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1. GAME CONCEPT
1.1. GENRE 1.2. PLATFORM 1.3. STORYLINE SYNOPSIS
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2. GAME MECHANICS
2.1. CORE GAMEPLAY 2.2. CHANGES IN GAMEPLAY 2.3. PROTAGONIST 2.4. NPC ACTORS 2.5 PROGRESSION 2.6 MODES OF PLAY 2.7 COLLECTIBLES 2.8 LIFE MANAGEMENT 2.9 NAVIGATION
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3.1. CONTROLS 3.2. STYLE 3.3. LEVELS OVERVIEW
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4.1. ANALYSIS AGAINST THE TEN RULES 4.2. ANALYSIS AGAINST CAMPBELL’S HERO’S JOURNEY 4.3. COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS
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1.0 Game Concept
In Thirst, you are an isolated entrepreneur who plans to fight through the vampiric hoards that have stricken the country, all to rescue your wife. The game will play similar to a cross between Dead Rising and Resident Evil. ‘I Am Legend’ is also an influential piece.
Thirst will be a survival-horror game with minor RPG and adventure game elements. The enemy system is comparable to that from Dead Rising, while it features a lot of exploring and collectibles similar to Crackdown.
The game will be released on PC, XBOX 360 and Playstation 3, with sufficient time put into porting to the home consoles and sufficient quality options available to PC users.
1.3 Storyline Synopsis
Thirteen hooded figures gather around a pedestal, a woman tightly bound upright to it. Upon her chest is a stone tablet; a circular amulet with intricate symbology upon it. The thirteen then join hands, raising them towards the sky, creating a circle around the woman, and begin chanting. The clouds part, the sky darkens and a bright light emanates from the amulet. The woman, pulled back into consciousness, writhes in pain with the stone locked firmly to her chest. With a bright flash and explosion, the tablet is blown away from the body and into the sky in front of her. One of the hooded figures collapses at the sight, striking panic into the others. The chanting stops and the hooded people begin to talk amongst themselves. Her constraints broken, the woman begins to rise into the air while her body morphs, twists into an unfamiliar being. Arching her body, she lets out another deafening howl. Clawing a hand, she punches it towards the sky. The moon responds; the surface slowly bleeds into a ruby red colour that bathes everyone on the planet beneath. Noticing the amulet is missing the woman lets out a petrifying scream. Boulders form around her, sealing her away to conserve and build power. The hooded figures run, knowing of their failure in securing an alliance with the demon. --The player awakens in a rundown building to the sound of scratching on the door, the vision seemingly a dream. This begins Thirst, allowing the player control of the protagonist at this point. Plot Twist The reason the man dreamt of the ritual, could see it vividly and was sleeping in the first place is due to his involvement. He used his own unconscious wife to execute the ritual, completely aware that it would fail. He planned to collect the amulet himself to gain the powers imbued inside it, those that were taken from the vampire that now inhabited his wife’s body. The hooded figure collapsing at the beginning is actually him, having taken a piece of the amulet inside his chest after the explosion. This is how he can see the events from around the area, as well as subsequent cutscenes. The game is actually a story about a barbaric and greedy human, rather than that of a man out to rescue his beloved wife. The other twelve figures are also in the game, appearing as the ‘special survivors’, though this is not made apparent until after the credits. The protagonist himself was not aware of the identity of the other hooded people, explaining the lack of mentioning the event to them. If you help them, a special ending per character will be shown at the end of the game, revealing what happened to them after gaining help from the protagonist.
2.0 Game Mechanics 2.1 Core Gameplay
The penultimate goal of Thirst is to exorcise the demon that was summoned. She has become imprisoned due to a botched ritual, though her curse still infects the living through the power of the red moon. You must reform the amulet that broke upon her revival to open the tomb, and then kill her to remove the curse. The protagonists reasoning is the death of his wife, but this is not the case. There will be six areas to the game, though the first will serve more as the introduction. In each of the levels you will have to locate a piece of the amulet. You get the ability to move on to the next area upon collection, but you can stay and explore if you wish. Amulet pieces are guarded by unique monsters; animals or humans that have been exposed to the amulets satanic powers. When the protagonist collects these pieces, he will experience changes himself. Besides the amulet piece, each area with have plenty of side quests to complete. There will be amulet grains to collect, which are very small fragments of the amulet that would not have enough power to warp anyone on contact. These can be amassed to grant further bonuses, but are not required. You will also be able to find two more types of collectibles; blueprints and mementos. You can also meet and aid survivors, but they will not permanently join you. They can, however, provide you with information or collectibles. Each level will take at least 45 minutes to complete, excluding optional collectibles. The final level will of course be the longest.
2.2 Changes in Gameplay 2.2.1 Improving
The protagonist becomes stronger after collecting either amulet pieces or set amounts of amulet grains. Collecting blueprints will allow you access to improved equipment. Stamina and speed bonuses are awarded based on distance travelled and vampires killed.
2.2.2 Gaining Experience
Experience is gained mainly by slaughtering enemies, be they vampires, animals or psychopathic humans. Experience is also gained by finding collectibles or completing particular tasks, to offer the player another reason to go out of their way to complete them.
2.2.3 Levelling Up
After a sufficient amount of experience has been gained, the protagonist will level up. An increase in level brings a small increase in stats, plus occasionally a new move, weapon idea or proficiency over a vampire type. Level 25 is the highest that can be attained in the base game. Further levels may be attained should downloadable content be utilised, both to bolster the new gameplay such content would provide, as well as offering players another reason to purchase it. The amount of experience required to level up increases at each level. For example, it may require 2000 experience to move from level one to level two, but 3000 to move from level two to level three. This is to ensure that the player does not level up to quickly, early on in the game. Players will be able to reach an average of level fifteen to eighteen on a regular playthrough, without finding collectibles. Should they be searching for all of the secrets and events, they should reach level 25 before the final boss fight.
Due to the effects of the red moon, the vampiric hoard will constantly be evolving. In the early game, they will be simple, mindless vampires. They will have an average running speed and be easy to kill, with no special abilities past being able to drink blood. As the game progresses the vampires will become faster, harder to kill, gain abilities such as flight and start to band in small groups rather than attacking individually. Levelling up, as well as weapon creation will keep the player able to fight back the increasing threat. The protagonist himself also evolves throughout the game. The amulet he is collecting changes his body as he finds more of it, slowly turning him into a vampire, yet with his mind intact. Increased stamina and new abilities will help his survival.
Name: Unknown Age: Unknown, but roughly late thirties. Occupation: He describes himself as an entrepreneur. Bio: His quest becomes apparent when he meets a survivor outside of the place he wakes up in. After talking to that person, he reveals that he is on a journey to rescue his wife, but he never mentions to any NPC’s that she is the demon causing the vampire curse. If asked about the amulet he claims that it is to seal away the demon for good and that he doesn’t care what happens to himself so long as his wife is safe from harm. He refers to his wife simply by the name ‘Lucy’ when asked, rarely giving it out without a reason. He planned from the beginning to take the amulet for his own needs, but the demon that inhabits his wife had to first awaken the powers within it. The vampire would do this to boost her own powers. By depriving her of the power in the amulet by subsequently making it explode with energy, it allowed the protagonist to collect it without the demons interference. He would then kill the vampire himself so that no one could oppose him. The twist is revealed at the end of the game when the protagonist uses the vampire powers he has gained to defeat the demon inhabiting his wife. After the fight, with his wife lying on the rubble and near death, he ignores her pleas for help and instead walks off. This leaves enough room for a potential sequel, by allowing the woman to be treated and become the protagonist herself. In the event of no sequel being made, it can be assumed that she died at this point.
2.4 NPC Actors
As the player can only take control of the protagonist, all other characters in the game are non-playable characters (or NPC for short). This is a comprehensive list of all of the actor types, with stats and key features where applicable.
