Variant: A reverse survive & escape game

About Us

@TheScott and I are two of the three developers for SuperiorServers, which actively develops the largest roleplay servers currently in Garry’s Mod using completely in-house production. With many many years of experience in Garry’s Mod and making tools for the Source Engine, we want to create something that contributes to the S&box community and all of the new faces that will be inspired to learn programming because of S&box, just as Garry’s Mod did for us.

Please feel free to pull apart the gamemode idea or ask any questions. While we both have exposure to modeling, animations and hammer 1 & 2, our most obvious experience is in code and it would be really cool to find someone who is willing to make some art to contribute to the open source project or become part of the team. :slight_smile:

Variant

This is a WIP game we started working on in Unity recently and would find it better suited as a gamemode in S&box as we’re both very familiar with Source as well as the community. Better exposure versus an entire game release could help the gamemode gain traction as well.

It’ll be publicly available, as well as any tools that we make and find useful in the process.

Variant is a game based in a tiered underground science facility where the “monster” must escape without directly killing others until the final level. There are two main teams; the variant and the humans. The variant must progress through each level of the facility until it reaches the top where it will win the game upon escaping. The humans must stop the variant.

The Variant - Basic Idea

On the lowest level possible the Variant will find itself inside of a “secure” containment area where only a small amount of NPC scientists are present. The Variant will be given a minute to plan ahead but can choose to start the break-out sooner. Once they break out they must kill the NPCs before they’re able to set off the alarm. By avoiding triggering the alarm they are able to continue the rest of the game in stealth mode if they wish.

What is stealth mode?

As the variant is progressing through the facility they gain access to new abilities and perks. If they avoid detection by using their various abilities or by avoiding the guards they are able to keep progressing with their unlocks in each tier without giving the guards their upgrades. Whenever the guards manage to subdue the variant, their team will steal upgrades from it.

This esentially means if the Variant is skilled (or lucky) enough they can play most of the escape without the guards having any real way to track or subdue them. The variant’s “health” will only impact its abilities and mobility until the final exit level of the facility. On the final stage the remaining health the Variant has will be used against guards that are finally given very lethal weapons.

Base abilities

At the start of development we only want to begin with a few abilities and polish them out. So far we have:

Simple bashing/ramming

This allows you to pickup and/or ram a guard into a wall which knocks them unconcious for a few seconds. They are unable to communicate with their team while they are knocked out.

Mobility

By default you will be able to climb along walls and through vents as soon as you start the escape. This lets you slowly traverse through the current facility level and look for guards so you can plan your escape route. Vents will not let you go directly up a level.

Assimilate

This lets you become a guard temporarily (think Parasite or The Thing). Guards can only detect you if they attack you or they stay very close to you for too long.

Dash

This lets the variant move at high speeds allowing them to escape when too many guards get close. They can only do this a handful of times throughout the entire escape.

Eviscerate - Exit Level

This lets the Variant rip apart anything that gets in its way.

Lunch Time - Exit Level

Eating a dead guard will give you back a portion of HP

The Guards

Guards are all the other players who were not picked to be the variant. Spawns are distributed across each level with an exception to the lowest level (where the variant spawns). For every new level the variant is spotted on the more gear and weaponry the guards will have access to.

Base items and abilities

Cattle Prod

Will stun the variant if it gets too close. This slows down the variant.

Handguns

Only a small perctenage of guards are given these at the start of the game. These can slowly take down the monsters health.

Health packs

Allows you to heal other guards or yourself but will stop you from moving for a small amount of time.

Traps

You will be able to place down different traps that stun the variant.

Does not trigger an alarm. Guards must see them in the trap.

Trip-wire alarms

Triggers the alarm for that facilities level. Will give you access to new unlocks

Door locks

A small percentage of heavy emergency doors can be locked permanently for that level depending on how many doors there are.

Heavy weapons

Heavy weapons will be given on the final escape tier if the Variant is spotted. The facility has decided that it can no longer contain the monster without killing it. The remaining health from the Variant will now kill the variant upon it depleting.

Facility Levels

Anomalous Biogenics - 0

The first (lowest) level in the facility. Where the scientists and several test subjects (monsters) are. This is where the Variant also is. The variant wants to escape from the facility without harming the guards. It just wants to be free :frowning:

The scientists are the NPCs. Depending on how you want to escape you can let the scientists trigger the alarms and alert all the guards or kill them and decide to go through it fully or partially stealthy.

