When it comes to creating mobile games, first person shooter (FPS) games tend to be one of the popular genres in the industry. These games are usually strategic and require quick action or response to the game stimulus. A well-developed first person shooter game can be tricky to achieve as the game player is always unique and no two users want the exact same thing from the game. However, with enough research and testing conducted over best practices, it is not impossible.
A first person shooter game can be a blur between what is real and what is unreal. Players can feel very connected to the game play and become hooked to the action. Solaris Studios wanted to create a zombie apocalypse game with a FPS view and explore the genre and all that it has to offer. That is where the idea for ‘Outbreak; The Zombie Slayer’ became reality.
To create a game that takes the person into the realm of the game, the team of developers at Solaris Studios wanted to opt for a story that would also present itself as a mix between the real and the imaginary. The chosen storyline was such that it serves as the right amount of fantasy while also being very close to reality. This allows the creativity of the user to easily and swiftly grasp the story and indulge themselves in it.
The story starts with a very basic concept that humans already are aware of. The concept of the unknown. It’s hard to tell what diseases human beings will encounter in the future and how these diseases will affect the human body. Humans may get sick, die or worse; turn on each other. As people are not aware of what lies ahead, they are also not aware of the consequences or reactions these viruses can have on the human body. Humans are not prepared and cannot be prepared for something that they have never heard of; something that they have never encountered. The only way in which human being will know the reactions these future viruses and diseases will have on them is by living through them and being ready to do whatever it takes to survive in that moment of havoc.
Inspired by the manner in which viruses can adversely impact the human race, the game story is set in the streets of a disease torn city. Everything is falling apart, with no one bothered about the maintenance of the city, as death stares people in the face. Abandoned buildings and burning cars have become the new normal for the once busy city streets.
A new animal transmitted disease spreads in humans and makes them into cannibalistic zombies. By the time the pharmaceuticals think of a cure, the disease changes shape and forms into a new variant, making it impossible to contain. A quarter has passed since the year 2020 has begun and the spread of the virus has reached its peak. There are more zombies walking the streets than humans alive. It seems like the human race is about to get erased from the face of the earth.
When situation becomes dire, an ex-army sniper, Alex, understands that he must take matters into his own hands. He sees that system has failed the human race and if he does not take matters into his own hands, there is no tomorrow for what is left of the human race. Alex must fight to save his life and massacre the zombies in his way. He is left with no other option but to kill or be killed.
He must clear all the streets and make the city a place where he can live without constant fear of what lies ahead. This could be the last day that a human breathes freely on the face of the Earth. Alex must defend himself and cleanse the city of the fast spreading disease to save human race.
To assist the story line that is presented in the game, it is also important to choose the correct game play that will be most entertaining and relevant. A good story line with the wrong game play can make the game less appealing for the player and make them less attracted towards the application as they can’t seem to connect with the game in a deeper manner where they become more glued to the game that they are playing.
The game is a first person shooting game located in the city. This game play is unique not only due to the first person perspective. That is a feature of many games today. We created a realistic environment that maximizes a player’s potential to attain a state called flow. Flow is the condition of absolute presence. It is the sort of presence in the game that makes the player say that the game was enjoyable. Attaining this form of concentration from your player requires a good match between a person’s skills and the challenges that are being presented; an environment where the player becomes so submerged into the game that the connection reinforces itself with every game session.
First person shooter games are infamous for exactly this form of an absorbing experience. The game play allows the user to utilize their decision making ability throughout the game. Although the decisions being made throughout the game may not be complex or mind boggling if you are provided time to ponder over it however, it is made more attractive by constricting the reaction time.
DEVIATION FROM REGULAR LIFE:
There is another element that makes the game, ‘Outbreak; The Zombie Slayer’, stand out. It is not simply the first person experience that makes the players feel glued to the game, it is also the shooting element of the game. The game allows the players to place themselves in a semi realistic life that serves as a deviation from our regular life; the situation that we will never get to experience outside the game.