2.4.1 Common Survivors
While it isn’t mandatory to aid survivors, doing so may award you with particular benefits such as items for building new weapons, schematics, mementos or even amulet grains. Here are a few examples of the more common survivors: The escaping You may encounter friendly characters that are trying to escape from the vampiric hoards. Without your help, they are at risk from being killed and changed to vampires. Escorting them to their place of refuge will bring an experience bonus, with perhaps further rewards based on the scenario. The injured After fighting with the vampires, some NPC’s may become injured but remain unconverted. By applying basic first aid on them they can make their own escape, while rewarding you for it. The delirious The shock of the vampire infestation is too much for some people, so they may flee their refuge in panic. Calming them down and protecting them from enemies may lead to rewards as well as experience. The stubborn Stubborn characters refuse to change their way of life, regardless of the impending doom imposed by the vampires. Some stores will be barricaded, yet manned, so you can utilise these to help you on your journey.
2.4.2 Special Survivors
To bolster the core narrative of Thirst, there will be twelve ‘special’ survivors that offer their own stories of their lives and past events in the now vampire-ridden place that was once their home. Helping these people out will give you extra items, extra dialogue and even help you out in the area you find them in. If you complete their ‘quests’, they will have their own personalised endings added to the end of the game as an extra bonus. This content will not be a necessity to the plot, but will come as a reward to the players. If the player meets one of these characters, yet does not decide to help them, an alternate ending will be played at the end of the game. These endings will play after both the main ending and the credits, to distance them from the impact of the main story. These twelve characters are the other hooded figures seen at the beginning of the game, disregarding the protagonist himself. Examples of these tasks include: • • • • • Helping to repair a vehicle to allow them to escape, Locating family members, Salvaging important valuables, Checking on the state of something that is too dangerous to get to, Convincing them to leave the area.
Completing their quests earn larger rewards that those offered by common survivors, although they are also more involved. There will always be at least one in any given area, though these are pre-defined and not randomised to make it easier for players replaying the game to locate the remainder of them. The player may also be able to guess the relation of the special survivors by their naming. While they won’t appear in this particular order, it can be noticed with knowledge of the pronunciation of Japanese numbers, as well as a fair amount of thought. The names are as follows: Special Survivor Name Danni Sandra Simon Gordon Richard (Rock) Nathanael Hachi Kurt Justin Richard Tiffani Susan Number Ni (Two) San (Three) Si (Four) Go (Five) Roku (Six) Nana (Seven) Hachi (Eight) Ku (Nine) Ju (Ten) Ju-Ich (Eleven) Ju-Ni (Twelve) Ju-San (Thirteen) Description A young and rebellious woman. A strange and old lady. A teenager amused by his own company. A middle-aged father in debt. Knows another Richard, calls himself Rock. A talkative but friendly young adult. An old Japanese immigrant. An old man disinterested in the world. A man with big plans for the future. A wannabe leader with no ability. A beautiful but shy woman. An argumentative middle-aged woman.
Description The main antagonist is a powerful demon that has been brought to Earth by thirteen strange and cloaked humans. While information about the vampire itself is scarce, it has taken residence in the body of a woman. The demon turns the moon a blood-red colour, slowly warping anyone who stays exposed to its light for too long. Distinctive features: Long, blonde hair. Still wearing the shawl that was placed over her for the duration of the ritual, which is of a floral patterned design. She has glowing dark eyes and can fly without the use of wings, though she can in fact make her wings appear for a boost in manoeuvrability. Attack Power: Rated ten out of ten, which is noticeably stronger than regular enemies. She serves as the final ‘boss’ and the last encounter before the ending and credits. Toughness: Rated eight out of ten, due to her body not yet developing fully, due to the amulet shattering. Speed: Rated ten out of ten, as her instincts are sharpened to insane levels. She must be countered with vampiric abilities just to keep on a level playing field. Special Abilities: • Superior blood: If you get the opportunity to drink her blood, the superiority of her blood will increase the amount of health you gain, yet cripple you for a short period due to your body attempting to cope with it. Extreme Speed: While she is fast regularly, she can freely hide and reveal her wings for short bursts of speed to maximise her chances of a killing strike. Call to Arms: She can utter a high pitched shriek to draw other vampires into the battle.
Weaknesses: • Defence: The perfected body was not completed due to the early removal of the amulet you will be carrying at this point. Using it to boost your own vampiric abilities will be the key to winning such a battle. Inability to Drink Blood: Her blood is of a much higher class and purity of those that derive from common folk. She can still pierce the necks of those who oppose her in order to injure them, but she cannot regain health and sustain herself with such impure blood. Attacks that cause bleeding are thus effective.
2.4.4 Basic Enemy Details and Stats
Description What can be considered a basic vampire is a human that has only recently been turned. They still appear human in appearance, though they adopt a slow confused stagger similar to what you would see with a stereotypical zombie. This is due to the internal struggle the body is having over the vampire blood trying to gain control. However, they do have vampire instincts, so getting too close to one will cause it to run or even lunge to catch its prey. Distinctive features: While they can be indistinguishable from regular human beings besides any wounds they may have procured in their initial transformation, their drunk-like stagger is the biggest give away. Contrary to stereotypical zombie actions, they will chase anything alive and hiss loudly to attract other vampires. Attack Power: One out of ten, due to the how easy it is to avoid them, as well as having only one attack. Toughness: One out of ten, as they retain general human weaknesses. Strikes to the vitals are ideal to dispose of one, with wounds obtained by the original vampire attack only making it easier for you. Speed: One out of ten when you are out of their range, four out of ten when you get too close. Ranged weaponry is the best way to despatch them. Special Abilities: • Drink Blood: These vampires are always looking to drink more blood to speed up their transformation process. Doing so will slightly toughen the host, making it harder to kill.
Weaknesses: • Fragile Body: These vampires’ weaknesses include those that humans face, as well as their own. Shots to vitals like the brain or the heart will kill them, as well as daylight and other anti-vampire equipment. Sunlight
Description Crawling vampires have evolved from the regular type of vampires, having visibly paler skin and ‘jellied’ eyes, as well as a large tongue to use in tracking down prey. They secrete a gumlike substance from their pores which also allows them to crawl along most surfaces, upsidedown or otherwise. They often hide in buildings so that they can drop down on unsuspecting prey. Distinctive features: Pale skin, green secretions, swollen tongue, jellied-looking eyes, ability to crawl along walls and ceilings to catch prey. Attack Power: Three out of ten, though this is largely due to them catching prey off guard and aiming straight for vitals. They can be considered weaker than basic vampires if faced head on. Toughness: One out of ten, as their speed and other mutations have weakened it thoroughly. They need constant access to blood to continue to function, though they will eat their own kind should it come down to survival. Speed: Three out of ten as a maximum when discovered and giving chase. They tend to be slower in order to creep up without making any noise. Special Abilities: • • Wall Crawling: They can stick to any surface at any angle, meaning you must listen carefully and check everywhere before proceeding in enclosed areas. Secretion: When sleeping or waiting to strike, they will ooze a green, gum-like substance. Walking through this can slow you down, giving them apt opportunity to strike.
Weaknesses: • Extremely Fragile Body: These vampires cannot handle much damage at all, being too newly developed to fully sustain large amounts of trauma. Hitting them with a large object or shooting them in the chest area is usually enough to kill them. Sunlight
Description Flying vampires have mutated from the standard vampires dramatically, losing most of the recognisable human features besides the body shape. Pale skin with slitted, shark-like holes to function for eyes and noses are a stark contrast to what they once were. Of course, the biggest difference is the wings, each of them sporting a retractable yet massive set of wings. Distinctive features: One set of large, rubber like wings. They have pale white skin with slitted areas that hide the sensory organs. Attack Power: Five out of ten due to the damage they can create from their fangs and claws. They can also drop out of the sky individually or in small groups to bewilder their prey. Toughness: Three out of ten due to the toughening of the skin and bones. They are still particularly vulnerable in sunlight. Speed: Four out of ten when concerning their running or gliding speed, but faster when flying or dropping. Special Abilities: • Drink Blood: These vampires are always looking to drink more blood to speed up their transformation process. Doing so will slightly toughen the host, making it harder to kill. Flight: These vampires can fly so long as they are not in direct contact with sunlight. By attacking the wings, you can cripple them enough to prevent flight.
