DeVRAND

A lightweight programming blog for distraction-free reading.

The Future of Arena

2018-06-02

Arena is receiving weekly updates - this is probably no big news since I talk about this everywhere, but it is worth a mention here as this post is to collect all the plans and ideas I have for the game. At the time of writing there have been 15 updates released in… 15 weeks. (Wow, this really deserves an r/theydidthemath post). Arena is currently sitting at version 1.0.15, is it going to be 1.0.45 by the end of 2018? Or rather, is the whole project going to be abandoned before that can happen?

What’s an Update Anyway?

I am most certainly doing the early access model. Looking back at 1.0.0 which I used to believe was the release, 15 updates later I could not disagree more. Updates always come with at least one new content: usually a weapon, achievement or mutator (a setting that changes something about the game - as in Low Gravity, Big Heads etc). These are the strong points of the game as I simply cannot compete in the platformer, shooter and visuals categories. Instead, Arena is a chaotic deathmatch simulator that can be tweaked more and more as the updates come. The game was lacking content in its 15-updates-earlier state.

Admittedly, the new content can take as little as half an hour to develop and release. Problem is, ideas don’t come so fast. Also, I have lots of terrible ideas. Adding new achievements and weapons are risky. Why? Anecdote time! The word achievement reminds me of the Steam notification popping up, saying I’ve just received an achievement that I didn’t even know about, or do anything special for it - I have just progressed in the story of the game. Or even better, I got it for scoring a 1,000 kills and I am at 1,000/10,000 for the next tier of that achievement. I could mass-produce achievements that require a certain amount of something, but that gets repetitive and boring to complete of course. Instead, my intention with achievements is to give a very specific task to the player that requires thinking outside the box, some practice and skill, and gives them a goal to work towards.

For example, I have the achievement MVP. To get it, the player has to score every single one of the kills from their team in a Team Deathmatch game. In other words, they have to steal all the kills from their teammates. Luckily, the game is tweakable to the end so with some planning this is not very hard after all.

  • Amount of bots: 3 - 2v1 situation, so there is only one teammate who can ruin your perfect scores)
  • Map: Grass - has a guaranteed shotgun which can insta-kill from point-blank range; no chance to lose kills!
  • Mutator: Rocket Launchers Only - rockets are easier to dodge than other weapons, and your teammate cannot get any insta-kill weapons this way; you can still get the guaranteed shotgun though!
  • Mutator: Freeze - you can stop time to make sure you are aiming your shotgun at the right position, so you hit your target with full potential instead of leaving them at very low health, having your teammate score the kill
  • Mutator: Dual Shoot - weapons shoot twice as many bullets and rockets but their fire rates are halved; exactly what you need! you only need to shoot once, so the fire rate is not a problem (plus it synergises with a shotgun very well), and you have to dodge rockets less frequently
  • Pace: Slow / Yawn - undoubtedly, a slower pace makes it much easier to manouver and aim

I hope it makes more sense now - getting achievements will require players to experiment with- and explore every aspect of the game instead of just having them play the game the same way for too long. If I ever release an achievement that says “Win 1,000 games”, it is not me. :) The same thing can be said for weapons - I have lots of pixel art guns ready, but would it really make sense to have 5 different pistols and assault rifles in the game that barely differ in any stats?

Answering the question from a few (long) minutes before, 1.0.45 is unlikely. Arena may be getting better in terms of content, but I cannot wait to reset the counter and decide on what to put in 1.1.0 instead. With a major version change new features and mechanisms would starting flowing and the game would be getting more depth finally. Sometimes it feels like I am working on a sandbox foundation waiting for a game to be built on top of it. Without further ado (OK, I have no rights to say that), here is a short list of future plans.

The List

Game Modes

  • Capture the Flag
  • Payload (You pay to have the game load up, I heard micro-transactions were cool!)
  • Zombie Survival (I totally came up with this first!)
  • Raids (procedurally generated dungeons, think PvM)
  • Betting, Spectating and Casino (For times when you can’t be bothered to use the keyboard)

Mechanisms

  • Multiplayer
  • Tutorial (instead of the How to Play screen)
  • Helpful Tooltips for game modes and mutators (everybody keeps asking me what Instagib does :D)
  • Revert time (we already have slow-motion and time-freezing, it is a must-have!)
  • Weapon reload system
  • Weapon burst fire mode
  • Weapon loadouts
  • Team loadouts
  • Level up system with unlockables (skins, hats?)
  • Weapon skins (eg. assault rifle visuals can be customized to M4A1, AK-47, FN SCAR, etc.)
  • Hats to customize look
  • Replace characters with humanoid ragdolls
  • Narrator for kill combos and shutdowns (M-M-M-MONSTER KILL!)
  • Speech-bubble-radio-system (eg. teammates congratulate your kills, enemies trash talk)

Objects

  • Destructible and/or Physics based covers (crates, barrels)
  • Jump pads
  • Pickups that grant temporary damage boost or invulnerability

Weapons

  • Teleport Gun
  • Grappling Hook
  • Laser Beam Rifle
  • Lightning Rod
  • Grenades

Mutators

  • Zero Gravity (only way to move is with the recoil of guns; I can’t wait to code the AI for this)
  • Claustrophobia (maps that fit the screen)
  • Explosive (every projectile explodes)

Visuals

  • Better grass tiles on grass map (duh)
  • Light shafts on grass map
  • Lava eruptions on cavern map
  • Matching palette for all the sprites

Fixes

  • Weapons on ground have no friction and slide forever when knocked back by explosions
  • Physics objects shot into solid blocks teleport
  • Exiting matches after the win/lose goal has been met results in a Forfeit

Achievements

  • Nothing in queue :)

Miscellaneous

  • Give the game an icon
  • Pause the game when unfocused
  • Change achievement texts to be more cryptic (and add option to show hints)

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