The storyline

In a future not far from now, Earth has been set in f lames. The once civilized world is now a radiated wasteland. As a player you are one of the few survivors facing the challenges of a postapocalyptic world, fighting against radiated ghouls, fierce mutants and merciless raiders. To survive, players must establish their own safe houses, team up and scavenge for scarce resources.

The Vision

The vision of the game concept is to facilitate a next generation roleplaying game adapting the best game mechanism of the RPG/MMORPG genre for Facebook in a turn based game.

We want to facilitate a hardcore and advanced gameplay for a casual platform in a hybrid which can be played in less than 15 minutes a day.

Imagine a hybrid of a text based WoW & the Fallout games series in browser based Facebook format, focusing on co-op rather than PvP gameplay, using AI to control enemies and to create a perfect eco system of game balance. All in a post-apocalyptic Mad Max inspired setting. Radiated Wasteland will essentially be a next generation RPG Facebook game focusing on old school text based storytelling.

Game Design

Using a skill system similar to classic RPG pen & paper games such as the D&D role-playing system, players must create their characters and develop and progress skills. They are visualized in the game as fully customizable avatars equipped with any items the players find.

NPCs will engage players in missions which introduce a rich storyline of popular, post-apocalyptic popular culture set in this mutant infested world. Players must explore the wastelands to solve these missions and gather gear and experience to strengthen their character.

The sum of player actions combine into an ever evolving organic virtual world which will be tile based and consist of an estimated 6.000 unique tiles. The virtual world is populated by an AI controlled enemy and will facilitate co-op mechanisms know from classic MMORPGs, but yet unseen on Facebook, creating a perfect ecobalance where players must cooperate to defeat the common enemy.

The gameplay will be turn based with a limited number of actions per day challenging the player to consider every action and play the game over the course of several months.

Free to Play

The game will be offered as ”free to play” and will monetize through virtual items and premium advantages. It will reuse the assets of a game engine technology which Pixel Pandemic has developed since 2009 and which is now powering its first title “Zombie Pandemic”.

The game concept will benefit from all the best practice, gameplay mechanisms and proven architecture of this platform. The development team behind the production is an experienced 6 man studio backed by a Danish angel investment and with 4 freelancers based in Russia & Poland.

The Game Storyline

The story is set after a global catastrophe. Earth has been set in f lames as a meteor of unknown origin crashed, destroying most of Central Europe and turning the skies into a radiated, poisonous atmosphere causing mutations to all exposed humans and fauna.

The mutations cause bodily deformations, in most cases crippling, but in some cases enhancing physical power, while leaving little intelligence and those exposed turned into f lesh hungering monsters.

As a player you are one of the few survivors that were sheltered from the radiation by secret underground bunkers, a remnant from the cold war paranoia of the 21st century. However, with only room for 1% of the population you were fortunate enough to have your name on the government preparedness list of people, chosen to inherit what is left of Earth, hopefully one day restoring civilization.

You wake up from a coma in a field hospital located inside one of the underground bunkers deep underneath central Manhattan. One of the few cities on the American east coast, amazingly spared by the tidal waves after the blast and thus left with buildings mostly intact but burned and contaminated by the nuclear fallout of the aftermath.

Having amnesia you don’t realize how you were evacuated shortly before the catastrophe struck, but like most other survivors capable of fighting you must return to the Earth’s surface to fight to regain it.

Do you have what it takes to survive in the radiated wasteland?

Game Plot

As a player you must explore the city in which you are trapped with monstrous mutants who will eat you alive, raiders who will kill on sight just to loot your body of anything remotely valuable and mutated animals and radiated ghouls who will frenzy at the sight of human f lesh.

As a player exploring the game city map block by block you will eventually locate abandoned stores to loot for food and items crucial for survival. As you progress you will encounter NPCs who have missions for you to complete engaging you further in the storyline. Missions will include rescue parties, patrolling certain areas, and mutant encounters and as you complete them you will be part of the virtual game world.

