06 July 2012

Pantie Pillage


Last Update: Nov 2013
Objective: Designing a silly and absurd platform game inspired by games like Zillion and Impossible Mission while burrowing couple of mechanics from stealth games like "Metal Gear", "Splinter Cell" and "Deus Ex".

(sept 2012 - added few more drawings)
(jan 2013 - added Pms and Mood swings to game depth and replay value section)
(nov 2013 - added level layout, some ideas about a medieval spin-off and made a couple of changes here and there)

Introduction

Zillion was a space adventure platform video game designed for the Sega Master System, a free-scrolling platform/adventure inspired by Metroid and Impossible Mission. The players take the role of a guy named J.J (or 2 other team members if they can be found). The mission is to retrieve the five floppy disks from the Norsa Forces base on Planet X and destroy the base. You can see the plot is full of cheese but these things got the job done back in the days.

I enjoyed the gameplay mechanics of finding passwords in rooms and using them to open doors. The small variety of guards, traps and repetitive backgrounds made things less interesting after a while but the action was still fun non the less. I even enjoy the music and considering its a Sega MS game, listenable music is hard to find. If you're into retro stuff and looking for a decent Sega MS game Zillion is definitely worth playing. (Now that's something hard to say for a MS game since most MS games are crap.)

Pantie Pillage started out as some doodles for a "Canabalt" clone. It was meant to be a simple flash game where the Pantie Pillager steals some panties, dashes out of the window and starts running from the robotic pantie police that chase her on rooftops, collecting more panties while avoiding obstacles and trying not to fall. After bit more tweaking with the idea, I decided to add couple of zillion concepts into it where the Pantie Pillager had to enter a room, avoid simple patrols without being seen, find the codes (codes will be replaced with coloured panties hence the name) enter the codes to the computer console to unlock the rooms doors (or windows), dash out and start running from the guards that chased her just like in the previous Canabalt idea. If she outruns the guards then its on to the next level with a harder room and a harder chase.

So it was meant to be a pantie themed Canabalt mixed zillion clone, bastardized in the shape of "two mini games in one" but then couldn't stop myself brain fart bit more on Zillions gameplay by asking myself how would it be if it was remade today. Dropped the Canabalt stuff and Pantie Pillage became a mixture of Zillions (platformer labyrinths, locked rooms, searching for pass codes in rooms) with the stealth elements of  Metal Gear and Splinter Cell (sneaking around undetected, using gadgets) and a tiny bit of Deus Ex (hacking computer consoles and alarm systems, augmentations.) Turning it into a platform / espionage game where (on theory) brains are as important as reflexes. Now the Pantie Pillager infiltrates a top secret pantie factory to steal never seen before pantie blueprints while avoiding surveillance cameras, security guards and laser beams.


Index
  1. Game Highlights
  2. Gameplay
  3. Items and Power ups
  4. Augmentations
  5. Enemies
  6. Winning & Losing the Game
  7. Game Depth and Replay Value
  8. Conclusion


1 - Game Highlights
  • Silly storyline, extreme violence and mature content
  • Platform maze game with heavy stealth elements mixed with puzzles.
  • Random room generation for improving gameplay value


2 - Gameplay  

Players control the Pantie Pillager, (or P.P for short) an ill dressed heroine wearing a sneaking suit and night vision goggles who infiltrates a maze-like top secret underground panties factory, wandering from room to room looking inside containers for different types of panties blueprints. Each room has 4 types of  panties hidden in its containers and once all 4 panties are collected she takes them to the rooms main computer console and uses them as a password to open up doors to progress further into the factory.

Most containers have the panties required to open doors but some also contain power ups and equipment that P.P can use in her quest, helping her to hack computers, avoid surveillance cameras, sneak past security guards, deactivate laser beams, stop alarms and such.


Pantie Pillage gameplay mockup

The game menu on top of the screen contains all information necessary the player would need. (Shadow meter, health bar, weapon and ammo, total time spent and alarm level)

1 Stealth / Shadow meter - Shows how well P.P is hidden and how hard she is to detect by guards. Some guards with night vision / thermal goggles or robots and turrets will be able to detect her even if she hides in shadows.

2 Health - Lower health will have negative effects on movement speed and jumping abilities. Once the health bar drops to red P.P will start bleeding. Guards will get suspicious and follow the trail left behind. Non human units such as bots, turrets and cameras will not notice blood stains. Bleeding can be stopped using liners & tampons as bandages.
 

3 Equipped item & Inventory - Items can be cycled using menu buttons

4 Time Tracker - Tracks the amount of game time spent inside the current room, inside the whole factory (total game) and under alarm mode. Trackers are for informational purpose, I like games that track this kind of stats.

