So I decided to make an action game of the traditional sort - running around shooting enemies. Since then I have had some neat ideas that I may talk about in a future post.
Since the game is violent I am keen for the antagonists of the game not to be moral entities. I do not want to make a game amount shooting people - or other sentient, morality-bearing creatures. So monsters with animal-level intelligence that attack you on instinct - fine. "Demons" who have no free will to choose, but by their nature (possibly with a great deal of intelligence) do evil - fine.
So far we have a player running around levels fighting monsters and demons. This is sounding a lot like earlier games - such as Doom. That's no surprise - one of the reasons these kinds of trappings crop up in games is that they are well suited to game-like problems. Designers can make games about other things, and these days are doing so in wonderful ways, but it is very easy to make games using these kinds of trappings. That's why I chose it when my motivation was a low ebb.
Earlier games didn't worry very much about fictional plausibility - why are their bullets and medipacks strewn across the demon-infested halls of Doom? It doesn't matter. And I could go with that approach too. But it would be nice if the game was a bit more internally consistent, and I think that would go a ways towards my other goal for the game - to have some horror themes.
So here's where you come in: I want suggestions for a thematic setting that will work with the kind of game-play I'm looking at. Here's the requirements:
- I want to be able to have lots of levels, mostly or all in enclosed spaces - rooms, corridors, caves, pipes, etc.
- I want the protagonist to be a human with access to a range of different abilities as the game progresses - accurate, explosive, setting traps. Mostly, I want the protagonist to use ranged attacks.
- I want the protagonist to be able to find useful items - ammo, health, etc. - scattered throughout the levels
- The enemies must not be moral entities. Mostly, I want the enemies to use melee attacks.
- Horror themes - preferably scary monsters
The two basic ideas that spring to my mind are a Doom-like setting - a marine in demon-infested hallways - and a fantasy setting - let's call it Diablo-like. I think the fantasy setting will be easier to make fictionally consistent, but something about it makes me feel like a wizard-type character will lend itself less well to the theme of horror than an ordinary soldier in the same kind of situation.
What do you think?