Improving your skills and progressing as a player you will eventually want to set up a safe house in an abandoned building to spend the night in safety and offering a safe haven during your missions within the city. As a player you might also want your friends to join your clan as cooperation will be a central part of the mid-level and high-level missions and gameplay.

What makes Radiated Wasteland completely unique from other browser games?

The fundamental premise of the Radiated Wasteland concept is to use elements from classic PC games such as the Fallout and X-com series as well as MMORPGs such as WOW, adapted for the social Facebook platform and in a minimalistic text based format. Radiated Wasteland is thus enabling a casual gameplay in a browser format but with richer gameplay elements from traditional hardcore PC games.

The tendency in Facebook games and browser based games is a demand for intriguing elements with a longer lifespan and elements which are based on a co-op gameplay mechanic.

With Radiated Wasteland, we offer an interesting and varied game setting with a complex mission structure, explorative gameplay and an advanced combat system in a turn based format where level progression and survival will be tactical choices inspired by survival horror themes.

Metastory & Mise en scène

Radiated Wasteland will have a rich meta story to complement its storyline, with a game world featuring a rich NPC and fauna variation based on the classic “mutation” theme made popular by other games such as Fallout.

The amount of Tolkien or Manga inspired fantasy games available counts hundreds of titles, increasing the competition in those market segments fiercely. Radiated Wasteland will be unique and alone in the browser marketplace.

Our team are great fans of the Fallout games and it is important to state that Radiated Wasteland has a very different angle and a mise en scène inspired by a mix of popular postapocalyptic cultural work, such as the movies “The Road”, “Mad Max”, “Resident Evil”, “The Hills Have Eyes”, and “The New Barbarians”.

Co-op Gameplay vs. an AI controlled opponent

By far, most browser based games are player vs. player orientated in their gameplay. This also applies to all the above referenced titles of this format. The core gameplay is so to speak based on the higher level players trampling the newcomers. Players can often join up in clans and thus work together in certain limited aspects of the game, but the competition dynamics are essentially Darwinistic.

The consequence from a game publishing perspective is a massive churn in the player base as most newcomers to the game wanting a more casual gameplay simply become frustrated, however fuelling a loyal hardcore segment of the players.

Though conversion rates from the hardcore segment are significantly higher, most micropayments are made in the initial phase of the gameplay and the overall revenue model is heavily dependent on capitalizing on the player base with the longest potential average lifespan.

The tendencies in the game market the past several years for particularly the consoles and AAA productions in general co-op gameplay is becoming increasingly important. An element which also applies to roleplaying games and in particularly MMORPGs and which we will pursue for Radiated Wasteland.

Studies show that the most important aspect of AAA MMORPG lighthouses, such as World of Warcraft, is by far the co-op element with players co-operating in clans to accomplish goals they wouldn’t be capable of completing on an individual basis. They would even argue that that the “social meta gaming” aspect of joining the game with your friends, discussing it, planning what to do next etc., are the most important factors in its entertainment value.

Radiated Wasteland incorporates this approach into the browser based Facebook MMORPG games market and is thus in terms of genre and co-op elements totally unique.

The main purpose of the game is that players must cooperate in order to succeed (“social meta gaming”). Radiated Wasteland facilitates this gameplay by using an AI controlled opponent embodied by hundreds of different NPCs, such as ghouls and mutants. A common enemy is defined and the players are unable to hurt each other’s characters within the game. On top of that they are able to play single player missions and an individual oriented gameplay during the intro level game.

In mid and late game the importance of co-op and your level progress plays a very important role; players must join up in clans, build safe houses together, defeat large hordes of enemies and share scarce resources while protecting their new homes.

An important reference to the proof-of-concept for this gameplay is Zombie Pandemic, where AI controlled zombie hordes represent the common enemy as one of the corner stones in the game mechanics.

A Facebook 2.0 MMORPG

Radiated Wasteland is totally unique in the current browser market as it focused on hardcore gameplay elements from traditional AAA MMORPG such as World of Warcraft including mission structures, NPC interaction, advanced combat, an explorative gameplay, and most importantly a co-op rather than player vs. player experience.

