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How to make a first person shooter unique?

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by BeatleCoder, Jul 23, 2018.

  1. BeatleCoder

    BeatleCoder

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    I have the basics of a first person shooter but I don't know how to separate it from the hundreds of others on the internet. I really need ideas as I'm not a very creative person.

    Comment on what I could do. If I end up using it I'll add credits to the user(s).
    Thank you in advance.
     
  2. BrandyStarbrite

    BrandyStarbrite

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    The first Metroid Prime game on gamecube, is a good example of an FPS
    going in a unique direction. And it even implemented ideas, not seen in most
    fps at the time. If you haven't played it or seen it already, check it out, or play it
    if possible.

    Or, whenever you have time, watch a Metroid Prime gamecube playthrough
    on youtube. That game has lots of cool ideas in it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
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  3. TonyLi

    TonyLi

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    Try this:

    1. Take a week off from your game. Or just work on technical stuff, like the save system or scoring system.

    2. Everywhere you go, carry around a pen and small notepad.

    3. Whenever something occurs to you or catches your interest, write it down, even if it's not obviously related to the premise of your FPS. Don't dwell; just notice things and jot them down. Maybe you overhear a couple fight in line at the grocery store and one of them says something surprising. Or maybe you see something strange out the bus window.

    At the end of the week, do two "what if" exercises for each item in your notepad. Make up a reason, no matter how off the wall, for what led to that event. (Maybe the guy selling pencils on the corner is actually an undercover agent trying to root out alien shapeshifters. X-Com style alien conspiracy shooter?) Then, separate from that, speculate on what might follow from the item you wrote down. (Maybe the couple decides that their best chance for marital bliss is to jointly inflict greater misery on others. Horror shooter in the B&B from hell?)

    While you have the notepad handy, also write down any feelings that you remember having as a kid. For example, maybe you and your siblings would paint black squares on a bunch of empty cardboard boxes to make them look like buildings, and then you'd put on old monster costumes left over from Halloween and "destroy the city" by stomping the boxes and throwing them around. Jot down the essence of how you felt doing that. Great games often evoke these kinds of "essential experiences", to use Jesse Schell's term in Art of Game Design. (A monster or mech shooter? Or battling hordes of tiny enemies?)
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
  4. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    Set it on a cruise ship.
     
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  5. BeatleCoder

    BeatleCoder

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    I've just watched a video of the game and the original game mechanics in it are really interesting and really creative. I'll try and implement them even though I'm not great at 3d animation.
    Thanks so much. I'll try and credit your username in my game.
     
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  6. BeatleCoder

    BeatleCoder

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    Thanks so much for this. As a young person I don't get out of the house a lot so number 2 and 3 could be a problem but number 1 is a great idea and I will do this.
     
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  7. BeatleCoder

    BeatleCoder

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    Good idea but with limited space I'm not sure if it would make a good long game.
    Thanks for helping. If there's a cruise ship in the game then credit goes to you.

    EDIT:
    I've just tried to look for a free 3d cruise ship and I can't find a good one to import into unity. If someone else could find one for me it would be great.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2018
  8. Joe-Censored

    Joe-Censored

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    It isn't really going to be unique if you're just copying mechanics from a different FPS. Though very little in modern games are truly unique, but rather a different mash up a concepts taken from a variety of previous games.
     
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  9. bart_the_13th

    bart_the_13th

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    try some mechanics and extend it to some extreme limit.. like stealth in kieru


    or bullet time in superhot

    or sound visualisation/sonar in Perception and the one I forgot the name but iirf it was made using Unity
     
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  10. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Make it fun. That's probably a good start, and a great finish. The mechanics that make a shooter fun don't have to be novel. You might find a market better with a novel theme/style, but that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the mechanics.

    If it's not a tactical shooter, keep it fast. You can't really get too fast. Too slow is a big problem though. If controls are precise, and enemies are fast, shooting them in the face = fun. Horde modes are great for the solo or coop players. Lots of enemies that aren't too dangerous but maintaining them stresses your reflex and "crowd control" skills, and then you pop in a few enemies who press the player enough to make him unsure of what to do, where to go. Sweep the minions, fear the boss, best the boss. Classic video game gameplay that never gets old.

    Visual polish goes a long way, but you don't have to look AAA to be fun and convincing. Counter-Strike is still probably the best FPS of all time, and it began as a mod.

    I think when a player plays a shooter, they want to assume some kind of role in their mind. Some like to be cunning military special forces, sneaking about like deadly hunters; some want to imagine themselves as super heroes, blasting around without regards for the laws of physics. Some people may want to imagine themselves stuck in some apocalyptic scenario, relying on their wits to survive. If your prospective customer can look at the game and instantly know what role they get to assume when they are going to play that game -- good.

