Game Design

Core Design Ideas

December 12, 2016

Hi, I’m Ingvar, founder of Headshot Labs and lead programmer on Killtype: Synthetic.

I wanted to take a quick break from development to discuss our game design at greater length. It was brought to our attention recently that our game page describes what might sound like a very traditional team-based first-person shooter:

Killtype: Synthetic is a competitive, objective-based, first-person shooter with a focus on total loadout customization and team strategy. Players will combine weapons, equipment, and abilities to create unique character builds, dynamic team compositions, and often unexpected gameplay outcomes.

Let’s unpack this a bit, so I can highlight what makes Killtype: Synthetic unique.

Describing KS as an FPS is technically accurate, gameplay takes place in a first-person view and there are weapons that players can shoot. This definition is rather limited though and KS will offer players many more actions to perform and mechanics to engage with beyond simply shooting.

Similar to popular hero shooters like Overwatch and Paladins, KS will allow players to control characters with a wide variety of different abilities. The big difference between KS and these games is that KS will not feature predefined heroes or champions. Players can compose their hero however they’d like with full control over the equipment items in their loadout. There will be no dedicated slots for specific item types like grenades, for example. Weapons, throwables, deployable objects like turrets, even some upgrades to the player's robot itself, they all are just different types of equipment, that player can put in any of the loadout slots. Every item will have a unique gameplay effect and function differently. Weapons will differ far beyond slight tweaks to fire-rate and bullet spread.

Usually, in traditional FPS games, winning a match isn’t as important to players as getting a large killcount, even in team game-modes. We are doing whatever we can to make team co-operation matter more in general. By a large variety of uniquely-acting equipment items and restricting the number of items that each player can bring to the match, players will  need to work together to capitalize on the full potential that combining different item effects can yield. In addition to that we are planning the main game mode to be extremely objective-rich.

To further emphasize teamwork and cooperation, we are also avoiding raycast or hitscan type weapons. Our emphasis is on strategy instead of fast reflexes. For example, our grenades will have a visual cue indicating their trajectory, which will allow players to more easily execute on their strategy. This design decision will also make aimbots useless.

Hopefully this post helped to convey our vision for Killtype: Synthetic more clearly. We recently improved the pipeline for deploying game builds to the server so that it’s much faster and easier to set up quick internal playtests with whole team. This will allow us to iterate and improve the game much quicker. We are currently focused on polishing the combat mechanics, both visually and mechanically, so hopefully we’ll have some screenshots and gameplay to show you in the near future. Until then, follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news on the game’s development.

Until next time,

Ingvar Lond