Well today I took a break from learning UDK and decided to focus a little more on how the actual game will work, so I came up with a basic core gameplay / progression idea while leaving all the ideas open and flexible enough so that a story (which still needs to be developed) can be applied over the games core idea/progression with ease. I've also thought this out so that from my point of view its flexible for me to make the game with interactivity or non-interactivy depending on what my ability with the scripting / kismet or lack of, or if I get some help with that end of things. I will explain a little more another day about what I mean there.
So first of all your might remember this example of a large maze I posted in the first post on this web-page
Its worth noting that the game wont necessarily start in the corner of the maze, nor in fact will the entire maze be square or have such formally drawn out corridors, the above image, and subsequent images based on it, is only an example of a typical traditional maze that I am simply using as reference / to help me plan out the logical progression of the game. This will also help demonstrate to others what the core idea of the game is even tho the maze shown in these screenshots wont necessarily look anything like the maze layout of the game itself.
Click on any image to see original size
Here is an example of a zoomed in tiny corner region of the much large image above. Basically the player will have to make their way from the entrance of the maze right through to the exit of the maze. At its core , thats what the game will be.
You can also note that the maze isn't all corridors and junctions, there are parts that open up.
Looking at this small region with a little more detail, I have filled in the possible routes, The red here represents the primary route, the blue an example of an alternative route and the purple represents an example of a route that came from a non-primary route but leads back to the primary route. Its important to note that each alternative possible route cannot at any point lead back to another possible route unless it passes through an open area that is key to the gameplay or story.
Stripping the maze walls out and looking again in a little more detail here we see the red A open area in this example is an open area that has 3 possible routes off it. One of these routes leads back to the primary route that ultimately leads to the exit of the maze, while the other routes will lead to dead ends or player death.
The small green rectangles here represent gates or key junctions. The gates may be locked and require the player to solve a puzzle to open them, while other gates might be permanently locked as to avoid the player back tracking from a certain area. In the case of them being unlocked gates or simply junctions then the player based on a puzzle or clue in that open area has to work out the correct route.
AN EXAMPLE OF A SMALL SCALE GAME PROGRESSION MAP
(LEFT TO RIGHT)
Zooming out on what I have already mentioned above, this is an example of a small scale "start to finnish" game progression map. You`ll note in this example Im using 5 colors alternative routes, where as the game will really contain many many more then that, but just to demonstrate the progression of the gameplay this is a small example.
These are areas that open out into bigger areas. These open areas have key importance to the gameplay and may incorporate elements from the story. For example these open areas will have possible routes off them, so the content of that open area will be relevant to choosing the right route by either solving a puzzle to unlock a door, or solving a puzzle to work out the correct way out. These open areas would be ideal to tell parts of the story in some way through visual content, inscriptions on the walls for example, audio or onscreen text narration or cinematic cut scenes.
In addition to the above these open areas will also serve as checkpoints within the maze giving the player the opportunity to save their progress.
The player will not be able to re-enter an open area once they have chosen their route out also meaning that previous regions of the maze will no longer become back-trackable.
Smaller open areas not important to the main goal (finding the exit to the maze) that will break up the standard corridors and junctions. These smaller open areas may contain curiosities, elements to the story or act as junction areas to other routes.
The primary route is simply the default route, one of many possible routes to the exit of the maze, but from a game development point of view will contain the core story.
The alternative routes are other possible routes to the exit of the maze that give the player the opportunity choose an alternative way and control the story to a small degree. These alternative routes/storylines will also help with the re-playablity of the game.
These routes are routes that simply re-join the primary route.
These routes will eventfully lead to a dead end of the maze meaning the player will have to back-track, or these routes will lead to a player death. The player would re-spawn at the last checkpoint. A player death might involve a trap of some sort, a bad ending to the story/game, or simply a teleportation to the last checkpoint, or in some cases have a hidden route to a bonus area of the maze.
Different maze themes mean that the look and atmosphere of the maze will be of slightly different style or look. For example some areas of the maze might have the appearance of being less maintained so will have moss and vines growing all over the walls, while other areas of the maze might have slightly different style walls, paving, colors,.. be a different season like autumn, winter..etc. Some of these areas might gradually blend into each other and key the atmospheric music or sounds to change into a different mood to match the look.