My ideal game would have these features:
- 2D. I'm an old-school gamer, from the days of 8 & 16-bit machines. I believe 3D has its uses, but for the most part it killed games. By that, I mean games became all about the graphics, leaving gameplay and puzzle design a distant second & third. There is something I just love about a well done, well drawn, 2D game. (Plus 3D is hard / less fun to program.)
- Planes. From a young age, I've had an obsession with anything aero. If it has planes in it, I already like it more.
- Realistic. Yes I am a fan of flight sims, but also anything that simulates real life in some way. What I mean here is probably the opposite of an arcade shooter - i.e. the player has to manage things like limited weapons, fuel load, etc. Also, the enemy should be organized and fight just like a real enemy would, not coming in waves, with expendible vehicles.
In othe words, my ideal game would be a 2D combat flight sim.
So what games have come close to this description?
Well, its not exactly a popular genre! I'll list some of the games I played, that helped me form this opinion. These games are listed in the order that I discovered them.
I started playing this cracking little game back in 1987. You control a harrier jump jet, and you take off from your carrier (which you can bomb!) and fly over an island, dodging enemy flak and planes. Then you fly over a city, which you have to bomb as much as possible, before landing back on your carrier again (if you didnt bomb it at the start).
Ok, so this was a basic game, but it had me coming back time & time again, to see how much further I could get than before.
The thing I loved the most about this game was the levels were open ended. You didnt have to stick to the story, you could fly around, bomb whatever you wanted. After returning to base to re-fuel & re-arm, you could do it again!
Damage from brushing a tree or taking a shot didnt kill you outright, instead it damaged your plane. Your plane could take a fair amount of damage, but as things got worse, so did the plane's performance.
Almost perfect. Maybe not as polished as possible, but great to play. I'd like to write a game similar to this.
Well another basic game, but it ticks all the right boxes. Air combat is fun, the enemy planes chase you around the sky, but once you get the hang of the AI, they are no match.
I have played a german indie game called Dogfight. I never got on with it, but it really opened my eyes to what is possible on a modern PC.
Jetstrike is the Amiga / PC only sequel to Skystrike. As far as I could tell, it wasnt as much fun, although it had a lot more planes to fly.
Wings of Fury. I only played a PC remake of this classic Amiga game. It looked & played very nicely, but in the end the gameplay was quite shallow. There wasnt much to it apart from shooting things on the ground.
Angels 20. Aother indie, this one based on wings of fury, but with a modern / futuristic twist. Sadly never completed, but even so this little game was good fun to play.
A myriad of (pretty poor) flash games. I have yet to find a decent 2D flight sim game done in flash.
If anyone knows of any more, let me know about them please! (Maybe I should start an index of 2D Flight Sims?)
Now it is my turn - I'm hoping to write a game that combines the best elements of all the above mentioned, taken to the next level! I'll describe my exact plan in the next post.