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06 June 2007 @ 11:40 pm
Core Gameplay  
Ok, this post and the following contain be the sections of the report that I've written so far. I'm still waiting for the sections that you guys are supposed to be writing :P The sections are still pretty rough, so comments, suggestions, additions, etc, are all welcomed!

Core Gameplay

At its core, Lobot is a puzzle/exploration game, in the vein of Ico or Tomb Raider. But unlike these games, Lobot can't defeat his enemies with real-time combat. Instead, confrontations with other robots are played out through the combat mini-game, in the style of Puzzle Quest. Lobot has two primary objectives: find his way through the robotics factory to the end goal, and protect his human companion while doing so. Like to the two main characters in Ico or Primal, Lobot and his human ward are dependent upon each other, and some puzzles will require their co-operation in order to solve.

Player actions available are:

Picking up items
Interacting with items in the environment, eg, pushing buttons/switches
Accessing information panels
Speaking to Belfry
Deactivating other robots using combat mini-game

The player's primary goal is to reach the mainframe control room. To this end, the player must successfully attain a series of sub-goals, in the form of level objectives. In addition, the player may choose other goals for themselves, for example, to explore as much of the map as they can, or to seek out combat with other robots in order to increase Lobot's stats and abilities.

Many of the level goals will be to get to a particular location in order to perform a set task. The player's task is to progress efficiently through these environment puzzles by finding the best possible routes, while minimising the danger to Belfry along the way. This may involve, for example, getting him to a safe location and telling him to stay there while you search for a way forwards, or asking him to press a switch at the top of a flight of stairs which you are unable to ascend.

Control System

The game is designed for a console controller with at least four buttons (not counting the direction pad); in this case a PS2 controller. Lobot's movement is controlled using the left analogue stick, as is standard for a third-person game. Four other buttons also have functions tied to them, being: interact, cancel, information screen, and give orders. The right analogue stick lets the player control the camera.

The player can interact with items or entities in the environment by getting close to them and pressing the 'interact' button. This enables Lobot to activate buttons or switches, pick up small items, push or pull large items, speak to Belfry, initiate combat with other robots, and so on. The interact button also functions as 'select/accept' when there are multiple actions to choose from.

The second button accesses Lobot's two information screens – the status screen and the map (pressing this button toggles between the two options). The status screen shows his current state and stats, as well as items in his inventory. The map screen shows the areas that Lobot has already explored. The map begins dark, but is uncovered as Lobot explores. Once Lobot has been to a particular location, it will always be shown on the map.

Finally, the cancel button cancels the current action, or closes the map/status screen.

Interaction with Belfry

Lobot can speak to Tech Belfry by moving close to him and pressing the 'interact' button. When spoken to, Belfry may give reminders of Lobot's current goal, suggest advice, or occasionally just ramble. If Lobot is physically damaged, Belfry will repair him.

Lobot can also use his 'order' button to give Belfry specific orders. Basic orders include 'stay', 'follow me', and 'come here'. Orders can be given from a distance, as long as Belfry is within sight.

In some situations, Belfry will attempt to act independently. Sometimes he will give Lobot a say in these sorts of decisions. For example, he may say “Shall I activate the switch now?” and the player will be able to choose 'Yes' or 'No'.

Interaction with other robots

If Lobot is alone and not behaving suspiciously, most other robots will ignore him. Because of this, it is relatively easy for Lobot to sneak up on them and attempt to deactivate them.

Other robots will become suspicious in four different circumstances: Lobot tries to deactivate them, fails, and chooses not to retry; they see Lobot deactivate another robot; they see Lobot assisting Belfry, or they are told to go into 'alert' mode by another robot. This last method is only used by guard robots.

Robots will perform different actions when in 'alert' mode, depending on their type. Small robots may run away. Larger robots, especially guard robots, may attack or try to shoot Lobot. Robots without any means of doing damage might grace Lobot's audio receptors with a few choice bleeps. Whatever the reaction, Lobot cannot attempt to deactivate a robot that is in alert mode.

Most robots will calm down and return to normal mode when Lobot has been out of sight for a short period. Some robots, however, chase Lobot, which means he must keep running until he loses them, or manages to hide somewhere.