Weaknesses: • Sunlight
Description In order to combat the sun’s rays, the winged vampires learn to use their own wings as a shield, allowing them to walk through sunlit areas. They do lose the ability of flight, but an added threat of vampire activity during the day is only beneficial to their kind. Distinctive features: Their sets of wings have fused into a shield-like item that covers their back from the sun’s rays. Besides this, they look like regular winged vampires. Attack Power: Five out of ten due to the damage they can create from their fangs and claws. Toughness: Four out of ten due to the toughening of the skin and bones. They are still vulnerable to sunlight from the front. Speed: Four out of ten when concerning their running speed. Special Abilities: • Drink Blood: These vampires are always looking to drink more blood to speed up their transformation process. Doing so will slightly toughen the host, making it harder to kill. Hardened Body: While the wings toughened into a sun-proof shield, the body itself also toughened to compensate for the lack of aerial benefits.
Weaknesses: • Sunlight: While they are shielded from the back, they will still suffer heavy damage from sunlight to their fronts, or by simply destroying their shields.
Description The natural course of evolution for the vampires when their wings were so desperately used to form a protection from the sun was to grow another set of wings. These wings are tougher than the originals, offering the durability of the shields while keeping both a shield and a set of wings active simultaneously. Distinctive features: Both shields and wings are visible. If the shield is destroyed during the day, the vampire will use its wings to create a new one while losing flight. If the wings are destroyed during the night, the vampire will use the shield to create a restored pair of wings. Attack Power: Six out of ten due to the increased damage they gained from their fangs and claws while mutating. They can yet again drop out of the sky individually or in small groups to attack their prey. Toughness: Five out of ten due to the further toughening of the skin and bones. They are still particularly vulnerable in sunlight, but the ability to use either a shield or set of wings as the other in a dire situation makes them harder to deal with. Speed: Five out of ten when concerning their running or gliding speed, but faster when flying or dropping. The speed will climb to around seven out of ten when their blood drinking ability activates. Special Abilities: • Drink Blood: These vampires are always looking to drink more blood to speed up their transformation process. Doing so will slightly toughen the host, making it harder to kill. If this vampire drinks human blood during the night, they will be able to use their shields as a second pair of wings, simultaneously with the first pair. This increases their speed significantly.
Weaknesses: • Sunlight (from the front)
Description Having lingered in the light from the red moon too long, the vampires that were once crawlers have evolved into a much more terrifying species. The gum-like secretions have hardened, creating jagged and robust armour, as well as the ability to move between nearby shadows. When the shadowlurker materialises itself in a new shadow, a sharp hissing noise, similar to a burst of steam can be heard. This is one of the few warnings you get with shadowlurkers. Distinctive features: Jagged and haphazard crystalline armour. Arms have evolved into two large scythe-like weapons for cleaving the heads of those they creep up on. Attack Power: Seven out of ten due to the ferocity of their attacks, as well as the use of their scythe-like weapons. Toughness: Seven out of ten due to the armour, which leaves them largely unharmed by non-piercing weaponry. Speed: Two out of ten. They are slow to move between shadows and cannot move in the open at night. They can use shadows created by artificial lights, however. Special Abilities: • Shadow Movement: Shadowlurkers can move to a nearby shadow from the one they are currently in. This allows them to get behind their prey.
Weaknesses: • Shadows: While they can move between shadows, they are completely limited to them. Catching them in a shadow and hitting them with sunlight, or destroying the light source making the shadow they are in will be enough to kill them. Sunlight
Description An ordinary dog that has ingested infected blood or meat and now carries the vampire genes. They often appear in packs and are exceedingly fast, sniffing out those that are still living and causing a lot of the non-moon related transformations themselves. Distinctive features: Vampiric dogs cannot be still, but will instead frenzy towards any source of fresh meat. Attack Power: Five out of ten, though while there are plenty of abominations that are stronger, dogs will always strike in packs. Toughness: One out of ten as the vampire genes essentially keep the dog alive while it is infected. Speed: Six out of ten, though there will usually be a slight warning when the pack begins to bark on approach. Special Abilities: • Protection from sunlight
Weaknesses: • Fragile Body
These are female dogs that have reproduced asexually, with the vampire genes interfering. They usually appear in packs of regular dogs, being protected by them regardless of them not fathering offspring. Distinctive features: They are much larger and slower than regular dogs. Attack Power: One out of ten, as they will only retaliate when provoked. Toughness: One out of ten as the vampire genes essentially keep the dog alive while it is infected. Speed: Two out of ten, as they strain to carry their vampiric young. Special Abilities: • Protection from sunlight
Weaknesses: • Fragile Body
Pups are the offspring of pregnant vampiric dogs. They resemble vampires a lot more closely than those that are just converted, sporting a small pair of wings and a more vicious set of teeth. Distinctive features: Puppy sized, though with extremely large and protruding teeth and a set of vampire wings. Attack Power: Six out of ten, plus they may attack in packs. Toughness: Two out of ten as while they have improved defences over regular dogs, they are still fairly subpar due to mass births. Speed: Four out of ten, which can be reduced by damaging their wings to prevent flight. Special Abilities: • Flight
Weaknesses: • • Fragile Body Sunlight
Description They are identical in look to regular bats, though they can also infect their prey. They will also hunt in very large packs, but only during the night. Distinctive features: Nothing unique, as they look like regular bats. Attack Power: One out of ten. They exist more to transmit the disease rather than to accelerate it. Toughness: One out of ten, due to their small complexion and weak build. Speed: Six out of ten, as well as being able to creep up in large swarms. Special Abilities: • Drink Blood: Vampire bats are always looking to drink more blood to spread the vampire genes.
Weaknesses: • • Fragile Body: Their small and weak complexion means they cannot suffer a huge beating, though they are also hard to hit because of this, Sunlight
Description Psychopaths are uninfected human beings that are mentally disturbed, be this before or after the vampire invasion. They have no problem killing a fellow human, so reasoning is out of the question. Distinctive features: While they may look similar to ‘friendly’ characters, they are the only human type that will turn violent on you immediately. Attack Power: Varies depending on the weapon being used. Toughness: One out of ten, though this can be boosted with armour. Speed: On average, about two out of ten. This can be a little higher of lower based on fitness and complexion. Special Abilities: • None
Weaknesses: • Fragile Body: Human weaknesses such as vital organs are the best way to dispatch such enemies.
2.4.5 ‘Boss’ Enemy Details and Stats
‘Gigantropod’ - Slug (Location 1)
Description In the starting area of the game, you will encounter a large slug enemy as the first boss. A piece of the amulet landed near this slug, with the energy from within it flowing to the slug. The slug grew in response, becoming carnivorous and growing large fangs, as well as hardening a lot of its body. Even though it is still fairly slow, it causes tremors whenever it moves. It attacks by either slamming its body into enemies or using its fangs. Distinctive features: Large body, large fangs and craggy like formations on its body. Attack Power: Five out of ten. Toughness: Five out of ten, though this is reduced to two out of ten in vulnerable areas like the eyes and underside. Speed: One out of ten, as it rarely moves. If it does, it doesn’t move far and not fast at all. Special Abilities: • Tremor: Knocks back enemies and allies within a radius from the point of impact. It will usually attack with its tail, but on low health may resort to using its head and midsection.
Weaknesses: • Soft Flesh: While a lot of the body is hardened and tough, the eyes and underside remain soft to allow movement and sight. These are its large weaknesses.
