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D.R.O.N.E. The Concept

Are you also fascinated by drones? Would you like to create your own custom drones and attach a machinegun and heavy armor on it? Well, with your support we can make this and many more cool things happen. Here you will find information on what we have in mind to create (and to great lengths, have already created). Apart from some of the fancy features we are going to describe in this place, the big question is, “How will the gameplay feel?”. To throw out some buzzwords before we go into more detail: Fast-paced, highly responsive, action packed and no match like the one before.

The right feeling is very important to us. It has to be a living, breathing world that reacts to your actions and is also convincing and believable.

If you ask us to explain D.R.O.N.E. in just one sentence, you present us with a rather big challenge. It is too diverse to be put into a nutshell. However, we can at least try:

D.R.O.N.E. is a multiplayer arena shooter with an insane amount of freedom.

We would even go so far as to say it is a new genre that we like to call, “Multiplayer Creativity Shooter”. Drones, arenas and rulesets are defined and constructed by you. You can construct drones and arenas together with your friends in multiplayer. You can choose the complexity of the gameplay and this ranges from a quick match to a highly strategic and tactical experience. While the Sci-Fi setting gives us a lot of freedom in development, we try to make things as plausible as we can.

An example would be our camera system: We don’t just have a 1st person or 3rd person camera, we have camera mounts that can be attached on a drone (by you), just where you want them to be. This results of unseen freedom. If you are not satisfied with a perspective, it is up to you to change it. The cameras, may they be regular, thermal or any other type, can be destroyed and repaired during a match. So, if your main camera is damaged, you have to fight with screen artifacts or switch to a fallback camera. Even a 3rd person camera is not just an abstract thing, but a micro drone that follows your drone to give you the advantage of a greater overview. However, these can also be damaged or destroyed and in such a case you would need to revert to one of your first person cameras.

Your weapons and defense mechanisms also play a significant role in gameplay. While the weapons certainly have an impressive “smack”, more important is that they have certain strengths and weaknesses. Some types of weapons shoot armor piercing projectiles but lack shield penetration ability. They have different distance ranges in which they are efficient. You need different types of weapons to fight differently equipped enemies. More details will be revealed in the ‘Equipment’ section.

Every arena and enemy is different, so you need to adapt quickly to the situation. We don’t have fixed spawn points like other shooters, but we have “Spawn-Bots” that you can control and position in the arena where you want. Theses spawn-bots act like automatic turrets when you are controlling your drone. If you are “fragged” you will find yourself controlling your spawn-bot, being able to change its location. You can then spawn your drone anytime and choose from a certain range of your own custom built drones (depending on the drone capacity of your spawn-bot). By switching to another drone build, you can adapt to the situation and surprise your enemies. If you are in a team tournament, it is important that your drone builds complement the builds of your team members.

Drone Operators:

Are you a smooth operator? Drone operators are the gladiators, the superstars of our time, they travel the galaxy and fight in tournaments for fame and live a thrilling life. They are admired across the universe. Some drone operators form alliances or clans. Some of them are more like lone wolves, while they have many friends, they often have their special foes. Vendettas among clans are no rarity.

A fashion that does not seem to pass in this world is the people’s love for vintage stuff. Drone operators are no exception, they even have the strange habit of collecting vinyl records, which are some kind of currency to them, the records are usually stakes in bets.

The Spaceships:

As a drone operator, you travel the galaxy with your own spaceships, mostly granted from your sponsors, although you can also purchase secondhand ships to start your career.

Your ships, equipped with a hyperdrive, are able to use the established hyperjump points in the galaxy to get from one point to another, fast. They are also capable of space exploration (to some extent). Most ships are not only equipped with a Drone Design Unit, but also with Terrain Forming Units and Arena Block Constructors. Many drone fighting arenas have been built on previously unclassified or even undiscovered planets. The IFTD has determined that drone operators can rate the arena they have played in. This makes it possible for the IFTD to feature the best arenas on the D.R.O.N.E. Networks and also ensure that good arenas get attention and bad arenas are sorted out.

The Drones:

Dynamic Remote Operated Navigation Equipment – D.R.O.N.E.

