[airstrike] Airstrike levels and goal oriented game-play

Ulf Ekström uekstrom at gmail.com
Sun Aug 14 16:16:18 EDT 2005

Thanks for your very interesting (and long!) email. I write some comments below.

Eero wrote:

> To be interesting, each of the levels should have the following elements[2]:
> 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
>     more obstacles)
> 6. Information
> [2] The list is loaned from the book associated with the "Game On"
>      Art exhibition. :-)

I think this is excellent points, it's good to have them collected
like this. Would you like to add a Wiki page, Eero?

> 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

In some sense it can also be to get points, to beat some highscore (in
single player mode).

> 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

Also other kinds of weapons, and better plane models (maybe not in
this version).

> 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

I also think that a "reward" can be something like a visual or sound
effect, or some kind of dynamics in the game. Consider for example
"Carmageddon", which basically is only fun because you can crash your
car in a very elaborate way.

Another reward (post 1.0) is that the player can earn money for buying
better weapons and aircraft. (I think "Supercars" on Amiga had an
excellent system for this).

> 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

I guess also that there will be more and more enemies, which is a kid
of punishment.

> 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...)

Don't we also have some kind of "player" object? We should, otherwise,
for stats that carries over between levels (like the players name).

> 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

Yes, we should have this. Maybe the grassy hills, that one looks very friendly.

> - 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...)

Yeah, I think this is quite good already. We also have the "rules" of
bonus interaction.

> - 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[3] 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
>     time limits

Yes. I think that this is rather easy to do, everyone can make some
little povray objects.
> [3] 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.

Just adding a ogg file on repeat is trivial, so why not? I know a guy
who can probably make at least one song.

> As a conclusion for this long-winded mail, I'd like people to suggest goals
> and obstacles for the first six Airstrike levels...
I will get right to it. I am working a little bit on a tiny scripting
language so that we can test if various conditions are satisfied and
do stuff from the level description in a more flexible way.

> It would also be good if there's a background story.

I am sure we will come up with something.. 


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