I Overview The game is called “Operation: Omega Strike”, a name that is derived from the storyline of the game. The player is thrust into the middle of a conflict between two warring armies. The player will control one soldier at a time and attempt to complete 3 levels without losing all of their allotted soldiers.
II Game Mechanics This section will contain the basic details about the game, how it plays, and how it works.
Basically the game is a top down shooting game where the player controls one soldier on the battlefield and tries to complete three levels by making it to the end and defeating all of the enemies. The twist on this particular game is that the player is not controlling one character, but one soldier who is as frail as every other soldier in the game. They do not get a life meter, but rather a certain number of soldiers with which they must complete the level. Every time the players soldier is killed, they take control of another soldier on the battlefield, if they lose all 10 of their soldiers, they lose the game.
The camera is mostly centered on the soldier that the player is controlling at any given time. The only exception is when the player reaches any edge of the level map, the soldier will be able to move freely around the screen until they hit the middle of the screen. When the player’s soldier begins to move away from any edge of the level map, then the camera will begin to scroll with the player, leaving his soldier in the center of the screen again.
The user interface of the menu is a basic choice selection scheme, where moving the arrow keys up and down changes the highlighted option, and hitting the ‘Enter’ key selects the highlighted option.
In the game, the user interface consists of moving the player’s soldier using either WASD or the arrow keys, and aiming the weapon with the mouse and clicking the mouse 1 button to fire. There is a crosshair on the screen to show where the player is aiming.
2.4 Replaying and Saving Because the game is so short, only three levels, implementing a specific save system wouldn’t make much sense. The way we’ve implemented it is giving the player the option to start a game from any level, through the ‘continue’ option on the main menu. The player selects continue and then can select which level to start from.
Every level has the same basic goal, to get to the end of the level and defeat all of the enemies that are ‘guarding’ the end. There are no boss characters in this game, because the emphasis is on fighting a ton of enemies at once, instead of a few really strong ones.
The level begins and the player’s character starts off in a starting location that is at the bottom of the level. The player must then make their way around obstacles to the top of the level, where the end sequence will trigger. Enemies and friends are randomly spawned while the player is attempting to make it to the end of the level. More enemies are spawned when the player is moving up (into enemy territory) and more friends are spawned when the player is moving backward. This, in addition to the fragility of the player’s soldier, keeps a balance where a player cannot immediately run to the end of a level, or they will be quickly gunned down. They must move through cover and move with the rest of the friendly soldiers so they can work together to defeat the enemy.
When the player reaches the end of a level, the end sequence is triggered, whereby enemies stop randomly spawning and several enemies are spawned at a specific location. When all of these spawned enemies have been defeated, the player has completed the level. When the player completes level three, they have beaten the game.
2.7 Cut-Scenes There are screens of text explaining to the player what is happening with regards to the story in the game before the player starts a level. They also give a basic objective that the player needs to complete to beat the upcoming level.
Storytelling in this game is handled through the aforementioned cut-scenes, the scenes are written specifically to explain the storyline and what the player is currently trying to accomplish in the game in regards to the story. There isn’t a lot of text to read, and what is there is brief, although descriptive, but we believe that it fits the spirit of the game, which is to be fast paced and frantic, stopping to read text for 5 minutes would ruin the flow to the game.
There are a total of three levels in the game:
2.9.1 Level 1: The Landing In this level the player and their army has begun the assault on the enemy homeland. The player must move up a beach and over open field, across a river and a moat, to try and reach the enemy lab that is located at the end. When the player clears out all of the enemies that are in front of the lab, they have completed the mission.
The scenery for this level includes water, sandy beaches, open fields with spots of dead/scorched earth, and at the end is the enemy lab complex, which is the player’s objective for the level.
Level 2: The Lab
This level sees the player and their army infiltrating the enemy’s lab complex where they are trying to raise the corpses of their fallen soldiers. In this level the player must make their way through the complex until they reach the main research core at the very end, where they must eradicate all of the awaken experiments.
This level has an indoor setting, with rooms and hallways, also visible are computer terminals and giant test tubes (both in-tact and broken) where the enemy is ‘cooking’ the zombies.
2.9.3 Level 3: The Capital
In the final level, the player and their army are making their final push into the capital city of the enemy army. Taking the capital will ensure victory for the player’s army. The player must move through the streets of the city, around buildings on city blocks, and fight all of the enemy units. The player must make their way to main street, where they must clear all of the enemies off of it to claim the city and claim victory.
This level has an urban setting, including roads and several large buildings.
III Artificial Intelligence 3.1 Opponent AI The enemies in this game have specific AI, they will move in any direction and they will shoot at the player or any of their comrades. The player’s soldiers use the same AI code, except that they target enemies. The zombies in the game use a different AI, they pick a target, and they run at it, since they do melee damage.
All of the computer-controlled units in the game detect their targets in the same way. When one of them gets the command to find a target, they scan the screen for targets, pick the shortest one, and begin firing at it (or moving toward it). Both enemy and friendly soldiers are set to randomly deviate from the target point as not to make the CPU units crack shots that can shoot the player from a mile away.
