Tag Archives: Playstation 3

Game Ideas: Playstation All-Stars: Battle Royale

I keep seeing hands-on previews for Playstation All-Stars: Battle Royale where they talk about how fun the game is but then lament the fact that they don’t understand the health system. Personally, it seems simple enough. Your character has a meter. It has three levels. The more damage you inflict, the more power you build up in your meter. Once you’ve built up enough energy, you can unleash a level 1, 2, or 3 powered “Super” and gain a point for anyone you hit with that super. The part that seems to be tripping people up is the fact that you aren’t necessarily making the other players weaker as you hit them.

Build up your meter… then hit people. Doesn’t seem that hard.

Let’s compare this to Super Smash Bros, the game that PAS: Battle Royale will understandably be compared to for years to come. In that series, you have a percent meter. The more damage you take, the higher the percentage goes. Once the meter gets to a certain point, it becomes much easier to knock a character off-screen and score a point. Is this really that much easier to understand than the other? They seem like opposite approaches to the same problem to me. One is about increasing power in your character, while the other is about decreasing power in your opponent. They both offer viable strategies and unique gameplay.

Build up your opponent’s meter… then hit them. Same problem. Opposite approaches.

So anyway, I’m reading/watching these previews and I start thinking, is there a better approach that’s more understandable? Better might be the wrong word but I think you get the point. We can’t just stick a health bar in there because then it’s too much like every other fighter. That’s by no means a bad thing. It just seems like the people at SuperBot were going for something different and I want to try and stick with that philosophy.

The Aura System

So, this system would keep the core of PAS: Battle Royale the same. The three-tiered meter, knock outs only come from supers, and everything else, stays like they are. What this would do is add an aura around the player’s character that would change as they take damage. These are the four aura stages the players would encounter.

Green: This is the players starting aura. It indicates that they are healthy and at full strength.

Yellow: The player has taken minimal damage. It isn’t affecting their fighter but it will if they take anymore damage.

Orange: The player has taken extensive damage. Their character’s movement speed has decreased by 10 (random number chosen. This would obviously need to be playtested to determine the best amount) percent.

Red: The player has taken a maximum amount of damage. Their character is visibly exhausted and their movement speed has been reduced by 20 (same reason as above) percent.

The goal behind this system is to add another dimension to the game, without detracting from what SuperBot came up with. Having your aura depleted doesn’t allow other players to knock you out. They still need to hit you with a super to do that. This system just makes it harder to avoid those supers. Basically, it’s meant to give more meaning to all of the hitting besides building up your super meter (which seems to be the big complaint). Players will want to keep their aura green (or yellow) so that they remain quick and nimble, while at the same time, remaining in the thick of battle to build up their super meter.

It’s hard to say whether or not this would work for the game since I haven’t played it yet but I do believe it would address the concern some sites have expressed and possibly add to the experience. Either way, it’s just fun to think about. Personally, as long as the game is fun, I don’t see the problem.

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Game Ideas: Starhawk Multiplayer Modes

My current gaming obsession is undoubtably Starhawk on the PS3. If you aren’t playing it, shame on you. It’s a fantastic third person shooter with a unique multiplayer experience thanks to it’s “build and battle” system (I gush because I love). The game is clearly built as a multiplayer experience and I wanted to take a minute to put some multiplayer mode ideas onto the blog that I think could be really fun.

Rift Harvester (small to medium gametype)

If you aren’t familiar with Starhawk, then you’ll need to know that the game’s story is built around the idea of people going into a “gold rush” type frenzy over something called rift energy. This energy source is so important that the build and battle system also revolves around it. What I’d like to do with this mode is bring a little bit of the single player experience over to the multiplayer.

Keep the harvesters safe at all costs.

Rift Harvester mode would work kind of like a reverse version of Zones. But, instead of scrambling to capture and hold as many zones as possible, players would take turns trying to destroy the opposing team’s rift harvesters. It would be a turn based mode, with each team taking turns on offense and defense. The team on offense can only spawn within the pre-determined bases (they can build all they want within that space) and the team on defense can spawn/build anywhere outside of the bases. A match ends when all rift harvesters have been destroyed or when the game reaches a specified time limit.

This mode would revolve entirely around base defense except, one team has multiple bases that they’ll need to defend and the other team could be outside of any of them. We’d need to balance this out. Probably by reducing the team or map sizes for this game mode. That way things aren’t too spread out, making it hard for teams to attack or defend. If everything works the way I hope it would, then the final moments of a game would be one big battle over a single rift harvester.

Harvester Overload (small, medium or large gametype)

This one is pretty quick to explain and if you’ve ever played the chain reaction game mode in Uncharted, then you pretty much know how it works. Harvester Overload would require teams to take over zones in a specific order (numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) in an attempt to overload the other team’s rift harvester. There would only be the 5 zones on the map and anytime a team takes over a zone, the other team will need to recapture the previous zone before they can continue. So, if team 1 takes zone 3, team 2 will need to recapture zone 4 before they can move on to capture 3. Once one team has all 5 zones, a meter will start to build up, showing how long until the opposing team’s Harvester overloads.

Paycheck (small, medium or large gametype)

Another easy to grasp game mode. In Paycheck, there is a single rift harvester on the map and each team is fighting to complete the job. Players start on opposite sides of the map and rush to the middle to build their rift harvester before the other team. Whoever has the harvester in place, starts to collect rift energy for the client. First team to the specified amount wins. Teams would have a home base where they could collect weapons and vehicles before attacking, otherwise the game mode would be based around limited resources for whoever isn’t holding the rift harvester. This would need some serious balancing obviously but I think it could be fun.

‘Hawk Rush (small, medium or large gametype)

Flying in the Hawks is one of the best parts in the game.

