Project Firemouse

I’ll try to make this post as short as possible.

Ever since I was a little kid I’ve been a videogame addict. Which is not saying much, because everyone here is. I always daydreamed about making my own videogames someday. I’ve tried some CASE/RAD tools like Klik’n’Play and Game Factory (or something with names close to those), but they didn’t satisfy me for being too limited.

In the first semester of 2005, I got into college, taking Computer Science. I’ve learned a lot of programming, and I’m happy to be in a CS course which is so cool. For this semester, I’ll be studying things related to 3D environments, and I’ll have to go into OpenGL and Direct3D. Once one gets the hang of these, it’s just a few steps from it to making simple games.

However, my desire is to make something to be remembered. And for this, I’ll need help.

THE INSPIRATION

It has been discussed on a thread in the main forum. The idea came from some piece of news I read on BBC - a man found a rat in his house, and to get rid of the rodent, he threw the poor creature on a pile of burning leaves. The animal got on fire and ran into the man’s house, setting the building ablaze.

This lead to an idea about a game of vengeful burning rats. If you want to see how the idea developed to the point it is as I post this, go read the cited thread.

THE NAME

Firemouse is a crappy name, but just a temporary one. We’ll pick a better one sometime later.

This is so with just about any project that there is. George Lucas used the name “Dai Noga” before he came up with “Jedi”. And you’ll remember that Vista was formerly called Longhorn.

THE FILTER

There will be no money involved - because I don’t have enough to pay for anyone’s work, so everyone who wishes to help must be a volunteer, and because I don’t intend to sell the game. When it comes out, it’ll be distributed for free on the internet.

THE GOAL

This is a conceptual test, to prove that independent groups can develop enjoyable games. This work is also being done for fun and a sense of achievement.

THE WORKING CONDITIONS

Since all work will be voluntary, the conditions upon which participants will be asked to do their jobs will be bland. I don’t want anyone to be put under pressure for anything. As long as one’s doing his or her best, things will be ok. Since this is the kind of project where people come and go, I won’t be sad nor mad if people have to leave, and newcomers may be accepted at any time.

THE DEADLINE

The project will be conducted in everyone’s free time. This, coupled with the reasons stated above in THE WORKING CONDITIONS, makes short and medium term deadlines inconvenient. Therefore, a two-years term, extensible if needed, will be used. I believe it can be done in much less time, but this is to keep people from getting stressed due to deadlines (as I said before), and for the worst-case scenario where something would lead to a large delay in the project.

THE STANDARDS

This game doesn’t have to be an eye-candy blockbuster. History has shown that simple graphics are not only ok but also a charm should the concept and story be really good. It has been so with so many games like Bomberman, Tibia and, more recently, Katamari. I am inspired intensely by the latter one. A world with little graphical detail may be beautiful if it’s colorful and cartoonish.

Also, I’d love it if we did something that would run ok in any machine. Which is why fancy things like T&L, 3DFX etc. are ruled out.

THE PLOT/STORYLINE

It is very important that this part is done as the first step of the project, because it’ll define the game mechanics, and it’ll have a very large impact on the art and modeling parts. I want to avoid a situation where days of work are lost due to late changes in specifications.

As things are now, anyone can contribute with ideas. There is one core thing that should be followed, though.The story is about a rat, or some amount of rats, which for some reason go ablaze, and when they do so, they try to cause as much damage to public and private property as possible. The plot and storyline should be worked around this.

It has been suggested that in some levels, other forms of damage would be dealt instead of fire - for example, the dark plague would figure in a historic level. Discuss. Should it be in the game? If so, as part of the main game? Or should the idea be used only in bonus/secret levels?

THE ART

We’ll need people with drawing skills for the conceptual art. There will also be texture creation, and even though the game will be tridimensional, there will be a lot of 2D interfaces.

This is a most important part of the project, because it’ll be one of the first ones, and all modeling and map making should be based on this art. This is to keep a coherent pattern in which all things seem to fit in the gameplay environment.

This part is not my specialty, so there isn’t much I can say about it myself. I want to hear what the artists have to say and add to the thread.

THE MAPS/MODELS

From what I have learned so far, Direct3D can use both HDR and BMP/JPEG files for textures, and BSP files for maps. I believe this allows a great number of people to contribute with this part of the work. I’m still studying which model format is best. I believe .mdl is a good choice, but I’m open for suggestions.

THE PROGRAMMING TOOLS

Please keep in mind that the actual programming will be the last part of the project, and won’t start in a few months. If you aren’t interested in coding, you may skip this part.

I’ll be using Direct3D for the project. I reckon OpenGL is a greatly good option, but for it to be implemented, we’ll require people with expertise and tools for it.

I’m using a licensed Visual Studio. It’s good only for automating some things, but you don’t really need it - there are other CASE/RAD tools for .NET that Microsoft distributes for free (which is another factor which lead me to start such a project). If you want to help with the code but don’t have VS, you can download the .NET framework and either Visual Basic 2005 Express Edition, or Visual C# Express Edition, or Visual J# Express Edition, or Visual C++ Express Edition, all of which are free. The Direct3D kit is also free. I’ll give the url’s for their downloads to those interested.