    Stuff like Fortnite -- I guess I'm out of touch with 12 year old kids. I just don't get that style. But I think if you figure out what teenagers and tweens like, you'll hit the jackpot. Probably what they like changes every five minutes though, so good luck.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2018
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  11. BeatleCoder

    BeatleCoder

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    I get what you're saying but for a game to be 'unique' in a possible way the features will have been done before but many people aren't aware of them so it surprises them and brings them back to the games they used to love.
    However modern games only reuse features and mechanics in recent games such as battle royale
     
  12. BeatleCoder

    BeatleCoder

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    Thanks for this. The graphics in Kieru are something I don't really enjoy looking at but the stealth idea is a great way to make the game feel real and allow players to roleplay and believe that their character in the game is alive and has feelings and emotions.

    The bullet time could be fun but it would just be copying another well-known game.

    Sound visualisation/sonar would be hard to implement as I'm not very experienced so I don't know how the unity sound system works.

    Thanks a lot for this
     
  13. BeatleCoder

    BeatleCoder

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    I agree with this which is good as I'm a terrible 3d modeller so I find free 3d assets online which aren't always great.
     
  14. imaginaryhuman

    imaginaryhuman

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    Transparent walls everywhere.
     
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  15. BeatleCoder

    BeatleCoder

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    Great idea. I'll try this when I can and see how it looks.
     
  16. imaginaryhuman

    imaginaryhuman

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    Make it so everyone can see everyone at all times and the only thing blocking is the walls or level layout. No hiding anywhere except behind transparent objects. Should spice things up a bit.
     
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  17. BeatleCoder

    BeatleCoder

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    Where would I set it?
    The transparent idea would work great but would it just be like a glass maze or a normal FPS map that's transparent everywhere
     
  18. imaginaryhuman

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    up to you dude. its your game. if it was me i'd make absolutely everything transparent except maybe select few hiding places.
     
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  19. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Like a paintball course, but all the obstacles are see-through.

    You could probably make it a sci-fi laser gun thing, on a planet where everything is made out of a weird translucent element. Perhaps some degree of refraction could make things a little more forgiving.

    The weird translucent element is very rare and valuable. There's all the lore you need. Obviously mercenary groups are going to fight over it.

    So, big translucent crystals, black soil, red lasers, and epic space skybox. Sounds like with just a few assets it could look really cool. Shooting doesn't have to be anything out of the ordinary -- just straight shooting lasers -- the level design is the novelty.
     
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  20. BeatleCoder

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    thanks for this BIGTIMEMASTER.
    Great idea. I'll try all of these ideas once I've finished with the game mechanics.
     
  21. bart_the_13th

    bart_the_13th

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    That glass maze shooter sounds cool, although it will be hard to render with all those reflections :D
    Or maybe you might want to try turn based fps, like you can only move or look around for a certain point, then it's the enemy's turn(although superhot seems like based on the idea, dunno, I havent played it actually)...
     
  22. BeatleCoder

    BeatleCoder

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    I'm don't really like turn based games as in real-time there is always action going on.
    Your point about the render time for the glass maze makes a lot of sense especially because I'm making the game on a bad laptop.
     
  23. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Wasn't my idea. Send your royalty checks to @imaginaryhuman
     
  24. BeatleCoder

    BeatleCoder

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    Its the laser gun idea that I was thanking you for. I was thinking ordinary guns but the laser would bring it out of the real world a bit. As well as this setting it on another planet is a great idea as I had no idea where to place it.
    I'll definitely give credit to both of you in my game :)
     
  25. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    I was thinking about instagib mode with one of the older Unreal tournament games. I think it was unreal tournament anyway. I always loved that mode because it was hyper fast, and you didn't have to have the best headshot/recoil control. Because kills were so fast and easy, real skill came down to out-maneuvering your enemies, tricking them, interccepting them, etc.

    If you can see all the way across the map, though, I think it would just be about dancing back and forth from the corners, which may get a bit redundant. But who knows until you prototype it and playtest it. Anything could happen.
     
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  26. Joe-Censored

    Joe-Censored

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    Could be interesting if it was some goggles that the player could turn on that activate X ray vision, or maybe lets them see heat through walls.
     
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  27. BrandyStarbrite

    BrandyStarbrite

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    Ahhh. That reminds me of Samus' special visors,.....
    eg. Thermal visor and Echo visor in Metroid Prime.
     
  28. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    Apparently you are a young person who can't get outside, allegedly without parent supervision? Don't stress too much about originality if you haven't made a proper unoriginal game from start to finish first! Originality is a skills in itself and it's hard to balance something where you don't have a model to start with. I would say, don't push originality on the side, but make it secondary from just building skills, hands on skills focus on copying what exist, with a slight twist, will also build up your appreciation of how things works and are made, and will increase your analytical skills, which is necessary to make original idea actually works.
     
