3.02 - Ice Clan RTS

Idea for January 24, 2008

Theme: Snow/Ice Magic/Virus

includes topics that expand on the theme

  • Survival
  • Fur
  • Warmth
  • Scavenge
  • Cannibalism
  • Cold
  • Environment
  • “Whole Buffalo”
  • Snow Blindness
  • Ice Caves
  • Glacier
  • Lights/Aurora
  • Climbing Equipment
  • Snowstorms
  • Sledding
  • Mining
  • Wild animals with spiritual ties (like familiars)
  • Water is ice cold, swimming is deadly
  • Transportation
  • Snowstorms
  • Direction (heading, pathfinding, navigation)
  • Fishing
  • Tundra/Vegetation
  • Hermitage
  • Village/Houses?
  • Inukshuk
  • Slow

Genre: Strategy/RTS/RPG

game genre with possible significant changes or important points

  • Combining these elements around a new class growth/advancement method that looks at the long-term development of specific characters and families


individual gameplay mechanics and mechanics categorized by system

  • Nomadic Clan:
    • The game revolves around the management and control of a nomadic clan, a group of families that band together to survive in the frozen wastes
    • The clan consists of multiple families, each family unique and moderate in number
    • The clan can be expanded by admitting other families discovered in the game world
    • These other families can consist of survivors from other parts of the game world (perhaps with experience in other areas from the clan’s original families?)
    • As the game is all about survival, maintaining each family and the resources for the whole clan is exceedingly important
    • Constantly on the move, they only have camps and small wagons: nothing bigger or more permanent
  • Families:
    • A family consists of multiple members, some individual, most as part of the core ‘group’
    • Each family is allowed one ‘Progeny,’ which is a controllable unit that represents the most capable member of the family
    • All other family members remain together as a the ‘Forebears’, appearing as individual units, but operate as a single entity
    • The Forebears act as any other RTS’ version of a factory: by selecting the forebears, the player can see the family’s info and make decisions about the family’s members and other elements
    • Each family has its own history, background, specialties and compatibility with other families in the clan
    • Each family also follows specific beliefs, religions, morales, etc. that are reflected in gameplay or unit growth in different ways. They may not eat certain foods as a result, or take holidays on specific dates, or refuse to train their Progeny for combat
    • Each family has a dedicated ‘Elder’ within the Forebears, who represents the current head of the family. The Elder’s experience and strength defines how current Descendants will be prepared, and how some additional skills can be taught to the current Progeny. Elders will also have weaknesses, that they have difficulty overcoming.
    • A family includes a single Elder, misc. relatives, and a selection of ‘Descendants.’ Descendants have the potential to become new Progeny, but only when they reach a certain age. These Descendants are automatically trained in the special skills of the family, with tendencies towards specific strengths. Tweaks to the Descendants before they are chosen to become the next Progeny will help develop specific strengths that the player may wish to benefit from
    • Each family is still able to perform certain duties (basic stuff), like foraging, construction of shelter, medical treatment, tracking, and defending from wild animals or other intruders. While they can perform these duties, families will never be as talented as the Progeny is most fields, and also have more weaknesses (ie. children and Elders who are capable of defending themselves). Families will always demonstrate strength is areas their family specializes in, and can be relied on to perform certain tasks when the Progeny are out scouting
    • Arranged marriages can be used to sacrifice Progenies from different families to create a new family with new strengths/abilities (working like any good tech tree)
  • Progeny:
    • As RTS games are defined by the units that the player can control directly, each family’s Progeny is the only directly controllable unit from that family (or, at least the only SKILLED controllable unit)
    • Each Progeny possesses skills that reflect the history of his/her family. Over the course of the game, each Progeny will grow and select strengths by learning from the Forebears, becoming more skilled and efficient
    • Progeny from each family can be formed into scouting parties that can perform different duties essential to the survival of the clan. These parties operate much like in most RTS games
  • Time:
    • Time passes at an accelerated rate in the game, but not so fast as some RTS games like Civilization. Instead, time passes fast enough to see characters grow older, die, and have offspring
    • As Progeny grow older, they become more skilled and powerful, but eventually succumb to old age and one of their offspring is selected to become the new Progeny: they ‘retire’ to become the new family Elder, replacing the previous one. Any Progeny will always become more and more skilled while still active, but will eventually become physically weaker once old age begins to set in. The decision to retire a Progeny may depend on the strength of other Progenies at the time: retiring will cause the overall party to be weaker for a time
    • When a Progeny retires, the player must select a new Progeny from the available Descendants of the family. The new Progeny will NOT be a copy of the previous one: they will be totally unique, with new different (although similar) skills and stats. They, of course, will not be as strong as the previous Progeny before retirement
    • While some skills and traits will be able to be learned during a character’s lifetime, certain skill trees will only be mastered over several generations: the lifetimes of multiple characters will be needed to fully master it
    • Characters WILL die; old age or death in the field. Lost characters are gone forever, and death will mean the premature promotion of Progeny or Descendants to new Progeny or Elders. If an Elder passes on before the current Progeny is ready, the new Elder will not be able to train the family as effectively (yet), and the new Descendant-turned-Progeny will match the age, but not the training, of the old Progeny (that way the replacement Progeny has some skills, but not as capable of their promoted brother or sister). The passing of certain family members will affect that family in specific ways (loss of a mother might make her daughter less effective for a few days)
    • A day/night cycle will be in affect, meaning the time of the day will determine how the players will fair in the wild. Characters without sleep will grow tired and weaken, and exploring at night will be at dangerous temperatures
    • There may also be seasonal changes, but the environment will remain predominantly a winter-land
  • Survival:
    • The clan comes before all else, and while the Progeny are able to able to carry out most duties, they can’t be defending the clan all the time. Families are the most vulnerable of all, and defending them when in danger will keep the player from losing clan members (resulting in weaker families)
    • Food, clean water, and shelter will need to be survive, and lacking any of the 3 will result in illness and death
    • Other elements like injuries and disease will also affect the families, causing the player to make decisions about moving families or deciding to pitch camp in dangerous territories
  • Progeny Abilities:
    • Tracking
    • Combat (axes, swords, knives, etc.)
    • Archery
    • Trapping/Baiting
    • Ice-magic (shaping showing, ice and water in the environment to their advantage, to attack or defend)
    • Foraging
    • Medicine
    • Woodcraft, metalwork, tool construction, etc.
    • Animal kinship (training local wildlife or keeping them from becoming hostile)
    • Barter (trading with neutral clans)
    • Diplomacy (dealing with potentially hostile clans in non-violent ways, or successfully enlisting new families into the clan)
    • Leadership (inspiring other clan members)
    • etc.
  • Quirks:
    • As the uniqueness of each new Progeny and family will be a big part of gameplay, individual quirks and beliefs will help to define each family during the player’s game, and really imprint that family into the player’s mind some examples:
    • A Progeny’s father might be killed when bears attack the clan camp, giving that Progeny a bonus when attacking bears, and the title ‘Bear Slayer’
    • One family might be especially religious, causing them to conflict with other families over their beliefs. In return, they have numerous religious holidays or other practices which drastically boost performance during those times
    • Certain families may have good history, and cooperation between Progeny from those families will yield better performance
    • Each family and unit will ALWAYS have their own name (not just ‘Scout’ or ‘Healer’)
  • Multiplayer:
    • Each player controls a clan, and competes in long, multi-hour matches where players can save and continue the match later (saving progress, families, etc.)
    • Players can play matches starting from scratch, or play in ‘Elite Mode’, where players can load clan stats from other save files
    • Ranked matches and online competition


