Apocalypse Now Game Design Document
Markland/Auten – 07 June 2017
Apocalypse Now
Game Design Document
Abstract
This is the primary game design document (GDD) for Apocalypse Now.
Individual documents will detail characters, systems, and high-level
goals, but this GDD introduces the basic design of the Apocalypse
Now project. This document is accompanied by a Prototype Design
Document (PDD) that details the first prototype level being built by
the Erebus game team.
Contents
Abstract ............................................................ 1
Contents ........................................................... 1
Concept ........................................................... 10
Logline ................................................................ 10
Overview .............................................................. 10
Game Modes ....................................................... 11
Rules & Tools ...................................................... 11
Primary Objective................................................... 12
Dossiers & Radio Comms ................................................. 12
World Structure .................................................... 13
World Layout ........................................................... 13
Area Specs ............................................................. 13
Exploration ........................................................ 14
World Map ............................................................. 14
Fast Travel ............................................................. 14
Slow Travel............................................................. 14
Calling the Boat ................................................. 15
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Dialogue & Monologue ............................................... 15
Engaging in Willard’s Inner Monologue .............................. 16
Platforms & Demographics ........................................... 16
Platforms .............................................................. 16
Virtual Reality .......................................................... 16
Demographics .......................................................... 16
Game Length ........................................................... 17
Game Size ............................................................. 17
Languages ............................................................. 17
Rating ................................................................. 18
Unique Selling Points ..................................................... 18
High Level Goals.................................................... 19
Kinetic Action ........................................................... 19
Emergent Narrative ...................................................... 19
Strategic & Tactical Gameplay ............................................. 19
Are You an Assassin? .................................................... 19
First-Person Design Parameters ....................................... 20
Camera View ........................................................... 20
Movement.............................................................. 20
Encounters ............................................................. 20
Hostile .........................................................
Non-Hostile .....................................................
Scripted ........................................................
Random ........................................................
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Combat ................................................................ 22
Basic Mechanics .................................................
Bullet Physics ...................................................
Weapon Modification & Degradation .................................
Indirect Fire and Air Assets ........................................
Character Skill Dial ...............................................
Light Combat ...................................................
Heavy Combat ..................................................
Psyche and Panic ................................................
Roleplaying Game Design Parameters ..................................
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Character Attributes ..................................................... 25
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Agility..........................................................
Conditioning ....................................................
Intelligence .....................................................
Judgment ......................................................
Karma .........................................................
Leadership ......................................................
Strength .......................................................
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Derived Attributes ....................................................... 26
Initiative .......................................................
Drive ..........................................................
Durability .......................................................
Toughness ......................................................
Health .........................................................
Psychology .....................................................
Immune System .................................................
Observation .....................................................
Awareness ......................................................
Destiny ........................................................
Fate ...........................................................
Influence .......................................................
Brawn .........................................................
Carry Capacity ..................................................
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Skills .................................................................. 27
Combat Skills ........................................................... 28
Demolitions .....................................................
Hand-to-hand ...................................................
Melee weapons ..................................................
Small arms .....................................................
Sniper .........................................................
Support weapons ................................................
Throwing [May be used out of combat] ..............................
Trap [May be used out of combat] ..................................
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Non-Combat Skills ....................................................... 29
Barter .........................................................
Cook...........................................................
Engineering .....................................................
Gambling .......................................................
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Medic ..........................................................
Pillage .........................................................
Repair .........................................................
Scavenge .......................................................
Stealth .........................................................
Recon ..........................................................
Survival ........................................................
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Military Occupation Specialty .............................................. 30
01C MECHANICAL ENGINEERING ASSISTANT .........................
03C ATHLETIC INSTRUCTOR .......................................
04C EXPERT LINGUIST ............................................
05B RADIO SUPERVISOR ..........................................
09S COMMISSIONED OFFICER CANDIDATE ..........................
11B-LWI LIGHT WEAPONS INFANTRYMAN ............................
11B-MG MACHINE GUNNER ........................................
11B-R RIFLEMAN ................................................
11E AMPHIBIAN DRIVER ..........................................
11H GUNNER (HEAVY) ............................................
12B-CE COMBAT ENGINEER .......................................
12B-RS RECON SPECIALIST .......................................
13E INTELLIGENCE SPECIALIST ....................................
55D EXPLOSIVE ORDNANCE SPECIALIST ............................
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Personality Traits ........................................................ 31
Buffalo Soldier ..................................................
SERE Training ...................................................
MACV-SOG Advisor ...............................................
Tennessee Volunteer .............................................
Assassin ........................................................
Alcoholic .......................................................
Kleptomaniac ...................................................
Big Tex ........................................................
Diver ..........................................................
Surfer..........................................................
Tao ............................................................
Bushido ........................................................
Survivor ........................................................
Second Wind ....................................................
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Coup de grâce ...................................................
Speed Freak ....................................................
Handy .........................................................
Savvy ..........................................................
Hippie .........................................................
Experienced.....................................................
Colonialist ......................................................
Playboy ........................................................
Sociopath ......................................................
Psychopath .....................................................
Marathon Man ...................................................
Blends In .......................................................
The Godfather ...................................................
Westpoint Grad ..................................................
Wide Receiver ...................................................
A Glow Around You ...............................................
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Dialogue ............................................................... 39
Character Advancement & Experience Points ................................. 39
Experience Point Events ...........................................
Primary Objective ................................................
Secondary Objectives .............................................
NPC Scenarios ...................................................
Survival Gameplay Design Parameters .................................
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Survival ............................................................... 41
Resources ......................................................
Ammunition .....................................................
Antidotes & Medicine .............................................
Drugs ..........................................................
Food ...........................................................
Gasoline ........................................................
Water ..........................................................
Resource Acquisition .............................................
Resource Management ............................................
Crewmember Morale .............................................
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Character Death......................................................... 44
Inventory and Load Out .................................................. 44
The Perception System ................................................... 45
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Overview .......................................................
Perception Cones ................................................
Audio Observables ...............................................
Visual Observables ...............................................
Stealth Reaction States ...........................................
Go Dark ........................................................
Bread Crumbs System ............................................
Interface .......................................................
Stealth Tools ....................................................
Stealth Setups ..................................................
Horror Gameplay Design Parameters ...................................
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Survival Horror? ......................................................... 48
Horror Combat .......................................................... 48
Atmosphere ............................................................ 49
Dread ................................................................. 49
Terror ................................................................. 50
Horror ................................................................. 50
Technological Roadmap .............................................. 51
Engineers ......................................................
Gameplay Programmers ..........................................
Misc. ..........................................................
Milestone Schedule & GitHub .........................................
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Major Milestones ........................................................ 52
Tools and Editors ........................................................ 53
Characters ........................................................ 53
The Protagonist ......................................................... 53
Army Captain Benjamin L. Willard - .................................
Green Beret Colonel Walter E. Kurtz.................................
Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore ......................................
Chief ..........................................................
Clean ..........................................................
Chef ...........................................................
Lance ..........................................................
The Photojournalist ..............................................
The Playboy Playmates ...........................................
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Captain Richard Colby ............................................
General R. Corman ...............................................
Colonel G. Lucas .................................................
Jerry...........................................................
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Narrative Outline ........................................................ 57
The Plot ........................................................ 57
Controls ........................................................... 60
Windows Controls ....................................................... 61
Xbox One Controller ..................................................... 62
PlayStation 4 Controller .................................................. 64
Equipment......................................................... 65
Useable Items .......................................................... 66
Weapons .......................................................... 67
Ammunition ............................................................ 68
Damage ............................................................... 68
Hit Type ............................................................... 68
Splash Damage ......................................................... 68
Standard ............................................................... 69
Armor Piercing .......................................................... 69
Hollow Point ............................................................ 69
Tracer ................................................................. 69
Incendiary ............................................................. 69
Napalm ................................................................ 70
Rocket-Propelled Grenades ................................................ 70
Mortars ................................................................ 71
Artillery ................................................................ 71
Airstrikes .............................................................. 71
Hand-To-Hand ..................................................... 71
KA-BAR ................................................................ 72
Small Arms ........................................................ 72
M1911 ................................................................. 73
Support Weapons ................................................... 73
M60 General Purpose Machine Gun ......................................... 73
Menus & User Interfaces ............................................. 75
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Character Sheet ......................................................... 75
Inventory .............................................................. 75
Player Parameters ....................................................... 75
Loading/Saving ......................................................... 75
Player Controlled Parameters ......................................... 76
Level of Difficulty - Cinematic Mode ........................................ 76
Level of Difficulty – Easy Mode ............................................. 76
Level of Difficulty – Normal Mode .......................................... 76
Adjustments .................................................... 77
Level of Difficulty – Hard Mode ............................................ 77
Adjustments .................................................... 77
Level of Difficulty – Karnage Mode.......................................... 77
Adjustments .................................................... 77
Level of Difficulty – Never Get Off of the Boat ................................ 78
Adjustments .................................................... 78
Discrete Difficulty Controls ................................................ 78
Other Controls .......................................................... 78
Triage Option ...................................................
Area of Effect Hinting .............................................
Display Challenge Toggle ..........................................
Combat Tooltips .................................................
HUD Toggle .....................................................
Dialogue Requirements Toggle .....................................
Unlimited Inventory Toggle ........................................
In-Game Tutorials Toggle .........................................
Aspect Ratio ....................................................
Field of View ....................................................
End Game Scenarios ................................................
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Overview .............................................................. 80
Completing the Mission ................................................... 80
Abandoning the Mission .................................................. 81
Abandoning the U.S. Army ................................................ 81
Open vs. Closed Endings.................................................. 81
On-Line ........................................................... 82
Functionality ............................................................ 82
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Achievements ........................................................... 82
Story Achievements ..............................................
Skill Achievements ...............................................
Difficulty Achievements ...........................................
Downloadable Content ...............................................
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Optional Post-Launch Patched Content ...................................... 83
Multiplayer ............................................................. 83
Captain Willard’s First Six ................................................. 83
Colonel Kurtz in Korea.................................................... 84
Captain Colby’s Mission ................................................... 84
AirCav ................................................................. 84
Audio Content ...................................................... 84
Speech ................................................................ 84
Music .................................................................. 84
Sound Effects ........................................................... 85
Reference Material .................................................. 85
Reference Requirements .................................................. 85
Film ................................................................... 85
Literature .............................................................. 86
Games of Influence ...................................................... 86
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Concept
Logline
Apocalypse Now is an open-river, survival horror RPG. The Player
experiences an atmospheric and horrific journey through a
wasteland/warzone as he travels upriver. The Primary Mission of
terminating Col. Kurtz’ command is an overarching goal, but a
multitude of secondary missions and freeform exploration and
interaction will present the Player with virtually limitless paths
through the world and game.
Overview
You play Captain Benjamin L. Willard, an American member of the
505th Battalion of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. You are attached to
MACV-SOG (Military Assistance Command Vietnam – Studies and
Observations Group), tasked with conducting covert operations. You
are a special operations officer and an assassin and one of MACVSOG’s most trusted assets in Vietnam in 1969.
You will create your own version of Captain Willard. The basic facts
of your biography will be set, as listed above. Those facts include
carrying out six CIA-tasked assassination missions as well as other
intelligence/counter intelligence activities with I Corps. Willard
has a track record of working discreetly and alone. Willard enlisted
at 19, which means he is a professional, career soldier, promoted to
being an officer due to his service.
The game is a hybrid first-person roleplaying game with survival &
horror elements.
You start with character creation.
Then it’s off to Saigon where you are holed up in a dingy hotel
room.
When you wake up in the Saigon hotel room the audio is distorted,
the lighting is stark, too bright and too dark, the whole room is
heavy and hot.
You think to yourself: “I have no mission.”
You explore the hotel room. There’s whiskey if you want and a case
of Old Style. Some other things you forgot. How many things did you
forget? It’s up to you.
Eventually Army soldiers arrive. M.P.s? No?
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It’s time to find out what’s happening but the room is spinning.
Game Modes
Apocalypse Now has three primary game modes:
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Captain Willard on foot
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Captain Willard in a helicopter, either as a door-gunner or in
a passenger position.
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Captain Willard on Patrol Boat River 518 (PBR-518), named the
Erebus, callsign PBR Streetgang, either as a passenger with
freedom of movement or piloting the Erebus in 1st or 3rd person
perspective.
The main game will ship with single-player only. But we will patch
in a multiplayer mode post-launch depending on commercial outcomes.
Rules & Tools
The two primary goals of Apocalypse Now are: 1) Ensure personal
survival; 2) Complete or Abandon the Primary Objective.
The Player will be able to utilize a wide variety of military
standard-issue and improvised tools and weapons to accomplish these
goals. Along with many other gameplay elements, dialog, and reliance
on the Sailors of the Erebus and other soldiers in the game world.
Examples of tools include, but are not limited to: radios, C4,
claymores, landmines, wire cutters, shovel, knife, compass, booby
traps, first aid kits, various medicines, drugs, a poncho, various
one-off items, special-case tools, and standard Army gear.
Examples of weapons include, but are not limited to: a Colt M1911,
M16A1, M60, M79, M2 Flamethrower, a shotgun, a buck knife, a machete
and grenades of various types.
We have identified the specific models of weapons used in the film.
We will also rely on our Military Advisor Group to design and
implement a full set of realistically available weapons in the
world.
Explosives other than grenades are listed as tools because they are
equipped and accessed through the gear/tools control scheme.
Many Players will complete the game using only a subset of the tools
and/or weapons.
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Our aim is again to create a system that provides for a breadth of
Player choice. It is conceivable that a Player might complete the
game using only their combat knife (certainly a difficult task).
Freedom of choice in utilization of tools and weapons is a highlevel rule that defines how the Player plays the game.
The Player will also rely on the help of other characters in the
world to accomplish her goals. The help may come in pre-scripted or
procedural form.
