Friday, November 15, 2013

Mach-Arena: Game Elements


     The game elements document basically elaborates on things I put in the mechanics  one. It goes into detail for each power-up and also explains the new concept my group came up with for customizable ships. Take a look at it below the break.

Game Elements

Power ups add a layer of strategy and empowerment. Players acquire a power-up by crashing through power-ups in the form of large floating icons located deep within the tunnels. One of each type of power-up is lined up along the tunnel walls and players can maneuver themselves in order to get the power-up of their choice. When acquired, players can activate them at any time. Once taken, the same power-up will reappear in the taken one’s place after a few seconds. The aligned power-ups slowly rotate along the cave walls in a similar fashion to the moving spikes. Players cannot shoot power-up icons to obtain them and must contact them physically.
Frenzy rapidly fires shots with a longer range for a short time.
These shots temporarily eliminate the shrinking mechanic and sends differently colored shots forward. Those shots do not dissolve until they impact a solid object, whether it be a player, another shot, or the environment.
Blast fires one powerful homing shot.
These shots automatically lock on to the player closest to where the reticle is pointing. If there are no players within a set range, the blast just goes straight to where the reticle is pointing. The blast makes a louder noise than most shots and if players know it’s coming they can try to move behind solid objects in order to make it impact the environment or another player instead. The shot takes the quickest possible path to its target with no regard to environmental navigation.
Trap lays a stationary floating bomb behind the user for other players to run into.
An obstacle is placed in the arena for ships to crash into. The user can also be damaged by the trap. The trap is always placed directly behind the user and is immobile.
Boost greatly increases the user’s speed for a few seconds. 
This power-up hurls the user forward at an incredible speed. While in use, the slow down or speed up buttons do not function. It is wisest to use this power in tunnels or to go down a straight path. Crashing into objects and the environment at such a fast pace will cause severe damage to the ship.
Shield protects the user from harm for a short time.
These power-ups act as an extra amount of health that slowly depletes over time. When this power-up is used, the health bar changes into a more brightly colored bar that represents how much time is left before the power-up’s  effect wares off, depleting to zero when the power-up time is over. By combining damage with decay time the power-up eventually dissipates.

                Vehicle Control
There are two control options to choose from but all inputs have control over the same actions. The options are slightly different in terms of ergonomics and convenience. Players can switch controls whenever they like. The actions are: slow down, speed up, dodge left, dodge right, use item, shoot, move left (tunnel), move right (tunnel), aim ship, and turn ship. There is a radio switch that determines how ships enter alternate paths in tunnels via one of three input options. The only compatible input device for this game is the mouse & keyboard.
Being that Mach-Arena is a multiplayer style game, players are unable to pause. However, pressing a button brings up a semi-transparent diagram illustrating the player’s chosen control scheme. It somewhat obscures the player’s vision but player controls still behave normally. The diagram can be dismissed by pressing the button again.

                Control Options
slow down - D
speed up - E
dodge left – A
dodge right – G
use item – Shift or Right Click
shoot – Spacebar or Left Click
move left (tunnel) – S or Left Arrow
move right (tunnel) – F or Right Arrow
aim/turn ship  - mouse
strafe – F and S

slow down - S
speed up - W
dodge left – Shift + A
 dodge right – Shift + D
use item – Right Click
shoot – Left Click
move left (tunnel) - A
move right (tunnel) - D
aim/turn ship  - mouse
strafe – A and D

Enter Hole:  Choose from – Automatic, E, or Spacebar
Game Controls Image On/Off: R or Center Click

The H.U.D.
The reticle on the middle of the screen steers the player’s ship and casts a ray that detects solid objects closest to the player. When it detects a non-player object it is grey and unsaturated, but when it points at a player it is colorful. It draws attention and shows what things could be shot at. When the reticle detects a player that is nearly out of firing range, it is much less saturated, but still colored.  If the target is completely out of range the reticle is completely unsaturated as if it were pointing at a wall. The reticle disappears in tunnels and players have to rely on aligning themselves and shooting anything directly ahead of them.
The mini map on the lower left side of the screen has colorful dots representing the players moving around on a diagram of the level map. It allows players to keep track of each other and strategize accordingly. The player’s icon on the map is colored differently to make it stand out among the others.
The player’s health is displayed on screen and emits an alert tone when the ship’s health is dramatically low. The player’s health bar depletes from right to left and represents the percentage of health a player has left.
The health bar is labeled with the word “HEALTH” which flashes red and white when health is dramatically low and changes into the word “SHIELD” when the Shield power-up is activated.
If the player has obtained a power-up an icon representing it is visible.
The thrusters on the back of the ships are not necessarily GUI elements but do play a part in giving players information. When players are moving at a fast pace, the thrusters grow brighter, when moving slowly they are dim. It helps give visual feedback to assure players that their input has affected the game.
Names hover over opponent’s ships to help players identify each other. Players can create names for themselves when selecting their ships. Players cannot see their own names during gameplay however.

Characters (Ships)
                Player ships are based on customization. The player selects the model, texture, name, and attributes for the ship before the game starts. AI controlled opponents are randomly generated and select from an array of predetermined names. This gives the player choice and makes each game feel more unique.

Objects (Obstacles & Environment)
                The tunnels greatly change the gameplay. Players have to avoid stalagmites, cave walls, and pillars. Most of these things are static, but the stalagmites crumble on contact.

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