5 Alarm Level - The current alarm state of the room. Once a guard gets suspicious alarm will turn yellow (caution) If P.P is detected the alarm rate will turn red, doors will be locked and an assault team will be sent to the room. If the player finds a good spot to hide then the alarm rate will drop to purple and assault team will begin a full sweep of the room.

Concepts below show the Hud menu in action: 



Level Layout

The entire game map can have the same layout each game but the contents inside each room can be generated randomly. Some story based rooms can be unlocked after certain events like If the player clears 25 randomly generated rooms, a story based room will be generated and once enough story based rooms are cleared a final room will be unlocked to finish the game and so on)



Game should start with the infiltration of the panties compound. During this part the player will learn the basics of controlling the character.Couple of simple platforms to learn the basics of jumping around, couple of dark spots to hide inside and avoid the guards etc. 

Once the player reaches the entrance elevator to the underground part of the compound, the real game will begin. From there on most rooms will require the player to collect 4 panties, use them on the computer consoles to open doors and elevators.

As a general rule of thumb rooms should become harder as the the player moves deeper into the base.

 

Confronting Enemies

Since the enemy is numerous and P.P's equipment is scarce it is better to sneak around then jumping around guns blazing. P.P can use the environment to hide and move without being seen by the enemy. Another way to move unseen is to blast the lights in a room. P.P can move around  as easy in a completely blacked out room with the help of her night vision goggles.

If she manages to get close to her enemies without being seen she can execute a melee take down or grab the enemy to use him as a shield / force access to consoles.

A simple detection system can be made by giving guards an invisible collusion box around them that triggers detection / awareness if player enters or makes sounds inside that box. Different enemies can have different visual and audio collusion rates. This way a camera can be made deaf to sounds but can have greater visual range than a human guard etc. 

Pantie Pillage ways of confronting the enemy

Sometimes sneaking wont be enough to deal with the enemy. P.P caries a pistol for such situations but the ammo is scarce and the enemies firepower is much more greater. As far as weapons go a pistol will be enough, additional weapons can break the mechanics of stealth. Giving extreme health or firepower to player will surely kill the suspense and sneaking. Even the use of the pistol should have high consequences forcing the players to use it only if they must.

If P.P is detected by a guard, the guard will try to get a clear view on who the intruder is. If P.P manages to hide then the guard will do a brief sweep of the area and return to its relaxed state. If the guard is certain that there is an intruder then he will find the fastest means of sounding the alarm. (alarm buttons on the walls, computer consoles, radios or by simply shouting for help.) Once the alarm sets off an assault team will be dispatched to the room (teleported or maybe they just descend via gliding ropes from the ceiling) to clean sweep the room, searching possible hiding locations. If P.P manages to hide from the sweep undetected the assault team will be called back and room doors will return to normal.

Maybe some simple hand to hand / melee combat can be fun to implement. When the guards attack with batons or similar stuff the player can dodge or block their strikes and lend something in return using quick time events or there can be melee combat moves toggled when a button is pressed. (Like in a C64 game from 1986 named "Nexus" that involved some simple 2D platform fighting game mechanics together.) This can allow some cool melee combat animation. But again such improvements may brake stealth gameplay mechanics so I'm not so sure on this stuff.

Computer Consoles: 


Computer consoles are scattered throughout the panties factory. An ID card is required to access these computers. If the player has no ID cards left then P.P can attempt to hack a computer console using a hacking device. 

Hacking can consist of mini puzzle games like a chase scene inside a maze or so. If no hacking devices are present then she would have to choke a guard and bring him to the computer console to activate login. There can be a 70% chance the guard will sound the alarm instead of activating the console. This will stop the player grabbing the nearest guard instead of collecting passwords.

Failure to enter a correct pass code would trigger the alarm and cause the doors to be blocked for a short period of time while an assault team is sent to investigate the interference with the computer console.

Pantie Pillage Consoles & Hacking

  
Containers: 

Zillion had canisters the player had to shoot to break and check whats inside. Containers in Pantie Pillage can be baskets full of panties heap, laundry boxes, trash cans, canisters or other stuff that change according to the backgrounds and floors the player is on. It may take a few seconds for the player to search containers, leaving P.P subject to enemy sight or harm. P.P will find a variety of items inside containers to enhance her abilities but some containers can be empty.

Panties blueprints (or pass codes) required to open each room door are formed from a combination of 4 different panties types with different colours each. So a password for a room can be something like "Blue thong, red boyshorts, pink boxer and purple string". The Player has to memorize the colour and type of panties found in the room to input the password to the computer console. If the input is correct the doors will open.


Pantie Pillage containers & Items



3 - Items and Powerups

You can find various items in the containers scattered around the rooms.

