Account Name and Password

  • Login Button

  • Radio dials for Create Account and Recover/Reset Password

  • link to Century of War web site at bottom right of the screen

For the Game Lobby menu

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0_VcBHpJesRTURXLVY5OVlMSmM/edit?usp=sharing

  • 8 buttons on the left

    • Build Deck (Launches separate program or Internet Browser)

    • Buy Cards (Launches separate program or Internet Browser)

    • Trade Cards (Launches separate program or Internet Browser)

    • Edit Account (Launches Internet Browser)

    • Guild/Alliance (Opens a Sub-Menu for Guilds, to be implemented later)

    • Stats (Launches Internet Browser to display Top Players and Personal Stats)

    • Trainer (Launches the Trainer or Tutorial program)

    • Help/Forum (Launches the official forum for the game, could also be a wiki)

  • top center image (Game logo that is also a link to the game’s website)

  • 2nd from top center area (shows statistics, Wins, Losses, Draws, Game Completion %, World Rank, and player biography of SELECTED PLAYER)

  • 3rd from top center area is the Chat log screen (players chat will be displayed here)

  • bottom center text entry (player will prepare there text entry here and submit it with the Enter button)

  • top right is a list of players with icons next to their name (user may select a player to view their stats and then proceed to challenge or ignore them with the six buttons on the bottom-right)

  • 6 buttons on the bottom right corner

    • Decline all (decline all challenges from other players until this button is pressed again)

    • AFK (player status is changed to Away from Keyboard until this button is pressed again)

    • Game Options (brings up a Menu to turn off/on music or to quit the game or adjust graphical or various other settings)

    • Ignore (ignores the select player)

    • Whisper (whispers the selected player, user must type some chat in text before or after they select whisper and then hit Enter from the chat entry area)

    • Challenge (challenges the selected player)

For the Game Deckbuilder menu

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0_VcBHpJesRLXMxVXFoV3V2ZzQ/edit?usp=sharing

  • Account Name displayed on Top left

  • Top Center displays Number of Unique Cards owned and Number of Total Cards Owned

  • New Deck button, user is prompted to save their current deck if one is already open.

  • Load Deck button, a deck is loaded off a user’s PC (don’t need to store decks on server because we will need to verify the decks they build are actually comprised of cards they own)

  • Save Deck button, the current deck is saved onto the user’s PC, user may be prompted to enter a new filename if this was a new (non-Loaded deck), or they could be prompted (do you wish to overwrite), or we could always open a save-as window….but we want to try to avoid using windows ui

  • Buy Cards button (launches Internet browser or application for card purchases)

  • Update button (if the user recently bought cards and wants to refresh their collection, they press this button to redownload their collection onto their PC)

  • Search Field (user types the name of the card they are searching for here and if found it should appear on the top left of the catalog below, otherwise it will go to the next closest letter)

  • 3rd from top left, Select Nation drop-down menu, player selects one of 12 nations their deck will be used for

  • When a nation is selected, a description of their bonuses and general strategy is displayed below the drop-down menu

  • Filters section: Resource Type, Rarity, Resource Cost, Target, and Expansion

  • 6 buttons for Resource Type Filters (Electricity, Gold, Iron, Meat, Oil, Wine)

  • 12 Buttons for Nation Filters (Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, France, Japan, India, Iraq, Iran, Russia, USA, South Africa)

  • 5 buttons for Rarity (Common, Uncommon, Rare, Very Rare, Special)

  • 10 buttons for Resource Cost (0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9)

  • 5 Buttons for Target of Card (Unit, Group, Settlement, Square, World)

  • 2+ Buttons for Expansion Set of Cards (Classic or Original Set, Expansion 1, Expansion 2, etc.)

  • Central Catalog/Collection section, all cards a player owns are displayed here and the number of each card owned is displayed on the bottom left corner of the card. Players can own as many cards as they see fit to purchase but the display will max out at 99. Cards over 100 can still be used for trading/gift purposes

  • When cards are selected from the catalog/collection, they are animated and are shifted to the deck section on the right side of the screen.

  • On the top right corner of the screen, the total number of cards in the deck is displayed with the number of unique types of cards as well.

  • To the left of the top right are two options to display the cards in the deck in normal view (with pictures) or in text only (or expert or advanced users)

  • The cards in the deck are displayed in a top to bottom arrangement on the right with a scrollbar. When the user saves their deck, the cards are gathered up into a deck (animation)

  • Missing element: Sanctum had a side-by-side deck comparison feature, may need to add one here.

