Serious Design

Let's talk about the design of Serious Sam: the Random Encounter.After some intense brainstorming we got to this:

The horrible thing is that the game hasn't really changed a lot since this first drawing. (The same thing happened with Super Crate Box, kind of creepy.)

We basically wanted to make an old-school RPG, stripped of all nonsense. Our goal would be having the in-game characters perform exactly the same actions as a player in Serious Sam would be doing. This means battles with over 400 enemies. This means the characters are constantly running backwards. Explosions. Shooting.

The game exists of 2 main elements: walking around the world map and fighting intense battles.

While the battles are condensed, focused experiences, the world map is there to give the player a feeling of working his way through a larger something. There will be 9 world maps, spread over 3 distinct worlds. The gameplay on the worldmap is mainly based on risk-management. Players will have to choose between getting "that weapon chest over there I think it's gonna be a rocket launcher" or just heading straight towards the exit, avoiding unnecessary battles. Once again, the same experience as playing the first person shooter! Every few steps players will enter a battle, but there are some ways to be able to walk longer distances. Winning a battle will leave a corpse on that square, and walking on top of corpses won't give you encounters. Later world maps also introduce cool features such as jump-pads, rolling boulders and teleporters.

Ah, the sweet, sweet encounters. The camera pans over a bunch of enemies spawning, Sam flexes his muscles once more, his eventual buddies do the same, and the player gets control. We decided to ditch the traditional RPG approach, and build a neat new system based on simplicity and SHOOTING. No leveling, but finding more guns and items. No grinding, but shooting. No magic, but shooting.

Every character has 3 available options: fight, swap and item. Swap and fight result in the same: aiming a weapon. Every weapon has very distinct behaviour and needs to be used in different situations. A mechanoid with loads of gnaars in front of him can be easily taken out with a grenade, because a grenade lands wherever the player wants it to. Loads of harpies? Minigun them down and give a buddy a shotgun to finish the scary bitches. Strong enemies but loads of confidence? Decide to spend a turn charging your cannon before blasting them to bits. A personal favourite is sniping a kamikaze surrounded by tons of little guys.

After giving orders they are executed for 5 seconds. Miniguns are fired, rockets are launched, lasers exchanged, explosions created, etcetera. Swapping takes a precious fraction of a second which could have been spent shooting.

Repeat this till all enemies are gone, or (shit) even more spawn. Items can only be used once, and range from the traditional serious bomb/speed/damage to things as armor and the hilarious kamikaze bait.

Did we tell you winning battles gives you sweet LOOT? Yeah. Guns, items, everything. So if you feel like walking in circles for a while to get more guns you can do it. Kind of stupid because the guns you can get by walking towards the exit are way cooler.

Oh, we also have bossfights. Ever wonder where those fish come from?

“I’ve never heard of any of these indie clowns,” said Fork Parker, chief financial officer at Devolver Digital, publisher of Serious Sam 3: BFE. “Do any of these jokers make hentai games? I’m telling you guys, that weird tentacle stuff is the future of gaming.”

Bosses are usually have some weakness, but in the end you defeat all of them with something called shooting.

It's kind of weird to describe a game with words and pictures, so expect something slightly less weird sometime soon: videos.