Game Ideas – Zombie A.I.

In my opinion, the zombie craze is going to have to die down sooner or later. I don’t know when this zombie fetish stuff started, probably back in 2006 or something, but it will eventually take its toll and zombies will be on the same level as other monsters again shortly, I’m sure. That said, I have an idea for a zombie game told from a very different angle.

My theory about a zombie apocalypse is either A) we would already be wholly prepared and zombies aren’t that dangerous anyway, B) zombies don’t stand a chance against us especially but also against natural elements (flies, intense heat and cold, natural decay, etc.), or C) even in the event that things got too far out of control too quickly, we’d buckle down and find a way to survive pretty quick and get shit back in order.

But of course, everyone always seems to fall for scenario D) humanity is lost, only a few small pockets of civilization still exist, zombies have overrun the planet and been allowed to mutate into something far worse than simple “walking dead.” This is partially where the game starts. You’ve been born into this way of life and have opted to follow the path of an engineer.

Come on! When has a NERD ever been the her…oh…

You don’t really have a lot of brawn or raw talent for much else, but you are particularly handy with machines. You gather up just enough scrap metal to build a remote controlled robot to send out into the wastes to gather provisions, more scrap metal, and so on so that your colony can continue to exist with as few human casualties as possible.

The idea of the game is that of a combination action/RPG/roguelike. Don’t let the RPG aspect fool you; it’s in no way turn-based. The roguelike aspect comes from the fact that you only start with so much scrap metal that can applied wherever and whenever you like to establishing greater outer colony defenses (barriers, walls, turrets, etc.), upgrading the robot, building new scout robots, expanding the colony, and even building robots that act as guards within the colony itself.

Where the RPG aspect comes in is that each time a robot is destroyed, loses signal (via dead battery or wanders out of RC range), or safely makes it back to base, you gain experience, which can be distributed to learning new skills such as lowered robot repair cost, enhanced software knowledge, learning new things to make, and so on.

Suddenly this doesn’t seem so bad when you’ve got one ton metal arms to punch the fuck out of ’em with

While the RC range is very limited to begin with and zombies are attracted to pretty much any noise, new smell, or whatever, there are various things you learn over time to overcome these things, such as RC range boosters, beacons that activate as a robot goes offline so you can find all the stuff you would have otherwise lost from your last run, special cloaking software and hardware, and so on.

It’s also possible to eventually expand both the colony and RC range to the point that you make contact with other colonies where you can gather information, trade, create alliances…and possibly find new enemies and competition. For example, not only do you have to worry about super mutants and new breeds of zombies, you also have to worry about other engineers deliberately developing robots to destroy your robots AND colony for their own whims and survival.

So how would the game play? This is one aspect I’ve been tossing around a bit. Originally I contemplated something like Fallout 3, but of course, the retro side of me is saying it’d be fun to make it more like a 16-bit Metroidvania. The problem there is then what would be the point of beacons?

So then I thought what if it were randomly generated each time with the exception of other colonies? I don’t know. This is something I’m still tossing around, so I can’t say for sure. It may even just come down to being a top down action/shooter type, but with the emphasis of harvesting, collection, survival, and being an RPG/roguelike on the backend, so as not to interfere with the main action.

Honestly, this is a game I could see either expanding into MMO territory or even having aggressive multiplayer, either in the form of skirmishes, co-op, or what have you. This is a game I would love to make, but I have no idea what engine would be ideal, let alone what resources I should use, how to go about it, etc. All the same, I hope you’ve enjoyed the idea and if you have any feedback, shoot!

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Filed under Game Ideas, Videogames

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