I’m absorbed by this weird idea I’ve had to make a multiplayer sneaking game based on ALF.
Is anybody still reading this post? I didn’t think so. Well, I’ll soldier on nonetheless. I have this planned out as a four-player team-based stealth game. Team one consists of Alf, Willie, and Lucky, and team two is Trevor and Raquel Ochmonek. The goal of the game for team Ochmonek is to catch Alf, and the goal for team Alf is to keep the Ochmoneks from catching him until time runs out (after which some deus ex machina occurs; maybe Kate and the kids get home from soccer practice or whatever). Here’s how it works.
Player one plays as both Alf and Lucky, switching between them. Alf can do nothing to defend himself against the Ochmoneks; if they get line of sight to him, it’s game over. So his main priority is to hide somewhere good. Lucky provides an interesting twist; he can be used to scout, so Alf isn’t completely blind, and he can also be used to create distracting noises to fool the Ochmoneks into thinking Alf (or Willie) is nearby, or to draw Willie’s attention. Also there’s a bit of metagaming available with Lucky; if the Ochmoneks find Lucky, and he’s not (seemingly) active, they may be fooled into thinking that Alf is on the move, and adjust their tactics accordingly.
Willie is basically the defensive character. He can move about the house freely, and, if he catches the Ochmoneks, he can throw them out of the house. The catch, though, is that he can only toss one Ochmonek at a time, and he actually has to drag the Ochmonek to the door — it’s not just a freebie /kick button. So Willie has to stay on top of his game in order to keep Alf safe.
The Ochmoneks can move freely, and win the game if they ever catch a glimpse of Alf, but it ain’t their house and Willie can throw them out, so they have to be a bit sneaky (on account of Willie can’t toss them if he can’t find them).
As play begins, Alf, Lucky, and Willie can set up anywhere they want in the house. The Ochmoneks always start outside the house, at the end of the driveway. Each character has variable movement speed — moving faster obviously allows you to cover more ground in less time, but also makes more noise, and making noise is usually bad for you. Strategically, the Team Alf game is about keeping the Ochmoneks distracted so they don’t find Alf’s hiding spot, and the Team Ochmonek game is about keeping Willie from locking them down long enough to make a thorough search.
As written, I suspect that an Ochmonek zerg wins pretty much every time; I’d probably need to add a balancing mechanic to prevent the optimal strategy being to say "eff stealth" and full-speed searching in different directions. Most likely what that would be is a temporary ban if Willie throws you out, on the order of you can’t reënter the house for twenty seconds. I definitely picture Willie having the most frenetic role, since he’s basically being tag-teamed by the Ochmoneks; Lucky can provide a bit of misdirection and scouting, but no actual defense, and Alf is completely helpless if the Ochmoneks are closing in. Alf/Lucky should be a metagame-y role, using very limited tools to try to stay a step ahead of pursuit. And the Ochmoneks probably depend heavily on clear communication and teamwork, since Willie always wins in a straight-up confrontation.
So that’s what’s been on my head all day long. We’ll see if I do it; network code is a bitch.