video game design cont’d

December 29, 2008

To recap.

We have realistic audio physics with doppler and echoes. 5.1 surround if possible, but stereo at the very least. Rumble support for tactile/haptic feedback as well. Menus and status information supports braille devices.

Let’s go full-bore. Let’s remake Quake3, Counterstrike or Team Fortress 2 in the dark.

Like this, only much, much darker...

Like this, only much, much darker...

This is the full FPS, multiplayer version of Be the Wumpus. The graphics will be blank, or at least have no impact on gameplay at all.

At the beginning of a match, players have the option of choosing a character class (type of role they will play in the game). Character classes have the following stats: Primary weapon, secondary weapon, creep/walk/run speed, creep/walk/run movement noise, toughness, special abilities.

Weapons have these stats: Range, damage, area of effect (think grenades vs. bullets), magazine capacity, report (firing noise), projectile noise (can you tell where it was fired from?), reloading noise.

Upgrades include: Active sonar (echolocates terrain and enemies, but makes you more visible at the same time), body armor (increases toughness at expense of movement speed, perhaps muffles the rumble haptic feedback), helmet (toughness increase and eliminates critical-hits at close range at the expense of some of your hearing acuity), magazine upgrades, etc.

Classes (obviously balancing will come through playtesting):

  • “Tank”, (slow, loud when moving, tough, dangerous weapon with area effect)
  • Soldier (medium speed, quiet at slow speeds, loud when running, medium toughness, has active sonar)
  • Scout (high speed, quiet, low toughness, able to talk to teammates, active sonar.)
  • Ninja (highest speed, quiet at all speeds, only short range weapons)
  • Engineer (slow, quiet, special abilities such as mines which encourage defensive play)


  • M1 carbine: med-long range, loud firing, makes a distinctive “ping” when empty, high damage
  • M4 carbine: med range, quiet firing, quiet reload, med damage
  • M214 minigun: med range, loud, loud reload, high damage with area effect, heavy can’t fire while moving
  • Sniper rifle: longest range, uses a parabolic microphone to aim accurately at sounds
  • Grenade launcher: med range, indirect fire over obstacles, quiet firing, loud projectile, makes a “charging” noise while getting ready to fire
  • Cudgel: silent weapon used by ninjas at close range, neutralized by helmet, (how can you tell in the dark that your victim is even wearing a helmet until you engage him?)
  • Knife: Silent weapon neutralized by armor
the gold standard

Team Fortress 2: the gold standard for class-based, tactical squad wargames

Other effects might be temporary deafness due to loud explosions nearby, vibrations that deaden haptic feedback, as well as pickups to enhance hearing and haptic qualities.

I’m open to suggestions. Brainstorming ideas is the first step.

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