ID card: lets you access computer consoles.

Brand New Panties: This will give P.P an extra life to continue the game.

Tampons and Liners: These can be used as bandages to stop bleeding after being shot

Used Panties: These can be put on the ground to lure wandering guards or can be placed on CCTV cameras to block their vision. Female guards will not be effected by used panties




Health: Zillion used bread to replenish lost health. Not very creative but i didn't think into this one either. If its going to be a consumable then using rations would be the way to go. (Nope P.P doesn't consume panties but i bet some of you expected me to write that :)

Hacking device: can be used to hack computer consoles when no ID card is present or the player doesn't want to deal with collecting the password for the room.

Gas Bomb: Used to stun non mechanical enemies. Can effect all the room (like a smart bomb) or just a limited place inside the room. Once used guards in the room will become unconscious for a limited time. Will not effect gas masked enemies.

Emp Bomb: Turns off all electronic devices in a room including all types of robots, turrets, cameras and computer consoles. Light sources start to flicker erratically given limited ability to hide in shadows. The effect lasts for a limited time only.  



4 - Augmenting P.P's skills

Adding a method of improving the main heroines jumping, searching and fighting skills can be a nice feature. I didn't really think of a how she will gain extra power but cybernetic augmentations (like syndicate or deus ex) always sound nice for sci-fi themed games.

It can be like P.P has cyborg body parts that can be upgraded when she finds certain parts and service depots to install these parts. This however seems to be too much cliche. Maybe if I can somehow merge the idea of augmenting the heroine using different panties types it may feel more in place. 



Throughout the factory P.P can come across changing rooms where she can swap her current panties with a "Brand New Panties" item to gain special abilities. This way the player can make a choice between using the Brand new panties as an extra life or an upgrade item. P.P can wear a panties on her head to increase her mental skills (hacking abilities) or she can tie panties on her feet to make her move without making foot step noises, increasing her stealth abilities and such. 

Maybe both panties and cybernetics can be used to improve the character. But once a path is chosen it will lock the selected body part for the rest of the game forcing the player to use the same type of augmentation for the rest of the game.

Another way to increase skills can be picking up some special panties that give P.P special abilities Characters in Zillion had three main improvable skills such as green panties for jumping, blue for weapon power and red health but this doesnt seem very logical (as if anything else in this game does).


5 - Enemies


Mostly busy thinking about the gameplay mechanics so I didnt really spend time on enemies but I've managed to come up with 6 different types. Each may have a few visual variations (perhaps depending on the rooms or floor levels of the factory) to make things slightly less dull.

There can be a few boss enemies. What good is a platform game without boss enemies. The player may have to face these bosses before certain story based events and can gain unique skills or items from them. Another option would be to increase the players maximum health after each boss defeated so it may give the player a feel of accomplishment. 





Guards: These are simple guards that usually have static patrol routs. They are poorly equipped with batons but some may have radios to call backup or flashlights to search dark places. They will start running towards P.P and attack using their batons. A skilled player will be able to avoid them without being seen or render them unconscious before they can act.

Elite Guard: These are better armed variants of the regular guards who are usually stationed to guard important places. Their equipment may include flashlights, gas masks, night visions and some heavier weapons. 

Pantsu Guard: Female guards in clad leather dresses. Pantsu teams are much more intelligent and agile then their weaker peers. They tend to search places other guards overlook (dark corridors and pantie heaps etc.) Dropping a used pantie will not divert a pantsu guards attention. (they can say some funny stuff and kick it away with a disgusted face)

Assault Team: Five to eight of these guys are called in once the alarm starts to ring. They are equipped with sub machine guns and heavy body armour, making them harder opponents then the regular guards. They also carry night vision goggles so blasting off the light sources in a room will not blind them. Gas bombs will not work on them as they have oxygen filters integrated to their helmets.

Once these over powered guys start moving in and the game starts turning into hell. There is a high chance the player wont survive a few waves of these guys in a row. This forces the player to think twice before going careless and trigger happy.

Repair Bots: These are called into rooms by guards who notice something has been damaged or malfunctioned (walkways, laser barriers and other types of machinery sabotaged or lights blasted by the player) Their main duty is to repair but are armed with light weapons so they hover around the broken object, repairing it and guarding the area as they repair.

Guard Bots: Heavy armed walking mechs. Usually impossible to confront by frontal assaults. The player would have to either use a computer console to deactivate and reprogram the bot or use an emp grenade to disable it for a short period of time. 

Cameras & Turrets: If the player moves in to the sight or a camera the alarm will sound and assault teams will be called into the room. Turrets are the same as cameras but have weapons attached to their heads. Cameras and Turrets can be disabled by placing used panties on their lenses.
  