Players get hooked by the emotional and the impulsive requirements of the character as he needs to keep on his toes throughout the game play, always watching his back for a zombie. In today’s world most people have a regular life where they drive to work and sit in front of the television for entertainment. We are not living as hunters and gatherers anymore, however; that is still hardwired inside the human psyche and the adrenaline of decision making is compelling for players.
One of the fundamental components of our happiness is a sense of control over our lives and the situations that occur around us. In fact, it is genetically imperative for survival. The more control we think we have over things, the better we feel about ourselves and the less control we have over situations, the more distraught we tend to become. The team of Solaris Studios utilizes this characteristic of the human being to ensure that the game enraptures the player into the entertainment that it provides. Outbreak; The Zombie Slayer puts our ability to control the environment, and our perception of our effectiveness, at the forefront of the gameplay.
The interface for Outbreak; The Zombie Slayer was designed to create a certain environment for the players that would make them feel completely involved. All the buttons inside the game are created to give a unified outlook that gives a horror feel to the game. As soon as the person opens up the game, they are faced with an interface that is centered on the zombie theme of the game.
Although, it may seem like a very random detail but the buttons on a game can have a humongous impact on the overall outlook and feel of the game. For this particular game, the buttons all have the same almost plain black design along with a vibrant red or yellow outline which is irregular in shape and form. This gives the users an impression of something broken, something incomplete and torn. Only deep colors are used in the game to represent the situation in the city. It is gloomy and the chances of survival seem slim.
The first impression of the game is quintessential in the perception a player holds about the game. When you enter the game you should be met with the appropriate conception; mentally preparing you for the gameplay. Outbreak; The Zombie Slayer is designed to meet these expectations. The entire game follows the same design plan which helps in presenting a unified look of the game.
To make most out of the players time, the team at Solaris Studios always looks for best practices for their games. Something that the developers have learned over the years is that people enjoy reward and they enjoy it with minimum amount of effort. This reinforcement needs to be measured properly. If the reward comes without any effort at all, it might discourage the player as the reward would be way too easy and it would make the player value it less. On the other hand, if the reward is way too difficult to receive, the players may give up soon as there is nothing to reinforce them to continue playing. Outbreak; The Zombie Slayer is focused on making the zombie slaying experience full of adventure and fun for the player. The game is easy to start and in just two clicks the player is inside the game screen.
Each mission starts with a cut scene to give the players an idea about what it is that is happening in that particular mission. This gives a tidbit of content to the missions and makes the player feel more interested in what is happening during the game. The perfect balance between rewarding and making the person wait for a reward needs to be achieved to keep the people hooked throughout the game. While creating Outbreak; The Zombie Slayer, this reward and reinforcement was meticulously planned and executed. The game allows players to kill zombies left right and center while providing different sorts of difficulty levels to the clients. In this manner the players get an amalgamation of both easy and difficult to achieve rewards throughout the game play.
With countless hours spent in game research, the developers created a spectrum of zombies and their characteristics. In this manner there are different types of zombies, all of which have different strengths and weaknesses. These zombies are differentiated on the basis speed, strength and health. The zombie that has the highest health in the game is also the same zombie with the lowest speed. Similarly the zombie with the fastest speed has the lowest health. Some zombies have an average health and speed however, they are differentiated by low and high strength. These differences makes the game play more intriguing as the user slowly builds an understanding of the different zombies and how to tackle them.
Allowing the user to strategize an attack better reinforces them when they progress in the levels. These different strategies require different approaches and weapons. To assist the user in these different approaches, there is a large inventory that was created inside the game. This inventory offers a variety of guns, from pistols to AK 47, along with a body armor vest and hand grenades. This provides the user with enough fuel to blow up any zombie coming their way. These guns are priced differently and offer different benefits.
MAKING USE OF THE PLAYERS IMAGINATION:
Games such as Outbreak; The Zombie Slayer are a dive into the world of make belief. However, the world of make belief is only interesting when it can be imagined by the player. As game developers, it is important to find the perfect blend between reality and fantasy.