Primary Objective
The Player’s primary objective is to “proceed up the Nung River in a
Navy patrol boat. Pick up Colonel Kurtz's path at Nu Mung Ba, follow
it and learn what you can along the way. When [he finds] the
Colonel, infiltrate his team by whatever means available and
terminate the Colonel's command.” From the mouth of the Nung River
in the South China Sea, Kurtz’s compound is “weeks away and hundreds
of miles up a river that snaked through the war like a main circuit
cable”. The characters the player meets and how he reacts to them
will dictate who Willard becomes and will help define Kurtz’s
reaction when Willard arrives.
Dossiers & Radio Comms
The Player will collect a wide variety of intelligence throughout
the course of the game. Intelligence will often come in the form of
top-secret dossiers on aspects of the primary objective and
secondary objectives. Additionally, Willard will collect intel
through radio comms with superior officers, Nha Trang and other
sources.
Dossiers and other intel are stored in the “Objectives” section of
the character sheet interface and can be accessed at any time.
Access to the dossiers and other intel will enter the Player into an
investigation mode that is highly interactive and delivers narrative
content while contributing to the atmosphere of the world.
Radio comms intel collection will follow the usual gameplay patterns
of using a radio.
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World Structure
World Layout
The World is organized around the Nung River. The world is open with
boundaries outside of which the player will be encouraged to return
to the main game area to complete the primary objective. The world
may be explored freely on foot, and by way of the Erebus (PBR
Streetgang). For organizational purposes, and mapping purposes, the
world is divided into a sequence of contiguous zones. There are
fourteen (14) zones in the game along the River, two (2) zones in
the game before the River, and one (1) optional zone in the game
after the River.
The zones before the River are: 1) Saigon; and 2) Nha Trang.
The zones along the River are: 1) Long Hải; 2) Charlie’s Point; 3)
The Mekong Delta; 4) The Nung River; 5) The USO Show and Supply
Depot; 6) Bien Hoa; 7) Ben Cat; 8) Do Lung Bridge; 9) An Loc; 10)
Loc Ninh; 11) The French Plantation; 12) Cambodian Border Crossing;
13) The Killing Fields; 14) Col. Kurtz’ Compound.
The area after the River is: 1) Return to Nha Trang. The Player will
only Return to Nha Trang if certain end game conditions are met and
the Player chooses to do so.
Area Specs
The storyline in Apocalypse Now occurs as the Player navigates
through the zones of the River. The narrative (and primary
objective) is governed by a series of conditional and critical
points, but the world is freely explorable. The Player explores
freely a world of interesting, psychedelic, dangerous, thrilling,
and devastating events, areas, and character interactions. There is
no tightly scripted narrative experience. The majority of the
narrative is discovered by the Player’s own choices and actions in
regards to the primary and secondary objectives they undertake, what
zones and areas of zones they explore, and who they interact with
and/or fight.
The through-line from the original film is an ever-present
organizing feature running through the main experience, much like
the river runs through the world, but the bulk of the experience is
driven by the Player and how they explore the world and how they
travel upriver.
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Exploration
World Map
The Player’s exploration through the world is tracked
world map in the character sheet interface. The world
maps are all created based off of real-world military
and (altered to fill in the location of the fictional
maps from the era along with GIS information.
through the
map and subintelligence
Nung River)
The maps are interactive and can be notated on by the Player.
Additionally, the maps update automatically with key information as
the Player progresses through the primary objective and secondary
objectives.
Fast Travel
The Player can use the world map to fast-travel backwards along the
river to areas the Player has already visited.
Slow Travel
RIVER
The Player must engage in slow travel when travelling upriver to a
new area for the first time. Slow travel on the Erebus is close to
real time. The top speed of a PBR is 28.5 knots (53 km/h 32 mph).
Given the terrain, the Erebus would likely be traveling at 5-10
knots in most situations.
SLEEPING ON THE EREBUS
The Player can sleep on Erebus, specifying the number of minutes
they will sleep. The Player can determine the appropriate number of
minutes to sleep based on information from the world map. The Player
will be automatically woken when the Erebus arrives at the next
unexplored zone or if the Erebus triggers a random or scripted
encounter or scenario.
GROUND
When travelling upriver by ground, everything occurs in real-time.
It will be possible for the Player to travel the entire distance up
river primarily on the ground. This will take a long time (humans
walk on uneven ground about ten times slower than a Erebus’ top
speed) and will be rewarded with an achievement (for being a
masochist, presumably).
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CALLING
THE
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BOAT
If the Player finds himself separated from Erebus, he may radio (if
he is equipped with a radio) Chief and direct him to bring the boat
to his position by approaching a bank and popping smoke. Or firing a
signal flare, if Willard happens to be in possession of the
equipment.
The Erebus will appear within ten minutes, regardless of the
distance away that it is in world terms.
Additionally, the same result can be achieved by finding an in-world
radio and appropriately radioing Chief on the Erebus.
SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
When the Player engages in social activities, such as waterskiing,
playing with dog, or drug use, on the Erebus it speeds up the travel
time by 20-30%.
Dialogue & Monologue
ENGAGING
IN
CREW DIALOGUE (OR
OTHER
NPCS)
You will engage in dialogue with other characters in the world, both
those that stick with you for a time such as Lance, Chef, Chief, and
Clean but also those you encounter along the river.
Your final encounter with Colonel Kurtz may be entirely dialoguebased if you choose such a course of action. The Colonel speaks.
Branching dialogue will operate much as it does in the Fallout
series of games, the Infinity Engine series of games, the Mass
Effect series of games and so on.
You will engage in dialogue that is written and written in the style
of your character and the world. You will have the opportunity to
take actions through dialogue and you will not be limited to what we
can animate in a given conversation, so long as the verisimilitude
of the world is not broken by what the writers and designers create
as a choice.
REVIEWING INTELLIGENCE
When the Player engages in Intel review on the boat it brings up a
series of interactive dialogues and other interfaces that allows the
Player to fully analyze the dossier on Colonel Kurtz.
The Player can initiate Intel Review at any time while on the Erebus
(PBR Streetgang) although sometimes may not be wise.
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ENGAGING
IN
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WILLARD’S INNER MONOLOGUE
The Player will choose the inner monologue dialog options for
Captain Willard in the same way that regular dialog occurs. The
difference is that these inner monologues are between the Player
Character himself and are not heard, nor affect, NPCs in the world.
The Player can initiate Inner Monologue at any time although
sometimes might not be wise.
Platforms & Demographics
You can view detailed sales outcomes in the “Discounted Cash Flow
Estimate Statement” if desired. We use the mid-line and baseline
estimate of 1,000,000 units spread across three primary platforms
and two secondary platforms.
Platforms
The primary platforms are Windows, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.
The secondary platforms are OSx and Linux.
It is possible we will complete the game in proximity with the next
generation of consoles and in that case we would add the next Xbox
and the PlayStation 5 as primary platforms.
We are also open to releasing the game as streamed content, for
example via AWS.
Virtual Reality
We also will create UX that supports the top 3-5 virtual reality
systems as measured on January 15th 2019.
Until that time, we will assume support for the following VR
systems:
1. Sony PlayStation VR
2. HTC Vive
3. Oculus Rift
Demographics
For reference, Apocalypse Now attracts a demographic that is
approximately 96% male. This makes marketing and targeting very
straightforward. The most comparable entertainment product to
Apocalypse Now in demographics is the traditional live game of
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poker, which experiences a 97% male split. The Call of Duty series
has an approximately 84% split. The ARMA series has an approximately
90% split.
1. Men ages 17 through 100
2. First-person action-adventure gamers
3. Military and milsim gamers
4. RPG gamers
5. Stealth, survival & horror gamers
6. Stealth sim gamers
7. Fans of the Apocalypse Now franchise
Game Length
The game will provide a 20-hour playthrough for the average gamer.
The game will provide a 30-40 hour experience for a completionist
player. The game may be speedrun in approximately 5 hours.
These ranges provide for sufficient length for RPG gameplay and
character advancement to be satisfactory.
These game lengths provide sufficient additional narrative for a
compelling experience beyond the film.
Additionally, the game will never technically “end” these lengths
correspond to the critical path of the game and narrative. Upon
completion or failure of the primary mission, the player may
continue to explore the world indefinitely.
Game Size
The game will cover roughly five (5) to ten (10) square miles of
jungle between the mouth of the Nung River into the dark jungles of
Cambodia.
Languages
Interface
Full Audio
Subtitles
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English
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French
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Italian
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German
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•
Spanish
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Polish
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Russian
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Korean
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•
•
Rating
Apocalypse Now will be rated M, for Mature.
Likely descriptors for this game are:
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Blood and Gore
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Intense Violence
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Language
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Drug Use
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Sexual Content
Unique Selling Points
1. Play a first-person, interactive Apocalypse Now.
2. Explore an open river with non-linear exploration and story
progression.
3. Discover the depths to which you will sink when confronted with
the realities of the War in Vietnam.
4. Interact with the combatants and civilians whose lives are
upended by their involvement in the conflict.
5. Bond with your crew; each of them can become a compelling
friend or a suspicious hurdle in your mission to terminate Col.
Kurtz’s command.
6. Experience dread, horror, and terror in a first-person survival
horror experience set in an historically real warzone.
7. Manage the survival resources you beg, borrow, steal, and
scavenge.
8. Play a mature RPG where you decide how to solve your problems,
how to build your character and how to succeed in your mission.
9. Deal with the moral hazards of being an assassin in the service
of the U.S. Army sent to kill one of their own.
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High Level Goals
Kinetic Action
The dissonant tones of the score during the Do Lung Bridge sequence.
The whorls of multicolored smoke. The smell of napalm in the
morning, evening, or afternoon. The unhinged insanity. The gallows
humor. The mock bravado. Dread. Laughter. Horror. Gonzo. Terror.
Death. Kinetic action. Consistently evoking the atmosphere of
Apocalypse Now is a high-level goal for the project.
Emergent Narrative
In the Apocalypse Now game, we will translate Willard’s inner
monologue into the Player’s interactive monologue. The Player will
make his own choices. Willard’s internal monologue is now the
Player’s internal monologue. He chooses between bad options over and
over. Where to travel. Who to kill. How to kill. Whether to kill.
Sanctioned murder. Drug abuse. Dereliction of duty. Laser-focus on
the primary objective. Any play-style is supported in this emergent
world.
Strategic & Tactical Gameplay
There are permutations of attributes, skills, gear, weapons, AI
systems, world features and other game elements that allow the
Player to traverse the world strategically and tactically, in or out
of combat.
Are You an Assassin?
The Player controls the outcome of the experience for Willard. Does
Willard terminate Col. Kurtz’ command? How? With a machete? With an
airstrike? Through coercion, intimidation or persuasion? Does
Willard join Col. Kurtz? Does Willard ever even get to Kurtz’
compound? The game will support such non-traditional actions as
camping out in the Beverly Hills bunker and smoking weed with the
grunts for endless hours. The game provides the Player a tight,
dense warzone to explore and a dangerous mission to complete or
ignore. If the Player does drive the events to a specific outcome
they will experience a post-action report delivered by Col. Lucas,
Gen. Corman, and Jerry. The post-action report will only be a mail
drop if Captain Willard persists in the world away from Nha Trang.
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First-Person Design Parameters
Camera View
First-person perspective. Like Half Life 2. Bioshock. Far Cry
series. Deus Ex series. System Shock 1 and 2, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series,
and Alien: Isolation.
You will explore the jungles of South Vietnam and Cambodia circa
1969 in first person perspective. You will explore an increasingly
insane war zone in first person. You will interact with other
characters in first-person.
The first-person perspective will limit you to what your character,
Captain Willard can see. And when we get to talking about horror
that will be important.
Exception: the PBR Streetgang aka Erebus may be piloted into 3rd or
1st person perspective.
Movement
Your speed will be more like a survival horror game. More realistic.
You won’t run 30 mph. You can run, but you will become fatigued. And
running makes a lot of noise. You can walk, swim, sneak, move while
prone or crouched, jump and do most natural actions a human being
can undertake.
Encounters
Encounters fall into two categories: 1) Hostile, and 2) Non-Hostile.
Both categories of encounters have two types: 1) Scripted, and 2)
Random.
HOSTILE
Hostile encounters are encounters with hostile forces such as Viet
Cong, NVA, aggressive indigenous populations, Col. Kurtz’ SOG ATeam, and the Montagnard army depending on how the Player handles
Kurtz’ force.
Hostile encounters are ranked by difficulty, based on the Player’s
level of advancement.
There are five difficulty ratings: 1-5, with 1 being easiest.
Encounters in a given area will generally fall into one of two
difficulty ratings.
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For example, in the Do Lung Bridge area, (quite a ways into the
game) hostile encounters of rating 3 and 4 will be encountered, with
a weighting towards difficult 4 encounters.
A hostile encounter with Captain Colby and his team would rank a 5.
The scope of hostile encounters can vary widely, from a crack sniper
in the Jungle, to a single, wild tiger while searching for mangos
all the way up to a large-scale battalion attacking PBR Streetgang
from a riverbank.
NON-HOSTILE
Non-hostile encounters are encounters with non-hostile Vietnamese,
Cambodians, and French, U.S. Soldiers, ARVN, allied forces, and noncombatants.
Examples of non-hostile encounters include the Sampan with the puppy
from the film, a group of Christian missionaries in the jungle, war
correspondents in a rice paddy, etc. Non-hostile encounters offer
opportunities for barter, information gathering, and narrative
experience. Any non-hostile encounter can be turned hostile by the
Player’s choices.
SCRIPTED
Scripted encounters are encounters that level designers have
specifically setup in advance to accomplish particular goals.
Scripted encounters are generally in pre-determined locations, but
roving scripted encounters are possible, subject to level designer
discretion.
For example, a scripted encounter with a peaceful Sampan could have
specific characters and narrative events, but take place at a random
location along the river.
RANDOM
Random encounters are encounters that do not have a particular goal
and are pulled from designer-generated libraries of more generalized
encounters.
Random encounters can be highly-variant in form and composition. The
world will allow random encounters in any area where level designers
have not specifically marked as “No Random Encounters” through the
level editor.
