Hi, so I was making a rough plan for how the first level in my game would pan out and I was wondering if I could get some opinions as to how I could improve on this. I’ll be designing the entire game by myself as I have nobody else. I am basically working on a remake for the game Shadow of Rome which came out around 10 years ago…
Okay, so in the first part of the game you start off with a cramped area with little space to move. Agrippa (main character) is sitting down, with outdated textures, before his mentor comes and talks about the upcoming battle in text script, not actual voice. It is from here that you can move around the area by running around and you can “talk” to other gladiators. The problem with this is that they only speak in text, so there is little variation other than quick one-liners. The barred space behind you which light floods through is blocked so you cannot explore the area behind, and your only way forward is talking to the guy at the entrance to the arena.
Once again, the game proceeds through text conversation and you are asked whether or not you want a weapon before the game cuts with a loading screen to the arena.
Parts to Improve Upon and Add Onto
Before entering the first arena, there is a cinematic cutscene with around half a dozen gladiators fighting to the death. In this cinematic, areas to improve upon include the size of the arena, the amount of gladiators, the amount of animations the gladiators have and visuals that include texture, physics, lighting and crowd improvements. There can be a greater variation of the types of weapon swing animations they have and an increased amount of attention to detail. Some of the animations can be derived from the weapon animations seen in Infinity Blade, where it could be taken from and expanded upon in depth.
As for the first controllable area, it could be expanded to where you start off in one of over half a dozen (maybe eight) locked cell areas where you may begin in the same position you start off in in the original version. Your mentor unlocks the door and beckons you to come with him, where he leads you over to a table that contains a map of the arena in the far right corner of the room. Behind you are tables and small seats where other people sit having food and drink. Roman guards in full body armour are positioned facing with their backs towards large pillars that support the building where they stare upon the residents of the dungeon. Light pours directly across the dining area by way of very small windows positioned lengthways across the top of the stone wall.
The cells where the gladiators stay are filthy with grimy walls and water flooded all around the floor with the water reflecting off of the small amount of fire located within each of the cells. Each cell is roughly the same, with rats scurrying around the ground and disappearing into small cracks in the wall. Each cell has rusty barred poles with a door in the centre that creaks upon opening and closing.
After your mentor explains your battle in the arena and a small dynamic popup that appears disappears shortly after (which displays basic controls on how to move around), you travel down the room through a corridor barely larger than Agrippa and through yet another barred door (which leads into the area you start off in the original game. It is from here that you can converse with the other gladiators in the room, walk around for a bit, or proceed to the far gate where a roman guard asks you if you would like to enter the arena in voice, not text. If you say yes by a selection of 3 options: “yes”, “no” or “go stuff yourself” (which gets you stabbed and killed instantaneously), he unlocks the door (when you say yes) and you must travel up a short flight of narrow stairs that have walls smeared with dried blood before you go through a final door that let’s you enter the arena. It is from here where you cannot backtrack as the guard that let you out prevents you from walking back in through the gate.
Revised Second Area
As you enter the arena, you walk out to an open outside area where a fully rendered crowd watches you from above sitting on raised seats. There are around 10 sets of seats that gradually move upwards with a set of stairs on either side that lead up to a gate almost out of your FOV. Facing you in the first area of the arena are half a dozen other gladiators bare handed, situated at the centre of the arena. One roman senator stands on a pedestal in between two sets of crowds, facing the gladiators.
Before the gladiators fight, they face the senator and yell “We who are about to die, salute you!” Immediately after, they face one of the closest gladiators and begin fighting. Dried blood lies on the sand where the previous gladiators fought. Scattered around the ground lie a few weapons - a couple short swords (Gladius), a curved sword (Scimitar), and an axe. Other than the different ways you can swing these weapons, you are able to engage in a tug of war sort of event where you can rip a weapon out of someone’s hands if you are barehanded, or throw sand into a person’s face if you are forced to the ground in order to blind them temporarily. Throwing severed body parts into the crowd, or performing a special button combination that causes you to yell with your arms and/or weapon raised, excites them causing them to throw consumable food or weapons to you to use, but throwing weapons at them angers the crowd and causes a small group of roman guards to enter the arena and attack you.
The arena has three separate areas with randomized enemies and a small amount of weapons on the ground as well. After clearing out all of the gladiators in the third area apart from Roman guards, a large gladiator carrying an axe enters the arena through the exit gate which you must defeat. Dealing the final blow leads to a seamless transition of forcing him to the ground and raising your weapon as he pleads for life but when you swing it down you throw it away from his head. Walking towards the exit gate, the gate opens and a dozen roman guards move to surround the fallen foe as one guard with an axe moves towards the fallen foe before swinging a killing blow. Your character whispers facing the crowd that he will not die a gladiator before the level ends and the display darkens to black as the game switches to the next level.