If the game offers a completely incomprehensible environment which does not follow any laws of nature and cannot be understood in relation to reality, the game can potentially become too confusing for the player to enjoy. People do not play action games so that they have to ponder upon the mechanics. These games are designed in a simpler manner so that the user does not need to think a lot over how the game works.
The game is located in the city streets. This environment is made more relatable with the addition of small details such as street lights, parked cars and sign boards. This makes the area relatable and easy to imagine. With the location bringing an element of reality along with the zombies, the game becomes more interesting as the situation is almost something that the human imagination could imagine occurring in reality.
A game is very much like a song, a movie, or a novel; there needs to be an end. Without an end, the story within a game can become irritating and the player may feel like the game was not that great as it just did not provide that final amount of satisfaction that the player required to feel content with finishing the game.
The completion of a game should not feel like a burden has been uplifted. Rather it should feel like the end of a chapter. To create this sense of an end the team of developers at Solaris Studios added the classic boss zombie. The boss zombie is visibly bigger than the rest of the zombies and seems fiercer in comparison as well. The boss at the end of each proceeding level is more difficult than the level before.
The boss is also accompanied by other zombies that get more aggressive in the presence of their leader. These zombies tend to have more speed, making it more difficult to kill them before they reach near the player. Different zombies bring different challenges for the employees and add more depth to the game as the player slowly begins to understand what the different requirements of the levels are.
GAMES FOR ALL AGES
Games are no longer just a child’s play. Adults have started to have more interest in games and gaming is becoming more common is all age brackets. This change in audience demographics has opened new doors for game developers. When the game industry started to boom, the games did not have a lot of story depth in them. People grew up playing arcade games which had well thought out game mechanics however, they lacked a dense story line.
As time has passed and the game industry is expected to create games that will be indulging for people of different age groups and interests, game developers have now shifted their focus towards the story of the games. The developers at Solaris Studios start developing the game by firstly keeping the target audience in mind. The story and the depth created in these stories is developed according to who the game is directed towards.
Outbreak; the zombie slayer has a storyline that is focused on the story rather than the character of the game. There is no personal story of the character that is being shared inside the game to keep it more focused towards the action. This is an efficient mode of storytelling in mobile applications as people are more concerned about playing the game. Adding the element of a storyline to the game allows people to become more connected to the gameplay and makes the game more interesting as you can connect with the main character in the game.
GAMES AS RESEARCH
Solaris Studios believes that these games are not only a means of entertainment for the users playing them. Rather, they also serve as a tool of research for the company which allows them to better perfect their art and create more entertaining games over the course of time. When users play these games, there is analytical data that is being collected by the team of researchers at the company. This data allows the game developers, game designers and the game director to better understand the shortcomings and the strengths that the game holds, allowing the team to perfect the art of game development with every game that hits the market.
Creating a well-rounded game is incomplete without the input of the user. It is not only important to the company to create games that are liked by their players, it is also essential for them to create games that the user is going to enjoy.
Developers, producers and designers at Solaris Studios are focused on creating games that will leave an impact. The main purpose of creating these games is not to simply produce a game; the main purpose is ensuring that the user who plays this game is entertained and the time that they have invested in the game is worthwhile.
The team of developers and designers understand that there are two main parts of creating a well-rounded game. First part involves getting the information across clearly and making sure that the user feels interested in downloading the game. This part is achieved by a true representation of the game in the images provided to the potential player before downloading.
The appeal of games is unlikely to vanish anytime soon. Unlike prior beliefs about games that they are for young children and teenagers, games have now taken a turn. In the present games are being developed for people of all ages and different genres of games are designed to appeal to different age groups and different sorts of people. Adults have started to take a keen interest in the games. Due to this shift in audience demographics, game developers are also changing the way games are being created.
The field of game development is constantly evolving. Solaris Studios wishes to create games that can be enjoyed by generations to come and develop applications that are timeless. To achieve this goal, the team takes a research driven approach to game development. The games are designed in such a manner that they can be pleasurable for people over the length of time.