CodingGamers

I have been thinking about a new game concept for a while. It targets a niche community so if you are part of that community I would love to hear your feedback as I make progress on this hobby project.

This post will be long because it describes the gaming concepts. No TL;DR; sorry.


Title: CodingGamers
Genre: Educational / RPG / Small games
Description: Programmers and Gamers will meet on this platform to create and play games with an RPG flavor, retracing the history of computer Gaming.
Inspirations: Game Dev Story, Upgrade Complete, CodePen, PlayMyCode, and the recently discovered awesome Untrusted

Starting up
Registration is free and is done through Tw / Fb / G+.
The user starts the game with the following stats:
– money: 150₲ (virtual currency)
– # games made: 0
– reputation: 0
– game company: none
– experience: 0
– year: 1980 (first era of time)

The virtual currency ₲ is used to:
– purchase/upgrade a more recent computer
– play games compatible with the acquired hardware
– purchase a game engine to create better games
– enhance a game engine

The objective of the game is to unlock all perks, advance through the years and reach the hall of fame with a stellar game. A user is both a gamer and a game developer.

Eras of Time
– There are 5 eras of time (1980, 1982, 1985, 1989 and 1992) that can be unlocked once the user reaches a certain amount of XP points.
– Experience is gained by shipping the games one creates and by finishing games others created.
– The site’s bootstrap theme, the available hardware and games reflect the era that the user is in.

WebSite Presentation
Once registered, the user can login to his homepage.
Dashboard Tab : stats about the user’s company, his game sales #, his gaming stats, his friends stats, gaming news, game ads
Tseam Library Tab : library of all the games the user has purchased with ₲.
Coding Lab Tab : library of all games in current development
Dry’s Electronics Tab: shop where the user can purchase new computers, parts, and game engines.
iShopGame Tab : shop where the user can purchase games developed by the other users.

Whether or not the user will be mostly a player or a programmer, he cannot do anything until he has purchased his first computer, which is why he starts off with some ₲. Initially the user is set back in 1980. He can only purchase the most basic computer:

– Computer Name: IBN Personal Computer
– Requirements: 100₲ + year > 1979
– Specs: 1-bit display (black&green), 80×24 characters display, 8kb memory
– Upgrades available: memory up to 32Kb: 4kb = 20₲

The user is then led back to the homepage where he can:
#1/ start playing games that his computer can handle
#2/ start his own game company and career as a game developer

#1 : Playing Games
The user goes to the Games Shop where he sees all the games that have been released by other users and which match the era/period that he is in. Each game has a price (₲), a description, a cover image, user rating, the developer’s reputation (overall rating on the games released), and finally hardware requirements.

(Games can be sorted by name, # sales, release date, company, rating. Some games are grayed out as the user might not have the required specs to play them such as unsufficient memory, etc.)

Every time the user purchases a game, 50% of the ₲ goes to the developer.
The game gets added to the user’s game library where the user can play it, complete it, and then rate it.

The user gains experience by completing other user’s games and rating them once he has completed them. (ratings make up for the developer’s rep) Once he has enough experience, he may advance to the next era: the website theme is modernized, more advanced computers and parts can be purchased. The new hardware allows the player to play games with higher requirements.

#2 : Creating Games:
The first time the user goes into the Coding tab, he will be required to create his game company with a permanent name and custom-made pixel-art logo. (which will be displayed at the start of the games he makes)

He will then see all the current games that he has in development.
He can edit or create a new game.
Should he decide to create a new game, he is first asked to select one of his computers to develop the game on as well as a game engine to use. This choice cannot be changed after for that game.
The user is then taken into a CodePen-like environment where he uses the game engine to produce a full game.

Game Engines
Game Engines need to be bought to build games with. They require a certain type of hardware before purchase.
The better the engine, the more features it has (palettes, fonts, collision, music, sounds, etc.)

Example for first available engine:

– Name: 7UPERTXT-NG-3000
– Price: 30₲
– Required Tech: IBN Personal Computer
– Great For: Tiny Text-Based Games
– Speed: 5 FPS
– Available API methods to interact with display:
void write(txt, [x], [y], [color])
string input(txt, [x], [y], [color], callback)

Each game engine tech is a subset of a full custom yet fairly simple HTML5 game engine.
Each game engine comes with its manual (basically the API doc). New engines include descriptions / tutorials of the new API methods that were unlocked.