6 - Winning & Losing the Game

  • The game is won when the player manages to download all the top secret panties blueprints and other important data from the main computer, set the computer to self destruct and manage to escape the panties factory by legging back to the first infiltration point.
  • The game is lost if the Pantie Pillager is killed and no more extra lives are left.


7 - Game Depth and Replay Value

Usually I'm always into randomly generated levels. I look at it as one of the most powerful ways to increase replay value. However I'm kind of uncertain with Pantie Pillage. Maybe the levels should be the same every time its played. Haven't really thought about this either.

If the random room method to be used, the entire game map can have the same layout each game but the contents inside each room can be placed randomly. Some story based rooms can be unlocked after certain events like If the player clears 25 randomly generated rooms, a story based room will be generated and once enough story based rooms are cleared a final room will be unlocked to finish the game and so on)

Different items and mods can be unlocked depending on the players ranking and games difficulty setting. Japanese games tend to do this a lot. This may force the player to replay the game again to try new stuff etc. Some stuff that might affect the ranking system can be;
  • Number of lethal or non lethal take downs committed by the player.
  • Number of shots fired
  • Number of times spotted / alarms
  • Total playing time
  • Number Secrets found
Pms and Mood swings - Grumpy Pillager Mode for Increased Difficulty

As a female lead character our beloved Pantie Pillager also suffers from psm and the mood swings that come with the irony of being from the female gender. There can be a "Grumpy Pillager" mode (something like hard / hardest) that can be unlocked after finishing the game where P.P can have random positive and negative buffs depending on her menstruation cycle.

Sometimes she may get angry and cause extra melee damage, sometimes she can feel more low where enemy hits will cause double damage, sometimes she can have cramps that force her to crouch down and rest for a few seconds. (similar to snakes heart failures in mgs4) also I dont even feel the need to point out the loss of blood and the enemy guards who can detect the pillager from the blood stains she leaves behind. Items like tampons can be used to stop the bleeding while painkillers can be used to stop cramps.   

Need i say the player will not be waiting for a month to have different effects but these cycles will depend on the "in-game clock" so every 40 minutes of playtime will be counted as a new cycle giving P.P different mood swings every 40 minutes or so when the player least expects.

Fantasy Pillager - Fantasy / Medieval setting spin-off or mini game

It all stated after a friend making a joke at a Demon's Souls drawing I did some time ago. he had asked if it was to be a sequel to PP which of course it didnt have anything to do with PP but now to think of it it may be a cool spin-off or mini game idea.  

I aint no expert on the topic but I think women in the middle ages wore something called a smock or chemise. It was basically a very long shirt, and there were no panties were under it. Must reserve the spot for a chastity belt :) There were underpants during the times but they were considered a symbol of male dominance and power.

So that would probably make P.P steal male underwear but somehow that wont be as much fun would it? Probably not. That's why I thought of something even more silly... P.P is sent into a compound where a powerful and rich lady of the realm is plotting an evil scheme to develop panties for females... Blasphemy!

As I stated earlier, underpants were a man's thing. "This cannot be allowed" growls the king, "My wife the queen nags bad enough so women cannot be allowed to reach the same status as men... This will bring chaos to my realm and must be dealt with before any uprising." so he sends his best men to shut down the factory but all his men get "seduced" by the secrets of the panties factory and instead of shutting it down they vow to guard it with their life.

As hopeless as the chauvinist pig he his, the king has no other choice but to call the aid of someone who wont be effected by the mind bending power of never seen before erotic underwear. So he tosses shit loads of gold to the feet of a female to do his bidding. You guessed it... its P.P to the rescue. Her mission is to infiltrate the compound, find the source and put an end to this blasphemous scheme. While she's at it she may even save a couple of designs so her grand grand grand children may start a similar business in the future... Victoria's secret...

Guards can be knights or footman, patrolling the factory (or is it a keep or a castle instead of a factory now?) with torches in their hands, high tech robots and security systems can be steam powered or clockwork machines, traps can be pressure plates and similar stuff,  items and weapons can be modified to match the setting (Dagger for melee, tiny crossbow with limited shots for ranged, cherry bombs and potions for smoke and sleeping gas, dropping plague dipped panties to distract and kill the guards etc)   Lots of possibilities that need proper thinking.


8 - Conclusion

I like the idea of exploring a 2D side scrolling platformer maze with heavy sneaking, stealth take downs and deadly traps to avoid. Platform games tend to be reflex testers that usually force players to blast through endless hordes of enemies or rush to the exit so there aren't many platformers that make the players feel they are infiltrating a giant base. The silly plot, extreme violence and mature content can also make the game standout.

And for those who wonder; nope, I dont have a panties fetish...