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Combat
BASIC MECHANICS
At the most basic level, combat mechanics in Apocalypse Now are
straightforward.
Aim and shoot.
If the Player takes dead aim and fires Willard’s weapon, the bullet
will generally go, modified by the physics engine, where the Player
expects the bullet to go.
Of course some weapons have less predictable accuracies in and of
themselves (an M60 machine gun for example), but generally speaking,
aiming and shooting will be a straightforward first-person shooterstyle affair.
As the Player advances their skills, aim assist (if aim assist is
turned on in the options menu) will improve accuracy, making it
easier (within a reasonable range) for the Player to hit targets.
Aim assist adjusts the player’s targeting reticle such that it
tracks onto an enemy, especially when the Player switches from the
regular combat view to looking through the iron sights or scope of
his weapon.
Likewise, melee combat will be straightforward and predictable. If
the Player swings Willard’s knife and there is an enemy in range,
then the enemy will be struck. The damage inflicted will be more
variable based on all of Willard’s characteristics and the state of
the actors and the world at that moment in time.
But on the other hand, if you are a marksman and you put a lot of
points into the Agility attribute and the Small Arms skill and you
take the Military Occupational Specialty of 11B-R Rifleman or 11DS Scout or 12B-RS Recon Specialist your aim will be far superior
than other character builds that focus on other Attributes, Skills
and MOS.
How deep you focus on the nuances of combat with the attributes,
traits, skills and MOS is up to you.
BULLET PHYSICS
We will use physics to modify the trajectory and damage of
projectiles, including such advanced physics implementations as
bullet drop from a long range scoped rifle shot.
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WEAPON MODIFICATION & DEGRADATION
The player character can add modifications such as scopes, different
magazines, and suppressors to their weapons. Many modifications are
very rare, especially suppressors.
Some weapons and modifications can degrade and can be repaired with
the necessary level of skill. Some modifications such as suppressors
only degrade and cannot be repaired (rubber wipes in 1960s-era
suppressors are not repairable in the field).
INDIRECT FIRE
AND
AIR ASSETS
Given the correct set of Player skills and attributes, as well as
radio communication capability, limited use of indirect fire
(artillery) and fast air (fixed and rotary aircraft) can be made,
depending on mission priority and availability. Willard can radio
MACV ‘Almighty’ and request these assets. MACV will assess and react
accordingly. Use of these assets on the Kurtz compound is a more
straightforward process.
CHARACTER SKILL DIAL
For players who prefer character skill to control the outcomes of
their combat rather than twitch-gameplay, the options menu provides
a dial that can be used to increase the impact of character skill on
combat all the way to 11.
If you want to have more personal control over things like aiming
and the effectiveness of lethal and non-lethal take downs, turn the
skill dial down low.
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LIGHT COMBAT
The vast majority of combat that the Player Character engages in
will be classified as light combat. Light combat includes anything
up to platoon-level engagement (30 enemy AIs in a single encounter).
Light Combat is survivable indefinitely based on player and
character skill and resources.
HEAVY COMBAT
Any encounter with a group of enemies larger than a platoon is
classed as heavy combat (for example an encounter with a company or
battalion of Viet Cong would be heavy combat). The Player will
almost always be able to avoid heavy combat encounters, as the
massed force can’t keep up (based on AI behavior patterns) with a
retreating Willard.
Heavy combat is typically designed to produce a “flight” response in
reaction to a failed stealth or avoidance task. In other words, we
want to ensure the Player knows he has failed when we throw a ton of
enemies at him, such that he’ll want to retreat rather than attack
them all.
Heavy Combat can be survived for a period of time by the Player
Character based on player and character skill & resources; but
attempting to indefinitely hold against overwhelming numbers will
almost invariably lead to the death of the Player Character and/or
those Sailors and Soldiers with him.
PSYCHE
AND
PANIC
As a situation becomes more terrorizing or horrific, the friendlies
around Willard suffer reduced morale and may panic. Additionally,
Willard himself can suffer negative morale effects in extreme
circumstances, his resistance dependent upon his psychology
attribute.
Negative morale effects on Willard include: audiovisual hindrance
from visual effects (blurring, white spots, blooming, warping) and
sound effects (muffling of audio, audible heartbeat, and
terrifying/confusing sfx).
Negative morale effects on friendlies include: panic fire, running,
cowering, paralysis, screaming, friendly fire, and refusal to follow
orders.
Willard can mitigate negative morale effects on friendlies with the
issuance of repeated general orders, and by a general area of effect
of improved morale based on Willard’s leadership skill rank.
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Proper use of C2 techniques including hand and arm signals will help
you maintain control of those Sailors and Soldiers you fight
alongside.
If things get really hairy, it is entirely possible the Player will
be forced to choose between executing a panicked soldier and letting
that soldier kill half the squad with panic fire or a dropped
grenade.
Roleplaying Game Design Parameters
Our system
distribute
an MOS for
You select
well.
is a classless RPG system in which you receive points to
to your Attributes and Skills as you level up. You select
Captain Willard at the beginning of character creation.
two Traits at the beginning of character creation as
The basics:
1. Attributes
2. Skills
3. Military Occupation Specialty
4. Traits
5. Dialogue
6. Character Advancement
Character Attributes
Attributes are on a scale of 1-10, though an Attribute of 11 is
possible in some circumstances due to Traits & Buffs.
AGILITY
Your power to move quickly and easily; nimbleness.
CONDITIONING
The state of your fitness and health.
INTELLIGENCE
Your capacity for learning, reasoning, understanding, and similar
forms of mental activity; aptitude in grasping truths,
relationships, facts, and meanings.
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JUDGMENT
The soundness of your ability to judge, make a decision, or form an
opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, especially in
matters affecting actions; discretion.
KARMA
The Hindu and Buddhist principle according to which you will be
rewarded or punished according to your deeds.
LEADERSHIP
Your ability to lead, command, direct, sway and influence.
STRENGTH
Your strength of bodily or muscular power and vigor.
Derived Attributes
Derived Attributes are not set, selected or ranked by the Player.
They are generated by equations based on the Primary Attributes that
the Player sets. This means that there will be a satisfyingly large
variety in Player Character builds depending on the Player’s choices
for primary attributes.
INITIATIVE
Your readiness and ability to initiate action; your enterprise.
DRIVE
The strength of your inner urge, instinct & height of your energy.
DURABILITY
Your ability to resist wear, tear and decay.
TOUGHNESS
Your capability of endurance and capacity to withstand pain.
HEALTH
The general condition of your body.
PSYCHOLOGY
The general condition of your mind and ability to withstand extreme
mental and emotional stresses.
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IMMUNE SYSTEM
Your ability to withstand poison, disease, fetid water, fouled
substances, radiation and so on.
OBSERVATION
Your ability to notice things that can be seen.
AWARENESS
Your ability to notice things that cannot be seen.
DESTINY
Your power to determine the course of your events.
FATE
Your level of inevitable or prophetic happenings befalling you.
INFLUENCE
Your superficial ability to gain favor, please or attract.
BRAWN
Raw muscle strength.
CARRY CAPACITY
The amount in pounds that you can carry before being encumbered. How
long you can carry an encumbering amount before becoming fatigued.
Your absolute maximum carrying capacity.
Skills
Skills are on a ratings scale of 0-200. Your character’s basic
attributes determine your Level 1 starting skills.
When your character gains a level, your character receives
additional skill points of six (6) plus twice your character’s
Intelligence.
There are 18 skills and your character’s MOS determines for 1-3 Key
skills both an initial bump in Key skill rate and causes those 1-3
Key skills to be increased at half the cost.
The higher the skill rating the more points it takes to raise your
character’s skills further.
Equipped gear can provide a skill boost as a status effect
persistent while the gear is equipped.
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Consumables can provide time-limited skill boosts as well.
All skill boosts stack.
Combat Skills
DEMOLITIONS
Constructs, places and defuses explosive devices, plants and detects
mines & prepares demo such plastic explosives, dynamite. Improves
skill with grenades and other explosive devices.
HAND-TO-HAND
You are trained in hand-to-hand combat such as Judo, Kung-Fu,
boxing, and Muay Thai.
MELEE
WEAPONS
You are trained in the use of melee weapons such as swords, spears,
daggers, military knives and bayonets, blunt weapons, and improvised
weapons.
SMALL
ARMS
You are proficient in handguns, long rifles, M16s, AK47s, and other
small arms.
SNIPER
You are proficient with scoped rifles and similar weapons.
SUPPORT
WEAPONS
You are proficient with heavy support weapons such as a Browning
Automatic Rifle, the M60, an M9 Flamethrower, a LAW, and fixedposition weapons such as a Vulcan 20 mm or a mortar.
THROWING [MAY
BE USED OUT OF COMBAT]
You are skilled at throwing everything from a baseball with dad to a
dagger at a threat.
TRAP [MAY
BE USED OUT OF COMBAT]
You are skilled at both planting, detecting and dismantling
improvised traps such as deadfalls, punji pits, tiger traps, and
two-step-charlies.
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Non-Combat Skills
BARTER
You are proficient at trading and exchanging commodities and goods
and usually get the better end of the bargain.
COOK
You can cook just about anything you find and you know what’s
poisonous and what’s safe to eat in the jungle. You can find protein
anywhere.
ENGINEERING
You are able to direct the construction and breaching of trenches,
tank traps and other fortifications, bunker construction, bridge and
road construction or destruction, laying or clearing mine fields,
and other physical work in reshaping the battlefield.
GAMBLING
Blackjack, craps, 5-card stud, you can play them all and usually
win.
MEDIC
You are a trained field medic who can get a man back into fighting
condition under adverse circumstances in battle.
PILLAGE
If there is something valuable you will find it and take it, if you
need it… or want it.
REPAIR
From the Jeep engine to the boat motor to the radio in Beverly
Hills, you can fix just about any engineered contraption.
SCAVENGE
You can find exactly what you need when it’s most difficult to find.
STEALTH
You are extremely adept moving quietly and unseen such that even
those with high awareness and observation may be caught completely
unawares.
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RECON
You are even more aware and observant than your fellow soldiers.
Ambushes, booby traps or just anything surprising, like a Tiger, is
very unlikely to catch you looking. You see danger coming.
SURVIVAL
You do not become as fatigued as other people. You regain your
fatigue and all other conditioning related derived attributes more
quickly. You are less likely to die from what would be a death blow
to someone else. Poison, disease and other status effects wear off
more quickly.
Military Occupation Specialty
Captain Willard did not begin his career as an assassin and a
Special Operations Officer from the 173rd Airborne assigned to MACV.
Willard originally had an MOS, and during character creation you get
to choose which MOS he entered service with from the following list
(tentative, we will add or adjust some).
These are based on real MOS from the U.S. Army during the Vietnam
War circa 1968-1969.
01C MECHANICAL ENGINEERING ASSISTANT
Engineering, Repair and Scavenge are Key skills
03C ATHLETIC INSTRUCTOR
Hand-to-Hand, Melee weapons and Throwing are Key skills
04C EXPERT LINGUIST
Barter is a Key skill, you speak most local dialects.
05B RADIO SUPERVISOR
Repair is a Key skill and you are proficient in the use of all
radios, radio communications and Morse code.
09S COMMISSIONED OFFICER CANDIDATE
Barter and Recon are Key skills and you have advantages in leading
other solders, as well as in communicating with anyone you meet.
11B-LWI LIGHT WEAPONS INFANTRYMAN
Small arms, Throwing and Pillage are Key skills. You can use any
small arm you find. You never run out of bullets for your sidearm.
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11B-MG MACHINE GUNNER
Support weapons and Engineering are Key skills. You ammo belts do
not count against your encumbrance.
11B-R RIFLEMAN
Small arms and Sniper are Key skills. You are significantly more
accurate with rifles than anyone else, including understand the key
physiological elements of sniping.
11E AMPHIBIAN DRIVER
Engineering and Repair are Key skills. Chief will let you drive the
Erebus.
11H GUNNER (HEAVY)
Support weapons are a key skill. You can move some emplaced heavy
weapons and reuse them in other places. You are particularly
proficient with LAWs, M9 Flamethrowers and other similar heavy
weapons.
12B-CE COMBAT ENGINEER
Demolitions, Trap and Engineering are Key skills.
12B-RS RECON SPECIALIST
Stealth, Recon and Surival are Key skills.
13E INTELLIGENCE SPECIALIST
Barter, Stealth and Recon are Key skills.
55D EXPLOSIVE ORDNANCE SPECIALIST
Demolitions, Trap and Recon are Key skills.
Personality Traits
This is a partial list of Traits which will be detailed further in
the Trait Design Documents:
Each trait will list the Level available, the Requirements, the
number of Ranks and notes including Pros and Cons of the Trait. Some
Traits have no Cons.
BUFFALO SOLDIER
LEVEL: 1
REQ: Agility 5
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RANKS: 3
PRO: Able to slowly move through foliage with minor visual
displacement. Higher ranks have even less visual displacement (to
where bushes don't even move as the Player Character walks through
them.
CON: Any speed beyond a slow walk will disturb the foliage impossible to cover ground quickly.
SERE TRAINING
LEVEL: 1
REQ: Conditioning 4
RANKS: 3
PRO: Increases active camouflage by 25% when in the jungle. Higher
ranks increase this percentage.
CON: Player Character must remain completely still for maximum
effect.
MACV-SOG ADVISOR
LEVEL: 1
REQ: Intelligence 6
RANKS: 3
PRO: Ability to sense nearby enemies. Ability to ally oneself with
native populations including Montagnards. Ability to comprehend
strategic factors (i.e. the rationale for terminating Kurtz) and
remain resilient to neg psyche factors.
TENNESSEE VOLUNTEER
LEVEL: 1
REQ: Intelligence 3
RANKS: 3
PRO: The Player Character can track through the jungle, identifying
the passage of any other moving entity by examining the ground, the
foliage and other signs of passage.
CON: Tunnel-vision – Player Character must continuously be looking
down at the lower third of the screen / to the ground in order to
identify telltale signs of passage. This renders the Player
Character vulnerable to attack from long distances.
