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Howdy everyone, first post, had this simmering in my head a bit so I went ahead a typed it up, hope ya'll are kind and enjoy my ideas, I posted the same in a couple other forums just trying to throw a wide net and see what ideas come up
A proper Warhammer 40k game.
To begin with, I’d like to state that I’ve never played any of the table top games. Though appealing the initial cost of the game had always turned me off to the idea of it being a hobby. However, while in Iraq with the army I was introduced to the fluff behind the Warhammer 40k universe; a vast sea of books done by the guys at black library. In conjunction with the RTS games by THQ, I found myself pulled like Horus into the beautiful chaos of eternal war in Warhammer 40k. However I noticed that there was a distinct lack of a 40k FPS. The old fire warrior game on PS2 was weak; though it got some of the gothic ideal through it never really pushed the limits of what I saw was nearly unlimited potential within the Warhammer 40k world. With so many vastly different races with passionate goals whether good or evil, no one had boiled away the strategy and gotten to the gun on palm realism of the books. To fix this I propose these ideas, to get gears turning in exuberant minds and maybe even get some people excited.
The core focus of an FPS is delivering realistic gunplay from the shooters eye. Realism defined in gunplay is how the weapon feels in comparison to its appearance and/or stats. A big gun should feel big unless it is explained why not. A rifle should be accurate, to its form as well as how it shoots. It would be ridiculous if in Call of Duty the nine millimeter pistol was the best gun in the game. This is relatively easy from the designer’s eye, maybe not as much from the coder, but easy for me none the less. To me the weapons in Warhammer are large, accurate (unless orkish), loud and already have a nebulous set of rules defined by the original table top game. I won’t go into detail about the weapons just yet, they tie into my direction that I think the game should go, but are better shown through the second focus of an FPS. The game play itself: the characters, the levels, and the motion characters take through them. Past that connection, the gun play is much better served when discussed by peers. Every single player, and/or reader of anything involving the WH40k series has their own ideas on what the weaponry should feel like if you held it, and also how it fires. So I leave that completely open, if I have the nerve to call the title of this “a proper Warhammer 40k game” then it doesn’t do it much justice to let me make all the decisions.
After this core focus is properly shaped, the rest of the game can be discussed. To do this it is best to take you into my head. Warhammer 40k is a strategy game that is played with squads working in concert with one another. The battle is controlled by, proper use of cover, proper use of the right tools for a situation (i.e., melee, ranged, anti tank, tank, anti personnel, artillery), the armor that the units have, and finally luck. To translate all of these into an FPS though appealing as it sounds I think takes so much away from the FPS part, even though Battlefield 40k would be exciting, it’s just beyond the scope of what I’m trying to bring to the table here. The reasoning behind all of this can be summed up in one word; Counterstrike. The appeal of Counterstrike is from its stupid simple game play, the game is so simple that in lack of additional features and game play fluff, the player is forced to focus on the core element of the game; squad co-operation and razor sharp gunplay. The same deduction can be brought to Wh40k, the core of the game brought down to eye level is squad co-operation, use of cover and individual armor to fire accurate shots and advance on the enemy. Whether into melee or just close range for better accuracy depends on the force, but the principal remains the same with both.
Squad co-operation is all voice and hand signals, along with a defined command structure. Luckily this can be simplified if the game size is only 8 vs. 8, or 16 vs. 16, with there being one commander per squad of 8. Rank would be through talent accomplishments, whatever form they take (achievements, trophies), and time in game. To accomplish the hand signals would require some excellent contextual AI with animations. If not, vox (voice communication) could be easily managed with pre-programmed emotes and voice over ip. To help ensure players know how important this is, a simple squad system that gives a rank or vote chosen squad leader the ability to point out objectives and select a squad goal. Squad mates then would receive additional time in game (xp) rewards.
Covering achievements in game brings up the next point where I am going to let my own ideas stay off the page. I would prefer others to suggest how the certain areas of the game be covered, for example, weapon selection. It doesn’t hold with the lore of Warhammer 40k that all characters have equal weaponry, nor does them finding weapons on the map. It makes much more sense that all players have all equipment they’ll have for the whole match at the beginning. In addition weapons are tied specifically to classes within the table top game and lore. So how a player determines classes, is completely up to the reader, whether purchasing, picking freely, through achievements or some other method.
As the squad(s), work towards their goal, communicating and using the weapons they have acquired, they’ll have to rely on their armor and their ability to use cover to protect themselves from the fearsome weapons of the opposing team while bringing their own deadly weapons to bear. Cover being the more reliable of the two, it takes precedence. There are two paths the game can take at this point. The first is that armor is resilient enough to take a few hits if cover can used in the first person with the player “popping” out to take shots. The second is to allow the player to use 3rd person view in cover. The reasoning behind this being that, leaning is poor in almost all games if it works at all. The “popping” technique is feasible with the armor in 40k; on the other hand the 3rd person view while in cover has shown to be very fun in games like Gears of War and Rainbow 6 Vegas. The character hunkers down blind firing over or around cover until the player pops out, then going back into 1st person perspective. To keep the pace up, Warhammer 40k has some very effective thrown explosive and debilitating grenades. This in conjunction with some of the special abilities of classes in 40k will allow players to very quickly negate any advantage either side has.