C# and J# are spin-offs of Java. The latter has all the same syntax and nearly all classes of Java, though using .NET for framework.

I believe everyone around who can do some programming will know at least one of the languages above, and these tools all translate your code into a common language (abstracted from the programmer). Therefore, if you can code in any of them, you’ll be able to create classes which may be used by people using any other of the languages/tools.

So here’s how things will go: those coding will be putting their work into class libraries. They’ll be tested both locally and in my machine (or anyone else’s machine if they also have Visual Studio).

Yes, this makes for a game that will only run under Windows. But after the project, I’ll see the possibility to port it to Java, so it’d run on any OS.

Hmm … these probably won’t work as names, but maybe as taglines. “Getting Along like a Mouse On Fire”, and “Rats Discover Fire” … maybe something like Rodents’ Revenge?

Eww. No port to Java. :frowning:

Bad name ideas: My rats are on fire, flame rats and goodness gacious great rats on fire.
An idea could be to turn on fire you need to go, roll around in leaves, go under a magnifying glass, touch a lamp or a flame . And you loose a flame if you roll when your not in leaves, go in water or go where the air is to windy to keep the flame.
You could have three modes, story mode where you follow a story, history mode where you do the historical ideas and burning mode where you just burn stuff.

If you decide to use different types of rodents for different levels, they should have different abilities. For example:

Rat - Extra stamina, stronger, can bite things.

Regular mouse - Super speed.

Field mouse - Jumping ability.

White lab mouse - Can make all its hair fall out at will. (Due to experimentation.) This lets the mouse who is on fire put itself out. Hair grows back eventually for re-ignition.

Thats all I’ve thought of so far.

I also had an idea for a circus level. Your goal is to run around and spook all the elephants so they stampede through the crowd killing everyone. But watch out for the lions!

On the first level you could have to free the fire elmental from a cage on the tree you could do that from jumping branch to branch or you could lure the dog to a cat near the tree, jump on the cat while it jumps on the tree to get away from the dog and many other ways.

Hvae you looked into using OGRE? 3d engines are complicated.

Random thought: the music changes slightly depending on how much is on fire. And speaking of which, I could provide music. Hmm …

Oh, and maybe the final level could involve setting the whole world on fire, ultimately annihilating the human race and letting rodents inherit the earth.

I was thinking that as a mini game you can play a mouse that had its brain implanted into a jet. (also base on recent events) between levels you fly over major cities and drop bombs on certain points to make the city explode.

I like Kyle’s ideas of having to ignate your mouse, and the 3 game modes, but the methods of igniting the rodents shouldn’t be too over-complicated. Daves idea of multiple mouse-types is good too, maybe you could have a mouse selection screen before each level? as for ideas of my own, maybe, in some levels, people would try and put out the fires, and you set THEM on fire.

For the name, Fire Mouse isn’t actually too bad. Maybe Attack of the Firemice? I’m not god at names. :confused:

I don’t know who mentioned the time-traveling mechanics, but it’s certainly interesting. That way, you would advance in time as you progress trough the levels igniting primitive nomadic encampments, medieval towns, industrial factories and so on. This idea assures a large number of possible settings.

And I have an even better idea than setting the world on fire: Set the entire solar system on fire. Just toss in some passing comets, gas clouds, invent some excuse for which meteorites would be flammable… and there’s the gas giants like Jupiter just waiting for a spark already. Maybe as a bonus stage if it’s too unrealistic to fit on the story.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, there is still no story. I guess the first question that needs to be asked is “Why is/are the rat/s setting things on fire?”.

The king of all cosmos told it to

Vorpy: I’m going to take a really deep look at it. Thank you very much :))

Yar: They did it in the first Unreal (the music thing) and I loved it so much, because it added a lot of fun to the gameplay. It’ll be done.

YP, Dave: I imagine a character customization screen just like that of Jedi Academy. Pick a species, then a fur color, some smaller features etc., and each species has a bonus to something. But if one species is to have superpowers like that mouse, it’d better be a secret/unlockable one.

Seraph: pilot an alien spaceship to the sun and explode a huge bomb in its core, making it outgrow the entire solar system; and we’re all still thinking on a good excuse for the gratuitous mass combustion (Vorpy: lol, if only we could do that without getting sued XD).

Kyle: can you put those level ideas drawn on paper?

Keep the ideas coming. I like them all so far. Another thing we need now is the design and drawings for the maps, and people who would draw what the mice/people/buildings/trees etc. would look like.

I’m also getting local help for the project. I’ve got a couple of people to do the programming with me, I’ll convince them to join RPGC too (they’re also videogame and RPG addicts, you’ll like them).

Awesome. I’ll try to make music that doesn’t sound too much like Path of Neo. Or too much like crap if I want to involve electric guitars, for that matter … (Anyone know where I can get any really good Distortion Guitar/Overdriven Guitar soundfonts?)

Anyway, plot. Let’s see … the Rat of All Cosmos? :wink: I suppose the fire spirit itself could incite you to doing this … or maybe a rodent figures out how to use matches and that summons the spirit …

coughQuinacough

But seriously, good luck with that.