With the huge potential of the player base on Facebook and similarly the hundreds of very casual RPGs offered, we have wondered continuously when someone would offer a deeper gameplay experience.

Looking at the evolution of games and concepts we believe there are several proven gameplay mechanics leading up to the social network games today.

Thus there would be probably not be a Farmville on Facebook without a Sim City, or a World of Warcraft without Everquest and Ultima Online, and before that the text-based MUDs. Similarly, gameplay concepts known from the era of C64 and Amiga are converging to mobile and console platforms. In essence the same gameplay components are being reused and re-inteprepated and adapated to suitable formats of new platforms over and over again.

The nature of roleplaying Facebook games favors a gameplay style with shorter game sessions. The current gameplay mechanics are trivial but the format is highly suitable for more complex gameplay choices as long as it facilitates an asynchronous and casual style.

This is what we seek to accomplish with Radiated Wasteland. We want to implement deeper gameplay in a casual format adapted for a social platform with unique co-op player vs. AI gameplay.

This includes a mission structure which isn’t just a simple point’n’click as is the case in Hammerfall, Gladitus, Tanoth, etc. and which isn’t even supported by Urban Dead (all games referenced in above).

In that sense, Radiated Wasteland offers a mission initiation by an interactable NPC, a place to navigate to solve the task and use of special items in order to complete the mission. As an example you might be handed an electronic blueprint from a professor, which you need to deliver to a friendly junk yard owner, who returns the favor by offering you a reward. Thus you must navigate the map, locate the professor, interact with the NPC, have the item in your inventory and then navigate to the location of the junkyard in order to complete the mission.

Other examples of an advanced gameplay include tactical choices during combat, being able to target specific body parts and having bonuses from certain equipped items. A system very much similar to traditional AAA RPGs, but vastly superior to all the above referenced browser based titles. Radiated Wasteland also includes game events where certain scripted gameplay events occur during the game and an explorative gameplay where the player must explore the map in order to reveal its content.

In essence Radiated Wasteland incorporates best practice gameplay elements from highly successful AAA productions suited to the format of browser based gaming with a minimalistic text based approach stripped from 3D and complex animations.

Radiated Wasteland will be a co-op game designed for a social media format with your friends being the central part of the gameplay A complementary series of enhanced features, which will make it stand out in the current Facebook games marketplace.

Game features

Classic PC RPG Game Elements & Mission Structures

Using a skill system similar to classic RPG pen and paper games such as the D&D role-playing system, players must create their characters and develop and progress skills.

NPCs will engage players in missions which introduce the player to a rich storyline of popular, post-apocalyptic popular culture set in this mutant infested virtual world. Missions are initiated by and may require certain items and travelling to certain locations in order to be completed. The system will also use your characters skill to determine the chance completion success.

The MMORPG element facilitates that the sum of the player actions combine into an ever evolving organic virtual world.

Custom avatars

The game features a customizable avatar and the ability to equip your character with a wide range of items available from the inventory. Not only will you be able to change sex, face, hair and skin color you will also see the avatars dressed with the equipment you purchase or find within in the game making identification and personal engagement higher.

Co-op against an AI controlled enemy

Unlike almost all other browser based MMORPGs in the current marketplace, Radiated Wasteland will be heavily focused on co-op game play. Players will have to work together in order to accomplish missions and build safe house facilities providing shelter from the mutants.

Unlike other browser games we will facilitate an enemy AI where enemies spawn and are attracted to human player movement and will be more likely to group in hordes to counter larger player settlements providing a self-sustaining ecosystem of balance in the gameplay. Consequently, the roaming of the enemy hordes will cause a varying threat level in different suburbs facilitating a challenging experience for players at different levels. Enemies will attack barricaded buildings and safe houses in order to force entry. Thus players will need to co-op in reinforcing barricades continuously to keep them safe from the outside threat.

Scarce Resources

Fighting for scarce resources in a post-apocalyptic environment will be a key gameplay dynamic. Food and valuable items can be acquired by looting corpses and scavenging abandoned homes and stores. Defeating certain NPCs, including the merciless raiders, will also result in loot and thus picking the right fight can be another strategy to survival - if the player can stay alive during the encounter.