Art and Video

This should be the definitive list for all the art and video in the game. We all know how things creep up, though, so add a couple of placeholder references for art to be named later, like mission specific art and art for marketing materials, demos, web pages, manual and packaging.

Overall Goals

The overall goal is realistic and modern but NOT boring and plain jane. A big reason for war is fighting over resources/land and certain colors like gold and silver will be emphasized in the game. We also want our screens to be eye-friendly so heavy usage of red/black will be minimized. We do not want to cause eye-strain or headaches because our colors are a mess or because our fonts are too small or too hard to read. All text should be arranged from left to right and top to bottom and sideways orientation should be avoided or not used at all. A key element to avoid boringness will be sound effects (like gunfire and explosions but not too loud to make people deaf).

We do not want to be super violent in the majority of the card art. (Although war can be extremely violent and intense at times). Although we want our art to look realistic, we also want kids and minors to be interested in playing our game. If this game were to be rated, we want to aim for a Teen rating as opposed to the Mature rating. With specific cards, we may over the line into the mature rating but that would simply to depict realistic elements of war such as mass slaughter. We do not add gore simply for the sake of adding gore. And although some kids love to play mature games with over-the-top violence that would not be one of our initial goals. We want to focus on strategic aspects of war. Like who is better armed with weapons/armor or who is able to win while outnumbered because of experience/luck/a good leader.

2D Art & Animation

For 2D art we need soldiers (footsoldiers and snipers) dressed in their various uniforms. We want soldiers representating different countries/nationalities. We also need artwork of tanks and weapons bombs and explosive devices. We also need art on natural resources like gold, oil, steel, wheat, rice, and wine.

GUI

Screens, windows, pointers, markers, icons, buttons, menus, shell etc.

Marketing and Packaging

You might as well list it here and the schedule, because they’ll ask for it. This includes web page art, sell sheet design, demo splash screens, magazine adds, press art, the box and manual.

Terrain

Environment art like tiles, textures, terrain objects, backgrounds.

Game Play Elements

Player and enemy animations (sprites or models), game play structures and interactive objects, weapons, power-ups, etc. Don’t forget damage states.

Special Effects

Salvo, explosions, sparks, footprints, blood spots, debris, and wreckage.

3D Art and Animation

This serves the same purpose and has the same requirement of the 2D Art list above. The difference may be in how the work may be divided. Art teams like to divide 3D art task lists into models, textures, animations and special effects, as they usually divide the tasks this way to maximize talent and skill and maintain consistency.

Cinematics

These are the 2D or 3D scenes often shown as an intro, between missions, and at the end of the game. These should be scripted like a film script as separate documents. This, however, is production work. For the purposes of the functional spec, just list them here with the general purpose, content and target length. If any video is involved, list it in the following subsection.

Video

COMMENTS  "Unless you are doing an FMV (full motion video) game, this subsection is pretty light. If you have any video in your GUI for say pilot messages, break it down here. All video tasks will require scripting, but that is production work. List the g Unless you are doing an FMV (full motion video) game, this subsection is pretty light. If you have any video in your GUI for say pilot messages, break it down here. All video tasks will require scripting, but that is production work. List the general purpose, expected length, and general content like number of actors and set design, even if it ends up being blue-screened into a 3D rendered background.

Sound and Music

Overall Goals

For the opening theme we want explosions at the start (like boom boom boom) and something fast paced and that can be replayed over and over in a loop (while we wait for the player to log in).

For the game lobby, we can go with a suspenseful theme or a heroes or challenger type theme. This theme should be extra long and not too annoying because it must be replayed over and over. We’ll either need multiple themes for the lobby or may need to silence it (which would be boring).

During actual gameplay, we can continue with the suspenseful theme, we can also use a nature theme, a panic theme, a subterfuge theme, and an armies in conflict theme. When the units actually engage in combat, we want the sound effects (firing of bullets to be the main deal) but we can also have a short fast paced battle theme (not too overpowering). We want to avoid the following styles: laid back, cool, classical music. We want to have themes of heightened suspense (who will be the winner?) There should also be a theme of gaining/losing the upper hand, making a comeback, and winning via sneak attack, or winning by brute force. Theme of doom or inevitably bad outcome, victory fanfare theme, theme of defeat (or please try again). theme of mocking/laughter, theme of rallying the troops, theme of pushing forward against all obstacles. theme of calling a truce. The length of these themes should range from 2 and a half to 5 minutes with shorter themes like victory fanfare from  5 seconds to 30 seconds (maximum).