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ASSASSIN
LEVEL: 1
REQ: Leadership 7
RANKS: 3
PRO: Drawing a gun on / aiming at an NPC including an enemy will
have a much higher chance at having them surrender. Higher ranks can
work on more than one enemy provided they're standing next to each
other.
CON: The Player Character cannot turn more than 90 degrees while
compelling surrender, limiting agency and rendering the Player
Character vulnerable to attack from behind.
ALCOHOLIC
LEVEL: 1
REQ: None
RANKS: 3
PRO: Drinking alcohol initially improves your success at non-player
controlled outcomes such as random number-based events. The Player
Character receives temporary boosts to psyche and other relevant
attributes and skills.
CON: The Player Character receives decreases to reflex and focus
based attributes and skills such as any weapons-related skill. The
benefits of drinking only last ten minutes real-time and are offset
by equal penalties for twenty minutes real-time.
KLEPTOMANIAC
LEVEL: 1
REQ: Agility 6
RANKS: 3
PRO: Greatly increased chance at stealing items from others
unnoticed. Can also plant items on others unnoticed. Higher ranks
increase the chance of both pickpocketing or placing items on
another.
CON: If caught, the affected party will be instantly hostile, and
can potentially call allies to his or her side.
BIG TEX
LEVEL: 1
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REQ: Strength 5
RANKS: 3
PRO: Can carry an additional 25 pounds of gear with no movement
penalty. Higher ranks allow for more gear to be carried without
movement penalty.
DIVER
LEVEL: 1
REQ: Conditioning 3
RANKS: 3
PRO: Increases the underwater duration before requiring more oxygen.
Higher ranks increase duration.
SURFER
LEVEL: 1
REQ: Conditioning 4
RANKS: 3
PRO: Increases swimming speed. You can easily surf. Higher ranks
increase swimming speed. You receive a bonus reaction with Col.
Kilgore and Corporal Lance.
TAO
LEVEL: 1
REQ: Intelligence 5
RANKS: 3
PRO: Faster incapacitation of another when choked from behind (nonlethal). Higher rank makes it even faster.
CON: Player is locked in place when performing this, vulnerable to
anyone that may see it happen.
BUSHIDO
LEVEL: 1
REQ: Strength 5
RANKS: 3
PRO: The Player Character receives additional ranks in armed melee
combat. Higher rank improves the bonii.
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CON: Player receives penalties to ranged combat unless using a
spear, bow & arrow or other non-modern weapon.
SURVIVOR
LEVEL: 1
REQ: Conditioning 4
RANKS: 3
PRO: If it grows or crawls it's dinner - player can regain minor
health from eating the jungle's creepy crawlies and flora. Higher
ranks give more health regeneration and even allow certain toxic
jungle critters to be eaten.
CON: Certain edibles can have toxins that generate unpredictable
drug-like side effects when consumed (though this is superior to
potentially dying from consumption).
SECOND WIND
LEVEL: 1
REQ: Conditioning 6
RANKS: 3
PRO: If injured to less than 10% health remaining the second wind
kicks in restoring health to 30%. Higher ranks increase the amount
of health regained.
CON: Long cooldown, and if injured again within a few seconds of
second wind there's a high chance of bleeding.
COUP
DE GRÂCE
LEVEL: 1
REQ: Strength 5
RANKS: 3
PRO: When incapacitating someone the player can opt to execute if
desired.
CON: Requires the first rank in "Tao" or “Bushido”
SPEED FREAK
LEVEL: 1
REQ: Immune System 4
RANKS: 3
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PRO: When taking amphetamines, time slows down for the player for a
short duration (think Bullet Time).
CON: Upon expiring, the player suffers from paranoia, increased
likelihood of negative psyche effects such as panic or terror for
ten minutes real time.
HANDY
LEVEL: 1
REQ: Agility 3
RANKS: 3
PRO: Rank 1 is required to craft anything, but allows the player to
craft weapons, items, and more. Higher ranks open up new crafting
options as well as higher durability for crafted items.
CON: Slight duration where player is vulnerable while crafting item.
SAVVY
LEVEL: 1
REQ: Intelligence 4
RANKS: 3
PRO: Increases the chances of distracting an enemy (such as throwing
a rock to have them go investigate).
CON: None
HIPPIE
LEVEL: 1
REQ: Leadership 4
RANKS: 3
PRO: Positive actions toward others (friendlies and otherwise)
improve their opinion (favor) of you.
CON: Performing a negative action greatly penalizes the player when
Empath is a selected Trait.
EXPERIENCED
LEVEL: 1
REQ: Intelligence 6
RANKS: 3
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PRO: You can use psychedelics without losing any skills in combat.
CON: You become fatigued if you do not use psychedelics once per
hour
COLONIALIST
LEVEL: 1
REQ: Leadership 5
RANKS: 3
PRO: You start with $50,000 cash.
CON: All native Vietnamese are hostile to you.
PLAYBOY
LEVEL: 1
REQ: None
RANKS: 3
PRO: Everything costs 10% less per rank. Women you encounter have a
greatly increased friendly reaction to you per rank. You start with
$2,500 cash per rank.
CON: None of your Key skills cost less; they all cost the same.
SOCIOPATH
LEVEL: 1
REQ: None
RANKS: 3
PRO: You never suffer any effects of psychological status effect
CON: You cannot rally friendly soldiers who are suffering
psychological status effects.
PSYCHOPATH
LEVEL: 1
REQ: Judgment no greater than 3
RANKS: 3
PRO: You execute critical hits 3x as often as other people. You have
a 10% greater chance of causing enemy combatants to flee per rank.
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CON: Your fellow soldiers experience 25% reduced positive reactions
to you per rank
MARATHON MAN
LEVEL: 1
REQ: Conditioning 5
RANKS: 3
PRO: You recover fatigue 20% faster per rank
CON: Your Carry Capacity is 15% less per rank
BLENDS IN
LEVEL: 1
REQ: Judgment 6
RANKS: 3
PRO: 20% less likely to be targeted by enemy combatants when
friendlies are around
CON: Everything costs 50% more
THE GODFATHER
LEVEL: 1
REQ: Leadership 7
RANKS: 3
PRO: Your fellow soldiers will endure significantly more hardships
under your command
WESTPOINT GRAD
LEVEL: 1
REQ: Intelligence 9
RANKS: 3
PRO: Each rank significantly increases your positive reactions with
everyone, friendlies, soldiers under your command and non-hostiles
you speak with
WIDE RECEIVER
LEVEL: 1
REQ: Agility 6
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RANKS: 3
PRO: Each rank significantly increases your ability to dodge
A GLOW AROUND YOU
LEVEL: 1
REQ: Karma 10
RANKS: 3
PRO: You never suffer critical hits.
Dialogue
You will engage in dialogue with other characters in the world, both
those that stick with you for a time such as Lance, Chef, Chief, and
Clean but also those you encounter along the river.
Your final encounter with Colonel Kurtz may be entirely dialoguebased if you choose such a course of action.
You will engage in dialogue that is written and written in the style
of your character and the world. You will have the opportunity to
take actions through dialogue and you will not be limited to what we
can animate in a given conversation.
Character Advancement & Experience Points
You will get experience points for everything that furthers your
mission, that stays true to your character as a special forces
operative, and to those things which tell your personal narrative,
including interacting with and advancing the interests of or
opposing other characters in the world.
You will get experience points for completing tasks and secondary
objectives to your primary mission. This activity is more military
in concept that most RPGs.
Blowing up a bridge because someone said they needed it blown up
would constitute a secondary objective (or rendering the bridge
useless in some other way).
You won’t get experience points for combat, because blasting a
thousand enemies is the opposite of what this game is about.
You gain experience according to the following table.
The maximum level is 21.
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EXPERIENCE POINT EVENTS
Experience points are not awarded for killing other characters.
Instead, experience points are awarded for the accomplishment of
missions, objectives and goals. By tying experience point awards to
non-combat actions and events we: 1) equalize the playing field for
combat and non-combat oriented play-throughs; 2) reward exploration;
3) reward narrative involvement; 4) reduce the game-ness of the RPG
system; 5) implement an easy-to-balance system.
Experience points will be awarded for the following events:
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PRIMARY OBJECTIVE
The Player achieves an objective along the Primary Mission such as
taking the mission from Gen. Corman, finding Col. Kilgore, and
obtaining the Kurtz dossier in Nha Trang, as well as new
intelligence from Carlson at the Do Long bridge. Primary Mission
Objective events award the most experience points: 5000 XP per
Primary Mission Objective. There are roughly ten primary objective
steps.
SECONDARY OBJECTIVES
These are smaller secondary missions. These will largely be based in
defined location-specific goals (i.e. taking place in one general
area, such as the Do Lung Bridge), but goals requiring objectives
that must be completed at multiple locations are possible. Blowing
up or saving the bridge is an example of a Secondary Objective.
Secondary Objectives grant the second most experience points. 1000
XP per Secondary Objective step. Secondary objectives usually have
2-3 steps. There are roughly forty of these in the game.
NPC SCENARIOS
The Player will also receive experience points for certain NPCfocused scenarios, such as saving Clean’s life or preventing Kurtz
from assassinating Chef, or travelling with Chef to collect Mangos.
NPC Scenarios that grant experience grant 400 XP per scenario – the
Player does not need to “succeed” in the traditional sense of the
word in many NPC scenarios, as they might not have a “win” outcome
(such as the encounter with the Sampan).
Survival Gameplay Design
Parameters
Survival
Because avoiding and hiding from enemies is more important than
killing them, the player can hide in the dark, in the jungle
undergrowth, in tunnels and trenches, etc. Light and shadow are
important parts of the level design. The Player is able to
manipulate light sources and environment objects in the game to
maximize Willard’s chances of staying hidden. Audio is also
important, and will be carefully managed in level design in order to
create stealth opportunities and pathways. Additionally, the Player
will be able to manipulate audio sources in the world to help
improve their chances of being stealthy: it’s easier to sneak
through a dark trench during mortar bombardment than in a quiet
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jungle lit by a signal flare. The noise the Player makes will vary
depending on the surface they are walking on. Players who move
recklessly will make more noise and attract more attention.
In order for a game to include stealth gameplay, the knowledge of
the artificial intelligence must be restricted to make it ignorant
to parts of the game world. Artificial intelligence is carefully
crafted for the stealth game experience and enemies must have
logical reactions to what the player does, such as when the player
turns off the lights. Enemies have a line of sight that the player
can avoid by hiding behind objects, staying in the shadows, or
moving while the enemy is facing another direction. Enemies also
detect when the player touches them or moves within a small, fixed
distance.
RESOURCES
The Player must gather ammunition, antidotes & medicine, drugs,
food, gasoline, food and potable water in order to survive and
complete Willard’s mission.
AMMUNITION
Ammunition comes in as many varieties as there are weapons.
Ammunition is stored in the inventory screen. The use of ammunition
is described in detail in the weapons and controls section.
ANTIDOTES & MEDICINE
Malaria medicine, snake anti-venom, and morphine are some of the
kinds of medicines the Player can find and use on Willard or the
crewmembers. Antidotes and medicine are useable items stored in the
inventory screen.
DRUGS
Booze, LSD, pot, speed, opium, Binoctal, and heroin can all be found
by and used by the Player, or traded to other characters. The
crewmembers of Erebus can also be given drugs, yielding
unpredictable and perhaps interesting results. Drugs are useable
items stored in the inventory screen.
FOOD
Willard and the Erebus crewmembers must eat to survive. Players will
automatically draw from the available food supply aboard the Erebus
in order to keep their health levels nominal. When the Erebus docks
at an area with supplies, food supplies will automatically be
replenished.
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Special or premium food items may be available at the PX (Postal
Exchange, or store; may also be called a Base Exchange (BX), Navy
Exchange (NEX, or Marine Corps Exchange (MCX), depending on the type
of military installation on which it is located). If premium items
are purchased, this will affect the crew’s morale and health
recovery.
If the Player wishes to speed his recovery process from wounds, he
can opt to eat additional food items, which will affect the boat’s
overall food supply. It will be assumed that each crewmember will
bring a limited amount of rations with them upon embarking on a
mission of any assumed duration that takes place off of the boat. If
the Player wishes to eat his rations while off the boat in order to
speed her health recovery, he will not be given additional rations
or food supply unless such resources are otherwise located.
Eating is a simple process of using a food item from the inventory.
Willard and the crewmembers will get weaker, lose health, and
eventually die if they run out of food or are kept away from their
food supplies for enough time in which they are otherwise unable to
eat. Incapacity due to starvation occurs after 3 days real time of
not eating. Food is stored on the inventory screen.
GASOLINE
Gasoline is necessary for the boat. Chief will complain if the boat
is low on gasoline and there are not adequate supplies on board.
Gasoline is stored on the boat, and the Player can check the
available gasoline supplies in-world on the boat at any time. Chief
may refuse to leave some areas unless there is sufficient fuel on
board the boat in order to make it to the next known checkpoint or
destination where fuel might be found.
WATER
Willard and the Erebus crewmembers must drink water to survive.
Similar to food, basic survival-level water drinking is an automated
process and the Erebus will hold a supply of potable water on board.
Replenishing water supplies will be an automated part of every
supplied area at which the Erebus docks.
When in extreme conditions, the Player will receive visual feedback
that can be mediated by drinking from his canteen. Fresh water will
“clear the head” of stress and temperature-induced physical symptoms
such as blurred vision. Drinking water is a simple process of using
a useable water item (typically the canteen). Should the Erebus’s
water supply be depleted, Willard and the crewmembers will get
weaker, lose health, and eventually die. Drinking directly from the
river is of course possible, but can cause illness that requires
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medication. Incapacity by dehydration occurs after 6 hours real time
of not drinking water.
RESOURCE ACQUISITION
The Player can acquire survival resources by: 1) scavenging the
resources in the environment (ammo clip on a dead VC), 2) bartering
for the resources from a friendly NPC-AI (exchanging a requisition
form for gasoline with the PX Sergeant), 3) stealing the resources
(ignoring the PX Sergeant and sneaking into the fuel dump).
RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
The Player must carefully manage resource use. It is entirely
possible for Willard to run out of the necessary resources to
complete the mission or even survive. Like in many survival horror
games, using resources sparingly is a critical part of success.
CREWMEMBER MORALE
Most resources can be given by the Player to the crewmembers of the
Erebus to affect their morale and disposition towards Willard.
Giving the crewmembers positive resources will improve their morale
and disposition. Giving the crewmembers drugs will have
unpredictable, interesting, and sometimes dangerous consequences.
Character Death
Willard can die. If Willard dies the game is over and the Player
resets to the previous save point. If other characters die, they are
permanently dead unless Triage Mode is toggled on in the Options
Menu.
Inventory and Load Out
Every character in Apocalypse Now can carry/wear: 1) an outfit; 2) a
primary weapon; 3) a sidearm; 4) five (5) useable items; 5)
ammunition for each equipped weapon; 6) several other specific
wearable gear such as a helmet, an ammo belt, etc. Loadout is
managed through Willard’s inventory screen.
The Player does not manage the Erebus crewmembers’ inventory; the
AIs manage their own inventory. If the Player issues general orders,
AIs will attempt to adjust their loadout for maximum effect.
Outfits, weapons and items are shown rendered on characters.
Changing weapons and or equipped items will cause the character to
shoulder/holster weapons and remove/place items in their backpack or
pouches, these actions render with appropriate character animations.
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Despite not being in direct control of the Sailors’ and Soldiers’
inventories, Willard may give an item (or plant an item) on an NPCAI.
Characters can carry an amount of gear governed by their physical
statistic. For simplicity, weight is the only governing factor and
characters can carry an unlimited number of items, displayed on an
unlimited number of inventory pages, subject to their weight limit.
Players can organize Willard’s gear in any fashion their desire
inside of the inventory screens and it has no direct impact on game
mechanics or success.
The Perception System
OVERVIEW
The perception system will notify artificially intelligent entities
(AIs) regarding events that can trigger potential state changes (for
example, causing a Viet Cong to become alert or hostile). The state
changes will cascade into various sub and side systems generating
desired behavior: animations, SFX and VFX, combat, etc.
PERCEPTION CONES
Every AI in the game has a perception cone. The perception cone has
two pieces: 1) a direct perception cone and 2) an indirect
perception cone. The direct perception cone can be thought of as
direct sight and hearing. The indirect perception cone can be
thought of as peripheral vision. If an enemy sees Willard in their
direct perception cone, they will go hostile. If an enemy sees
Willard in their indirect perception cone, the enemy will become
alert.
AI perception cones are sensitive to two kinds of observables: 1)
audio observables and 2) visual observables.
AUDIO OBSERVABLES
Audio observables are generated by game objects doing things that
cause noise.
For example, Willard walking and running generate audio observables
when Willard’s foot strikes a surface that causes a discernable
noise. Walking produces less noise than running, so walking produces
smaller audio observable events than does running. Firing a gun
generates large audio observables typically spatially traceable to
the individual who fired the gun. An exploding bomb generates very
large audio observables but the location of the bomb’s explosion
(optimally) will not be at the same place in space as the individual
who lit the fuse. Audio observables that interact with an AI
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perception cone cause state changes in the AI whose perception cone
is impinged on by the audio observable.
VISUAL OBSERVABLES
Additionally, dynamic game objects generate visual observables that
interact with AI perception cones. When Willard moves around in the
game world, he is a dynamic game object, and he generates a visual
footprint (essentially a non-rendered sphere) that can intersect AI
perception cones.
STEALTH REACTION STATES
For stealth gameplay to be fun, the Player must be able to exercise
control over success and failure. In order to create a reliable and
predictable system for stealth, the game has the concept of failure
stealth reaction states. There are three kinds of stealth reaction
states: 1) dormant; 2) a partial failure; 3) a full failure.
When a Viet Cong scout is completely unaware of the Player, the
scout AI is in a dormant reaction state. The AI might be playing
idle animations (e.g. smoking a cigarette). The AI might be
patrolling. The AI might be asleep.
When the VC scout becomes partially aware of the Player’s presence,
the scout goes into a partial failure state. An enemy AI being alert
is a partial failure state. A partial failure is a state from which
the Player can recover, i.e. avoid the expected negative outcome of
full failure.
When the Player makes noise (generating an audio observable) that
intersects with an enemy AI perception cone, that noise will cause
the AI to become alert. Further noise, or light or movement (visual
observables) will cause the enemy AI to degenerate to being hostile
and targeting Willard (full failure state).
An AI that has been alerted will “decay” into a non-alert AI over
time if that AI’s perception cone is not intersected by more
observables. This way the Player can partially fail, and alert an
enemy, but be careful and recover the situation, avoiding combat.
For example: when Willard makes a noise climbing out of a trench, an
audio observable is generated. This audio observable travels through
the game world and intersects with a nearby Viet Cong scout’s
perception cone. This intersection causes a partial failure; the
Viet Cong scout becomes “alert.”
The Viet Cong scout will start to play “alert” animations. The
scout’s AI will cause the scout to investigate, walking around and
trying to find another perceivable event that will trigger full
failure and hostility.
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The Player will attempt to avoid full failure, by being quiet,
sneaky, hiding or not moving, or moving carefully away. The success
or failure of the Player’s gambit is part of the fun of stealth
gameplay.
Stealth reaction states are increased from dormant, to alert, to
hostile, by Player action (or by the actions of the nearby Erebus
crewmembers.
Stealth reaction states “decay” over time into less dangerous
states. Hostile AIs will downgrade to Alert AIs if avoided for a
period of time.
Alert AIs will downgrade to Dormant AIs if avoided for a period of
time. The time it takes for an enemy AI to decay into a lower state
is dependent on the difficulty level of the enemy.
More powerful enemies will take longer to decay to less dangerous
reaction states.
Stealth reaction state changes are accompanied by appropriate audio,
animation, behavior and AI changes. So, for example, when an enemy
becomes alert, the audio they use for banter changes to alerted VO
cues, their animation becomes “alert,” they begin to run “alert”
AI/behavior routines, etc.
GO DARK
When the Player wants to be stealthy and crewmembers or friendly
soldiers are following Willard, the Player can give the hand signal
(see the document Apocalypse Now Game Design – C2 Hand and Arm
Signals for more details) for the group to “go dark.”
When the Player tells Willard to give the signal to go dark,
Willard, in the game world, gives the corresponding hand signal and
nearby friendly AIs turn off lights, secure loud gear, walk instead
of run, and cease non-essential vocal banter.
BREAD CRUMBS SYSTEM
When the Player has given the command to go dark, the Player must
continue to use, through Willard, the C2 Hand and Arm signals
necessary to control the squad or crew.
INTERFACE
When the Player has given the command to go dark or has entered the
“dark” mode as a result of his teammates having sighted an enemy,
all non-essential elements of the Player HUD are temporarily hidden
(fading out along with lights and audio).
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STEALTH TOOLS
The Player will have at their disposal a variety of stealth tools.
Some of the stealth tools will be personal (black face paint, for
example); some of the stealth tools will be environmental (a switch
that turns off the lights in a bunker).
STEALTH SETUPS
Stealth level design setups are detailed in the separate Apocalypse
Now Game Design – Stealth Gameplay Patterns document. Most gameplay
setups will fall into one of the following categories: 1) ambushes;
2) avoidance; 3) exploits (aka player-constructed gameplay); 4)
hiding; 5) reveals; 6) surveys; 7) trapping; 8) vignettes.
Horror Gameplay Design Parameters
Survival Horror?
Survival horror is a subgenre of action-adventure video game
inspired by horror fiction and film. These games make the player
vulnerable by providing them with less ammunition and fewer heavy
weapons than other action games.
Combat is a part of the gameplay, but the player is made to feel
less powerful than in typical action game. Limitations on player
agency, ammunition, health, speed, or other limitations based in
reality help create a sense of dread or horror.
The player is also challenged to find items that unlock the path to
new areas, and solve technical tasks at certain locations. The
player is often challenged to navigate dark maze-like environments,
and react to unexpected attacks from enemies. Sometimes the attacks
are simply jump scares rather than actual attacks.
Such gameplay genre conventions are perfectly suited to a specialoperations officer navigating through the hostile and horrific world
of the War in Vietnam.
Horror Combat
The player will generally be unable to fully prepare or arm Willard.
Willard must often face an equivalent number of enemies as in an
action game, but ammunition is sparser than in action games, and
powerful weapons such as rocket launchers are very rare.
Thus, Willard is more vulnerable and the hostility of the
environment sets up a narrative where the odds are weighed
decisively against the player.
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This gameplay pushes the player away from constant direct combat.
The players must learn to evade enemies or turn the environment
against them.
Often sections of the world zones are designed with alternative
routes. Areas also challenge players with maze-like environments,
such as trenches and tunnels, which test the player's navigational
skills. Areas are often dark and claustrophobic to challenge the
player and provide suspense.
Atmosphere
We will evoke the atmosphere of the film in a variety of ways, and
we will always keep in mind the differences between the emotions of
tension, dread, horror, and terror, when designing and implementing
experiences for the Player.
Dread
Dread is a powerful anticipatory fear. Anticipation is the key to
creating a sense of dread in the Player. In Resident Evil 4, one
enemy wields a chainsaw. If this enemy reaches the Player, the
Player will suffer a brutal and instant death as the enemy chainsaws
her. If the designers in RE4 did not create a sense of anticipation,
this enemy would merely inspire terror.
But the designers used an audio cue, a simple cue, the sound of a
chainsaw, to forewarn the Player that there was instant death
nearby.
You never knew exactly where the chainsaw audio cue was coming from.
You did know that you could be dead in any moment.
The dread generated by this audio cue is so powerful, that the
Player will ignore even immediate, smaller dangers, such as a lesspowerful enemy who is already directly attacking.
The Player will wheel their camera around searching for the source
of this dread.
In Apocalypse Now we will use both audio and visual cues to create a
sense of dread. The rumbling sound the crew of Erebus hears prior to
a bomb run by Operation Arclight signals to them that “something bad
is about to happen” and they will react accordingly.
The Player will be conditioned to associate particular audio and
visual cues with impending, unknown, or unsourced danger.
The default state of the Player’s experience is one of dread. They
will become dread-blind over time and conditioned to the sound of
the shells, but we can overcome the Player’s shell-shock by varying
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over time the audio and visual cues that we use to evoke dread,
causing new potential causalities.
Additionally, the Player may become truly shell-shocked within the
context of the game to the point that the game can no longer scare
them. But in this case, the game will have achieved the goals of the
game in yet another emergent fashion.
Terror
Terror is the climax of dread. When we have built dread in the
Player’s mind, when he is contemplating his experience at a fevered
pitch, we can drive the Player into terror by making unknown fears
known.
We can generate terror by making the danger immediate, rather than
anticipated.
The sound of planes approaching a napalm run is dreadful.
Realizing you are in the target zone is terrifying.
Terror will be used more sparingly than dread and horror, otherwise
it will quickly lose its effect. To return to the Resident Evil 4
chainsaw example, the chainsaw enemy is fairly slow and stops to
taunt the Player as it approaches.
This means that a competent Player can stop the terror before it
happens, with some regularity. Being able to subvert terror is key
to a satisfying game experience. Terror is not inevitable, good play
will stop many terrorizing events.
Horror
Horror is intense and profound fear. The source of horror is
apparent. Revulsion is a common element.
The psychological reaction most Players have to the sacrifice scene
in the film is a horror reaction.
Unlike dread, which is about something that is about to happen,
horror is about something that is FUCKING HAPPENING RIGHT NOW.
Horror is a straightforward emotion to create.
Specific horror tropes from film and game will be adjusted for this
specific experience.
To generate horror we will take things that are natural and subvert
them and turn them unnatural.
You can defuse dread, you can subvert terror but you cannot escape
horror. Horror is in your face, and you are tied down.
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Whenever we have designed a sequence that has an expected outcome
for the Player, for example buying supplies at a PX, we can easily
turn it horrific by adding an unexpected manifestation of chaos or
death to the mix.
A good example of immediate horror from the film is when the
Vietnamese villager throws the improvised explosive device into the
helicopter airlifting wounded soldiers.
The viewer’s expected outcome was the saving of wounded soldiers,
but the actual outcome was much much worse, and therefore horrific.
Technological Roadmap
ENGINEERS
The major areas where we will focus low-level engineers on are:
•
World Streaming
•
Circular FIFO RAM Asset Buffer
•
Procedural content generation tool development
•
Runtime procedural content generation
•
Screenspace / cameraspace render effects
•
Animation & character controllers
•
Asset & version control (Asset Builder SDK, VFS & GitHub)
•
Pipeline / Buildtime iteration speed (Asset Builder SDK, VFS &
GitHub)
•
QA-to-Implementation iteration speed
•
Texture streaming, bundling & memory space optimization
•
General renderer advancements including render techniques to
allow for a greater number of shadow casting lights (in
coordination with close business relations and family at
NVIDIA)
GAMEPLAY PROGRAMMERS
The major areas where we will focus gameplay programmers on are:
•
AI systems and controllers
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•
Vehicles
•
Creation of abstract generic asset types (Asset Builder SDK)
•
Creation of bundled gameplay logic & componentized design
entities
•
RPG Systems (Dialog, Inventory, Character Build, Etc.).
•
Particle Effects & supporting tools
•
SpeedTree integration & use
•
Integration and extension of AWS functionalities
•
Bundling the Apocalypse Now game as a potential starter pack
for any other similar project
•
Creating open architecture & data to support extensive modding
without significant cost to the team
•
Livestreaming support improvements focused on Twitch
MISC.
Theoretical areas of focus
•
Smart device deployment
•
Virtual reality pipeline improvement
•
Streaming content deployment
•
Director Markland is intimately familiar with the Unity Asset
Store and can provide guidance on implementing a similar
storefront for developers on the Lumberyard platform
Milestone Schedule & GitHub
The Apocalypse Now game team works on an eight-week milestone
schedule. The team uses Git for version control. The Git is private,
but open to any team member or affiliated company designees.
