Design Spaz is a new series in which I will lay out a spontaneous game design idea as a brainstorming exercise for both myself and you, the reader. Ever had those moments in school when someone antagonized you time after time and when you finally retaliated they called you a spaz? I hate that. But I’m over it. I’m over it…anyway, that’s where the Spaz comes in. Make lemonade, right?
The Big Idea
Genre: Puzzle, Action.
Perspective: Third Person
Similars: Portal, Portal 2
Concept: Forcefield is a third-person action puzzler where the player uses a force field device allowing them to create different shaped energy barriers that interact with the physics of the level in different ways. Instead of simply blocking projectiles, you will have to use the force field in strategic ways such as creating a bubble around a high powered laser cannon that can hold the energy within and then release it with explosive power at the target. Other fields will be able to allow certain types of matter and energy to pass through while filtering out others. This could mean blocking certain spectrums of light to activate color coded triggers for moving platforms, doors, or even weapons. And that’s the pure puzzle part. Now onto the action.
We all know what force fields do. They bounce things back from whence they came, and that means the enemy. Reflect their ammo back at them for devastating results. But what if they are immune to their own ammo type? No problem. Bounce a different enemy attack from you to them and watch them explode. Imagine a scene with five different enemy types, each with a different type of attack. Energy attacks, physical attacks, reality-altering attacks.
Scenario: Three different enemy types are present in the room. One shoots adamantium slugs from a high-velocity chain gun, another uses a particle manipulation beam to alter the matter around you (a nod to the portal gun), and drones that fire standard lasers. Now let’s say the goal of Matter Manipulators is to open a hole in the spaceship and let the vacuum of space suck you out. The Adamantine Troopers wear armor that deflects their ammo but can pierce virtually anything with their metal slugs. The drones fire a standard laser weapon but are immune to the slugs and matter manipulator. These enemies are standing in the way of you getting to the top deck of the imperial cruiser. What to do?
When the Matter Manipulators fire at the floor below you, reflect their beam at the Adamantine Troops. Then catch the laser fire from the drones, and release at the MM’s. This basically fries them, as they have no protection against energy weapons. Once they’re done for, place a forcefield bubble around the drones and let their own laser fire build up and melt them down. Then you can use the molten metal on something else! Maybe there’s a door that needs sealing and troops are about to bust in!
Thoughts? Ideas? How would YOU design a game like this? Could the enemy fire be used to activate triggers to help you clear the room? How?