There will also be the means to make a profit by bartering with NPC controlled shops the outcome of which depending on the player’s skills a setting in which hyperinf lation has propelled prices through the roof.

Safe Houses

Players will be able to build safe houses by barricading abandoned buildings. They can choose to keep them for themselves or share their protection with their clan or even complete strangers. However, the safe houses can only provide safety to a certain number of people. You must carefully pick who to include, while considering that not sharing at all will lower security as the barricades need continuous repairs.

Once established, a safe house will offer some different advantages including medical treatment of your character, storage facilities, defense mechanisms, security from the mutants, as well as training facilities. This part of the gameplay combines the RPG elements with elements from city building and strategy games, quite similar to base building in the X-Com series and facilitates asynchronous gameplay with the ability to train while being offline.

Game Events

Unexpected events may suddenly occur during the game. Similar to “turn cards” in certain board games, you will be dealt random events which you have to deal with. For example, on the player’s journey through the city he may encounter a left behind backpack lying suspiciously in the street. He is then given the choice to search it or leave it behind. It could contain value items to loot or it might be a trap. Whether to investigate it or not will be up to the player. Approximately 180-200 scripted game events will be included in the final Wasteland game.

Perks & Achievements

Perks provide advantages in the game such as the skills to build traps, use special close combat weapons or hacking electronic equipment. Achievements will be similar to the concept known from Xbox 360 and you will be able to view other players’ achievements and tell whether your friends have completed missions and challenges you have not etc.

Advanced Map

Radiated Wasteland will take place in a giant city. Imagine a chessboard consisting of 8.000 tiles each with a unique location to explore and some even with sub locations, such as inside levels, basements or rooftops.

A “fog of war” functionality will enable you to see where you have been on the map, enabling an explorative gameplay which is well suited for asynchronous gameplay and multiple game sessions. In other words, players are able to see exactly where they have been and explore the map little by little. Being able to fast travel between explored areas of the city facilitate the casual, no hassle gameplay of successful Facebook games.

Advanced Combat

Like in most other MMORPGs, the combat system is a core component. It will support a turn based game mechanism aiming at offering several tactical choices for an enhanced player experience far superior to combat systems used in the referenced games “Urban Dead” and “The West”.

This includes factors for accuracy depending on range and weapon type. The weapons will have different attributes and will be effective in different situations. For example, shotguns are ideal for close combat and sniper rif les for ranged combat. Weapons will also be upgradeable and breakable.

During combat you will have the ability to target certain body parts thus enabling you to cause critical damage as well as cripple the opponent, decreasing agility and speed. You will also be able to try to f lee if things aren’t going your way, the outcome determined by a combination of your agility skills and luck.

Crafting

Crafting skills enabling you to produce items such as ammo or special weapons and equipment combining special items into an entire new one. Your character will need a certain skill level to be able to craft some of the items while others require little skill.

The feature also enables you to repair, upgrade and modify weapons. Some weapons like a baseball will break over time while others won’t. Depending on your technical skill you will able to repair items and weapons using a workbench which will be available at key locations including safe houses.

Technology

The technology platform has been designed to be a modular and scalable platform for the planned releases using Azure cloud hosting and 100% Microsoft .NET based technology. It also offers system integration with Facebook as well as the current set of publishing partners (Bigpoint and Viximo). The output of the game engine is compatible for display on any modern web browser, including mobile clients and tablets.

The current version represents 10.000 man hours invested and is unique in the current browser MMORPG market in terms of the ability of handling player co-op gameplay against and AI controlled NPC.

Game Engine Technology

Architecturally speaking, a browser based game is a rich web application. The above mentioned game engine is essentially a framework of components which are scalable and reusable in terms of the game mechanics a text based MMORPG facilitates. Thus it wouldn’t be suitable for other genres, but is highly useable in the case of Radiated Wasteland as the logic to construct missions, navigation in the virtual world using a tile concept, character avatar handling and progression logic are present. It also includes admin tools and game world editors to create and manage content within the game.

Game Credits