top-down arcade-style online multiplayer stealth shooter

Information warfare in a battleground of slow transmission medium

Class: Thesis 1 - 2018
Instructor:  Frank Lantz    

Sea Sprites is a top-down arcade-style online multiplayer 2D submarine shooter game which is currently the only one of its kind. (It is also probably the first successfully playable online multiplayer game made at the NYU Game Center!)

Almost all current games automatically use the current “default” world setting of Newtonian mechanics (classical physics). The only current exception is a MIT Science Game called “A Slower Speed of Light“, in which our typical transmission medium (light) becomes as slow as a typical human running speed, creating an alternate reality of interesting and unusual vision..

That game was the inspiration for Sea Sprites, but A Slower Speed of Light cannot be explored at length, because the gameplay mechanism is simply just about collecting balls. In Sea Sprites, we sought to build an engaging playground full of a real-world slow transmission medium (sound speed in water) for competitive multiplayer combat. In playtesting, we have found that a portion of players can even keep playing it for hours.

It is not just the slow transmission medium that makes it fun. We have created an innovative design for fulfilling gameplay:

  •   Scan reports affected by the slow transmission medium: detection reports about objects further away are received at a later moment.
  •   Ambiguous detection: Although a potential target may appear on a report, you cannot always tell which one is the enemy at a distance. If detected, pretending you are a neutral target might gain you some tactical advantage.
  •   Smart weapons: It is much harder to aim low-tech weapon (like a ship’s cannon) accurately in a setting with a slow transmission medium. Advanced high-tech weapons like auto-homing/wire-guided  torpedoes and smart mines, are developed to increase combat efficiency at range, just like what modern armies also do to overcome natural limitations in reality.
  •   Stealth/maneuverable modes: By default, players are stealthy to each other, but you can sacrifice that stealth for increased maneuverability and to dodge incoming projectiles. In some cases, you can play an enjoyable bullet-dodging mini-game when opponents fire a large burst of torpedoes on you.

Sea sprites aims to challenge a common game design pattern of ”humanoid experiences in a real-time world in which we have a human figure, carrying hand-held equipment, using lightspeed transmission medium to observe and communicate, in a Newtonian mechanics environment”, and it seems we have already conquered this challenge and moving even further.

The game is currently only playable at our playtests~! Reach me there if you wanna play it 🙂

Torpedo activity scanned at far distance and then they jump out of shadow.Remote-controlled torpeodo exposes an opponent and attempts to track it.