Bomb Squad Progress

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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.

7 Comments

The bomb is strapped to the bomb-sniffing robot? The robot grew sentient and rewired itself to BE a bomb? Oh, sorry... you said *didn't* want cheese. I won't be very helpful, I'm afraid.

This could be really tough, I think I can't do that at all. So, good luck.

Jessie Krehlik said:

Wow Jed, this sounds really complicated...but it sounds really interesting too. Do you think you'll have enough time to polish the game like you hope to?

Jed Fetterman said:

I appreciate all your help, Dr. Jerz, but I think that I am going to go for something a little more realistic for the game.

On the one hand, it is complicated, but the complication is all around the bomb. I don't even think that I need another room really. My original project was going to be one of those games where you are trapped in a room with a giant puzzle, but since I am a glutton for punishment, I decided I wanted some NPC in there as well.

Thank you for getting me to talk about this because I just had a robo-epiphany...

Daniella Choynowski said:

Jed, I just created a game in EL 405 that is almost entirely based on dialogue. Interactions between the characters is what keeps the actions moving. A lot of the intricacy is in creating several different paths that converge eventually at a similar point. I spent a good month on it, and only one scene was programmed. Certain responses are elicited from the other character based on what you "ask" or "tell" him. There is no actual useage of props-taking an item or trying to use one triggers a reactions/response.

My game was similar to a fan-fiction, so I was putting words in people's mouths that I think they wanted to hear, along with random pop culture references and humor to keep the non Harry Potter fan interested.

How about making the bomb something so obviously un-bomb like that the player will have to explore the rest of the rooms. Also, you can program it so that the bomb is in the lobby, but the player cannot see it or activate it unless they visit certain rooms first.

If you want to go along with the classics, how about making disabling the bomb using a red/blue wire puzzle?

David Wilbanks said:

You could just make it so the character controls the bomb-dismantling robot via a remote. Then you don't have to get rid of it. This would likely help to explain any limitations (Commands that don't work, etc.) the character has later in the game, as its not really them in the building, but a robot. I guess this might make it seem a little less dramatic, as you lose a remote control robot, and not a person if the bomb goes off. However, this could be detrimental to NPC interaction.

Jed Fetterman said:

I think I might use the blue/red puzzle, but I want it to be a little more. As far as the robot goes, I think I will just make it disable in the room, so you have to go in and fix it. This way, your character is still in danger, but it solves the robot problem.

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Jed Fetterman on Bomb Squad Progress: I think I might use the blue/r
David Wilbanks on Bomb Squad Progress: You could just make it so the
Daniella Choynowski on Bomb Squad Progress: Jed, I just created a game in
Jed Fetterman on Bomb Squad Progress: I appreciate all your help, Dr
Jessie Krehlik on Bomb Squad Progress: Wow Jed, this sounds really co
Aero Windwalker on Bomb Squad Progress: This could be really tough, I
Dennis G. Jerz on Bomb Squad Progress: The bomb is strapped to the bo
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