Gbanga Famiglia Rise and Fall is a mafia-themed open world game that is based on the real world through open data. It turns traditional game concepts such as racing, heists and strategic organization into an immersive mobile massive multiplayer online (MMO) outdoor game that you will play everywhere and at all times.
Rise and Fall is a project that we develop in our spare time. The following is an excerpt of the description of the game that we posted during our crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo.com.
We at game studio Gbanga have worked on this type of games since 2007 (see links further down), in 2010 we launched the 2D-mafia game Famiglia I and this year we want to bring the genre to the next level. On this page we explain you how.
The Rise Of A New Mafioso
You take the role of an up and coming mafioso who starts in his own neighborhood. To earn your initial capital, you have to take control of surrounding bars, restaurants and banks. The raised funds can be invested in pimping your owned establishments and in travel to remote places effortlessly.
In the meanwhile, the police detects you and starts monitoring your operations. That means, sometimes, you have to escape from the police helicopter in a spectacular car chase and you must hide from a satellite by avoiding public squares.
On your way to success, other players and non-player characters (NPCs) can support you, but also regularly will ask you to return a favor. Like that, you will find yourself soon as a car driver in a bank hold-up, under DEA observation or patrolling and defending another ally player’s territory while he is on vacation.
What Is Rise And Fall?
Game experts would call Rise and Fall an expressive next-generation cross-platform open-world open-data real-time mixed-reality location-based MMO game with first-person and third-person gameplay that you will play everywhere.
The game world is designed to resemble the real world to provide as much open world space as possible with the familiarity that one needs to carry out geo-based quests. You will be able to do long-distance car races from New York to San Francisco or from Paris to Dakar. In real time, and yes, it will take you hours! But you can take breaks
Players compete over territory in the persistent MMO world by playing mini-games and accomplishing quests. They can expand their area of influence bywalking for real in the real world which -through GPS- triggers the virtual avatar to move along with your current location.
The Mafioso players earn a virtual fortune that they can invest to reinforce their hoods by hiring automated bouncers that patrol the neighborhood and to solidify their influence by improving the establishment that they own.
Are you ready to explore one of the largest open worlds? Will you become anotorious gangster or an business-minded and reliable ally? How are you going to maintain your territory in a world of scarcity?
Rise and Fall will be released on mobile devices running iOS and Android.
The world is more and more controlled by up and coming Mafiosos. It still is not sorted out who is in charge, which areas belong to whom. This is your opportunity to establish a reign of power, a mafia legacy. But watch out: all other players try as hard as you do. And space and influence is exclusive…
Reality-Inspired World Generation
The world of Rise and Fall is based on real maps with real buildings, streets, rivers and lakes. This makes it spacious, extremely diversified and – of course – realistic. If you know your neighborhood from everyday life, you also know the game world and you can align your strategy accordingly.
It is filled with real-world establishments such as bars, restaurants and banks. All of them are incorporated in the daily quests that you have to achieve.
The vast infinity of the game world opens infinite possibilities for the player. You can engage in mini-game fights, simply explore the world or strategically gain influence in several cities around the globe.
You are able to accomplish quests such as escape from the police helicopter or helping as a driver in a bank hold-up.
In our previous mixed-reality games, we have seen engaged players teaming up in global groups, meeting at local meet-ups to discuss strategies and to exchange tricks on how to handle gameplay situations in the physical world.
For Rise and Fall, we want to embrace the same social behaviour. It is why we will provide a handy feed system with powerful location-based filters, aggregation of content from public sources like tweets with certain hashtags and play-style depending news like available nearby quests and resources occurrences. It will be easy for all players to post content to that stream from communication tools of their choice, through Twitter hashtags, registered Facebook groups and in-game chat.
Each establishment has its assigned mini-game. For example, you have to score high in a game with pizza in a pizzeria. In a bank, you have to open the safe. At a police station, you have to hide from the CCTV surveillance camera.
The scores of the mini-games determine the current owner of the place. If you score best at Piranha Bar, you are the proud owner of that establishment and will receive protection money until an opponent player beats your hi-score.
Like your influence decreases over time, your scores “wear out” over time to make it easier for opponents to beat you and to encourage you to revisit places that you own.
Mini-games are only part of where the action takes place. Quests arebreathtaking episodes of criminal daily life. It is a very divers game element where you interact with the environment, are faced with the police, assist other players or fight against them.
You have to deliver mysterious parcels from your real-world office location to a public square, investigate in-door places, escape from the police helicopter, pick up thieves at crime scenes, and fly helicopters to offshore islands.
Successfully accomplished quests are rewarded with alliances, increased influence and piles of virtual cash.
One of Rise and Fall‘s main principles is to empower the player in all ways possible. It is why we want to provide a powerful application programmining interface (API) that enables players to add content and additional gameplay mechanics that they like.
The API will have basic functions like authentication, access to stats and inventory, but also interfaces to directly control your player identity and non-player characters (NPCs) and to create and to manipulate world objects!
The idea behind the API is to provide as much freedom as possible. And we hope that players will come up with indeed fun and helpful tools that we didn’t believe in in the first place, but are happy to allow within the explorative and fun world of Rise and Fall.
We use a collection of tools that we have used in the past, including:
· Unity engine (for the iOS & Android clients)
· SmartFoxServer (for the MMO server part)
We are an experienced team of software developers. If there is not a tool or library available online, we develop our own plugin or framework that we’ll want to share on GitHub.
