2007-05-11

Project vision

Classics revisited. The idea of the game is to resurrect Lode Runner game in 3D and add new features that new third dimension can offer to us.

Retrospective
First, let’s recall the basic concepts and rules of this classical game.
  • The field of the game is a flat 2D maze, kind of a construction site with platforms and ladders. For example it looked like this:
Image 1. Lode Runner multi-platform maze

Maze consists of brick platforms and walls, ladders and hand-to-hand bars suspended in the air. Some walls or platforms are indestructible.
  • The main character controlled by the player i.e. the “good guy”. His task is to run around the maze avoiding bad guys and collecting gold crates scattered around the level. He can climb ladders up/down, use hand-to-hand bars to slide and even crush a pit in nearby ground if it was made of destructible brick.
  • Bad guys (the robots). Clumsy and slow characters chasing the good guy around the map. Once bad guy falls into the pit, he stays there for some time and then climbs out. But alas - pits regenerate after some period and if robot fails to climb out – he’s dead. Another robot falls from the sky at random place instantly if his comrade has died in the pit.
  • Gold crates. That’s the purpose of the good guy. If he collects all the crates, the ladder appears leading to the sky. His task is to climb up to win.
New generation Lode Runner

Now that we have third dimension, it brings us a challenge – how to extend the maze. We had a pretty nice 2D multi-store map, why not reusing it? So let’s consider our maze will be one brick-block wide 3D maze:
Image 2. Three dimensional maze


To make it even more fun to play, let’s make it a first person view. A quake style 2d game has one problem – how to see opponents if platform floors and walls are blocking them? The old game had side view so player can see the whole field and plan play strategy a few steps ahead. Here’s another trick we’re about to introduce in our fancy Lode Runner version – side mirrors. A player can take a look at any time to one of the side mirrors and observe current situation.

Image 3. Side mirror and the maze

Image 4. Character view from the platform to mirror

Extras
Other improvements will be implemented based on available timescale. These include:
  • Animated game environment and surroundings. Maze and the mirrors are placed inside themed environment – city, nature landscape, space stations etc.
  • Multiplayer mode.
  • Adding real 3rd dimension - some platforms may extend along depth axis.
  • Making circular maps i.e. 2D map is curved into cylinder
  • Different enemies and their behavior.
  • Different brick types.
  • Different bonuses and items.

References
Lode Runner on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lode_Runner
Indago homepage http://indago.puslapiai.lt

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