EDIT: Go HERE for the latest version of the mod. I am leaving the rest of this post intact for historical reasons.
I have an idea for a new mod. It's not really a new idea, and it would use mostly resources that have already been developed. But the important thing is, the end product would --I hope-- have almost limitless replay value.
Before I go on, I want to make clear that this new mod would not impede work on the next WGR2 episodes. This would be something I would only work on during lulls, when WG is busy doing other stuff. There's a lot more mapping to be done than coding for WGR2...
Attrition would be sort of a sequel to my DNWMD mod. Like DNWMD, it would involve Duke Nukem fighting his way through lots of existing "vanilla" user maps, and gradually upgrading himself and his equipment as he goes, while the enemies gradually become stronger and more diversified. Unlike DNWMD, it wouldn't have so much weird stuff (no alternate dimension goggles, no bouncing coins, etc.); gameplay would be a little closer to vanilla Duke. It would also be more accessible to new players than DNWMD. Someone who had only played vanilla Duke would be able to start playing Attrition and have no trouble adjusting.
So my goals are:
- include an upgrade/leveling system that is addictive, while
- retaining the core gameplay of Duke 3D that makes it great
- put together long episodes comprised of HUGE numbers of quality user maps
- add fun new gameplay elements, but only if they are easy to learn and are a good fit with the original game (e.g. no mantling, or picking up props)
To start with, I would use Duke Plus as a base. Remove the menus, remove the weapons that don't fit (no reloading shotgun, mp5), remove the dodge moves, etc. There would be randomized monsters, and the randomization level would start at 0 and would gradually increase. I would make a new and much larger set of mods that monsters can have, but try to make a system that ensures no really stupid or impossible combinations arise. The player's weapons would gradually upgrade as he deals damage with them, and I mean the weapons would gain new functionality and their projectiles would change, not just do more damage (kind of like in the Ratchet and Clank series). There would be an overhaul of inventory items (Dukebot for HoloDuke, something to make everything useful, but nothing too wacky, and there's got to be a tactical nuke item). In addition, small upgrades would sometimes spawn from monsters (like one that gives +1 max health). So, there wouldn't be a need for a character screen or an upgrade menu (although I don't think it would necessarily hurt to have one). The progression would be pretty slow...the first few levels would feel like regular Duke with a few extra bells and whistles. But the episodes would be very long, and by the end you would have a very powerful arsenal and very deadly enemies to use it against. There would be high scores saved for the different episodes. And, because the order the maps are played in makes a big difference to how they will play, I'd like to throw in some randomization of level order.
In summary, it would be like DNWMD, but with better planning and execution, more accessible to casual players, and taking advantage of what I have learned since then.