Major Milestones
The Prototype – October 2017.
The First Playable – February 2018.
The Vertical Slice – July 2019.
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The Early Access – September 2019.
The Alpha – February 2020.
The Beta – April 2020.
RC1+ - July 2020.
Gold – August 2020.
V1.0 – The commercial release of the game in October 2020.
V1.1 – The first post release patch scheduled for December 2020.
V1.2 – The second post release patch scheduled for February 2021.
V1.3 – The third post release patch scheduled for April 2021.
Tools and Editors
Apocalypse Now will use the Lumberyard game engine and toolset.
Characters
The Protagonist
ARMY CAPTAIN BENJAMIN L. WILLARD Played by Martin Sheen
Captain Willard is a US Army officer who has been attached to MACVSOG, carrying out special operations missions in Indochina during
the Vietnam War. He has worked in I-Corps for the CIA in the past,
primarily as an assassin. He has already returned home from a tour
of duty at least once, during which time he failed to integrate back
into society and divorced from his wife. He is the protagonist of
the film and is assigned the assassination of Kurtz.
Willard acts as our eyes and ears. He is receptive, not reactive,
and identifies increasingly with his target. Willard perceives the
futility and insanity of war and its effects on the human soul.
GREEN BERET COLONEL WALTER E. KURTZ
Played by Marlon Brando
Walter Kurtz was a regular army intelligence officer in the United
States Army; he had risen through the ranks and was seen to be
destined for a top post within the Pentagon. In his first tour of
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Vietnam in 1964, he was sent by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to compile
a report on the failings of the current military policies. His
report was not what was expected and was immediately restricted for
the joint chiefs and President Lyndon Johnson only.
Not long after, Kurtz applied for the 5th Special Forces Group,
which was denied to him out of hand because of his advanced age of
38 for the basic training. Kurtz continued with his ambition and
even threatened to quit the armed forces, when finally his wish was
granted and he was allowed to take the airborne course. Kurtz
graduated in a class where he was nearly twice the age of the other
trainees, and was accepted into the 5th Special Forces Group.
Kurtz returned to Vietnam in 1966 with the "Green Berets" and was
part of the hearts and minds campaign which also included fortifying
hamlets. On his next tour, Kurtz was promoted Colonel and assumed
Commanding of the 5th SFG(A) in Vietnam. Among many activities, he
oversaw countrywide counter-insurgency operations, including the
raising of an army of Montagnards in and around the Vietnamese–
Cambodian border to strike at the Viet Cong and N.V.A. In a
departure from normal military practice, Kurtz opted to embed
himself in an field-based A-Team, and relocated his Team and their
local army, including their wives and children, at a remote
abandoned Cambodian temple which they fortified. From their base,
Kurtz led attacks on the local V.C. and the regular N.V.A. in the
region. He is Willard’s target and the destination of the film’s
journey.
Kurtz is a brilliant military man whose wartime experiences have
unhinged him. Internalizing the primitive values of the Montagnard
army he commands, Kurtz has made himself a godlike figure. He speaks
in grandiose statements about life and death and represents the id
of humanity.
LIEUTENANT COLONEL BILL KILGORE
Played by Robert Duvall
A cavalier, swashbuckling commanding officer of the Ninth Air
Cavalry. Kilgore’s methods are senseless and absurd: he plays
recordings of Wagner to announce an air strike and orders his men to
surf on a Vietcong-controlled beach. In the face of danger, Kilgore
is dominating and unflinching. He is a western cowboy, arrogant and
heroic and seemingly invulnerable.
CHIEF
Played by Albert Hall
The commanding officer and navigator of the patrol boat that takes
Willard upriver. The somber and disciplined Chief follows military
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procedure to a T, acts as a father figure to Clean, and feels
personally responsible for the fate of his crew. Chief blames
Willard for his crew’s predicament and makes his view on the matter
very clear: he is a military man, and although he does not
necessarily agree with Willard’s mission, he follows his orders—at
least, as long as they follow protocol.
CLEAN
Played by Laurence Fishburne (credited as Larry Fishburne)
A seventeen-year-old mechanic from the streets of the South Bronx.
Clean represents the young men who fought in Vietnam — those who
were still kids and didn’t know anything about war. He is basically
cannon fodder, like many of the troops drafted into the war. Clean
whiles away the time on the boat dancing to music and annoying
Willard. He becomes momentarily unhinged during the sampan scene.
CHEF
Played by Frederic Forrest
A saucier from New Orleans who just wants to go home. Chef seems
doomed from the start and escapes mentally by smoking dope. He is
prone to emotional breakdowns and has a hot temper, fueled by
resentment for the war. An eccentric, Chef appears to be more
educated than the rest of the crew. He is also the crewmember with
the most anger: he emphatically does not want to be in this strange
land.
LANCE
Played by Sam Bottoms
A cocky young GI and surfer from California. Lance’s descent into
the primitive nature of the jungle is the most pronounced of the
crew. He transforms from an alert young soldier to a spaced-out
druggie who masks his face in camouflage and assimilates to the
primitive Montagnard lifestyle at Kurtz’s compound. Lance has a
gentleness that leads him to withdraw, with the help of drugs, from
the war around him.
THE PHOTOJOURNALIST
Played by Dennis Hopper
A hyperactive American freelance photographer and Kurtz worshiper.
In the photojournalist’s eyes, Kurtz can do no wrong. The
photojournalist has been indoctrinated into Kurtz’s philosophy and
acts as a connecting character to bring Willard and Kurtz together.
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He is the fool to Kurtz’s king and provides comic relief during the
film’s dark final scenes.
THE PLAYBOY PLAYMATES
Played by Cynthia Wood, Colleen Camp, and Linda Carpenter
The Sirens of the film. Costumed as a cavalry officer, a cowgirl,
and a Native American, the three Playmates play out a farcical
history of America in their performance for the troops. They taunt
the sex-starved soldiers by being exactly what they can’t have. In
the process, they ignite a frenzy that cuts their appearance short.
CAPTAIN RICHARD COLBY
Played by Scott Glenn
Willard’s predecessor. The U.S. military sent Colby to assassinate
Kurtz before Willard was given the assignment, but Colby ended up
getting indoctrinated into Kurtz’s lifestyle and stayed at the
compound. The detached killer Colby appears only briefly, surrounded
by Montagnard natives and stroking a rifle.
GENERAL R. CORMAN
Played by G. D. Spradlin
The military superior who outlines Willard’s mission. The grim, nononsense Corman is threatened and perhaps even frightened by Kurtz’s
independent operation in Cambodia. He is convinced of Kurtz’s
insanity and unpredictable violence and is determined to have him
killed.
COLONEL G. LUCAS
Played by Harrison Ford
Corman’s junior officer. Lucas acts as Corman’s sidekick and briefs
Willard with gravity.
JERRY
Played by Jerry Ziesner
A mysterious civilian, probably CIA Head of Station (Vietnam). Jerry
is secretive and ruthless, and he is the only one calm enough to
actually eat during Willard’s lunchtime briefing. He has only one
line in the film, which is spoken about Kurtz: “Terminate with
extreme prejudice.”
Note: A more detailed version of the plot, area breakdowns, flow,
and themes of the game are presented in the Apocalypse Now Game
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Design Story Overview document. Refer there for an expanded list of
story elements, area breakdowns, and potential plot flow.
Narrative Outline
The Plot
Note: A more detailed version of the plot, area breakdowns, flow,
and themes of the game will be presented in the Apocalypse Now Game
Design Story Overview document.
We open, introducing Captain Benjamin L. Willard (Martin Sheen); a
deeply troubled, seasoned special operations veteran. It is 1969.
Willard has returned to Saigon from deployment in the field. He
drinks excessively and appears to be having difficulty adjusting to
life in the rear-area. Two senior officers, Lt. General Corman (G.
D. Spradlin) and Colonel Lucas (Harrison Ford), and a CIA man (Jerry
Ziesmer) approach him with an assignment: journey up the Nung River
into the remote Cambodian jungle to find Colonel Walter E. Kurtz
(Marlon Brando), a member of the US Army Special Forces feared to
have gone rogue.
They tell Willard that Kurtz, once considered a model officer who
was being groomed for a position in the top brass, is commanding a
legion of his own Montagnard troops deep inside the forest in
neutral Cambodia. They believe him to be insane, supporting their
claims with disturbing radio broadcasts made by Kurtz. Willard is
ordered to undertake a mission to find Kurtz and terminate the
Colonel's command "with extreme prejudice."
Willard joins the crew of a Navy Patrol Boat, Riverine (PBR) named
the "Erebus" -- radio call sign "Erebus-518 or somesuch" -- with an
eclectic crew composed of: boat commander QMC George "Chief"
Phillips (Albert Hall), GM3 Lance B. Johnson (Sam Bottoms), GM3
Tyrone Miller (Laurence Fishburne) a.k.a. "Mr. Clean", and EN3 Jay
"Chef" Hicks (Frederic Forrest).
Willard and the PBR crew rendezvous with the 1/9 Air Cavalry,
commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore (Robert Duvall) for
transport to the Nung River. He initially refuses their request for
transport until Kilgore, a keen surfer, is told by one of his men
that Lance Johnson, a professional surfer, is a member of the boat's
crew. Kilgore entreats Lance for a surfing demonstration when he
learns from one of his men that the beach which marks the opening to
the river is perfect for surfing.
This changes Kilgore's mind about transporting Willard and the PBR
to the river, but there is a Viet Cong-held village at the mouth of
the river. His men advise him that it's "Charlie's point" and
heavily fortified. Dismissing this concern with the explanation that
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"Charlie don't surf!," Kilgore orders his men to saddle up in the
morning to capture the town and the beach.
Riding high above the coast in a fleet of Bell UH-1 Iroquois “Hueys”
accompanied by a few other Hughes OH-6A helicopters, Kilgore
launches his attack on the beach. The scene, famous for its use of
Richard Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries," ends with the soldiers
surfing the barely-secured beach amidst skirmishes between infantry
and VC. After helicopters swoop over the village and demolish all
visible signs of resistance, a giant napalm strike delivered by jet
in the nearby jungle dramatically marks the climax of the battle.
Kilgore exults to Willard, "I love the smell of napalm in the
morning... The smell, you know that gasoline smell... Smells like,
victory" as he recalls a battle in which a hill was bombarded with
napalm for over twelve hours.
The lighting and mood darken as the boat navigates upstream and
Willard's silent obsession with Kurtz deepens. Incidents on the
journey include a run-in with a tiger while Willard and Chef search
for mangoes. The boat continues up river and the crew watches a USO
show featuring Playboy Bunnies and a centerfold that degenerates
into chaos.
Shortly after the Playmate performance, Phillips spots a sampan and
orders an inspection over the objections of Willard. Initially
reluctant to board the boat, Chef impatiently searches it; a young
woman on the boat makes a sudden movement towards a barrel,
prompting Clean to open fire and kill nearly everyone on the sampan.
As the woman lies dying, Chef discovers that the barrel contains the
woman's pet puppy. Phillips insists on taking the woman to receive
medical attention; however, Willard ends the debate by shooting her,
calmly stating, "I told you not to stop," further alienating himself
from the PBR's crew.
The boat moves up river to the American outpost at the Do Long
bridge, the last U.S. Army outpost on the river, passing wreckage of
a downed Huey helicopter. The boat arrives during a North Vietnamese
attack on the bridge, which is under constant construction. Upon
arrival, Willard receives the last piece of the dossier from a
lieutenant named Carlson, along with mail for the boat crewmen.
Willard goes ashore with Lance, who has taken LSD, and they make
their way through the trenches where they encounter many panicked,
leaderless soldiers. Realizing the situation has devolved into
chaos, Willard and Lance return to the boat. The chief tries to
convince Willard not to continue on with his mission. In response,
Willard snaps at Phillips to continue upriver. As the boat departs,
the NVA launch an artillery strike that destroys the bridge.
The next day, Willard learns from the information he received at Do
Lung that an Army Captain named Colby was sent to find Kurtz a few
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months prior to Willard's assignment and is now missing. While the
crew is busy reading mail, Lance pops open a purple smoke grenade,
catching the attention of an unseen enemy hiding in the trees by the
river, and prompting an attack on the boat. Clean is killed as he
listens to an audiotape from his mother. Chief, who had a close
relationship with Clean, becomes increasingly hostile to Willard. As
the boat continues up the river it comes across the wreckage of a B52D Stratofortress in Cambodian territory.
Later, Montagnard villagers begin shooting arrows at the boat as it
approaches the camp. The crew opens fire until Chief is hit by a
spear. Willard attempts to assist the mortally wounded Phillips, who
tries to kill Willard by pulling him onto the spear tip protruding
from his chest. Willard grapples with Phillips until the man finally
dies. Afterwards, Willard confides in Chef and Lance about his
mission, and the two surviving crew of the boat reluctantly agree to
continue their journey upriver as they are now in Cambodia. As they
draw closer, they see the coastline is littered with dead bodies.
After arriving at Kurtz' outpost, Willard leaves Chef behind with
orders to call in an airstrike on the village if he does not return
and takes Johnson with him to the village. They are met by a manic
freelance photographer (Dennis Hopper), who explains that Kurtz's
greatness and philosophical skills inspire his people to follow him.
As they go into the village, there are bodies that are ignored by
the villagers, as well as severed heads scattered about the nearby
Buddhist temple that serves as Kurtz's living quarters. Willard also
encounters the missing Captain Colby, who is in a nearly catatonic
state.
Willard is brought before Kurtz in the darkened temple, where Kurtz
derides him as "an errand boy, sent to collect a bill." The scene
changes to Chef attempting to call in the airstrike on the village
as ordered by Willard. Chef is attacked before the call is
completed, and the scene cuts to Willard bound to a post outside in
the pouring rain. Kurtz walks up to him and drops Chef's severed
head into his lap.