For ‘Hawk Rush, think of a base assault or bomb the base style of play, only the players are always within a Hawk. There would be a single rift bomb in the middle of the map and each team would try to deliver it to the opponent’s base and defend it until it explodes. The other team could defuse the bomb by destroying it (yes that would probably make a bomb explode but lets suspend belief). This would probably need to be a best two out of three of three out of five game type but it depends on the difficulty in achieving the goal. I love these kinds of game modes and I think playing this gametype only within a Hawk would make for some intense matches.

So there you have it. These are just a few of the modes I was thinking about while playing Starhawk tonight. I didn’t completely flesh them out or try to think about balancing issues. It was more of an exercise in brainstorming and trying to think of things that could match the play style and the Starhawk universe. If you have any ideas or want to build on what I’ve written, leave a comment.

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Taking On Crossplay – Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time

One of my favorite features of the PS Vita is the crossplay ability it has with the Playstation 3. Having the ability to play a game on my big screen at home and then continue the same game on a portable when I leave is truly one of those things I used to dream about as a kid. It hasn’t really been used for anything beyond that though and while it’s still a new feature within the industry, I’d like to see developers spread their wings a bit and really try something unique with it. I was just reading an announcement on the the Playstation Blog about Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time coming to the Vita and thought this would be a perfect game to try new crossplay features.

More Sly Cooper is always a good thing.

One thing to keep in mind is that the PS Vita is a portable machine; meaning most people aren’t going to play for extended periods of time, so we should stick with ideas that are quick for the player. Because of that, most of these ideas will end up being expansions onto what the player would do in the main game or mini-games (for lack of a better term) that provide benefits in the main game.

Vita specific side missions

This might qualify as a “lowest hanging fruit” idea but…who cares? I think it’d be fun and it could take advantage of the Vita hardware. The side missions wouldn’t be crucial to the main game’s storyline (we don’t want to leave PS3 gamers in the cold of course) but they would offer added value and possibly build upon the story’s foundation.

From my understanding, Sly 4’s story revolves around him discovering his ancestors and using their unique abilities (I’m trying not to spoil it for myself so that may not be up to date). We could use that premise to give Vita gamers a side-story that revolves around Sly trying to find an ancestor’s Thievious Raccoonus page that isn’t in the PS3 version of the game. Owners of both versions could, of course, transfer this new ability into their PS3 game save. These new side missions would be built around the Vita’s unique qualities. Picking locks or cracking safes with the touch screen, dodging laser sensors using the motion controls, basically anything that would be unique to the Vita without stepping on the main game.

Side missions could be based around one or all of the Cooper Gang.

Or, we could base these around Bentley (the tech guru) since his gameplay is more gadget based. The missions could be about Bentley going out to test his latest and greatest inventions. There could be one gadget per Vita feature and completing all of the missions for that gadget would unlock it for use in the PS3 version of the game. We could do things like perfecting a voice modulator for Sly by recreating sounds using the Vita’s microphone. Bentley would play a noise and the player would have to try and mimic it. Once it’s unlocked in the PS3 version, Sly could use it to unlock voice controlled doors and gain access to new areas/missions. That might be a bit convoluted on paper and it may not work out in practice but come on, it’s 3 am and we’re just brainstorming ideas. That’s the best time to come up with the oddball ideas and you get the point, right?

New character, Parallel story

We could go with a more focused approach. A side story that runs parallel with the main game and provides a fun, outsiders, view of what happens in the main story. We could create a new character and say that he’s been a big fan of the Cooper Gang. He’s out to prove he belongs on the team, so he tags along in secret and tries to help however he can. He needs to be an animal, so lets make him a mole, because every good group of thieves needs a tunneler, right?

Our new character could look like this. Only, more cartoony and less old man meets creepy troll.

Between Sly, Murray, and Bentley, we have stealth, action, and gadget focused gameplay covered. So with our new character, we could focus on strategy gameplay. He’s a digger, so his missions would revolve around trying to dig his way into where ever the gang is trying to break in. Each location would have almost a labyrinth-like security system in place under their base and players would need to use a combination of touch screen and motion controls to navigate and/or disable the hazards. We should probably put some kind of timer or “air gauge” in place to create a sense of panic for the player.

Our new hero’s story can’t really interact with the main story (again, don’t want to leave out PS3 gamers) so he should always get there right after the Cooper Gang has left. Almost a “The Princess is in another castle” sort of deal but the player will get their payoff at the end. There could be some sort of unlockable content for the PS3 version (like what was mentioned above) but this idea is more about giving Vita players some added value.

Vita as an in-game gadget

No I don’t want the Vita to actually exist in the Sly Cooper world but I do think it would be cool to allow Vita owners (who own both versions, of course) to use their Vitas as a special controller for the PS3 version. It would act almost like a real world gadget for the player. You could activate a camera using the Vita’s touch screen, which would turn on the Vita’s actual camera, aim it at the TV and use the Vita’s AR capabilities to show the players things in the level that they wouldn’t have seen otherwise. This could be locations of hidden items, secret areas, or even the stealthiest way to complete an objective. There’s all sorts of things you could try with that. Maybe even have them find gameplay elements around their own home.

Using that same example, they could use it for hacking computers by using the touch screen. Or, the screen could act as the camera on a spy plane or RC car and the player could use those to scout out enemy locations and tag them on their map (which could also be on the Vita’s screen). Taking pictures of enemies, using the Vita’s AR ability, could unlock character bios or show the players the best way to defeat certain enemies.

Again, there’s probably so much more we could do with these features and I’ll probably come back to this topic at a later date. If anyone has read this far (thank you) and has any ideas, I’d love to hear more thoughts on this.

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