‘Vagabundus’ Human (Location 2)
Description A homeless man found one of the pieces of amulet, keeping it with him. He has since mutated significantly, his body oozing a pungent yellow substance and tendrils protruding from large areas of his body. He is exceedingly fast and uses the tendrils to attack and move, his arms and legs hanging lifeless. Distinctive features: A man who appears almost with a gloss due to the yellow substance, with several tendrils protruding from his skin. Body looks dead and inhabited. Attack Power: Five out of ten, though it can vary due to the length in which the tendril is being whipped back.
Toughness: Three out of ten, as the yellow substance can function as a basic armour. Speed: Up to six out of ten. This considers both running speed, as well as swinging speed. Special Abilities: • • Tendrils: He can attack at range by extending his tendrils and using them as whips. Sap: He may try to spit the yellow substance at you, which will obscure your vision for a short period of time.
Weaknesses: • Fragile Body: Human weaknesses such as vital organs are the best way to dispatch such enemies.
‘Corvunevamorn’ (Location 3a)
Description A large, nearly human-size crow that has grown to account for the size of its new prey: humans. Its claws have grown considerably, with long razor-sharp nails to tear apart those below it. The top layer of its feathers has hardened, almost becoming metallic, in an attempt to ward off the harsh sun. Distinctive features: A large crow with a silver/grey sheen to its top layer of feathers. It has oversized claws and razor sharp nails. Attack Power: Six out of ten, as its aerial attacks and speed also compliment this. Toughness: Four out of ten due to its iron-like top side, though it is weaker on the underside. Speed: Five out of ten, but can increase in speed when diving to attack. Special Abilities: • Feather Drop: When flapping its wings in midair, there is a chance that its feathers will come loose and float below. However, while the regular feathers can obscure the crow itself, the metallic feathers fall to the ground at high impact. Long Reach: Its long claws allow it to attack at a fair distance.
Weaknesses: • Fragile Body: Fleshy areas such as the crows underside and eyes are prime targets when trying to take it down.
‘Aurockk’ Bull (Location 3b)
Description This bull came in contact with a piece of the amulet, mutating alike the other boss monsters. While it hasn’t particularly grown in size, areas like its horns and hooves have strengthened particularly well. It has also become much faster, an area it excelled at even before the mutation. Distinctive features: Huge stone-like horns and hooves, with an almost tremor-inducing force created when it runs. Attack Power: Six out of ten, as its horn attacks and trampling are particularly damaging. Toughness: Four out of ten due to its similar vulnerabilities to regular bulls. Speed: Six out of ten, due to its ability to take advantage of stringing charges together to confuse the player. Special Abilities: • None
Weaknesses: • Fragile Body: Its weaker points are generally tougher than most enemies, but it suffers from blows to its legs.
‘Ferafelis’ Cat (Location 4a)
Description The ferafelis was an ordinary domesticated cat that has since mutated via a piece of the amulet. Instead of growing large, it instead grew into a cat more similar to a puma, only faster, stronger and far more vicious. The bone structure mutated quicker than the body of the cat itself, causing bones to protrude as a makeshift defence. Distinctive features: Similar in appearance to a jungle cat, only more ferocious, nimble and riddled in jagged and splintered protruding bones. Attack Power: Seven out of ten, as its strength and ferocity can tear through unprepared players. Toughness: Six out of ten as it is hard to hit due its speed, as well as gaining a makeshift protection from the protruding bones.
Speed: Seven out of ten, due to its general running speed and fast reflexes. Special Abilities: • None
Weaknesses: • None
‘Gulantus’ Human (Location 4b)
Description Gulantus is an obese human that was struck on the head by a piece of the amulet. While the impact would otherwise have killed him, the powers from the stone itself caused him to remain in limbo, only retaining the ability to speak. The amulet itself controls his bodily actions, meaning that he will become hostile towards you against his own will. Distinctive features: An unkempt and blood sodden obese man with a strange growth at the back of his head, caused by the impact of the amulet. Attack Power: Nine out of ten, due to possessing ridiculous amounts of strength. He will often throw objects, or failing that, ram the player into objects. Toughness: Four out of ten, due to being a large target and possessing a fleshy human body. Speed: Four out of ten as his own weight works against him. The mutations controlling his body provide an unnatural speed boost he otherwise wouldn’t have had. Special Abilities: • Extreme Strength: Can lift and throw large items and provide deadly crushing blows.
Weaknesses: • Fragile Body: Human weaknesses such as vital organs are the best way to dispatch such enemies.
‘Amanita Helloides' Mushroom (Location 4c)
Description This boss is a deadly Death Cap mushroom that has come into contact with the amulet and grown to a huge size, through the centre of a building. Poisonous spores hang in the air around it, while smaller mutated mushrooms grow around its base. Distinctive features: A large, spore covered mushroom that has taken root through a large school building. Attack Power: Zero out of ten, as the mushroom itself never attacks. It uses the spores to slowly drain your health and the smaller mushrooms to tie up your feet and slow you down, so other vampires can attack while you are vulnerable. Toughness: Eight out of ten, as it will take little damage without utilising sunlight and other environmental features on top of a full on attack. Speed: Zero out of ten, as the mushroom itself never moves. Special Abilities: • • Poisonous Spores: Slowly drain the health of the protagonist while inside clouds of them. They are indicated by clouds of purple particles. Germination: Creates fast growing mushrooms that slow your movement. They are indicated by clouds of green particles.
Weaknesses: • Sunlight
‘Polycephalus’ Dog (Location 5)
Description The polycephalus is an extremely large dog with seemingly no differences to a domesticated pet besides this. However, it is extremely vicious and attacks anything that it finds threatening. The skin is very thick due to its size, so shots to sensitive areas like the eyes are the best way to take it down. However, Polycephalus becomes angrier as it takes more damage, showing this by growing another head. These heads don’t necessarily grow from the neck either, but any place that enables it to take down its foe. Distinctive features: A large black and vicious dog that grows extra heads in self defence. Attack Power: Five out of ten to begin with, escalating with amount of heads it grows. Polycephalus will grow to a total of nine heads before it will die.
Toughness: Nine out of ten, due to the lack of vulnerable areas. Speed: Two out of ten, as it doesn’t need to move much to be in range to attack. Special Abilities: • Head Growing: Will mutate and grow a total of nine heads in all manner of places over its body in a desperate attempt to save itself.
Weaknesses: • None
‘Vespulanga’ Wasps (Location 6)
Description The final piece of the amulet landed in a wasp hive, mutating not a single wasp but the entire colony. Each wasp has grown to about the size of a clenched fist, with appropriate stingers and poisons to compliment the growth. The wasps are extremely organised, but taking out the queen will cause the drones to disperse. Distinctive features: Swarms of fist-sized wasps with long syringe-like needle stingers. They also accompanied by a deafening noise. Attack Power: Varies depending on the amount of wasps swarming you, scaling anywhere from one to ten. Toughness: One out of ten, as a single shot will kill a wasp. However, there is an entire swarm of wasps, as well as the queen being able to take plenty of hits. Speed: Nine out of ten as the wasps are light and streamlined enough to sore through the air. Special Abilities: • Poison: Slowly damages the player if they are stung by the needle like wasp stingers.
Weaknesses: • Fragile Body: One-shot kills for the drone wasps, so spread weapons are ideal.
2.5 Progression 2.5.1 Level Progression
The player will venture to six different locations on a single playthrough. Level 3 and level 4 can have the protagonist arrive in different locations based on their previous actions, which serves as a large reason to play through Thirst again. Level 4 is unique in that it contains three possible locations, although one location will always be impossible to reach based on the player’s location in level 3. For example, reaching the first of the two paths in level 3 will make it impossible for you to arrive at the third area in level 4.
2.5.2 Character Progression
Attacks While the protagonist begins the journey as a regular human being, continuous contact with the amulet will cause him to mutate. This changes will be scripted to the points when more pieces of the amulet are collected, which will be after the boss fights. The regular attacks are: • • • Punch: A standard strike that can be used with other punches and kicks. Kick: A heavier strike that can be used with other punches and kicks. Weapon: The ability to utilise weaponry found or created via blueprints.