Programming
Coding is made in javascript and will use the API methods provided by the selected engine version.
Once a computer and game engine have been selected, the user enters into creative mode with an editor on the left and the results on the right.
Each game is required to have an ending. The length of the source code (# characters) is limited by the computer memory specs. Developers will not be able to write source code that exceed the amount of his computer.
Gamers cannot play games whose source codes exceed the memory amount of their computer

Assets have to be hard-coded in the game code. Images will be arrays of color pixels matching a given palette.
Musics will be transformed from string (http://keithwhor.com/music/, http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/QBasic/Appendix#PLAY)
Sounds will be fetched from a provided sound library.
This means that the entire game can be exported as a single file and used freely elsewhere.

Once the game is ready for release, the player submits a unique title, a game type, an uploaded squared 256×256 image logo and a selling price in ₲. He can also purchase an ad campaign that will give his game more visibility to the other users (it appears in people’s dashboards, gets promoted in the Game Store, etc.)
The requirements for gamers to buy the game match the developer’s machine specs.
The developer can also decide to open-source his game so that others can view the source code freely.

The game is then in green-light beta, meaning that they have to be approved by the website’s mods before being public.
Website mods will have to play the game to moderate it (check if ending possible, no hacks, no spam…) and then assign the amount of xp gained when completed. Once approved, the game is released and appears in the store. Developers gain XP when a game goes gold, they also gain ₲ from game sales.
With enough XP, they can advance to the next era. The ₲ allows them to purchase better computer, computer parts, game engines, and make better and more expensive games.

Proof of Concept:
Here is a simple hangman game created with the most basic game engine / game computer combo. You can see that the main game loop is already in place and the rendering is done by the engine. The code is updated live and should be running in its own frame for security.

Additional Notes:
Users can gain additional ₲ by promoting the site (social network shares), getting referals (new users), or simply being active: logging in, reviewing
games, etc.
A game that reaches a certain amount of sales is called a hit. These games can have sequels which have benefits (people who game good score to the original game are notified of the new release, etc.)
Every week a new game theme is given. At the end of every week, one game from each era is selected to get a theme award.
Once a game has been released, it cannot be re-edited. Code is view-only. Bugs remain bugs. This is the floppy disk era. Release when bugfree!
Every month a high-end game is selected to be elected to the Hall of Fame (another front page tab) and the programmer wins the game.
Everything reflects the era the user is in: the web app interface, the code editor, the games, etc.
The Game Engine API will be open sourced on GitHub

Technical Notes:
Executing someone else’s javascript is always a bit frisky… We’ll have to take the same disposition as jsfiddle / codepen.

Possible computer specs according to the accessible eras:
Computer Name: IBN Personal Computer
Requirements: 100₲ + year > 1979
Specs:
– 1-bit display (black&green)
– 40×24 characters display (320×192)
– 8kb memory
– 1 simultaneous keys
Upgrades available:
– memory up to 16Kb: 4kb = 20₲ for ex.

Computer Name: ZED Spectrum
Requirements: 300₲ + year > 1982
Specs:
– 2-bit display CGA (8 colors)
– 80×48 characters display
– 16kb memory
– 2 simultaneous keys
– music 1 channel support
– up to 16 simultaneuous sprites

Upgrades available:
– additional fonts
– additional palette
– memory up to 32kb

Computer Name: AGIMA 1000
Requirements: 500₲ + year > 1985
Specs:
– 3-bit display EGA (64 colors)
– 320×200 pixel display
– 32kb memory
– 3 simultaneous keys
– mouse support
– music 1 channel support
– sound 1 channel support
– up to 32 simultaneuous sprites

Upgrades available:
– additional fonts
– additional palette
– additional sounds
– memory up to 64kb

Computer Name: 386SX25
Requirements: 1000₲ + year > 1989
Specs:
– 4-bit display VGA (256 colors)
– 320×200 pixel display
– 128kb memory
– 4 simultaneous keys
– mouse support
– music 4 channel support
– sound 4 channel support
– up to 64 simultaneuous sprites

Upgrades available:
– additional fonts
– additional palette
– additional sounds
– memory up to 1028kb

Computer Name: 486DX2-66
Requirements: 2000₲ + year > 1992

Specs:
– 4-bit display VGA (256 colors)
– 640×480 pixel display
– 512kb memory
– 4 simultaneous keys
– mouse support
– music 8 channel support
– sound 8 channel support
– up to 256 simultaneuous sprites

Upgrades available:
– additional fonts
– additional palette
– additional sounds
– memory up to 4096kb

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