Airstrike levels and goal oriented game-play
eero.tamminen at netsonic.fi
Wed Aug 10 16:38:48 EDT 2005
I'd like to open a discussion about the airstrike levels.
We have now several things which can be used to implement them:
- Background graphics
- and mask for parts through which one can fly
- Global settings, such as gravity etc.
- sprite generators,
- triggers for other triggers and generators
What can be done with these:
- Setup initial objects and triggers on the level
- Triggers for things to happen during the level
- Triggers for level end conditions
- Level configuration system that allows changing these without
touching the actual game code
 For a list of these, see the Airstrike design structure diagram
I just updated in the CVS.
To be interesting, each of the levels should have the following elements:
1. A goal (and a variety of related sub-goals)
2. Obstacles (designed to prevent you from from obtaining your goal)
3. Resources (to assist you in obtaining your goal)
4. Rewards (for progress in the game, often in the form of resources)
5. Penalties (for failing to to overcome obstacles, often in the form of
 The list is loaned from the book associated with the "Game On"
Art exhibition. :-)
What this means in practice:
1) For deathmatch the goal would be to kill the other player (given number
of times). For co-operative mode, the goals could differ between each
level. They could be moving or destroying objects (in later versions
this could also including taking control of them or transferring them to
somewhere else). Subgoals can be done by triggering other triggers
2) Obstacles are the other players, sprites that obstruct player's flying,
either just by being inmovable or by following him, and things that
directly or indirectly harm the player (e.g. missile vs. bonus that
creates a missile aimed at player)
3) Resources are currently only fuel and bombs, but it could also be time
(if there would be a time bonus that affects timer triggers). Lack of an
resource is an obstacle
4) Additional fuel can come from generators or bonuses, bombs come only
from bonuses. There are additional "rewards" in form of other bonuses
such as the one that clones the player sprite (on level 3) or generates
harmless other sprites
5) Penalties can be added with triggers e.g. for destroying or approaching
something or just being too late. For example, there can be a timer
trigger that will activate a proximity trigger than will trigger
a missile generator when player approaches a "goal" too late
6) Currently game shows only information about level name, that bombs or
fuel have ended and reason for level ending, but there should be
indications about score and number of remaining lives, fuel and bombs.
(The tricky thing about adding these is that player is an AI object, but
it's biplane sprite that has these properties...)
To sustain interest:
- The difficulty of levels should increase when the game progresses, but not
too much. Usually games have a couple of easy tutorial levels at the
beginning where the player learns how to:
- Control his sprite
- Interact with the game environment
- Learn how to best deal with different game objects/obstacles
- There should be simple base rules from which evolves complex interactions.
In Airstrike this comes mainly from the physics based interaction and
object that behave physically differently (mass, rotation...)
- The game should vary and sometimes surprise the player. It could offer
different types of goals, different sprites etc., even different playing
moods. For example:
- Circus level with bright colors, jolly/hectic music and funny sprites
- Scary level with dark colors, oppressive music and something (e.g.
missiles, birds etc) that constantly chases the player while he tries to
accomplish the goal
- Sombre/relaxing level with pastel colors, ambient music and no
 We don't currently have any background music, but if that's added in
v1.1, it would good if it could change per level.
As a conclusion for this long-winded mail, I'd like people to suggest goals
and obstacles for the first six Airstrike levels...
It would also be good if there's a background story.
More information about the airstrike