narrative elements concerning plot, characters, world

  • Survival Campaign:
    • The player’s clan moves throughout each map to escape some advancing disaster, either viral, environmental, or social
    • ‘Heroes’ are introduced in stories, in the form of ‘Hero Families’
    • Game story centered around the family members, rather than the Progeny?
    • The story adapts to the player’s actions: actively generated with only the back-story remaining constant?
    • Game territories (belonging to different clans/groups) are fixed, and shared between levels or missions
    • Game world comes full circle, with the player eventually returning to familiar areas as the story progresses
    • Player can unlock other groups to play as (other ‘Survivors’) to play as upon completing different campaigns


includes possible target user group traits

  • While it might not favour much of the hardcore RTS market for its much smaller-scale focus, the game’s advanced growth and skill system might draw more interest from RPG players

Possible Technology

includes hardware that would best support the game

  • With the platform and interface, this would function best on the PC, but with the size of TV screens these days, the online capabilities of consoles, and the controls, it could work on some of the current consoles


includes GDDG members who contributed to this idea and were present during the discussion

  • Mediator: Cody Church
  • Samppa V. Raski
  • Kris Lee
  • Ethan Johanson
  • Shane Morin
  • Lanz Singbeil
  • Holly Becker
  • Marc Derosier
  • Kyle Sakai
  • Chi Hsi
  • Vincent Cua
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License