Boats on Rails [G2]

A game by gglppi, npai, and shyp.

Game Idea:

Boats on Rails will be a silly, cartoony racing game where the player pilots a boat along a complex water-based course. They will be challenged by enemy AI racing against them along the way, passive “road hazards” (perhaps better described as “canal hazards”) such as driftwood and wreckage, and active road hazards such as hostile aquatic life. Players will race around the track over 2-3 laps (subject to change pending playtesting feedback).

Work division:

gglppi: I will be working on the pathing infrastructure (controlling movement around the track and measuring distance from finish on looping, branching paths), game AI, character movement framework, implementation of game feels prototyped by npai, and fancy graphical effects.

npai: I will be working on the general feel for the game. This will include the game feel prototyping in terms of character movement and controls. Allowing the player to feel like they are controlling a boat in an arcade, to drift around, and to shoot to “strafe” by pushing themselves. I will also work on items, powerups, and obstacle behaviors to make the game more challenging and fun.

shyp: I will concentrate on the UI of the game. The most important task would be to help create the game feel through setting up the map of the game and create a level that will be fun but not too easy for the user. I will have to create a realistic setting with matching obstacles and enemies to draw the player into the game. Also I will be creating a HUD that will let the user know what situation or condition they are in and how far through the game they are.

Why it will be fun:

Boats on Rails will be fun because the movement mechanics will feel fast and fun, the metaphor of a boat that can perform silly maneuvers will be entertaining, and the rules of the racing game will reinforce interesting and engaging interactions. There will be a handful of core mechanics which we will iterate on and polish in-depth, which we expect the players will combine into a myriad of ways, and every interaction in the game will be as polished as our work schedule permits to reinforce the metaphor of being a racing, drifting, size-changing, cannon-firing boat.

Minimum Feature Set

At minimum, our game will include a boat which can race around a circle path with no branching, racing enemy AIs who do nothing except move forward without behaving in any particularly intelligent antagonistic way. We will have a HUD to display the lap and the place number. Special mechanics will include drifting around sharp corners, and firing cannons at enemy ships to slow them down.

Expected Feature Set

We expect to achieve all features listed in the minimum feature set, along with branching paths the boat can take and enemy AIs who fire back at the player. We will additionally have multiple items to be grabbed as power-ups. We expect to complete the ability to grow and shrink to either do more damage/have more momentum or be able to fit into short-cut pipes. The HUD will display indicators when the player holds down the fire button to indicate charging the cannons. Players will be able to spin out, fall off the course, etc. We will have a high degree of visual polish on the interactions between the water and the boats (splashing, wake, etc) to reinforce the movement. We will also have a main menu with the ability to choose between playing the level, showing credits, or showing a control tutorial page.

Exceptional Feature Set

Our exceptional feature set would include everything in the expected feature set, in addition to intelligent enemy AIs working in tandem to defeat the player, more special mechanics like jumping, flying, and gliding for limited times, a course selection screen with multiple courses to choose from, and multiple boats to choose from with different appearances and gameplay behavior.

Alpha Playtesting Goals

  • – Looping course
  • – HUD displaying laps and place number
  • – Drifting
  • – Growing/shrinking

Final Playtesting Goals

Looping course with branching paths.
Enemies who race and shoot at you.
Obstacles that can be exploded.
Shooting with recoil.
Shrinking and growing.
Drifting around sharp corners.
Power-up items (boosting, shooting more, etc).
HUD displaying cannon power-up, lap number, place number, current

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