Music in general should make heavy use of trumpets, horn, and percussion instruments. woodwind and string instruments should be secondary or reserved for the “sneaky” or sad moments but all instruments can be used as long as they make sense with the theme.

Existing games or films we can use as examples:

Final Fantasy XIII Saber’s Edge: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsG80RGxzNM

Final Fantasy VIII The Landing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aoc8G4o63c8

Etherlords II soundtrack: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w25APFsh82c

Among many many others…. ;)

Stress the aesthetic and technical goals for the sound and music. Describe the themes or moods you want. Name existing games or films as examples to aspire to. Issue technical edicts and editing objectives, such as sampling rates, disk space, music formats, and transition methods.

Sound Effects

List all the sound FX required in the game and where they will be used. Include the intended filenames, but be sure to consult with the sound programmer and sound technician (or composer) on the file naming convention. This makes it easier for people to find the sound FX and fold them into the game.

Don’t forget about all the areas that sound FX may be used. You don’t want to overlook anything and throw off the schedule. Go through all the game elements and your art lists to see if there should be some sound associated with them. Here are some to consider:

GUI

Button clicks, window opening, command acknowledgments.

Special Effects

Weapons fire, explosions, radar beeping.

Characters

Voice recordings, radio chatter, stomping, collisions.

Game Play Elements

Pick-up jingle, alerts, ambient sounds.

Terrain (Environment)

Birds, jungle sounds, crickets, creaks.

Motion

Wind, footfalls, creaking floors, wading, puddle stepping.

Music

List all the music required in the game and where it will be used. Describe the mood and other subtleties. Music will often reuse the same themes and melodies. Mention where these themes should be reused. Consult the composer on this.

Event Jingles

Success, failure, death, victory, discovery, etc.

Shell Screen

Mood setting for title screens, credits, end game.

Level Themes

Level specific music (designers choose the theme).

Situations

Sets the mood for situations (lurking danger, combat, and discovery).

Cinematic Soundtracks

Story

The story of the game is the conflicts of the past one to two centuries. We can go as far back as the American Civl War. WWI and WII, Korean War, War with Cuba, Cold War with Russia, War with Afghanistan and Iraq. Simultaneously. Any and all of these wars can replay at the same time. We are also pitting nations against each other that would never fight against each other like Germany vs Korea. Each nation has its prominent leaders and national heroes and we can have some of these as cards.

Level Diagram

Whether this is a linear campaign, a branching mission tree, or a world-hopping free-for-all, this diagram should be the backbone upon which all the levels are built. A diagram isn’t necessary if the structure is so simple that a list would suffice. The following is an example of a typical success/fail branching mission tree. Of course this will vary greatly for each game. The important thing is that it just presents a road map for the level designers and for the readers. COMMENTS  "Whether this is a linear campaign, a branching mission tree, or a world-hopping free-for-all, this diagram should be the backbone upon which all the levels are built. A diagram isn’t necessary if the structure is so simple that a list would suf

Asset Revelation Schedule

This should be a table or spreadsheet of what level the game’s assets are to be revealed to the player for the first time. There should be a row for each level and a column for each general type of asset. Assets include power-ups, weapons, enemy types, tricks, traps, objective types, challenges, buildings and all the other game play elements. The asset revelation schedule ensures that assets, the things that keep the players looking forward to the next level, are properly spaced and not over or under used.

If it’s important to the game that certain assets stop being used, then the schedule might be better drawn as a Gantt chart with lines indicating the availability of assets. This gives the level designers a guide to what assets they have to work with so they don’t ruin their level or anyone else’s. COMMENTS  "This should be a table or spreadsheet of what level the game’s assets are to be revealed to the player for the first time. There should be a row for each level and a column for each general type of asset. Assets include power-ups, weapons, enem

Level Design Seeds

These are the seeds for the detailed paper designs to follow. Detailed paper designs at this point are less legitimate and unlikely to survive intact. Designs created after the designers have had time to experiment with the tools and develop the first playable level are much more likely to succeed. It’s best to just plant the seeds for each level with a description of the goals and game play and where it ties into the story (if applicable). A thumbnail sketch is optional, but very helpful if the designer already has a clear idea of what he or she wants. Be sure to list any specific requirements for the level, such as terrain, objectives, the revelation of new assets, and target difficulty level.



by: Jack Wu

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