Containment Levels - 1, 2, 3

Each of these tiers contain an armoury that the guards must go to in order to pick up the new equipment when they detect the Variant. Each tier will represent a function in the facility and will have a different theme compared to the next. The plan is also to have mechanics that match these enviroments that let the guards and the Variant capture and escape easier if they decide to risk completing them.

If there are enough guards near the variant when it is trapped or stunned then the monster may be contained and the game is over (WIP?)

Finale/Escape - 4

This is where both teams can finally kill eachother if they come into contact. If the Variant was not spotted they can simply start the escape sequence and complete the game. If they are caught then defense systems are activated and they must survive for a small amount of time before being able to escape.

Guards gain XP depending on how many times they have seen the Variant, if they killed them, if they subdued them (more xp), how far the variant got etc.

The Variant gets more XP depending on how far it got, how many people it avoided, how many people it avoided killing, if it exited while stealthed etc.

Feel free to check out our publicly available content: SuperiorServers · GitHub

Noteworthy gmod projects:

dash : https://github.com/SuperiorServers/dash

A large collection of libraries and extensions designed to streamline development and help produce optimized code

gm_tmysql4 : https://github.com/SuperiorServers/gm_tmysql4

Performant MySQL connector module built on MariaDB Connector/C

gm_redis : https://github.com/SuperiorServers/gm_redis

Redis connector module. Supports normal client and pubsub functionality. Developed with help from MetaMan

10 Likes

Really nice concept! Can’t wait for more dev news. Hope you guys get access soon. :slight_smile:

2 Likes

Looks like a fun game mode. Sounds similar to evolve but with more heart. Have you thought about how long each game is supposed to take and what kind of persistent unlocks you may have in the game? Say like different skins for different achievements like escaping 100 times?

2 Likes

Absolutely. We don’t want the rounds to be painfully long. We don’t know where that sweet spot is yet but pacing is going to be a key factor and one of my biggest complaints with Evolve was that going from one stage to another seemed to take a long longer than I personally would have liked. Once our core mechanics are in and we can get an idea of how map size and complexity affect both the guard and variant teams, it’ll be a careful balancing act to get it right for sure.

Achievements and unlockable content will play a huge role in replayability I believe, so it will be a focus of ours as well. Different characters, skins, effects, voices, flaire on game end, it’s all an option.

2 Likes

Why only allow the monster to kill at the latest level?

1 Like

The monsters are really the Guards.

The Variant is more of an outlier in terms of what you’d expect from a monster. Forcing the Variant to use tactics that ensures its survival while trying not to harm the guards too much supports that idea. The last level lets the Variant take its frustration out on the guards that are now doing a last stand too. This would something that would be set up in a way that would let the host easily configure these things but that’s what we would see as the standard setup right now.

Evolve vibes, but more interesting, whooot?
I really hope you will focus on balancing everything, because the Evolve was a shitstorm ONLY because of the balance they had or didn’t have rather…
I would definitely try your gamemode when you make it, sounds like days worth of fun (or even more if I’ll get to grind something :eyes: and the game won’t get very repetitive).

2 Likes

That would also be a interesting gamemode to play with friends in my opinion.

2 Likes

This was very very fun to test out!

I have to wonder, I could easily see the hardest part of playing being the guards and how if the round timer is not handled very well it could become incredibly boring. If you’re sitting on one of the upper floors for instance (Assuming they spawn there ahead of time) then you’re kind of bored for a while, even WITH a short round time. If you’re one of the scientists that starts near the monster, they’re you’re also basically right out of luck unless you can get respawned early on.

Whatever the case, this does sound like an incredibly interesting idea. It’s actually reminding me off the top of my head more of the game Carrion more than anything else (Beyond not wanting to kill much). Especially that beginning sequence where there’s a few scientists, before the monster escapes and such.

I’m looking forward to one day getting to try this if it’s seen through all the way.

2 Likes

There will definitely be a way for the guards to quickly traverse the floors because you’re right, and especially if the maps wind up being large the variant player will have a huge playground and that’s a lot for just a handful of guards to cover. One thing for certain is that we’re going to do our best to keep the velocity high for both teams at all times

1 Like