  29. bart_the_13th

    bart_the_13th

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    Wait, arent the typical young person like that usually comes with an idea of combining some features from popular AAA games? like I have this idea of mmo battle royale fps with customizable gun, where players are dropped from some kind of plane, but in my game they also have to build fortress while scavenging for food to survive against waves of zombie hordes, or something like that?
    I dont think that this thread leads to something like that... yet...
     
  30. BeatleCoder

    BeatleCoder

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    I like playing Fortnite occasionally but I would never make a game like it as I wouldn't bother to make a massive map. Also another type of game will take over the market again in a few years so battle royale isn't worth making a good game out of.
    I'm not your typical young person as I spend most of my time inside coding
     
  31. bart_the_13th

    bart_the_13th

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    I was replying to the post above me actually.. but you might be already aware of that :D
     
  32. newjerseyrunner

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    Good jumping. Oh my god modern video game characters have no jump game at all. Flip a tank over? Sure, one handed. Jump over a small box? Ha, good luck! Jumping should be fluid and have a great deal of coyote time. I also like when there is a trick to certain jumps (like ducking at the apex of the jump for an extra foot of height.) I don't care if the jump feels floaty or if he doesn't accelerate the same way the rest of the objects do. If it's not fun to simply move your character around, nothing else will be fun.

    Wall jumping. Why hell heck can't the Doom Slayer kick off of a wall to get somewhere high like Mario can? Think of your favorite multiplayer map and all of the paths you normally take through it. Now imagine the additional paths that you could take if you could wall jump.

    Maybe also encourage rocket/grenade jumping. The movement skill required to play Quake was insane because you could blast a rocket into the ground and get high above your opponent. You really had to be aware of all 3 dimensions. I can think of only one modern(ish) multiplayer map where I consistently do grenade jumps during combat (Damnation on Halo 1.)

    Most players know that bunny hopping makes you faster (at least on hills) so maybe do something to add that to combat? In HalfLife (or was it Portal?) bunny hopping backwards can get you to ridiculous speeds and it was a lot of fun.
     
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  33. Lurking-Ninja

    Lurking-Ninja

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    You want original game? Start to think, what makes the FPS games FPS (use your lenses and buy or ask you parents to buy the Art of the Game Design book by Jesse Schell - you will learn how to break down any game or any genre).

    So, FPS games are all about basically three things:
    - movement style (how the player moves)
    -- fluid movement or somewhat robot style or something else?
    -- is there double-triple jump or no jump at all?
    -- also how smooth to changing the view, direct control like mouse or controller style?

    - pace (somewhat connected to the movement, but everything connected through your game so your aim should be to make a fun mixture of these elements)
    -- very quick (Quake, Quake Arena, Unreals)
    -- slow pace (doom, duke nukem, original wolfenstein?)
    -- somewhere in the middle? (like FEAR Call of Duty and so on)

    - damaging one another (intentionally didn't use the word 'shoot' here)
    -- standard modern gun game? (CoD, Battlefield)
    -- standard sci-fi gun game? (Quakes, Unreals)
    -- standard melee weapons? (For Honor)
    -- special things? (magic - hexen?)

    And then there are
    - flavor
    -- what is special in your environment which adds to the experience? (jump scares in FEAR, melee attacks in Quake)
    - theme
    -- Find a theme which supports your choice of gameplay and can add even more through mood and extra experience for the player

    And you can find many more talking points and maybe something is more important for you than others. But as others stated, just start to create and do some exercises. You will get there eventually, but don't allow to let you down if your very first game will be average or even below average.
     
  34. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    That's not three things!
     
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  35. Lurking-Ninja

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    No, it's 3 + 2 less important. :)
     
  36. Kiwasi

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    For me FPS games are all about the IP. The game play is pretty much identical across all of them. Its point at the enemy and pull the trigger. Don't stay in your opponents line of site. There isn't much need to improve on that basic game play, we've already converged on an almost perfect experience.

    So build or buy some interesting IP. Play the game in a place that hasn't been done before. Or against enemies that haven't been seen before. Or just make it shinny.
     
  37. neoshaman

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    well no, fortnite improve on that with building providing dynamic cover tactics, that new and never explored before.

    Plus battle royale introduced open world that shift the dynamics of the encounters, the way you move and it affect how encounter plays. And you are selling the genre short, like fighting game it is incredibly nuanced in how you can approach it, the interplay between movement and aiming is important and different subgenre differentiate along hitscan and projectile (or mix of the two), if you have reload or not, and how do you manage kickback. Shooter as a whole is way more dynamic than top title and current fad hint at.
     