These can be expanded throughout the course of the game to include the following: • • • Drink blood: Inflicts minor damage on the enemy. Claws: A strong attack that replaces punches and kicks temporarily for parts of the game. Wings: A weak attack, though it can push large groups of enemies away from you.
Abilities The mutations will also cause the body to develop special abilities that will help when working through the game. Some of the more advanced abilities won’t appear until nearer the end of the game, as a way of countering the stronger enemies. The abilities are: • • • Drink Blood: Able to drink the blood of other vampires to gain a small health boost. Climbing: Can climb up most surfaces with the use of claws. Flight: Can fly around during the night. It is also possible to fly during the day, though the wings are weak to sunlight and will hurt you. After a good amount of damage, they will disintegrate and can only be restored by resting, drinking the blood of a human or with the regeneration ability. Regeneration: Health will regenerate to about half of its maximum slowly after reaching critical status. It also benefits flying in the sunlight. Smell Blood: It’s possible to pinpoint the humans that are uninfected, for better or worse.
2.6 Modes of Play
Thirst has several different modes of play available from the main menu. These consist of the following: New Game This option allows you to start a new game, regardless of existing save data. The game will allow you to make as many saves as you like, providing that there is sufficient space on the hard drive itself. Continue Continue allows you to select an existing save file and resume play. This will not be available on the main menu until the game has been saved at least once during the regular game. Survival Similar to ‘horde’ mode style games that titles such as Gears of War and Halo are famous for, it will comprise of one to four human players fending off an onslaught of enemies. Score is tracked via kill count and method of killing to add some variance to the game type. Survival can be played locally or online, though other players online will require a copy of the game. Multiplayer Common game types such as death match, team death match and king of the hill will be present and playable using the online service. Some exclusive modes that involve players using the vampires, protecting humans or causing general destruction will also be included. These modes are unavailable in local multiplayer. Theatre The theatre is a place where the cutscenes, endings and important narrative from the main game can be re-watched. Once they have all been unlocked, they should be able to give an abridged recount of the games events. Options The options allow you to alter things like sound volume, subtitles and brightness/contrast. More specific options to remove gore or invert the y axis will also be included.
This is a comprehensive list of every collectible in the game, where to find them and what they do. They are split into different sections depending on usage. Amulet Fragments These are required to progress the story. You will be expected to travel away from your base camp to locate them. They will be guarded by unique monsters, humans and/or animals transformed with satanic energy. 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) Piece #1 Piece #2 Piece #3 Gem #1 Gem #2 Gem #3
Amulet Grains Each area besides the final level will have at least 50 of these. They will have a purple glow to them and will be fairly hard to spot during the day. They are easier to spot at night, but it will be more dangerous to collect them. Every 25 collected will offer a small stat bonus. Mementos A memento is simply an item of significance. You may find a photo in a ruined house or a ring that has since killed its vampiric owner due to its silver contents. Mementos are items that remind the protagonist about his past, a small story to tell upon collection. They do not offer skill or stat bonuses, but some may be linked with blueprints. Blueprints There will be around 20 blueprints to complete. Each consists of four parts that are acquired by different means. For example at the beginning you will be forced to find an alternative power supply for your car. You may receive a piece upon locating solar panels, a welder etc. They do not have to be tied to physically collecting the items though, as you could also receive a blueprint piece for viewing a solar panel on a building from a hill, and another for actually acquiring it. To create a basic stake, you could receive a blueprint piece by talking about vampire movies with an NPC. You will gain the item in question after completing its blueprint; you do not have to build them. Items like the car and the stake are key items so they will be tied to the story. Others will be optional and require exploring to gain better weaponry and items.
Research After multiple encounters with certain genus of vampire, you will begin to learn from them. The same way a snake handler becomes better with experience, you will gain bonuses from killing multiple vampires. For example you could kill about 200 of the basic vampires to increase your damage against them (or decrease their defence), or even provide better protection when receiving attacks. It will be on an individual enemy basis. Pick-Ups Besides weaponry there will also be medicine you can carry to numb pain or increase blood regeneration. Other items like blood packs will also fall into this category. Weapons These are the various weapons available in the game: Pistol Machine Gun Sniper Rifle Assault Rifle RPG Crossbow Grenade Flashbang Grenade Stake Small Melee Weapon Medium Melee Weapon Large Melee Weapon High power, low capacity guns. There are three variants of this gun. Low power, high capacity guns. There are three variants of this gun. High power, single shot guns. There are three variants of this gun. Medium power, medium capacity guns that fire in bursts. There are three variants of this gun. A high power, low capacity grenade launcher. A high power, low range, low capacity crossbow. A highly explosive grenade. A modified flashbang capable of burning vampires. A fast melee weapon. Small items found around the game that can be used as a melee weapon. These include branches and knives. Medium items found around the game that can be used as a melee weapon. These include baseball bats and metal poles. Large items found around the game that can be used as a melee weapon. These include crates and debris.
Inventory Items These are the various inventory items available in the game: Food (S) Food (M) Food (L) Blood Pack Quest Item Money Ammo Recovers a small amount of health and a small amount of stamina. Recovers a small amount of health and a medium amount of stamina. Recovers a small amount of health and a large amount of stamina. Recovers a medium amount of health. Temporary items used in side quests. Currency to buy items with. Various ammunition for various guns.
2.8 Life Management
Damage Damage can be procured in many ways, most predominantly via attacks from the many different genus of vampire. However, other things can damage you, including large falls and fire. Damage cannot be completely prevented, but can be reduced by upgrading armour or blocking for example. Health is represented on the HUD by a health bar, animated to look a bar of blood. This will fall upon taking damage and rise when healing. If the bar empties, you will either die or become a mindless vampire (depending on the cause of death), receiving a game over. How to Heal There are a few ways that you can heal yourself, and these comprise of the following: • • • • • Eating: While it won’t help a large amount, consuming food helps you to regenerate your stamina as well as small portions of health. Using a Blood Pack: The primary method of healing in the early game, besides resting. Drinking Blood: When this ability is unlocked, you can drink blood to recover your own health. Regeneration: When this ability is unlocked you will very slowly regenerate health in darkness. It does not work while in sunlight. Resting: At certain areas you can rest properly without worrying about vampires reaching you. Such places allow you to heal up fully without the need of outside equipment.
Stamina Stamina is another bar that is seen under the health bar. It represents how tired the player is, and as it decreases, the player’s actions become more sluggish. Resting and eating are good ways to combat this. The actions do not become sluggish too quickly though, allowing the chance to resolve the issue becomes it becomes a larger problem.
HUD (Heads-up Display)
(The Dead Rising 2 image in the background is just to allow the HUD elements to be seen and understood better) The heads-up display is fairly simplistic, mainly so that it doesn’t distract the player from the action on screen. The top left features three different statistics. The number shown in the circle is the player’s current level, which can be increased by helping NPC’s and killing enemies. The large red bar is essentially a health meter, represented by a long tube of blood. The lower it gets, the more danger you are in when enemies attack you. Having a low blood meter will also make the player dizzy, so it’s worth stopping to restore it if possible. The blue bar is a stamina meter, which slowly drops if the player is straining his body. This will restore naturally when walking and not engaged in combat, but also by eating or sleeping. The large circle on the right is the mini-map, which displays an overhead view of the local area as well of points of interest. Custom waypoints can be placed on this map via the menu. The last box, next to the mini-map displays the current weapon the antagonist has equipped, and can be switched via a button press.
 Brown (2010) Dead Rising 2 – Game Review [Online] Available at: http://zombiesandtoys.blogspot.com/2010/10/dead-rising-2-game-review.html [Accessed 30 April 2011]
When the player pauses Thirst, it brings up the in-game menu screen. By tapping either the d-pad or the analogue sticks in one of the four directions, the associated menu will slide onto the screen in place of the four way menu. The menu hovers over the paused game, allowing the player to swap items, view stats and save the game without having to load up a completely separate screen.
