Sunday, March 24, 2013

[MM] Operatives: Hidden Agenda

Working Title: Operatives: Hidden Agenda
Tagline: No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to lie.
Genre: turn-based multiplayer only computer game; 2-4 players ages 14+
Platform: Windows/OS X for the main screen + any HTML5 web browser for the players' controls.
Developer: Morgan McGuire

Summary: Paranoia in a James Bond setting

Join an elite team of covert paramilitary and espionage operatives that acts like a modern-day Robin Hood's band. They take on missions against governments, corporations, terrorists, evil billionaires, and mad scientists. But while the team has noble goals, its shadowy members' individual hidden agendas may bring them into conflict and jeopardize the entire mission.

Each players controls one agent in the team on the mission. The game runs on a computer that everyone can see (ideally, shown on a TV) and each player has a tablet or smartphone visible only to him/herself.  The mobile device connects to the game by imaging a QR code and then presents the player with both controls and private information about his/her character.

Setting/Theme: Slightly campy 70's secret agent

  • Early James Bond films
  • The Avengers TV show
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
  • Leverage TV show
  • A-Team TV show
  • Mission Impossible TV show)
  1. Turn-based tactics with exception cards
  2. RPG elements: Lots of upgradable equipment and abilities, equipment crafting
  3. Public agendas
  4. Hidden agendas
Players share one or more public agendas worth about 40 points, and then have private agendas totaling about 60 points. At the end of the mission, anyone who has scored at least 60 points wins. The hidden private agendas are not necessarily opposed, but since players don't know that, they will probably not choose to reveal their agendas.  Players can manipulate each others' agendas using abilities and equipment. Sample agendas:
  • Cleptomaniac (10 pts): obtain at least $10k of equipment at the end of the mission
  • Hot Date Tonight (10 pts): complete the mission in fewer than 10 turns
  • Ghost (10 pts): Never be seen by an NPC
  • Sadist (20 pts): at least one player character dead at the end of the mission
  • Team Player (20 pts): all player characters survive the mission
  • Martyr (20 pts): die in an NPC attack 
  • Don't Hurt Me (30 pts): full health at the end of the mission
  • Pacifist (30 pts): never use a weapon
  • Double-cross (60 pts): fail a public agenda

Screenshots from the early board-game prototypes:

Related Games:
  • TS/SI secret agent RPG
  • Paranoia competitive/coop RPG
  • XCOM tactical combat TBS/RPG
  • Monaco video game
  • Munchkin and other exception-based simple coop/competitive card games

Technology Plan:

  • G3D Innovation Engine server and heavy lifting on rendering
  • moongoose for managing the web (built into G3D)
  • codeheart.js for the client UI
  • Websockets for communication after the initial HTTP download
  • libqrencode for creating the QR codes
  • Excel for editing game stats
  • SVN revision control
  • Photoshop for limited graphics
  • Google docs for design doc
  • MSVC 2010 & gcc compilers and toolsets
  • OpenGL graphics (through G3D)
  • iPad and iPod
I've already built and tested the QR code and websocket connections.  I prototyped an early version of this as a board game with physical cards. Here's a screenshot of iPod-PC communication working:

1 comment:

  1. A digital board game. Interesting. You get the benefits having of the physical presence of others and automated rule enforcement. (I suppose you also get the drawbacks of both too.)

    Mechanically, it sounds quite fun. I'm looking forward to trying it out.