  38. Kiwasi

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    Relatively minor variations on the theme, really. The fundamental experience of a FPS isn't really all that different playing Doom, Quake, Counter Strike, Halo, Destiny or PUBG. Sure there have been iterations and improvements to make the game more accessible and more fun. There are shinier graphics. Extra processing power allows a few more intricacies. But the core loop of the games is relatively similar throughout.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2018
  39. neoshaman

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    If you go by that level of granularity, what's the difference between a fighting game and shooter really? All single character competitive game have the same loop of spacing, aligning, resource management and defending. There is moment where you can be too abstract because that's becoming questionable.

    I mean, there is value to look at games at such a high level, as it allow a good designer to compare orange to apple, by the virtue that they share the same class property of being both fruits. But A good designer would also recognize they don't have the same taste nor are peel using the same tools. And that these difference can make for significant difference, that's the difference between a button masher like fable 2 or a slow careful brooding approach like darksouls. It would be like saying all shoot in movie are the same, they all show the characters, but there is a difference between a close intimate shot, and a wide establishing shot, and shoddy movie use the shot as materpieces.

    There is no optimal experience, is what I'm saying.
     
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  40. Kiwasi

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    I suppose it really depends what market segment you are aiming for. To relatively casual FPS players like myself, they are all the same game.
     
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  41. neoshaman

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  42. newjerseyrunner

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    I would pit FPS in two groups. You’re right it’s all point and shoot and stay out of line of sight. The first part has little variation but the latter can be very different. Games like Call of Duty and Halo I would call cover shooters. You engage until you’re hurt, then take cover. Enemies basically stay put so you can wait out the damage. Doom and Quake are dancing shooters. Cover doesn’t help when enemies can flank at 90mpg and rocket jump to platforms above you. The correct defense here is circle strafing and parkour. You can be a great shot and lose to someone who’s a terrible shot but good at ducking and weaving, where in Halo the better shot will always win. These are as much platformers and shooters.
     
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  43. InstinctDevs

    InstinctDevs

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    Call of duty cover shooter?? No boiii its S***aki mushrooms. Its more like get shot in the head by a man whos running on a wall like forty times and still be in one piece. Want a real shooter r6 is your best bet.
     
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  44. spooneystone

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    The 1 million dollar question that. if we knew it we would be so happy!!!
     
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  45. Unknown33

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    The reason you make a FPS in the first place is because you dont have to make a unique game. People will just play any decent looking, reasonably well playing FPS as long as it offers at least a few hours of entertainment that suits their tastes.

    Think about something. There are more first person shooters on the market than you can count, plus free to play first person shooters, plus indie first person shooters, plus classics and they all get played by somebody, somewhere.

    FPS is like the doughnut of the gaming world. Don't worry about being "unique" just make it good and people will consume it.
     
  46. TenKHoursDev

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    "How do I make my FPS more unique?"

    Don't make an FPS.
     
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  47. Unknown33

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    I'm gonna steal some of this in the future.

    Can we see that depending on the enemies you face, there may be games when both cover shooting and dancing parkour circle strafing could be employed? Say you face armed soldiers in one segment, cover is very important because they have assault rifles and scopes. Then you face giant alien things in another section, and you want to keep moving because they are fast and don't respect personal space?
     
  48. Antypodish

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    Some true in that. Keeping side joke, but partially serious, no freaking micro transactions / P2W. At least will be unique true for the last 5 years or so.
     
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  49. DannyBacon

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    I would focus on coming up with original gameplay ides, rather than original themes, or settings. For example (of what not to do): You could take a COD game, and color every solider in bright pink with polka dots... It would look original, may even add new atmosphere, but it's ultimately the same game. Although, coming up with a new theme, is definitely a good idea. (But not that one. X3 )

    No idea is 100% original. To make a unique FPS, you could for example: take mechanics you've seen before, (maybe even from genres other than FPS,) and experiment implementing them in different ways.

    This isn't the same thing as taking someone else's idea, and simply improving it. ("Getting Over It, with Bennett Foddy" is a good example of this.) The game mechanic isn't being used in a very different way, it's just implemented much better, and with more time and care put into the thought and programing, than compared to it's predecessor.

    The way I brainstorm new takes, or new mechanics on a genre, is by simply playing a similar game, and thinking about what cool differences could be made at any given moment. To give an example: If I'm playing a shooter with ricocheting bullets, (and having trouble landing my shots,) I might think: "I wish I could see my enemy's reflection on certain surfaces, to help me line up my shots." This would be two "preexisting" mechanics used in a new way. (Or at least I've never seen it done before.)

    Another way I seek inspiration is by checking out mods. Game Mods are quite literally new takes on something old. A surprising number of iconic games out there, got there concepts thought up through modding other games. (You could search the net for "games that started as mods" to see top lists.)

    Remember that sometimes even just one change can make a big difference. It depends on what you change.