Moving about the game world is one of the most predominant features in Thirst, due to travelling between locations, as well as gaining new ways to explore via mutation. Methods of Travel Walking This is the primary method of travel once you have arrived in a new area. Walking, as well as running, is recommended during the day when there are fewer threats roaming the area. Completing particular tasks in each area allows you the ability to move into the next area, so you will most likely be walking for the majority of them. Driving Driving is utilised in the sections between moving from one area to the next. While you cannot use the car outside of these sections, there will be reasons provided for doing so in game, such as petrol conservation and blockades. The driving sections are not controlled by the player, but serve as a recap of events, as well as to show cutscenes on story aspects occurring away from the protagonist. Crawling When this ability has been learnt, you will be able to climb up and along most surfaces in the same manner as a crawler vampire. Such a method can be used to access areas such as roofs of buildings that would otherwise be out of reach. This ability has very limited use in the day, as contact with sunlight will render the power unusable. Using it in shadows or in the night is how to make the most of it. Flying Similar to the crawling ability, you can use your wings to access most of the area you are currently in. This will mostly be for collection purposes, to find and collect amulet shards and items for side quests. This ability is also limited in sunlight. Using your wings in front of humans will also scare them, making them more likely to run into danger.
Lock Outs Due to the game being made out of several locations, it is impossible to roam from one to the other on foot. Lock outs will be used to prevent the player from leaving the area, but will be carefully thought out to prevent player frustration. Simple blockades and explanation can prevent moving out of bounds by foot, but after gaining the flight power, this becomes more difficult. They will likely be situational, but using Special Forces to control contamination, or larger enemies that are too powerful in the early game are ideas. Using the Map The map is located in the main menu, with markers showing key locations and events being clearly marked upon it. This is a more in-depth map, in comparison to the mini-map on the HUD. It appears in the top-right corner and works like typical compass-like mini-maps, with major events appearing on the rim of the map itself until it moves onto the face when approaching it. Locations can also be reached by setting a marker on the main map.
3.0 Technical 3.1 Controls
With many different platforms on the market, there are also many different methods of input. Covering both PC and home console controls are mandatory with a game such as this. A keyboard and mouse diagram has been used for the PC breakdown, while a Razer Onza controller has been used for both PC gamepad support as well as XBOX 360. Keyboard (PC Gamers only, in conjunction with a mouse)
Button W, A, S, D E R F 1 through 0 Shift Space Escape
Description Move the players character Use or enter Reload active weapon Open inventory Cycle active weapon Crouch Jump Pause the game and open the menu
 Seo (2002) MS Frontpage [Online] Available at: http://www.seoconsultants.com/frontpage/keyboard/ [Accessed 30 April 2011]
Mouse (PC Gamers only, in conjunction with a keyboard) Button Left Click Right Click Middle Click Scroll Moving the Mouse Description Fire/Swing/Use primary weapon Secondary fire/Alternate attack Change scroll category to either weapons, items or abilities Scroll through active category Move camera
Razer Onza/Microsoft Style Gamepad (PC and XBOX 360) Button Left Analogue Stick Left Analogue Button Right Analogue Stick Right Analogue Button Left Bumper Right Bumper Left Trigger Right Trigger D-Pad A B X Y Start Select Description Move player character Crouch Move camera Reset camera Change ability Change weapon Secondary fire Primary fire Change item, weapon, ability Jump Reload Use Open inventory Open menu N/A
Dualshock 3 Controller (PS3 Only) For Playstation 3 controllers, the above table is used. The following button names replace those from the Onza/Microsoft controller table. A B X Y Left Bumper Left Trigger Left Analogue Button Right Bumper Right Trigger Right Analogue Button X (also known as ‘Cross’) Circle Square Triangle L1 L2 L3 R1 R2 R3
 Davies (2010) Introduction to computer hardware and software [Online] Available at: http://www.ict4lt.org/en/en_mod1-2.htm [Accessed 30 April 2011]  Shoemaker (2011) Razer releases ‘Onza’ [Online] Available at: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2375323,00.asp [Accessed 30 April 2011]  Admin (2009) PS3 Controller [Online] Available at: http://www.ps3controller.org/ [Accessed 30 April 2011]
This section goes into detail about the visual aesthetic and direction of Thirst. There will also be comparisons to games that are currently in the market, and what can be done to best them.
Due to the similarities and doubtless comparisons that will be made with Dead Rising, Thirst needs to have a graphical advantage; else it will fall short and become overshadowed. The graphical quality of the console version are of course going to be the versions that are played the most, so making sure they give the user a smooth graphical experience is paramount. When porting across platforms it is not uncommon to see problems in the appearance of particular areas of shading or textures, so these must be eliminated before release. Regarding textures, a common complaint with a fair amount of recent games is that they suffer from ‘texture popping’. This is due to the game cutting loading times too quickly, while the game has loaded the low quality versions of the textures, and then slowly, texture by texture, loads the high-quality versions. This is a common occurrence in the Unreal engine, so either the load screen will be extended or a different engine will be used. The option to have a fresh engine developed could be tempting when ensuring there won’t be problems like this, as it would be the down to the responsibility and experience of the coders to make sure it doesn’t happen. The PC version will have the capability to display at the same graphical quality as the console versions, as well as having both lower and higher qualities available. This is to ensure that a wide spread of computers will have the capability to run the game. Ensuring compatibility with Nvidia and ATI cards is vital to cover the majority of the PC gamer base. Intel cards are also worth considering, though they aren’t as popular and widespread as the aforementioned brands.
3.2.2 Game World
The game will be set in America in the year 2020, though the landscape, buildings and style will be largely similar to the modern world. It will be set and made clear that it is ‘another world’s version of 2020’ to allow for an artistic license with level design, not being bound to pinpoint accurate replication of cities. During the daylight sections, the sunlight will be extremely harsh except during the event of rain. This is for two reasons. The first of these is to make it quite apparent that vampires cannot enter it without serious harm or death, with the other to offer a stark contrast to creeping around during the night. A clear blue sky can also be used to symbolise the large expanse of the country the protagonist is travelling, accentuating the length at which he is going on his journey.
The game will also focus a lot on the destruction and break down of the world around him. There will be heavy amounts of gore, inside and outside of actual combat due to the ferociousness of the monsters that are roaming. Buildings won’t necessarily be broken, but broken doors and windows as well as barricades will be apparent. Fire will be used in places you would really expect to see it, rather than being used as a cheap way of blocking the player.
3.2.3 Package Art
The package art needs to be clear as to the genre of the game, as well as the violent nature of the game. Rather than a ‘busy’ cover like the Dead Rising series, it would be worth considering the simplistic approach games like Vampire Rain have taken, by showing one of the enemies in main focus to attract the eyes of potential buyers. Foil or embossing techniques are also an option to draw in buyers. Games like Borderlands did this particularly successfully. The reverse side of the box will touch on the story of the game, due to that being a large focus of the game itself. The remainder of the text will then explain the style of game and examples of what you can do and its main features. Screenshots from in-game as well as cutscenes will be used to demonstrate what they can expect to see. Essentially, the front of the box will draw the player to pick it up, while the reverse will show why it is better than similar games to try and earn the sale.
3.2.4 Music and Sound Effects
Thirst will make use of typical suspenseful music while in areas with no or few apparent enemies. Orchestral pieces will emphasise the dire situation should an enemy appear or creep up on the player. The sound effects will also be trying to make the player be cautious of their surroundings, while also aiming to make them jump. Due to the heavy focus on the hooded men at the start and the comparisons that can be drawn between them and monks, exclusive orchestrated pieces of music will be used during the boss fights, with Latin choir or even chant-like vocals. This adds another reason for players to play the game multiple times, especially if they are fans of the music. The songs can also be tailored to the fights themselves, allowing them to not feel repetitive and to get players excited for them. During critical sections of the fights themselves, be it the player attacking heavily, a boss changing form or something similarly exciting, the music will raise in volume, carrying across the impact of the occurring action.
