Platforms: PS2, Xbox & PC
Proposal Year: 1999
Developer: Warthog Plc.
Bit of a long one this, and I haven’t really proofed read it..just thrown all my thoughts down quickly, so please forgive the mountain of grammatical errors that are abound.
X10 was a game that’d been banging around in my head for some time. Warthog were interested in new pitches, so I created this one, based on the fact that consoles were very close to really being “online”. Looking back, it was still a little before its time technology-wise L
The game was to be a 3rd/First Person shooter with RPG leveling. The basic idea; Survive and Advance. Players could play solo, or form groups called “wolfpacks”.
I’m a fan of anime/manga, I was also a Dungeons & Dragons player when I was younger too, so I loved the idea of combinding the two to create a world based on nothing but bio-mechanical “mechs/robots” that were called CIPHERS with a D&D style leveling system.
The reason why the units were called CIPHERS (other than sounding fucking cool), was because of its meaning; zero/nothing. All CIPHERS start at X0.0 and worked their way to X10 (elite status), at which point they could leave the planet or join the ranks of the BRUTALITY SQUADRON (more later on this).
I found creating ideas for this game incredibly fun and challenging. There were a few problems with some of the early games online: Ultima’s “newb killing” being one of the most frustrating, so, to counter this, we needed a 3rd person “law” in the game:
We create an elite set of special edition X10 Ciphers called the BRUTALITY SQUADRON that roamed the worlds tracking down “newb killers” and in general, keeping law & order. If one of these suckers had you within their databanks, you are pretty much living on borrowed time, unless you continually move or pay for a complete CIPHER re-haul (extremely expensive – plus, do it too many times, they’re alerted again!).
The problem of trying to anything based on storage was usually based on the strength of a character in D&D or, they had some sort of magical storage device. This is what I wanted to with SKY JUNKS. Sky Junks were units that would orbit the planet and transfer goods to your location whenever you wanted it (essentially teleporting to your co-ordinates). Sky Junks were an optional element and there were different sizes players could buy.
An all-encompassing databank network of missions and news. These could be accessed within the Neutral Zones (villages); areas where law & order were maintained at all times. What I thought was cool at the time, was the idea of player “creating new content” within the index. So for instance, if you got screwed over by another CIPHER, you could stump up some money and create a Bounty on his head. The currency for the bounty was taken from the person adding the Bounty, and this would then be held by the index. The bounty is then logged and ANYONE can register for the task. Upon completion of the task, the currency would be added to the victor and also logged into the index (so others could see who, how and when it happened).
The index was one of the KEY elements to the game. A simple and easy way for all users to create content, which would keep the game organic and growing each day more players added to it.
Fast, Great Tracking Ability; Rogue
Solo, or with Friends
Players could play solo but, it was a dangerous world, so teaming up with friends made sense. These groups were called “Wolfpacks”. Whenever a Cipher is destroyed, its debris is essentially in-game pick-ups. Players could fly over the debris and take what they wanted (spare parts, currency, energy etc.) so, in the setting up of a Wolfpack, there was an option to “free-for-all” or “auto-share”. Free for all was exactly that, when somebody was killed, you just went for what you wanted. Auto-share would attempt to divide things based on class type (special weapons to Titan’s, equal currency to everyone etc.)
These were the 5 base CIPHER classes (D&D equal):
The Titan suit has been designed to cater for all weapon types. No weapon (depending on level) cannot be used by this Cipher type. If the player chooses a Titan, they make a choice to fight. Titan’s at the base level of X00.00 are easily the most powerful, not the fastest or the most intelligent suit, but, they can hold their own in battle. Later in levels they will be able to cater for several “black-slate” military class weapons and armoury systems, making them a truly feared suit. Preferred wolfpack position : Front
Used for recon, hunting and tracking of other suits. The Rogue is a suit built for espionage and general suit information. They are used to prep others, access battle options and tactics and at later levels can even instantly spot weak points in other suits. Rogue’s are very agile and at later levels have an advanced set of camouflaging abilities, Preferred wolfpack position : Above.
Protection is it’s business. Orbital’s are the “saviours” to others, they are designed to produce thermo’s dedicated to protection and suit reconstruction. Orbital’s are great biotech’s in the art of biomechanics. At later levels they are the only suit that can fully reconstruct a destroyed Cipher. A great team player and invaluable member, if you’re going to get damaged, you need one of these to be there. Preferred wolfpack position : Central.
Thermo Trigger (mage)
A suit constructed to channel and vent energy types. This Cipher has internal external networks of conduits designed to combine and fuse energies to create offensive and defensive forces. The Thermo Trigger is the most vulnerable at game start and to fully unleash the power of this suit takes time. Once a high level is reach, the Thermo Trigger is probably the most powerful of all suits, able to destroy packs in single bursts of energy. Preferred wolfpack position : Rear
Players could also choose a “jack of all trades, master of none” Cipher called the “Construct Hybrid”.
I started creating a list of terminology as things started to expand, makes me smile looking back at this stuff:
Brutality Squadron : Police-like force that keeps order on the planet
- Ciphers : The suits the player uses/upgrades
- Human : Deformed, weak, carbon based lifeform. Uses Cipher suits for life entirety.
- Hollows : Complete mechanical entities
- Neutral Zones : Areas to relax, swap hints/tips, upgrade, train and trade
- Thermos : The combination of energies to produce chemical, physical and atomic reactions (magic like)
- Bio-Mechanics : Art of Cipher maintenance
- The Index : Governing body unit that relays mission and general information to the users
- Comms : A communication transmission
- Component : Term given for objects attached to a suit irrelevant of type (weapon, thermo etc)
- Component Tracks : Areas on a suit that can move components from dormant to active positions
- Slots ; Small interfaces use to latch on components
- X00.00 : CLEAR — Starting level for all Ciphers
- X10 : E.C.G. Elite Cipher Grade
- Circle of Menace : Platoon of ECG’s used to battle the hollow
- Cycle : Time period, equivalent to a 24hr day
- Click : Time period, 100 clicks are equal to one day
- S.I.L : Structure Integrity Level, object’s grade which if reached, will shut down its functionality
- P.B.T : Power Based Technique. Damage that is based on the power source of the cipher
- Power Source : The energy unit that gathers power from the organic element of all Ciphers
- Corsair : Planet where the game takes place
- Vital : Currency
- Newbies : Inexperienced, new-to-the-game players.
- PC : Human player character
- NPC : Non-player character (computer assisted)
- Sky Junk : Mobile unit that orbits the upper atmosphere. Used to transfer objects for Ciphers (used like a cart)
- Holoprint : 3d Schematic data used to replicate you Ciphers data
- Wolfpack : Collection of Ciphers who have formed a team/unit
- Sentinel : Dungeon Master type person, real person who overlooks the proceedings of all things.
- MAC’s : Mobile Aggression Compounds. Forms of transportation geared to battle.
- PK’s : Painless Kills. Usually done by high-end suits against newbies and low-end Ciphers.
- Sentry Patrols : Media camera units used to watch and relay the info back to the neutral zones/index’s.
Once I left Warthog, they continued to push this pitch and eventually got a publisher. The game ended up changing quite a lot, based on some of the updates I saw and heard about from friends at Warthog. Anyways, hope you found some of this stuff interesting…damn, my fingers are sore now J