Armor, in the lore of 40k, is the core of everything. Nothing is held in higher reverence by the peoples of the imperium, the elder empire, xenos, and chaos except perhaps their Gods. The fervor of the races, in and of its self becomes an armor further protecting them. I make no confession to being an artist of any sort; however the mechanics was my concern, not the appearance. To represent it in an FPS true to the lore. A health bar could be represented in the HUD; almost all races wear a helmet or have bionic enhancements if they don’t. This also explains how there would be objectives shown to the player. The health bar would take an outline of the player’s character with hit zones for the entire body, and 2 bars to represent the fervor of the character and then their actual life-force. Armor would cover the entire body and as hits were taken the individual hit zones would weaken. A color scale that could be as simple as green, yellow, red, black; or as complex as showing the effect of each weapon has had on the zone. As armor weakens hits allow more damage to penetrate and hit the player. To show the passionate resolve of the 40k characters, a fervor, or hate meter would be used in conjunction with the character’s actual health. This meter would be filled at the start of combat, as hits penetrate the armor and lower the health bar, the fervor meter would immediately start to deplete itself translating its energy into healing for the player. All the races of 40k have unnaturally fast ability to heal through grievous wounds; this implementation could cover such a complex idea in the lore. After the player is healed, the lowered fervor meter would be refilled by killing enemies. Hate filled passion for the other races rewards the character with more energy to heal and in turn fight. Finally, armor should not be able to be repaired in a mission, or life. That simple fact will make the player use all the tools available to his or herself to break the enemy armor and keep their armor safe. Keeping with the style of the 40k universe, there are no battlefield repairs.
With the players jostling to get into the best positions to take on their foe, the game starts to expand into the realm of strategy without needing any rules of RTS’s or the table top game. When the battle finally closes to melee range, 40k doesn’t disappoint. With a wealth of close combat weapons available and near endless ways to implement them, discussion would be the only plausible way of narrowing down how utilized. Level design, should stay within the lore of the game. Battlefields, urban cities in all states of repair, ship boarding actions, trench combat, and jungle fighting all make appearances in Warhammer 40k, almost any place has seen battle, but it is vital for any game that shapes itself in this universe to share its iconic art style. That means gothic architecture, steam punk mixed with cyberpunk, and everything with a layer of age of better times past, the world of 40k is stagnant within realms held by man. Arthur C Clark stated that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”, nowhere is this as apparent as in 40k. The time of advance is over and has been for almost as long as history can remember. The only things that can still be maintained are the implements of war, and war is constant. Perhaps in level design the edges of the map could have AI controlled immortal bots, these face off against immortal enemies of the opposite team; surrounding the players in a battle that never ends for further immersion.
The rest I leave open, to the audience, perhaps there are some of you out there that are as passionate about this idea as me, you’ll probably have some better ideas than I had, and I’d love to discuss them.
Ok I am not going to attempt to reply to all your ideas, but will try to on a few. The idea of a CS style 40k game is pretty sweet.
Communication- I think voice would be the way to go for ease of player use, Almost all races a long with helmets have some form of radio communication. However to be really cool that could be a defining feature of individual races. Marines communicating through their helmets, Orks using hand signals or just bellowing orders in game, that the opponents could hear, Guardsmen having certain character classes with radios etc..
Races- I think this will be a hot topic, how do 8 guardsmen square off against 8 space marines? My ideas are linked to your idea of cover, space marines should be big, at nine feet tall they should have a hard time hiding behind that car, and with no way to repair their armour in game they will slowly get worn down by a mass of fire coming from cover. Necrons would be heavily armoured but very slow, prone to getting caught in the open and surrounded by quick moving opponents.
An alternative would be to have the more powerful classes as taking up two slots in the squad size. So 16 guardsmen against 8 Space Marines, but I don't like this idea as much.
That's my initial thoughts, the core concepts of armour and cover and the organically developing strategy are very good.
The problem with balancing races occurred to me as well. There just isn’t a way your average guardsman could stand up to a space marine in 1 vs. 1 combat. But, how about taking guardsmen and lumping them in with “man” so the Imperium choices for classes could be something like Vindicar Assassin, Commissar, Sanctioned pysker, Ogryn sergeant, and stormtrooper. Slightly more flexible within the game and still represents some of the characters that could in theory stand up to a space marine.
Think Savage: Battle for Neworth. Imperium starts as crappy gaurdsmen, BUT: with enough kills they can be promoted to vet with a special weapon. This would mean only the entire armies need to be even, not the individual soldiers. Maybe the amount the team holds secondary obj. could determine the amount of upgrades they get. The upgrades would then go to the mvp. The trees are the ones that need to be balanced then, not the troops. So, for example, the upgrade trees could look like this:
Gaurdman-Gaurdsmen with special weapons (multiple levels and options here)-Vet-Vet with special weapons (multiple levels and options here)-ratling-Vet with camocloak/demo equipment/carapace armour-Vet with camocloak/demo equipment/carapace armour with special weapons (multiple levels and options here)-stormtrooper-Guess what? stormtrooper with special weapons (multiple levels and options here)-ogryn-senital-chimera-hellhound-valkerie-leman-russ-baneblade
Grot-Ork boy-Ork boy with big shoota/ missle launcher-Ork Ard Boy with big shoota/ missle launcher-ork commando-ork commando with big shoota/ missle launcher-loota boy-burna boy-nob-Ard Nob-Mek-Mek with custum mega blasta-big mek-megga nob-big mek with whateverthatsnotlingshootingguniscalled-warboss-biker-biker nob-warbuggy-deffkopta-killa kan-deff dredd-looted wagon-battle wagon-stompa
when the team gets an upgrade the offer to get an upgrade would pop up on the MVP's screen with the option to accept/decline and weapon options.