3.3 Levels Overview
The following is a map of North America, showing the potential routes that can be taken throughout the course of the game. The player starts at the far right on the east coast, then slowly makes it to the west coast, where the vampire was summoned.
The player will have to complete the main task of each area, as well as defeating a ‘boss’ enemy, before moving to the left and on to the next area. The levels are as follows: Level 1 Location: Washington DC Chapter name: Introduction Main Task: Locate a vehicle and get it moving. Boss: Gigantropod Can travel to: Level 2 Level 2 Location: Ohio Chapter name: Revelation Main Task: Locate piece of amulet based on sighting of mutant. Boss: Vagabundus Can travel to: Level 3a or 3b
 Admin (2011) Map of America [Online] Available at: http://www.onlinepicture.org/tag/map-of-north-america-and-south-america/ [Accessed 28 April 2011]
Level 3a Location: Chicago Chapter name: Consequences Main Task: Locate a sufficient amount of fuel. Boss: Corvunevamorn Can travel to: Level 4a or 4b Level 3b Location: Memphis Chapter name: Consequences Main Task: Locate a sufficient amount of fuel. Boss: Aurockk Can travel to: Level 4b or 4c Level 4a Location: Bismarck Chapter name: Discovery Main Task: Discover location of demon. Boss: Ferafelis Can travel to: Level 5 Level 4b Location: Denver Chapter name: Discovery Main Task: Discover location of demon. Boss: Gulantus Can travel to: Level 5 Level 4c Location: Santa Fe Chapter name: Discovery Main Task: Discover location of demon. Boss: Amanita Helloides Can travel to: Level 5 Level 5 Location: Salt Lake City Chapter name: Epiphany Main Task: Prepare for the final encounter. Boss: Polycephalus Can travel to: Level 6 Level 6 Location: San Francisco Chapter name: Conclusion Main Task: Locate demon. Boss: Vespulanga, Antagonist
Thirst has been analysed both to the 10 rules, Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, and also Dead Rising 2 in a competitive analysis, to see exactly what design choices were made to compete with other titles and why.
4.1 Analysis against the 10 rules
Of course, the main reason this document exists is to create a game that abides by the ten rules stated and detailed in the research section of this FYP. The following will be a list of the ten rules, as well as the measures that Thirst takes to ensure it meets them.
4.1.2 Rule #1 – Players want their gameplay unrestricted
While the premise of moving from one area to another seems linear, the game allows and actively promotes exploring. The towns and cities that are visited in the story can be moved around, buildings can be entered and secrets can be found. While the game will always feature the boss fights and amulet collection, it is up to the player if they want to play as a good or bad character. A variety of weaponry are included to maximise the chances that the players will find a favourite and be able to stick to them or change at will. Players that want to play as the vampires will eventually be able to gain access to particular skills as the game progresses, as well as being able to start the game as a vampire on replaying the game. Downloadable content can even be considered to introduce further abilities to non-primary playthroughs for players who want to play as full vampires.
4.1.3 Rule #2 – Players want to feel the effect of their decision
There are three main places decisions are made. The first is the split level structure seen when the player chooses where to travel for levels 3 and 4. The choice of location at the end of level 2 directly influences the choice you can make at the end of level 3, as there will always be a level that cannot be chosen. Of course, the most immediate change is the visual style of the location, as well as the level design. The other decisions involve NPC’s discovered during the game. The common survivors can be dealt with in two different ways. The first of these is to save them, earning their respect and gaining rewards. The other would be to treat them like the other monsters you’ve encountered and kill them, allowing you to forcibly take the items they would otherwise gift. The same is somewhat similar for the special survivors, except the ending seen after the credits can change based on this. You will see an ending for each of these special survivors you meet, showing you what happened after you saved them, what happened after you left
them (on the assumption you didn’t fulfil their quests) or nothing if you killed them outright. All of these decisions have major changes to the endgame.
4.1.4 Rule #3 – Players want the option to change a decision
Before travelling to a new area, the player will be given the option to make a save, which will place them before the decision in the event of wanting to change it. All the player has to do is keep this save and not overwrite it, and they are free to change their minds. The decisions made with the NPC’s are very situational, and only benefit minor changes in stats. Having the ability to change these decisions would be largely impractical, though the special survivor missions are very obvious, so saving can be initiated by the player before engaging them.
4.1.5 Rule #4 – Players want a different experience when playing a second time
There are several draws that can help entice a player into replaying the game. The first of these are the additional locations in levels 3 and 4, which will be new experiences to the player. Another reason is the ability to start with the demonic powers from the beginning of the game, allowing you to defeat bosses in different ways, explore areas further and gain access to new items. The other is that you can choose to play differently, changing from good to bad or vice versa. These main reasons, as well as other small reasons such as finding the other special survivor endings or finding all the collectibles, will surely see players returning to Thirst.
4.1.6 Rule #5 – Players want canonical sequels
As the ending implies that the protagonist lives, and doesn’t verify the status of the protagonists wife, there is plenty of room to create a sequel that takes place directly after the first. There are also enough reasons to not resolve to retroactive continuity changes in order to make the game feasible, for example giving the wife powers due to the demon that was inside her rather than using an illogical explanation. Considering she was used and abandoned, a game based on revenge is not out of the question.
4.1.7 Rule #6 – Players don’t want endings to be a punishment
While the ending is not a typical ‘happily ever after’ style ending, it exists to deliberately shock the player. By creating an ending that provides such a twist at the end of the game, players will begin to talk about it and raise awareness of the game via word of mouth, similar to Portal. However, while the ending is a shocker, regular styled endings can be viewed after the credits when viewing what happened to the special survivors. The ending isn’t classed the same way as ‘bad endings’, those of which feature the main character dying or actions
being worthless, so taking a different approach can be considered a fresh way of having players enjoy the end game.
4.1.8 Rule #7 – Players shouldn’t have to play more than three times to obtain the full narrative
To reach all areas and therefore all of the narrative, the player will have to play three times to visit all of the locations. They will also have to help the special survivors should they wish to see the narratives tied to them; though this too can be done within three plays should the player wish to see them. The core narrative is obtained after one playthrough, with the subsequent two being solely for extra info on the special survivors.
4.1.9 Rule #8 – Players don’t want moral choices just because there is a moral system
Moral choices are never openly mentioned or tied to choices, with ‘morals’ only relatable to the way the player is playing the game. They can be playing as either a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’ character, but will never have to make choices to reflect this, at least not by way of dialogue. It will always be the player’s choice what they want to do, and there are no bars, numbers or rewards to reflect otherwise.
4.1.10 Rule #9 – Players shouldn’t have to considerably change their play style
The only way a play style could be changed is by killing everyone instead of helping the survivors, an option which is completely up to the player and offers no differences in gameplay besides that which the player reads into. There are also no time based events such as speed runs or other actions that would stop the player from paying full attention to the world around them.
4.1.11 Rule #10 – Players should not have a greater reward for a particular moral choice
As mentioned previously, there are no specific moral choices to make, either by action or dialogue, and can only be read into the game by the player. Such being the case, the only action to analyse would be the method of saving or killing the survivors, which in both cases offer the same rewards. Players are free to do either method, as the game will not change in the long run due to it. Helping characters will allow you to be gifted the reward, and while killing them for it may seem like an easier method and thus more ideal, other survivors will run from you at this point, which will balance this. Players can even make the most of helping and killing depending on the situation.
4.2 Analysis against Campbell’s ‘The Hero’s Journey’
Many similarities between Thirst and Joseph Campbell’s ‘The Hero’s Journey’ diagram can be observed and analysed. With a game that features one single over-arching story, it is easy to apply to this particular diagram, than say a game that features many instances of shorter quests.
