Hi there! You've probably reached this page from the Freeplay website in search of the elusive 'Up Down Ready' which took Best Design in this year's awards.

UPDATE: Hello! If you've arrived here from StumbleUpon, why not go play the game now on Kongregate! With high scores and EVERYTHING.

The versions of the game that were on this page were hosted on Dropbox. Since the recent spike in traffic, Dropbox has cut off access to my public folder. I will hopefully be migrating this stuff across to an actual server, but the version on Kongregate is the official release.

I'm Delia, the Sword Lady half of Sword Lady and the Viking. You can find my teammate over here. We are third year students in the Games Design course at Griffith University, and Up Down Ready (previously known as Horse) is our first semester project from this year, made using Adam Atomic's free Flixel library.

We entered it in the Freeplay Awards for a lark, and were incredibly surprised and excited to make it to the finals and take away an award. We hope you enjoy playing the game as much as we enjoyed making it!

- Delia

Monday, March 8, 2010

Game Concept 3 - Hyperacusis

Disclaimer: I firmly believe this concept is too ambitious for this project year, and will in all likelihood not be pitching it because I won't have time in my pitch, but I wanted to put it up here anyway.

Working Title: Hyperacusis

Genre: First-person puzzle/adventure (somewhere between Myst and Half-Life?)

Platform: Unity Web/PC

First-person, 3D

Core concept/s:
  • imagine any first-person shooting game that involves killing hostile or dangerous aliens
  • what if you couldn't see them, couldn't touch them, didn't know how to hurt them - because all they are is a sound?
  • either a desert or an arctic environment - an open space the player can explore with some signs of civilisation
  • the player's "home base" is a research station of some variety (more than a little generic, there) where they return to replenish their health etc
  • the whole area is completely abandoned and devoid of life
  • the only signs of people are abandoned belongings and homes, and the occasional corpse for good measure
  • the player is alone in the environment, which they have to explore at first
  • they will come across non-corporeal 'sound creatures' who are embodied by noises which are severely harming to the player character
  • the player must explore, find items, and progressively discover how to destroy the sound creatures
  • overall goal is to wipe them out completely from the gameplay area
  • there are a variety of different sound creatures in the area, which have different effects on the player character and different weaknesess the player can exploit
  • the creatures are limited to different 'zones' - most of them do not move around, so the player can remember their locations
  • when the player enters the zone around a creature, they will first hear a warning sound that indicates an enemy is nearby (eg/ a high-pitched, grating whine). The nature of this sound may give a clue as to the sound generated by the creature
  • when the character is exposed to a creature, s/he loses health and the player may not be able to fully control the character's movement
  • the creatures can only be defeated with sound
  • the character's main 'weapon' is a handheld sound recorder and playback device
  • at the research station, the character has a very simple interface to be able to record and mix sounds from elements in the environment
  • the correct combinations of sound played back at the creature will destroy it
  • when a creature is destroyed, the zone it inhabited becomes completely 'dead': there is no atmos, and any player-character created sounds are almost inaudible - as if the creature sucked the sound out of the area as it died
Other mechanics:
  • initially, the only item the player has is a pair of earmuffs. These cut out the sound of the creature and reduce the health loss experienced by the player character
  • however, they inhibit the player's ability to respond to the creature - the sounds the creatures make are cyclic and pulsing in nature, and the player must record starting on a pulse, or the recording will be useless
  • the earmuffs can only be used to allow the player to explore some areas in relative safety - however, they are completely ineffectual against some of the more powerful creatures, who can pierce through them

Obstacles/game elements:
  • some creatures can be temporarily stopped by the character making noise (stomping, clapping, vocalising), but this will not destroy them
  • some creatures can be destroyed simply by being played back at themselves (a more extreme version of holding up a mirror to an animal to make it aggressive)
  • others are not so simple
  • for some, the sound must be manipulated in some fashion
  • for others, the sound cannot be properly recorded, and must be synthesized using elements from the environment, character vocalisations etc
  • the way the player character responds to the sound can be a clue about how to defeat it
  • if the character becomes hyperactive and frantic (camera shake, over- sensitivy to controls), the sound needs to be slowed down to defeat the creature
  • if the character becomes slow and dull (blurring vision, reduced sensitivy to controls), the sound needs to be sped up to defeat the creature
  • if the character becomes disoriented (inverted controls), the sound needs to be played backwards to defeat the creature
  • Obviously the entire premise of the game is based around the use of sound and the player learning how to respond to sound instead of visuals
  • there would be no background music - the soundscape would be comprised of atmos and ambient noise
  • no animal or human sounds except the player and things left behind by the researchers to add to the story and mood
Other visual elements:
  • obviously this would require some more complex first-person character animations
  • however, the environment and animations could be simplified to be more stylised
  • since the use of sound in the game is not entirely realistic or physically accurate, the player may be more inclined to accept less realistic graphics - though this may detract from the strangeness of the situation with which the player is faced

Potential problems/other issues of interest:
  • There are so many problems with this idea like you would not believe
  • As mentioned, the project is far too ambitious for the time allowed
  • I think the core concept is solid but I am not happy with the specifics of gameplay - they seem both lacking and overly contrived
  • the concept of the earmuffs to allow the player to move around in a less inhibited way is good, but doesn't cohere well with the other ideas about recording/playback
  • earmuffs could be replaced with simply the character putting their hands over their ears - during which, of course, they can't perform any other actions except movement through the environment
  • also toyed with the idea of a sinewave generator, with the player trying to match the core frequency of the creature - possibility of finding multiple 'weapons' as in a traditional FPS
I really like the idea, but it needs a LOT of work, both conceptually and for execution.

1 comment:

  1. Wow Delia, awesome ideas! I think I like the dark/light one best =)