I was previously quite hesitant about whether or not I should publicly talk about what makes Project Number 2 so special.

I was equally thoughtful of how I should present it to you after I had decided to do it. My plan was to explain the idea alongside introducing new features I have developed in the game. The problem with that, however, was the length of the resulted blog post. It would have been way too long for most people to read, so I decided to split it in two. In this post, I will explain the core features, that I have until now kept a secret and explain how they will play out in the game. A few days from now I will post another article about what I have created so far, the regular development update.

A while back I described my game idea quite superficially in a blog post. I then wasn’t sure if I should keep it a secret from the public until I have a demo out to play, or not. Well, I asked around for advice and read some articles, then finally came to a conclusion. For games, it is better to just talk about them as much as possible. Some people have had similar ideas and some people, who hear yours, will have a different image in their head than you. And if someone decides to do what I was fearing for – “steal” the idea (which happens very rarely), they will most likely make a completely different game than I had planned. It is because they just don’t have the same views, experiences and preferences as me.

After all, if I publicly announce the game idea and someone will copy-paste it exactly like I had envisioned it… good luck to them, because the internet will be coming for them. The game dev community doesn’t like thieves and the fans like them even less. Having these thoughts out of the way, let’s talk about what makes Project Number 2 so special.

What makes the game special?

A few years ago I felt nostalgic and wanted to play some Age of Empires III over LAN. I hopped in a match, built my city, gathered resources, built an army and went on to attack the enemy base – just like in most real-time strategy (RTS) games. I really enjoyed the game, even tho it was released more than 10 years prior (in 2005).

One thing bothered me though. When I lined up my troops and commanded them into battle, there was not much I could really do, besides watch from above and hope they would triumph. I felt like if I were in that battle, swinging an axe, leading the troops, I could make much more of an impact on whether or not we would win that battle. It would then largely come down to my skill on the battlefield in addition to my troops. I envisioned my player in first person view, jumping around the battlefield causing all sorts of havoc. And with that, the idea for Project Number 2 was born.

RTS-FPS Hybrid Game

A Real-Time Strategy (RTS) game in First-Person Shooter (FPS) style. I envisioned it so lively that I wanted to play it already. No other game, that I knew of at the time, had already been made like this. In my head, the game would best play out in a 1 versus 1 match as follows…

  • Collect resources. You start off on your side of the map with very little or no resources. You will need resources to build your base and your army. In Project Number 2, the resources would be Oil, Iron and Nuclear Material. At first, you will have, or somehow will get, just enough resources to build stations, that help you get more of the building materials. For example, you will build an oil pump, that will start slowly pumping oil for you. Similarly, you will build an iron drill, that will mine iron ore for you. Differently, from oil and iron, the third resource will be in the middle of the map, and there will be only one collection point for it. Players can decide whether or not they want to battle for that resource or stay safely at their own base. Nuclear material is not a crucial resource, but it gives multiple overpowering advantages for the team owning it.
  • Build your base. You will use the resources you have acquired from inside the ground to build yourself a personalized base. You can place down walls, turrets, gates, workstations and factories. Walls, turrets and gates are obviously for defending your base from the enemy attacks. Workstations are for creating yourself weapons, ammunition and maybe upgrading those weapons.
  • Build an army. Factories that you build in your base are for assembling yourself some allied robots. Many of these robots will be soldiers with different abilities under your command. You can command these robots to do things for you like follow you, stay put, attack or retreat.
  • Destroy the enemy base. The end goal for one match in the game would be to break into the enemy base and destroy their main building. It is up to you, the player, to decide how it should be done. Creating an unbeatable army and going into battle barbarian style. Or taking a more modern approach – sitting back, building a nuclear bomb and blowing the enemy base into pieces.

Name For the Game – “Mechanical Difficulties”

Until now I’ve been calling the game “Project Number 2”. That was because the idea for the game, just like the game itself was just a baby. It hadn’t developed much, didn’t have character and lacked visuals. You wouldn’t name a human child until you learn his/her personality either, now would you? 😛

So I’ve been brainstorming for possible names for a while now, trying to come up with something that refers to one robot village battling another. I had many options “The Wreckening”, “Bomb and Base”, “BaseBlast”, “Wreck’em”, but none of them really clicked with me or they had something I didn’t like about them.

brainstorming board

And then I heard “Mechanical Difficulties” and it just clicked in my head! Yes, both of the players are mechanics, that build their machinery to battle the other one. They can go around their base using their mechanical knowledge to influence any part of their base. They tweak it, upgrade it or temporarily boost its performance. “Mechanical Difficulties” is a modification of a commonly used term “Technical difficulties”. I feel it fits the gameplay really well, so I’m planning to stick with this name for now, but it is not set in stone just yet.

Style

I’ve discussed it before and my stance hasn’t changed, tho I feel it necessary to briefly mention it again. The game, while being about battle and conquering, should give the vibe of happy and fun. The characters should look goofy and funny, the explosion of the robots should result in bolts, springs and cogwheels flying in all directions. Even if you are not the one playing it, the game should be fun to spectate.

With that gameplay goes perfectly a cartoony colorful art style, much like in the game Fortnite. Visuals that support unrealism, stressed funny proportions and happiness.


Inigmas Studios artwork

Similar games

It would be foolish of me to claim there is no other game out there that has tried the RTS-FPS hybrid concept. But I feel none of them have done it right, or haven’t done it like I want it done.

Doing research I found there are actually many games that have tried the RTS-FPS hybrid approach, for several years now. For some reason, none of these games have gone viral. They don’t get the big headlines and they don’t get many players. If you ask any average player if they know an RTS-FPS hybrid game they can’t name any. May it be that combining these two genres is hard, or that the controls don’t work so well, I will see to it, that I will make a better game. Here is a short list of some of the games that have tried something similar:

Two things I noticed many of these games do differently than I would. I want all the gameplay in the first-person view. Another thing many of these games have done is add 5 or more players on each team. I feel the RTS part gets lost if you do that, so I’m planning to do 1 vs 1 or 2 vs 2 matches only.

For now, I’m not going to go much further into the mentioned games. I will probably play and analyze many of these games more in-depth in some future blog post as it kinda falls out of scope for this article.

Game Development Update #3 Coming Soon

As mentioned in the introduction I decided to tell you about the unique features of my game alongside a game development update post. So keep an eye out for the next blog post. In there I will showcase the RTS elements I have already added to the game.

Here is the mentioned Game Development Update #3

The update might also clear out and give a better visual understanding of what I have in mind with Project Number 2: Mechanical Difficulties.