Call to Adventure The call to adventure occurs just after waking up and beginning the game. After meeting another survivor outside, the significance of the woman that was used in the ritual is revealed. This becomes the players call to adventure, a quest seemingly to halt the vampire curse, destroy the demon causing it and save his wife. Threshold (beginning of transformation) The beginning of the transformation occurs after collecting the first piece of the amulet, where its power begins to change the features and abilities of the protagonist. It’s a visual representation of the way someone changes over the course of an adventure, though in this instance, is a physical and mechanical transformation. Helper While there are no specific helper characters, many NPC’s will aid you if you do not act hostile towards them. A significant event occurs when you are tracking down the exact location of the demon, which is revealed after meeting and talking with an NPC.
 Liberation Heroic Journey (2010) The Hero’s Journey [Online] Available at: http://liberationheroicjourney.blogspot.com/ [Accessed 29 March 2011]
Challenges and Temptations The challenges can be representative of many parts of Thirst, but helping out other survivors and dispatching the tough boss enemies in order to obtain amulet pieces are definitely the frontrunners of such a classification. Temptation can also fall into the hands of the NPC’s, as players may decide to take out everyone they see, not stopping to help a delirious NPC and get them to safety. Transformation The transformation is again a literal one, with the protagonist becoming more and more affected by the vampire curse in the amulet he carries. He begins to grow claws, wings and react to the smell of the blood, temptations that the player can either fulfil or ignore of their journey to the demon that caused it all. Return The return is the arrival back at the demon, as it is revealed that the protagonist was one of the cloaked figures that revived the demon in the first place. This ‘return’ also symbolises the end of the game, as it also shows the protagonist returning to his actual self, a barbaric and sickening human that sacrifices his wife for nothing but power, leaving her for dead.
4.3 Competitive Analysis
I will be comparing Thirst to Dead Rising 2, a game that would most certainly be compared to by reviewers, critics and players alike.
4.3.1 Game Details
Name: Platform: Max Players: Genre: Analysis Platform Both titles have utilised the available market well by releasing on multiple platforms, therefore maximising player coverage. The games are too technical to consider release on a handheld as they are, and the Wii was likely not considered due to the control scheme and the average players associated with it. Maximum Players Dead Rising 2 is predominantly a single player game, though it also features an online co-op campaign for a total of two players. Thirst uses the single player campaign to drive its story across, so having a co-op campaign wouldn’t be suitable as it is. However, using the different monsters and abilities, up to 16 players can play online in competitive game modes such as death match and king of the kill. The decision to include competitive multiplayer stems from the popularity of games that feature these modes, most specifically titles in the Call of Duty line, Gears of War and Halo. Thirst XBOX 360, PS3 and PC 16 RPG/Adventure Name: Platform: Players: Genre: Dead Rising 2 XBOX 360, PS3 and PC 2 RPG/Adventure
Name: Music: Sound Effects: Voice Over’s: Analysis The music direction in both games is surprisingly different. Dead Rising 2 very rarely uses music, instead opting for sounds you would find naturally in each given area. Often it is just a culmination of various different sound effects, but you can occasionally hear music from either music stores, lifts, or similar. Subtle music can also be heard during cut scenes. Thirst uses music throughout the game, though during regular combat it won’t be played very loudly. During difficult fights, boss fights or when the player is taken by surprised, the music becomes louder and more upbeat to emphasise the situation. This music is designed to be both creepy in context with the fights, as well as being able to excite the player. Choir like music with Latin vocals with heavy crescendos will be an ideal way to do this. Sound effects are the primary source of audio in Dead Rising 2, which vary from zombie groans to footsteps to gunshots. They provide the player with the ability to work out where enemies are, as well as to judge the situation around them. Thirst will function similarly and feature correct sound effects, though the emphasis will be more on the music. Thirst has a larger influence on killing the enemies, were as Dead Rising 2 tends to allow you to move past them should you not want to engage them. Voice overs are used in conversation with NPC’s, or in cutscenes. They help keep the player engaged, which is vital in such scenes. Over use of subtitling can cause players to simply skip such scenes entirely. Thirst Yes Yes Yes Name: Music: Sound Effects: Voice Over’s: Dead Rising 2 Yes Yes Yes
4.3.3 Gameplay Analysis
NPC A.I. The A.I. largely varies in Thirst, depending on the type of enemy or ally that is concerned. Vampires will wander around until they detect you, at which point they will give chase. Shadowlurkers will try to get behind you, maximising their chances of killing you. Crawlers will try and drop from above, using your confusion against you. With such varied A.I. in the enemies alone, it keeps the player on their feet and always watching out for the next threat. It builds suspense and makes winning battles more satisfying. The A.I. in Dead Rising 2 can be categorised into three categories; survivor, zombie and psychopath. The survivors will always run after you, only stopping to attack zombies should you do so first. Zombies will stumble around aimlessly, though they hasten slightly if you walk in range of them. Psychopaths are unique in that they are essentially boss fights, so their A.I. is very situational. The military also appear after a time, but they follow a simple ‘follow and shoot’ style which even some of the psychopaths use. Dead Rising 2 uses the A.I. to create a laid back game that players can mess around in and have fun. It’s intentionally comedic, so having huge unavoidable threats at every corner would work against it. Thirst is built as a serious game, so genuine difficulty and planning around fighting larger enemies is required. The NPC A.I. is largely suited for their respective games, rather than one being succinctly better than the other. The Addiction The collectibles form a large part of why players will want to come back to play Thirst. Collecting more items allows access to more weapons and equipment, thus giving them more ways to play. Players can even pick the game up just to attempt survival on some of the harder difficulties, or to increase their kill count. One of the main reasons will be for players to visit new locations and obtain new special survivor endings. The main draw postgame is of course the multiplayer, with few other games offering such a death match, abilities and gameplay considered. Dead Rising 2 is notorious for having players come back to the game, though not necessarily to play the game as it should. A lot of people find that they will come back simply to kill a few more zombies, often in a comedic fashion, as a way of relaxing with a game. There are plenty of weapons and events that can be used to create such scenarios, and assuming you don’t create a new save, you don’t have to worry about consequences. Players that go through the campaign again may also be looking to obtain the alternate endings.
Characters Dead Rising 2 focuses on a small, closely knit group of characters. However, the two that feature constantly and predominantly are Chuck, the protagonist, and his daughter Katey. He interacts with her best interests in mind, but does also have regular conversations with Rebecca, a news reporter who seems to have taken an interest past simple journalism. While Chuck does not talk much to the majority of people he meets, he will go out of his way to save them if they are in danger. Thirst essentially focuses on the protagonist, but there are also conversations and dialogue to have with NPC’s. The survivors, most notably the special survivors, will converse with the protagonist both in-game and via cutscenes. The protagonist’s wife, the demon and the thirteen cloaked figures also play large roles in building the story via cutscenes, as well as at the end of the game. The Journey Dead Rising 2 has less a journey, but more of a wait. Chuck is actually waiting for a period of three days for the Special Forces to come and save them, but in the meantime helping to find more survivors, as well as locate the drug Zombrex to keep his daughter alive. The shopping mall is the only location of the game, though it is exceedingly large and with a lot to do inside it. Thirst has a total of nine different areas to travel to, as well as a wealth of different missions, NPC’s and collectibles within them. The journey is narrated by the protagonist himself, as well as documented while travelling between locations by use of a map and descriptions. The story itself is of a journey, rather than a theoretic or ‘spiritual’ journey. The Goals The goal of Dead Rising 2 is to escape the shopping mall alive, a feat that involves surviving for three days, while locating survivors and keeping your daughter alive. There is also a main mission that runs through the game, which is timed and must be completed in order to obtain the ‘good’ ending. Thirst’s ultimate goal is to vanquish the demon that is using your wife as a host. The travelling is due to the distance between you and the demon, as well as for collecting the amulet needed to break the seal of the demon and eventually defeat her. There is a much heavier visualisation of progression, both journey and experience wise, to amplify the ending when it comes to showing how far you have come.
5.0 Bibliography Books
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