Gbanga is an independent developer. We are a group of four passionate and engaged game developers with interdisciplinary backgrounds. We have been working on mixed-reality games (similar to Rise and Fall) for almost 7 years resulting in highly optimized agile iterations of game development where we use bi-weekly development cycles that result in daily intermediate versions of apps that are ready to use for our testers.
The following is a rough schedule of the game. Possibly, the development progress is faster. However, we wanted to outline a defensive plan that we can honestly guarantee:
- April 2014: Milestone A, game engine with two mini-games; alpha phase starts…
- May 2014: B+C, world-wide real-world map, collect items and build stuff
- June 2014: D+E, more mini-games, power-ups and defence items; beta phase starts…
- August 2014: F+G, transportation, racing and quest system
- September 2014: H, multi-layer strategy; public launch…
- November 2014: I, cross-platform
- January 2015: J, offline mode
- March 2015: K, game API
Based on tools and added staff, we can improve speed significantly.
Gbanga Famiglia Rise and Fall is a sophisticated game- and service. We therefore need money to update the game regularly and to maintain the server infrastructure that runs the game.
- We plan to offer the game app for free to invite as many players to participate in the game world as possible
- As part of the Freemium model, we want to offer in-game purchases for the customization of the character and unlocking extended features. However, purchasable items should never be helping to win more easily.
- Further, we want to offer a subscription service that unlocks extended features on an ongoing basis. Every month, subscribed players will automatically unlock all extended features from in-app purchases and some extras only available to subscribers. Subscribed players will never be offered or prompted to buy other in-app purchases during natural gameplay.
Gameplay comes first! We are aware that free-to-play games are not the first choice of experienced players (core & hardcore gamers). It is why we want to put the emphasis on the subscription model with classic uninterrupted gameplay experience that, at the same time, supports our ongoing server costs and content updates. On the other hand side, the free-to-play option with in app purchases will open up the game to newbies and occasional players that want to have a look at the game or which might be just used to the Freemium model.
FAQs – frequently answered questions
Are you experienced at all?
- Yes, we are. After 7 years of developing mixed-reality games together as a team, we feel very confident to deliver a fun and working game.
What distribution platform will Rise and Fall be released on?
- Based on the stretch goal reached, we will publish the game on different platforms. Initially, it will be available on iOS and Android. If we reach stretch goal I, we will port the game to a console like OUYA or create a PC/Mac version.
Is Rise and Fall a multiplayer game?
- Gbanga Famiglia Rise and Fall is a multiplayer game where all players share the same persistent game world. This means the game requires connectivity to a game server.
Does Rise and Fall require a permanent internet connection?
- Yes, and no. For the real-time gameplay mechanics such as player-vs-player activities and discovering new areas, an internet connection is required to transmit player actions and downloading new map data. However, we are considering implementing an offline mode (see stretch goal J) where a lot of data is pre-fetched and player activity then synched back to the server once there is connection again.
What is the power consumption of Rise and Fall while using GPS and 3G/4G?
- We are aware of this drawback of a real-time MMO mobile game. We will implement the location-aware part in a way that is friendly to the battery. For instance with a “travel” mode that is constantly polling the location and a “relax” mode that assumes you are stationary until you press a “travel” button.
Is Rise and Fall working in my town or neighbourhood?
- Most probably yes. We use data from the open source project OpenStreetMap for the generation of our game world. Since it is contributed by volunteers, it means both, that on one side, it is never complete and on the other hand side, you can add missing towns, streets and buildings easily by contributing some mapping work on OpenStreetMap’s website. We provide a coverage map that we have created for Rise and Fall. Red areas and grey-black lines indicate that there are buildings and streets, white means there is possibly nothing. Make sure you zoom in closely:
How can you have such a small budget for a complex game like Rise and Fall?
- We already have started working on the project and have a playable alpha version with a lot of work in it. To make it a full game that is fun to play, some more work is needed, for which we are looking for funding. However, the complete scope of the project can only be realised as part of our stretch goals (see section above).
Is Rise and Fall a sequel?
- Yes, in April 2010 we developed Gbanga Famiglia, our first mafia-themed MMO game. The game was an early attempt to the mixed-reality genre, still in 2D at the time. In a few month, we built everything, the concept, the graphics, the programming of client and server. The game was quite a success among hardcore players that enjoyed using their GPS-powered iPhones in a different way for the first time.
Can I pledge to your campaign via PayPal?
- Probably yes. We have set up a PayPal account which currently works. If you have trouble paying through PayPal, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mixed-reality games incorporate real-world elements in virtual games. This can be visual, audible or tangible.
We take map material and other sources of data to create a virtual world that looks pretty much like the real world. It is very likely that even your neighbourhood or home street is featured in the game world. As a Rise and Fall player, you will play a mafioso and will visit as many real-world places that can then try to take over. Possessed establishments will then give you protection money in return.
(Image source: Wikipedia, Reality-Virtuality Continuum)
Mixed-reality is a term we borrowed from Paul Milgram and Fumio Kishino, both scientists that have worked on Augmented Reality, something what we have seen in movies like Terminator and Minority Report. However, we believe that the immersion of gameplay should be more similar to the movie The Game (1997, featuring Michael Douglas) where your life is in the first place, and the game tries to adapt to your lifestyle to entertain you more smoothly.