Gunrunner: an experiment in UGC and phased release

Hi guys,

I was thinking about a simple game to develop, instead of another unfinishable mammoth project. Now when I start to design, it still has a tendency to develop into something complex, however I think this time I may have come up with a solution to that. I’m interested in what views you guys have on the subject.

The game premise is simple enough. Your planet is attacked by a huge fleet of spaceships. Knowing that it’s a suicide mission, you decide to give them hell before you go. The game is a topdown shooter in which you control a single spaceship and the player can move 360 degrees. Now the further the player moves away form it’s home planet the stronger the enemy ships will be.

I was thinking about this and I figured it would be nice if the enemy ships would be downloaded from a server. Say I start out with a few enemy ship designs in cache. These designs have been rated from 100 to 300 in strength/difficulty. Now the player moves away from the planet and it should encounter enemies in the range 400 to 600. The game has anticipated this by requesting these designs from the server. This would allow me to have a huge range in enemy strength. This would be a project on it’s own, but it gave me another idea. Inspired by the Spore Creature Creator I thought, why not create a Ship Creator? Players can design and upload their ships, which get rated by the game through a rating system.

This would make the game a pretty big project, but I’m thinking about developing them in phases. First I create the editor and release it, so players can start uploading their designs to the database. While they’re creating designs I can work on the core game which I can release later on. This allows me to have a database of user generated content while the game ships.

So I’m interested in what you guys think of this. Do you see any pitfalls or advantages to this approach? I’ve also posted a more in-depth post on this idea on my blog.


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