After some time in captivity, Willard is released and given the
freedom of the compound. Kurtz lectures him on his theories of war,
humanity, and civilization, knowing that Willard would not leave.
Kurtz explains his motives and philosophy in a haunting monologue in
which he praises the ruthlessness of the Viet Cong which he
witnessed firsthand after one of his own humanitarian missions. He
recalls the incident as leaving him traumatized but also giving him
a new and deeper understanding of the complexities of his enemy and
the level to which the US would have to commit in order to prevail.
Kurtz also asks Willard to tell his son everything about him in the
event of his death. That night, as the villagers conduct a
ceremonial slaughter of a water buffalo, Willard enters Kurtz's
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chamber as Kurtz is making a recording, and attacks him with the
machete. This entire sequence is set to "The End" by The Doors and
juxtaposed with a ceremonial slaughtering of a water buffalo.
Lying bloody and dying on the ground, Kurtz whispers "The horror...
the horror..." before expiring. Willard descends the stairs from
Kurtz's chamber and drops his weapon. The villagers do so as well.
Willard walks through the now-silent crowd of natives and takes the
last surviving crewperson, the near-catatonic Lance, by the hand.
With his mission accomplished, Willard leads Johnson to the PBR, and
the two of them sail away as Kurtz's final words echo and the scene
fades to black. In some but not all prints of the film, the closing
credits play over footage of Kurtz' temple-base exploding; after the
film's original general release Coppola replaced this footage with a
plain black screen.
Controls
The controls for Apocalypse Now must accomplish the following goals:
1. Easy to use all functions with the Xbox One and PS4 controllers
as well as a keyboard and mouse for PC.
2. (Xbox, PS4) Keep the player's thumbs on the analog sticks
whenever aiming or looking might be desirable.
3. (Xbox, PS4) When a player's thumb must leave an analog stick,
the functionality being accessed must not require using that
analog stick.
4. Support ease of modulation to VR set control
Below are listed the standard controls, optional configurations,
including Y-Axis Inversion will be supported.
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Windows Controls
COMMAND
PC (Remappable)
Move
W/S
Run
Shift
Sneak
Tab
Strafe Left/Right
A/D
Look
Mouse
Non-lethal Takedown
T
Lethal Takedown
G
Binoculars
B
Supplies Menu
~
Throw Object
C
Inventory
I
Recall Squad
M
Prone
Alt
Crouch
Ctrl
Jump
Spacebar
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Interact
F
Cancel Heavy Attack
Caps Lock
Previous Weapon
Mouse Wheel
Select Fire
Depress Mouse Wheel
Heal
H
Aim
Right Mouse Button
Weapons
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9
Quick Attack / Single Shot
Left Mouse Button
Heavy Attack / Auto Shot
Hold LMB
Throw Attack
Left Mouse Button
Arm Throwable
V
Throw Throwable
C
Command Soldier
N
Xbox One Controller
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COMMAND
XBOX ONE
Move
Left Stick
Run
Press Left Stick (LS)
Sneak
Left Stick
Strafe Left/Right
Left Stick
Look
Right Stick (RS)
Non-lethal Takedown
Press RS
Lethal Takedown
Hold RS
Binoculars
D-pad Up
Supplies Menu
D-pad Left
Throw Object
D-pad Down
Inventory
D-pad Right
Recall Squad
Hold D-pad Right
Prone
Double Tap B
Crouch
B
Jump
A
Interact
Hold X
Cancel Heavy Attack
X
Previous Weapon
Y
Select Fire
Double Tap LT
Heal
Hold Y
Aim
LT
Weapons
Hold LB
Quick Attack / Single Shot
RT
Heavy Attack / Auto Shot
Hold RT
Throw Attack
Aim + RT
Arm Throwable
Double Tap RB
Throw Throwable
RB
Command Soldier
LT +RB
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PlayStation 4 Controller
COMMAND
Move
Run
Sneak
Strafe Left/Right
Look
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Left Stick
Press Left Stick (L3)
Left Stick
Left Stick
Right Stick (R3)
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Non-lethal Takedown
Lethal Takedown
Binoculars
Supplies Menu
Throw Object
Inventory
Recall Squad
Prone
Crouch
Jump
Interact
Cancel Heavy Attack
Previous Weapon
Select Fire
Heal
Aim
Weapons
Quick Attack / Single Shot
Heavy Attack / Auto Shot
Throw Attack
Arm Throwable
Throw Throwable
Command Soldier
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Press R3
Hold RS
D-pad Up
D-pad Left
D-pad Down
D-pad Right
Hold D-pad Right
Double Tap Circle
Circle
X
Hold Square
Square
Triangle
Double Tap L1
L2
Hold L1
R2
Hold R2
Aim+R2
Double Tap R1
R1
L2+R1
L1 +R1
Equipment
The Player manages equipment through the inventory screen and can
swap between equipped items in-world with standard controls.
Characters may pick up new equipment in the world, or acquire it
through bartering, but for new equipment to be equipped, the Player
must return to the inventory screen.
The following inventory slots are available on the inventory screen:
•
Outfit – The Player may equip Willard with one outfit in this
slot.
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•
Primary Weapon – The Player may equip Willard with a weapon in
this slot. The primary weapon slot can be occupied by any
weapon including hand-to-hand weapons, small arms and support
weapons.
•
Secondary Weapon – The Player may equip Willard with a weapon
in this slot. The secondary weapon slot can be occupied only by
one-handed hand-to-hand weapons and sidearms from the small
arms weapons category.
•
Primary Useable 1 – The Player can equip Willard with any
useable gear can be put in the primary useable slot. This
includes first-aid items, medications, the water canteen, etc.
•
Primary Useable 2 – The Player can equip Willard with any
useable gear can be put in the primary useable slot. This
includes first-aid items, medications, the water canteen, etc.
•
Secondary Useables - The Player can equip Willard with any
useable gear can be put in the secondary useable slot up to 3x.
•
Helmet – The Player may equip Willard with one item in this
slot.
•
Gloves – The Player may equip Willard with one item in this
slot.
•
Feet – The Player may equip Willard with one item in this slot.
•
Neck – The Player may equip Willard with one item in this slot.
•
Torso – The Player may equip Willard with one item in this
slot.
•
General Inventory – Everything that the Player does not have
currently equipped on Willard in another slot is sorted into
the general inventory pages. The Player may arrange equipment
as he desires in the inventory pages and the inventory screen
will remember the Player’s arrangement, including after saving
and loading.
Useable Items
The following list of useable items is not exhaustive. Individual
useable items will be detailed in the Apocalypse Now Game Design
Useables document.
•
Radios
•
Binoculars
•
C4
•
Claymore
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•
Landmine
•
Grenade
•
Booby Traps
•
Antidote
•
Medicine
•
Drugs
•
First Aid Kit
•
Landmine
•
Toolbox
•
Surfboard
•
Shovel
•
Poncho
•
Flares
•
Mangos
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Weapons
Weapons in Apocalypse Now fall into three primary categories: HandTo-Hand or Melee, Small Arms, Sniper and Heavy / Support Weapons.
Explosives, other than grenades, are characterized as tools/gear,
though their discussion may fall into either equipment or weapons
categories and documents depending on the situation.
Grenades are equipped as useables but replace the primary weapon
when used, armed and thrown.
Weapons, and other gear, generally come from one of the following
sources:
•
United States
•
Soviet Union
•
China
•
ARVN
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•
NVA
•
Other Misc. (such as old World War 2 gear or French 1950s
equipment)
Ammunition
In the inventory screen, the Player can select specific ammo types
with which to load a weapon.
Additionally, ammunition is automatically used when the Player runs
out of ammunition in a firearm currently in use.
If the Player only has one type of ammunition available for the
firearm in use, then the largest stack of ammunition in inventory
will be loaded.
If the Player has multiple types of ammunition available for use,
the ammunition will be loaded based upon scarcity (the ammo the
Player has the most of will be automatically loaded).
At any point, the Player can return to the inventory screen and
select a specific ammunition to load into the firearm.
Different types of ammunition have different effects described by
ammo type.
Ammunition can be scavenged, purchased, and found.
Damage
Damage value determines the amount of damage done by the projectile.
Some types of projectiles do additional or special damage, such as
the napalm from a flamethrower. Or scattering fragmentation of the
environment (for example tree trunks) in the case of a large
explosive or a high caliber round.
Hit Type
Different types of projectiles trigger different types of hit
reaction animations on impacted characters.
For example, a soldier hit by a .45 ACP will play one type of hit
reaction while a soldier hit by a stream of napalm from a
flamethrower will play another type of hit reaction.
Splash Damage
This element indicates whether the projectile does splash damage.
Some projectiles do splash damage to secondary targets near the
point of impact.
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Explosive mortar rounds and napalm are examples of projectiles that
do splash damage to the area around impact.
Standard
Standard ammunition with no special characteristics of the caliber
suitable for the firearm.
Rifle
Cartridge
Cartridge
weight
Weight of loaded Max. 10 kilogram
magazine
ammo. load
M14
(1959)
7.62×51mm
NATO
393 gr (25.4 20 rd mag @
g)
0.75 kg
13 mags @ 9.7 kg
for 280 rds
M16
(1962)
.223
Remington
183 gr (11.8 20 rd mag @
g)
0.32 kg
31 mags @ 9.93 kg
for 620 rds
AK-47
(1949)
7.62×39mm
252 gr (16.3 30 rd mag @
g)
0.82 kg
12 mags @ 9.2 kg
for 360 rds
Armor Piercing
Armor-piercing cartridges can penetrate hardened targets such as
sandbags, a flak jacket, structural walls and concrete.
Hollow Point
Hollow-point cartridges are less effective against hardened targets
but do significantly more damage to soft targets than regular
cartridges.
Tracer
Tracer rounds are special cartridges that are modified to accept a
small pyrotechnic charge in their base. Ignited upon firing, the
composition burns very brightly, making the projectile visible to
the naked eye.
This enables the shooter to follow the bullet trajectory relative to
the target in order to make corrections to his aim.
Oftentimes, especially in belt-fed firearms, a mix of tracer and
regular ammunition is used to combine aiming benefits with stable
bullet trajectories.
Incendiary
Incendiary cartridges contain phosphorous charges which leave a
trail of blue smoke. The effective range of this cartridge is
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reduced as compared with regular ammunition, but these bullets can
easily ignite fires in brush or when impacting gasoline canisters.
Napalm
When used as a part of an incendiary weapon, napalm can cause severe
burns (ranging from superficial to subdermal) to the skin and body,
asphyxiation, unconsciousness, and death. In this implementation,
explosions can create an atmosphere of greater than 20% carbon
monoxide and firestorms with self-perpetuating winds of up to 70
miles per hour (110 km/h).
One of the main features of napalm is that it sticks well to the
naked skin, and hence it leaves no real chance for removing the
burning napalm from the skin of the victim.
Napalm is suitable for use against dug-in enemy personnel. The
burning incendiary composition flows into foxholes, trenches and
bunkers, and drainage and irrigation ditches and other improvised
troop shelters. People in undamaged shelters can be killed by
hyperthermia/heat stroke, radiant heat, dehydration, suffocation,
smoke exposure, or carbon monoxide poisoning.
One firebomb released from a low-flying plane can damage an area of
2,500 square yards (2,100 m2).
Napalm is also the fuel used for flamethrowers.
Rocket-Propelled Grenades
Because of the inherent inaccuracy of the RPG, the operator must
fire relatively close to the intended target, increasing the chances
of being spotted and captured, shot or killed. They are most
effective when used in restricted terrain as the availability of
cover and concealment can make it difficult for the intended target
to spot the RPG operator.
Note that this concealment is often preferably outdoors because
firing an RPG within an enclosed area may create a dangerous
backblast.
The operator must move after firing the RPG as the ignition of the
rocket generates a flash visible to the enemy and usually leaves a
smoke trail leading back to the firing position.
When deployed against personnel, the warhead can be aimed at a solid
surface to detonate, popular choices being trees or buildings.
Another option is an indirect method of firing the warhead over the
intended target area at ranges of 800–1000m where the warhead would
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detonate automatically. More skilled shooters can use the RPG selfdestruct feature to make it explode over the enemy at closer range.
Although they can be, and often are, used against hovering
helicopters, firing at steep angles poses a danger to the user,
because the backblast from firing reflects off the ground behind the
user.
Mortars
A mortar is relatively simple and easy to operate. A mortar consists
of a tube into which gunners drop a shell. The shell contains a
quantity of propellant. When it reaches the base of the tube it hits
a firing pin, which detonates the propellant and fires the shell.
The tube is generally set at between 45 and 85 degrees angle to the
ground, with the higher angle giving shorter firing distances.
Mortar shells come in three varieties: 1) incendiary; 2) smoke; 3)
high explosive.
Artillery
The Player will be able to, from time to time, call in artillery
support for objectives. The type of artillery support will vary
depending on objective and Willard’s relationship with his superior
officers and the U.S. Army. Attributes and Skills, as well as
availability of functioning communications equipment will be
required to deploy such assets.
Airstrikes
The Player will be able to, from time to time, call in airstrikes
for objectives. The type of airstrikes will vary depending on
objective and Willard’s relationship with his superior officers and
the U.S. Army. Attributes and Skills, as well as availability of
functioning communications equipment will be required to deploy such
assets.
Hand-To-Hand
Hand-to-Hand or melee weapons include bayonets, knives, machetes,
brass knuckles, and improvised melee weapons. Hand-to-Hand weapons
can usually be equipped as either a primary weapon or a sidearm, but
certain hand-to-hand weapons can only be equipped as a primary
weapon, for example, a Katana.
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Weapons will be detailed in the document Apocalypse Now Game Design
– Armory but we will include some example profiles in this main game
design document.
KA-BAR
KA-BAR is a fighting and utility knife issued to American armed
forces. A typical KA-BAR knife has a 7-inch clip point blade and
weighs about 1.1 lbs. The KA-BAR fighting knife is made of 1095
carbon steel and features a leather-washer handle made of rubber.