Drones are generally unmanned vehicles and exist in great variety. However, the drones as they are approved by the IFDT, are small to medium sized and heavily armored. They are usually built by you, the drone operator, and equipped with all kinds of high tech gadgets. Drones can be ground, aerial or submersible vehicles or hybrids. Some drones are even capable of navigating in a vacuum and zero gravity. The way drones are built is not regulated by the IFDT in general, but there are some limitations to keep the tournaments fair. Drones cannot exceed a certain size and the parts that are used are categorized and rated. Depending on the sum of the part ratings, a drone is eligible to be used in a certain league. The main design purpose of these drones is to destroy other drones in the most efficient way. Nowadays drones are successors of the FPV (First Person View) controlled drones from the early 21st century.

Balancing drone builds

The quality of a drone build highly depends on how well you put the drone parts together. For example: some weapons produce a lot of heat. Heat not only brings the danger of system overheating but also makes you an easy target for heat seeking missiles or thermal detection. Especially if such a weapon is fired. This could be compensated by adding a cooling device. However, a cooling device will also add weight to the build, as well as consume energy which is also needed by other components. The total weight and its distribution in the build will affect the mobility and agility of your drone. A heavier weight can be compensated by adding stronger propulsion components which also use some sort of energy. Each added part adds a certain amount of system points to your build. The system, depending on its quality, has a capacity that can not be exceeded. The system also defines in which league you can use your drone build. In low leagues the amount of components is quite limited and the complexity of a build relatively simple. However, as you are progressing to higher leagues, the complexity continually increases and building a well balanced drone proves more challenging.

Arenas:

As a drone operator, you not only design your own drones but you can build your own arenas and set-up tournaments as well. You can even have a small Terrain Forming Unit on board of your ship. You can specialize in building the most thrilling arenas there are. Your arena is rated by other operators, so it is always the goal for you to get high rankings and therefore fame and income. If you receive a lot of fame, you are more likely to get featured on the D.R.O.N.E. Networks and your arenas will receive more admiration and “Playtime”.

Gameplay rule-sets:

Just like the, “You can create arenas and drones”, you can also create the rules which compliment your arena, using the rule-set editor. A few very obvious and simple examples are ‘Total Annihilation’, ‘Team DeathMatch’ or ‘Regular Deathmatch’, racing like ‘Death Race’, ‘Knockout lap based’, etc. A more advanced example is:

PowerBall – Similar to a soccer game with heavy weapons. Drones can pick up the ball and will need to shoot it into the enemy’s goal. Passing the ball to other team members can be done. The player that has the ball cannot use his weapons, so his team members need to protect him. This gameplay mode offers a huge deal of tactical possibilities and mixes all aspects into one challenge: racing, stealth, shooting and teamplay. With the ruleset editor, you can choose many variations for this gamemode, e.g.: the balls purpose is not to be shot into the goal but to destroy enemy spawn bots.

Sources of inspiration:

We are inspired by the early arena shooters like Unreal Tournament and Quake3 Arena with their fast paced gameplay. We are fans of the Game “Descent” from 1994 and it’s creative use of all 3 dimensions in closed levels. We loved X-Wing and Tie Fighter from LucasArts for its micro management of ship systems. We really like the durability of the mechs in MechWarrior. We draw inspiration from many different genres but we don’t want to give the impression that we just mish mash everything together without thinking about its consequences. Having drawn inspiration from many different genres, the gameplay balance and flow were carefully taken into consideration in our approach to extend classical shooter concepts. We want a game as fast paced and direct as Unreal Tournament without being instantly killed after respawning repeatedly. Also, we want verticality and tactical freedom. We don’t want to play the same levels again and again, but still want to be free to fall in love with a level that is perfectly designed and iterated over and over by its builder. In other games, players choose more or less the same options when it comes to picking a character, a vehicle, items, skills, etc. D.R.O.N.E. offers players the possibility to design and play unique drones that fit their preferred role in the team, opening many strategic possibilities for themselves and the team. We want to create a game that does not get boring and repetitive, we want to play a game that has the longevity of the Counter-Strike series. We need to make this game because nobody else will. And with your help we can!

“With your help we can make this game happen”,

Five Studios Interactive Team