Project Killtone (Pre-production)
Commercial project to be explored by our own company Akibaba Interactive.
Akibaba was started by a group of students at Playgroundsquad.

Due to an NDA agreement there are limits to what can be disclosed about Project Killtone.

The Pitch:
A cooperative multiplayer game set in a gaming-retro atmosphere. Players help each other to fight off hordes of enemies in arena-like battles.
Killtone will intergrate music into gameplay with its own soundtrack featuring tracks inspired by early gaming music.
The music changes with the rythm of the battle and players earn powerups and skills by keeping the music pumping.
The game is an oldschool shootemup with a new twist.

Plattform: PC over local network
Obstacles and how to overcome:

The masses:
Handling the behavior of hordes of enemies is tricky, especially for melee-type enemies attacking players with guns.
Pathfinding clogs up easily and when players move around enemies tends to become a "tail", lining up and following behind a player.
Simply having enemies close the distance to the player would quickly become predictable, they would need a form of pincer-move.
To counter this and to keep the game interesting enemies were divided into classes.
Warriors, support-units and tanks in different mixes provided new challenges and kept gamplay interesting.
The shear volume of enemies may also endanger the FPS-rate later on.

The upgrades:
To keep gamplay interesting beyond just point and shoot we had ideas about making the weapons tools for different situations; one weapon would do damage in a straight line another would hit all the enemies in the first row etc.
Final results:
During the development of the pitch the ideas quickly grew beyond our control and before we knew it the project had gotten epic proportions. Features got dependent on each other and it became hard to cut things.
The project was discontinued to make way for incoming jobs and other projects.

Lessons learnt:
Be prepared for the fact that lots of people will end up working with your idea. Coming up with cool features and inventing new things is fun on the planning-stages of a game but never forget that someone will need to implement them.
If features become too depentent on each other you will paint yourself into a corner. When the time comes to cut things you will be left with nothing or too much.
Keep features as independent as possible.

Copyright (c) Fredrik Alexandersson 2009 | fredrik.alexandersson@live.com