3.3 Motion The soldiers randomly move in any direction, whereas the zombies are always moving toward their target. The CPU units move in the same way that the player moves, they get a command to move in one direction, they check to see if the area they want to move into is clear, and then they move into it.
There is no specific path finding algorithm for the CPU units, instead what we’ve done is if when a unit does a check to see if the area they want to move into is clear, the are is not clear (or they are hitting the end of the screen), they stop trying to move that way and either go the opposite way or just do something else. This has a kind of path finding effect, whereby when the player is moving in one direction, and the cpu units are hitting the edge of the screen, they will begin following the player.
3.5 Combat The soldiers (including the player) shoot their rifles across the battlefield, the shots are traced along the world pointer array (that holds the location of everything in the game) and if a soldiers shot hits one of the opposite sides units, then damage is dealt and if necessary that unit is killed.
Damage is dealt randomly between 1 and 3 points per shot, and that is to simulate the fact that although the game is top down, it would normally be taking place in a 3d world. So if a shot does 1 point of damage that may be like hitting someone in a limb, whereas if it does 3 points of damage, it’s a shot to the chest or head.
The player can hide behind corners and obstacles for cover, but they will not provide cover from all sides.
3.6 Non-player Characters Most of the characters on the screen at any given time are non-player characters. They make up the friendly and enemy units that fight each other. Each specific type of NPC will be detailed in the character bible below.
IV. Game Elements
4.1 Character Bible
This is you. This may also be a friend. In Operation Omega Strike, there
is not much of a difference. You may control any one of dozens of these
infantry fighting on the side of the Allied Republic.
This is your enemy. This is an infantry unit belonging to the military of your enemy, the Neo Terra Coalition. They will defend their homeland to the man.
This is a prototype example of the Neo Terra Coalition’s zombie army. These wretched monsters will be happy to reduce you and your squadmates to piles of gore if you get too close.
This is the final version of the Neo Terra Coalition’s zombie soldier. These guys will be your toughest foe, as well as being an affront to nature.
V. Story Overview
The game is composed of firefights between the player’s army and the enemy army. The story is driven by the enemy’s biological experiments which manifest themselves in new, bizarre enemies which appear at the end of the first and second stages.
The most common situation the player will encounter is a battle against enemy soldiers (figure 1). The player’s faction advances, taking territory as they slaughter the enemy soldiers. The common enemy soldier has a machine gun and will fire upon soldiers belonging to the player’s faction.
As the player advances to the end of the first level, a new enemy changes the battlefield dynamic: the zombie (figure 2). Zombies charge into the firefight and use their claws as melee weapons. The player will be backpedaling while trying to deal with this new threat.
During the second level, a new zombie threat emerges: the zombie soldier (figure 3). These are the most challenging opponents in the game.
5.2 Plot Summary
You are a soldier in the Allied Republic military. You battle your way through the Neo Terra Coalition forces in a push towards their capital. Along the way, you discover that they have been experimenting with bringing the dead back to life. Not only has this become a battle for your own nation’s survival, but a battle of good against evil.
VI. Game Progression
Operating Omega Strike is set in a fictional world. The two great nations, The Allied Republic and the Neo Terra Coalition comprise the major forces. Parts of the game have a sci-fi feel to them, while others have a more realistic touch.
The year is 2241. The Allied Republic has waged war upon the Neo Terra Coalition since time immemorial. The player’s faction (Allied Republic) has made great progress towards their enemy’s capital. This is a glorious day, as today you march upon the final stronghold of the enemy in a spearhead manuever. Little did anyone suspect that this great enemy nation had been experimenting with biological warfare in the form of the risen dead. The stakes have been risen once again - you, along with your squadmates, will be the very first to battle this new threat, or be the first to watch the rest of the world fall to the undead.
6.4 Level and Scene Details Operation Omega Strike takes place in and around the enemy nation’s capital city (Terra City). Each of the stages was built using a unique style and set of world sprites.
6.4.1 Stage 1: Beach Landing Zone This stage is the landing zone for the final invasion of the Neo Terra Coalition’s homeland. It contains staples such as sand and a small river as well as vegetation and rocks.
6.4.2 Stage 2: Bioexperiment Labs
This stage is the lab where the evil Neo Terra Coalition discovered the secret to raising the dead. It contains various sci-fi architecture.
6.4.3 Stage 3: The Capital The final stage is the capital city of the Neo Terra Coalition. If this city falls, the end of the war will not be far away.
VII. Lessons Learned
7.1 Jim Nardecchia While doing this project, I learned just why it takes a team of people to put together a good game and that if everyone is following one vision it makes the work easier. Having two people do all of the programming and the art and sound takes a lot of work. I also learned that you should only do what you are capable of in a given timeframe, as I think now that we were a bit too ambitious with our game, but it turned out pretty well.
I definitely see how one can apply the lessons learned in the course and while doing the project to modern 3d games, it’s the same concept, just with different execution.
7.2 Rich Hojnacki
I learned that sprite based games aren’t as easy to code as they look. I also learned that phantom errors in a .net compiler are more cryptic than 2000 year old sandskrit.