G a m e D o c u m e n t

 

Game Environment

The map of the game is the five-floor space shuttle, Vimana, which is viewed from a bird’s-eye view. The players view the floor-plan of the level that he or she currently stands on. He or she can also see the floor just below the current one. Each floor contains a maze-like series of shapes that create rooms and hallways with locked doors. Each player controls one crew member and must maneuver him or her through a maze of locked doors from the bottom floor to an escape hatch on the top floor. Players have the ability to walk, collect items, open doors, and exchange items with other players. The game's assets will be described below. For a fuller description of how the structures of each level can affect gameplay, view the Level Design document.

The low-fi prototype shown in this document consists of the floor plan of each level of Skylab Vimana. The players start at the first floor and move their way to the next level through a portal. Doors must be opened with keys, of which there are only so many. Each player has a random assignment of where they will spawn in each level. The places where players may spawn are indicated by the blue empty boxes. They may be in a position with immediate access to a generative unit, or not. Two of the floors contain additional portals which will be explained below.
Space is limited in each level, and players will not be able to progress far without each other's help. Some players will be able to move ahead, but they will losing karma points, which are calculated based on the amount of players in the game.

First Floor

 

Second Floor

The second stage is one of two that hold portals. The portals only connect to one other portal, as marked by the letters in the diagram. In the game, it will not be apparent which portals lead to which. Portals can be entered and re-entered, allowing the player to return to the place where they entered the corresponding portal. They can do this infinitely many times. Players will generate in one of the five places in the room. The teal square in the center is an opening, through which the previous floor can be viewed.

 

 

On the third floor, the walls are created by long slabs, and the rest of the area is the area on which players walk. Players will start the level in one of two spaces, based on chance. The round, oblong area in the bottom is an opening in the floor, through which the previous floor can be viewed (see next page).

Third Floor

 

 

 

Fourth Floor

When players enter the fourth floor, they will enter in one of the five different spots in the room. Some will have access to GU's and some will not. They will be able to view the floor below through the gap in the middle of the room, designated by the green shape.

The fifth floor contains five pairs of portals. They are labeled in the diagram to indicate which portals are connected. They will not be labeled in the game, and so players will not know which portals are connected with which, and they will have to remember when going back through them again. Portals can be entered and re-entered, allowing the player to return to where they were. The yellow portal that normally takes players to the next level actually signifies the end of the game in this final level.

Fifth Floor

 

 

 

Mechanics and Game Components

The Generative Units (Gu’s ) are programmed to dispense keys and other tools that are used to open doors and may help another player while they're being used. Each player can visit each GU only once. The player’s chances of receiving keys, door ram, hydra-spread tools from a Gu are calculated based on their karma score. Players receive karma points for giving keys to their peers. If players have poor karma, they will be out of luck in finding keys! When a player approaches a generative unit, their karma score will be taken into account to determine what item they'll receive from it.

Door Ram Tool

Door rams are sometimes found in generative units. When a player uses one, it will prop the door open for one other player to pass through.

Hydra-Spread Tool

At some point or another players will receive a hydra-spread tool from a generative unit. When a player uses one on a door, the door will then slam immediately once the player passes through it.

Karma Keys

Each floor requires a certain number of keys to open the doors on that floor. The players must find keys in the generative units (Gu's) scattered throughout the shuttle. There are five different types of keys that correspond to the five different levels. The keys found on one level can be used on lower levels, and will open more doors on lower levels. (For example, a Flor Key can be used on the first floor, and it will open two doors.) The keys found on a level can be used in higher levelsf, but players will need to have additional key(s) that add to the value of the key they currently have. (For example, you'll need two Fork Keys to open a door on the second level.) The value of each key type is list below:

 

Key Level

Key Type  

Value

1

Fork Key  

1

2

Flor Key

2

3

Clock Key

4

4

Lantern Key

8

5

Flagstaff Key

16

 

Karma Score

Each player has an individual Karma Score, that is constantly changing in real time. If their Karma score is below 50% their keys will stop working, and they will not receive any more keys from Generative Unites. Their Karma Score is calculated based on their current level, the total credit of keys they hold and the total number of players in the game. The equation is as follows:

 

 

The way I decided on this equation is that the number of the level they are currently on shows their progress in the game, but if they have a large amount of keys, they don't need those keys as much as others may. The players who are ahead of the others will run out of karma soon enough unless they try to help their peers, and the only way they can directly help their peers is by transferring their keys.

 

Karma's Impact on Generative Units

Much of a player's fate is decided seemingly at random in Vimana. The method of calculating a player's score will not be revealed, and neither will the decision of what item the GU will dispense. In this section, I illuminate the mechanics of Skylab Vimana from a programmer's perspective.

When a player approaches a GU, a number between 0 and 3 will be chosen, which will determine the item they receive. A zero means that they receive nothing. A one means they will receive a hydra-spread. A two means they receive a door ram, and a three means they will receive a key of the type that corresponds to the level they are currently on (refer to the chart of key types above).

Remember that a player's Karma Score affects their luck. Therefore, the method of choosing which item they will receive will be affected by their Karma Score:

If a player's Karma Score is more than 50%, a random number will be chosen between 1 and 3.

If a player's Karma Score is below 50%, a random number will be chosen between 1 and 2.

If a player's Karma Score is below 25%, the number one will be chosen..

If a player's Karma Score is zero, a zero will be chosen. They can return to the same GU when they gain more karma, and be given an item.

 

Goal

The goal is to race to the escape hatch and get there first without leaving your peers in the dust! Be the first to find keys and share them strategically. Don’t get left behind or your floor will be dropped into space! Remember: your crewmates’ progress is as crucial as yours!

 

User Interface

 

The user interface will be a top-down view, that zooms out and goes up as players progress. The world is a layered maze with five levels. Players will be able to view their karma points and their keys, as well as their fellow players in their position on the game map. The amount of keys will be visible to each player, as well as their karma score.

 

A player's view of the Vimana map during gameplay.

 

 

 

 

Peer Sharing Interface

When players share a key with their peers, they will see a circular submenu, with the avatars of each of their fellow players. They will be able to see each players' karma score. They can choose a player by pressing the arrow key and each image will be highlighted with a glowing outline when it is the current selection.

The peer sharing interface.