Bomb Squad Progress
So, I was thinking of doing a game with a strong NPC for my term project, but two things occurred. The first is that NPCs are hard to create, which I already knew but this talked me out of it. The second is that I played Galatea, and I realized how hard it is to play a game without action. I must have seen, "You cannot form the question into words," about a million times in an hour yesterday.
I also did not like the dialogue. It would take the question I was asking, make it more specific, and then answer it with something that was even more vague than my question. I asked Galatea about life, and I got a page long answer about nothing. I think that would ruin the whole NPC idea for me. If you are going to have a good NPC, it needs to interact with almost anything that you throw at it, which means that I would have to write out a ton of answers to questions, statements, etc. I just don't think that people like you putting words in their mouths. I think that you would also have to write out responses to all the actions that a player might possibly make, so not only do I have to write for every possible conversation, I have to write for every possible event. To make a long story short, I do not have the time to create a good NPC game.
After understanding that, though, I had a good idea for the game that I do want yesterday. Basically, you are a member of the bomb squad, and you have to disarm a time-bomb that is in an apartment building. Here is what I thought of yesterday:
· You are a member of the bomb squad.
· A time bomb is in the middle of a high-rise apartment building.
· The robot you have sent in is no longer working due to a power outage.
· You must enter the building to save the day.
· There are four different rooms.
· The time bomb is in the lobby.
· There is a generator in the basement.
· There is a stairwell.
· An apartment door is open on the first floor.
There are two things that I need to figure out before moving on to the alpha testing. The first is understanding the bomb puzzle. It is central to the action of the game, and I need to figure out how I want the bomb to work, and what clues I can give about how to dismantle it. I really do not want to make it the cliché "Red your dead, green your keen," phrase about cutting the cords. To be honest, I do not really want cords on my bomb because they are so hackneyed.
I also need to understand how to program in the countdown on the time-bomb. This will probably be the part that needs the most testing. I want to have a specific number of turns that you have until the bomb explodes, but how much time is the big question. If I go too long, then everyone will be able to solve the puzzle without many problems. If I do not go long enough, the bomb will explode, and no one will beat the game. This is probably what the beta testing would attempt to solve.
I also have the idea of bringing a phone in somehow. Maybe this bomb squad guy is an idiot, which is why he got sent into the building in the first place, and he has to use a phone (or walkie-talkie) to talk to the chief. I probably would not call him an idiot, but I like the idea of making the player phone a friend for help. That brings the NPC aspect back into the game, but there is not as much programming to do for this.
The final thought I have is that the opening sequence needs to be better. It is pretty lame: the power goes out, and the bomb-defusing robot stops working. I am fairly certain that the robots police use for stuff like this are wireless, and pretty durable, so I need to figure out a way to get it out of the picture without being to "cheesy." I have a few ideas that are not too good. The first is that the robot was in the shop on a day that nothing was supposed to go wrong; very cheesy. The next is that the robot is caught out in a thunderstorm and is either hit with a bolt of lightning, or becomes waterlogged; neither idea is very appealing to me. I could have a sniper shoot the robot from the top of the building, but that would make things too complex and nonsensical. If there was a sniper around, why would he shoot the robot and not the police; the police would pay more attention to him than the bomb if he did that.
So those are the four questions that I pose to you, faithful readers. What should the bomb be like? How long should the bomb wait to go off? How should I bring in a small amount of NPC interaction? And most importantly, how should I get rid of the robot? Thank you for helping me progress.