Outside combat, the knife can be used to open cans, recover
landmines, dig trenches, and cut wood and roots.
Primary Action: Stab
Secondary Action: Slash
Speed: High
Damage: Low
Range: Short
Small Arms
Small Arms include weapons such as pistols, shotguns and assault
rifles. Small Arms can be wielded as either a primary weapon or a
sidearm, depending on the particular firearm. Sidearms can also be
equipped as the primary weapon.
Weapons will be detailed in the document Apocalypse Now Game Design
– Armory but we will include some example profiles in this main game
design document.
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M1911
The M1911 is a single-action, semi-automatic, magazine-fed, and
recoil-operated handgun chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge.
Ammo: 7-round magazine of .45
ACP
Primary Fire: Semi-Auto
Secondary Fire: None
Accuracy: High
Kick: Low
Noise: Low
Range: Low
Support Weapons
There are only two elements common to all support weapons: they are
large enough to slow a character’s movement speed, prevent running
(unless the Player has advanced their Conditioning skill to an
extreme level) and cause massive, if generally less-targeted, damage
to human and physical targets.
Weapons will be detailed in the document Apocalypse Now Game Design
– Armory but we will include some example profiles in this main game
design document.
M60 General Purpose Machine Gun
The M60 is a gas-operated, air-cooled, belt-fed, automatic machine
gun that fires from the open-bolt position and is chambered for the
7.62x51mm cartridges from a disintegrating belt of M13 links. There
are several types of live ammunition approved for use in the M60,
including ball, tracer, and armor-piercing rounds. The M60 is
referred to as "The Hog.”
As with all similar weapons, it can be fired from the shoulder, hip,
or underarm position. However, to achieve the maximum effective
range, it is recommended that a bipod-steadied position or a tripodmounted position be used and fired in bursts of 3–5 rounds.
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The weapon is heavy and difficult to aim when firing without
support, though the weight helps reduce the felt recoil. The large
grip also allows the weapon to be conveniently carried at the hip.
The gun can be stripped using a live round of ammunition as a tool.
However, this is highly discouraged, as doing so can damage that
round and increase the chance of a misfire.
The M60 is often used with its own integrated bipod or with the M122
tripod. The M60 is considered effective up to 1,100 meters when
firing at an area target and mounted on a tripod; up to 800 meters
when firing at an area target using the integral bipod; up to 600
meters when firing at a point target; and up to 200 meters when
firing at a moving point target.
United States Marine Corps doctrine holds that the M60 and other
weapons in its class are capable of suppressive fire on area targets
out to 1,500 meters if the gunner is sufficiently skilled.
The standard combat ammunition mix for the M60 consists of four ball
(M80) cartridges and one tracer (M62) in belts of 100 rounds. The
four to one ratio allows the gunner to accurately "walk" the fire
into the enemy. Tracer bullets do not fly quite the same trajectory
as ball and weapon's sights must be used for accurate fire—
particularly at ranges in excess of 800 meters, where 7.62x51mm NATO
tracer bullets usually burn out and are no longer visible. This is a
problem for all weapons in this caliber using this tracer round.
Ammo: 100-round belt
fed 7.62x51mm (Ball,
Tracer, Armor
Piercing)
Primary Fire: Full
Auto
Secondary Fire: None
Accuracy: Medium
Kick: Very High
Noise: Very High
Range: Very High
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Menus & User Interfaces
Character Sheet
The character sheet lists Willard’s primary attributes, derived
attributes, MOS and skills, experience points and advancement level,
and key biographical and personality information pre-determined by
the game and input by the Player.
Inventory
The inventory screen has unlimited pages for the storage of gear. A
rendered version of Willard occupies the center of the inventory
screen and this render of Willard is where the Player will equip
gear on Willard in a variety of slots, rag-doll style. The inventory
self-sorts and the Player will not engage in “inventory tetris.”
Player Parameters
The Player Parameters screen will include Y-Axis inversion, control
mapping customization, audio-visual controls, aim assist and all
other difficulty/game type settings.
Loading/Saving
The Player has unlimited saves (except as discussed below). There
are separate protected auto-save and quicksave slots so that those
methods do not overwrite player-driven saves.
The Player loads games through the Load Game interface. Game saves
available for load will be shown with a thumbnail screenshot from
the moment the game was saved, portraits of their Willard and
current living Streetgang crew members with current health and
morale levels, the name of the area in which the save was made, game
time and real-world time.
Selecting an individual game save will expand the thumbnail
screenshot to larger size, helping the Player identify the location
of the save, and providing additional details about the current
progress of the Player.
The following technical details for saves are generally not visible
to the Player (unless stated above). The saved game state stores the
following:
•
Health of all entities in the world.
•
Inventory of all entities in the world (including ammo counts
in weapons).
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•
Current morale of all characters in the world.
•
Status effects on all characters in the world.
•
Current AI states for all characters in the world (including
current fire mode, if applicable).
•
Position and orientation of all dynamic entities in the world
(including corpses, dropped objects, booby traps, explosive
devices, etc.).
•
Animation state, animation, and frame of animation of all
entities in the world.
•
All dynamic object flag states the world (door states, light
states, destructible states).
•
All global flag states (mission states, dialogue states, etc.).
•
world sections that remained unexplored,
in game-state status.
Never Get Off the Boat difficulty, the Player
slot which is overwritten each time the
An enumeration of
uninitialized and
As discussed below, On
has a single save game
Player saves the game.
Player Controlled Parameters
Level of Difficulty - Cinematic Mode
Cinematic Mode is for players who are more interested in
exploration, story, and character interaction than game difficulty.
When you turn Cinematic Mode on, the composition of battles, enemy
soldiers, and survival obstacles is the same as Easy Mode, but the
game’s mechanics are tilted in the player’s favor. Additionally, you
can carry unlimited gear in your inventory, you never have to rest
or resupply, you never run out of gasoline or bullets and you will
recover from anything except the most massive amounts of damage.
Level of Difficulty – Easy Mode
Easy Mode forgives mistakes in combat, stealth, and survival
gameplay. If you are new to roleplaying games or survival & horror
games, we recommend you start on Easy Mode to learn the game.
Level of Difficulty – Normal Mode
Normal Mode requires strategy, tactics, resource management, combat
avoidance, and all of the fundamentals of the combat but combat is
not as brutal.
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ADJUSTMENTS
•
Friendly fire damage is 25%
•
Hostile encounter spawn rates occur at the low end of designerset range
•
Aim-assist is generous
•
Heal rate is 200% of normal.
Level of Difficulty – Hard Mode
Hard Mode is for gaming veterans looking for a challenge. Everything
is designed for the game to be difficult to survive even for our
game team’s internal QA. Everything challenging about Normal Mode is
equally challenging and combat is brutal.
ADJUSTMENTS
•
Friendly fire damage is 50%
•
Hostile encounter spawn rates occur in the designer-set range
•
Aim-assist is normal
•
Heal rate is 100% of normal.
Level of Difficulty – Karnage Mode
Named for the original character name of Colonel Kilgore in John
Milius’s 1969 screenplay. Karnage Mode means enemy soldiers receive
a bonus to most Attributes and Skills, battles will quickly become
overwhelming to your small unit, encounters are deadly — sometimes a
single shot will kill you. Once you start in Karnage mode, you
cannot change the difficulty level. This is intended for players who
want a very high level of challenge.
ADJUSTMENTS
•
Friendly fire damage is 100%
•
Hostile encounter spawn rates occur at 150% the designer-set
range
•
There is no aim-assist.
•
Heal rate is 50% of normal.
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Level of Difficulty – Never Get Off of the Boat
Even more insane than Karnage Mode. Only available after completing
the Primary Objective once at a lower difficulty setting.
NGOOTB enables all of the difficulties of Karnage Mode but adds
demanding gameplay featurse in and out of combat including turning
off almost all extra options that help the player manage information
in the game. This mode is most immersive because it disables helper
information and pop-ups and all HUD elements.
Once the Player selects Never Get Off the Boat difficulty, she can
no longer toggle the game’s difficulty and must complete the game on
this setting. Additionally, the Player Character will not heal and
the Player only has a single save which is overwritten every time
the Player saves. Finally, autosave is turned off. This is intended
for players who want the highest level of challenge possible.
ADJUSTMENTS
•
Friendly fire damage is 200%
•
Hostile encounter spawn rates occur at 200% the designer-set
range
•
There is no aim-assist.
•
Heal rate is 25% of normal
Completing the game at various levels of difficulty yields different
achievements.
Discrete Difficulty Controls
Any parameters of the game globally adjusted by the difficulty modes
may also be individually modified by their own dials, one level
deeper in the Player-controlled Parameters Menu.
Other Controls
This is a non-comprehensive list of other player-controlled
parameters of the game
TRIAGE OPTION
Characters with you, and your character will be
instead of dying when your health reaches zero.
you for another character) can use first aid to
back from the brink. Like most options, you can
and off individually.
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critically wounded
Other characters (or
bring the character
turn this option on
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AREA
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EFFECT HINTING
Provides a graphical overlay of the extents of the area of effect of
your currently equipped weapon, for example the blast radius of a
grenade or claymore or the cone of propane flames or ignited napalm
from a flamethrower.
DISPLAY CHALLENGE TOGGLE
Provides hints about how difficult an enemy combatant is when you
target over them at a distance.
COMBAT TOOLTIPS
Provide a stream of data and information about what is happening to
your characters during combat encounters in a UI element readout.
HUD TOGGLE
Turns on or off the heads-up display in game.
DIALOGUE REQUIREMENTS TOGGLE
Displays whatever requirements a given dialogue option with another
character has when you speak with them; sometimes you will not
qualify for a given dialogue option because of you Attributes or
Skills and level of advancement.
UNLIMITED INVENTORY TOGGLE
Allows you to individually turn on an unlimited inventory so your
characters cannot be encumbered and slowed down no matter how much
gear they carry – this option overrides game modes listed above.
IN-GAME TUTORIALS TOGGLE
Allows you to turn on and off all of the in-game instructions for
how to play the game.
ASPECT RATIO
You can play the game in 16x9 aspect ratio or Cinemascope like the
original motion picture at 2.39:1
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FIELD
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VIEW
You can adjust the field of view within a range of 20% to
accommodate for your personal preferences and what feels good to you
in terms of visual strain.
End Game Scenarios
Overview
The requirements of freedom of choice and personal expression means
the Player will be able to achieve a wide variety of endings for
Willard and his primary objective. End game scenarios will be
detailed in a separate document, Apocalypse Now Game Design – The
End Game, but major endings are listed here for reference.
Completing the Mission
The Player completes Willard’s mission when Kurtz is dead. There are
a nearly endless variety of ways the Player Character can kill Col.
Kurtz. Some ways include: 1) calling in an airstrike from Operation
Arclight via B52 bombers by radioing Callsign Almighty; 2) the
assassination method in the film; 3) shooting Kurtz; 4) turning the
Montagnard army against Kurtz and letting them do the dirty work; or
5) leaving him to die from the malaria which is already slowly
killing him, 6) returning Kurtz to Nha Trang to live out the rest of
his life in a cell at Leavenworth.
This list is not exhaustive, and any standard or emergent means of
killing any character in the game will work when assassinating
Kurtz.
After the Player completes Willard’s mission, what he does with his
time and the end game is up to him. The Player might choose to
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Return to Nha Trang. The Player might continue to explore the river.
The Player might abandon the U.S. Army entirely (described below).
Abandoning the Mission
The Player can let Kurtz live, and leave him at his compound. In
order to return to Nha Trang, the Player will need to lie about
Kurtz’ survival. If the Player does lie about Kurtz’ survival and
the crewmembers are not loyal to Willard due to morale issues, the
surviving crewmembers can rat out Willard, leading to a different
ending entirely.
Alternatively, the Player can theoretically explore the Nung river
indefinitely, setting up a drug and gun running operation, running
unsanctioned missions against Viet Cong or U.S. forces, setting up
his own competing compound, etc. The game will be flexible enough to
accommodate Player-driven end game scenarios and ongoing play.
Procedurally generated world and content will help create an endless
cycle of violence and exploration.
Abandoning the U.S. Army
The Player also has the option to abandon the U.S. Army entirely.
Some ways to abandon the Army include: 1) killing Kurtz and taking
his place; 2) joining Kurtz and his army; 3) abandoning the mission
and going rogue. Abandoning the Army will eventually have negative
consequences; over time Army-based resources such as airstrikes will
become less available as Willard’s rogue-status becomes known. If
things degenerate totally, U.S. Army forces will, themselves, become
hostile to Willard. Captain Willard, depending on the Player’s
actions, could face an airstrike from Almighty themselves.
Playing the game this way will be extremely challenging, but is one
more interesting way Players can express themselves along the Nung
River.
Open vs. Closed Endings
Some endings are open-ended. Joining Kurtz or going rogue are openended endings. Some endings are close-ended. For example, if you
complete the mission and return to Nha Trang, there will be a postaction report delivered in an interactive conversation with Gen.
Corman and the group. The exact details of all open and closed
ending scenarios are outlined in the end game design document.
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On-Line
Functionality
The online functionality of Apocalypse Now is primarily focused on
gathering of Achievements. There is no multiplayer at initial
launch. The post-launch multiplayer design is outlined the document
Apocalypse Now Post-Launch Patches 2021.
Achievements
Apocalypse Now will grant achievement points to console and Steam
players who gather them. The achievements are divided into three
categories: story achievements, skill achievements, and difficulty
achievements. Some examples are provided below, but the list is by
no means comprehensive.
STORY ACHIEVEMENTS
•
Terminate with Extreme Prejudice – The Player ends the game by
calling in an airstrike on the Kurtz Compound, killing Col.
Kurtz and hundreds of Montagnards.
•
Everyone Gets Everything He Wants – The Player ends the game by
assassinating Kurtz in any fashion and taking his place as the
leader of the Montagnard Army.
•
The Horror, The Horror – The Player ends the game by
assassinating Col. Kurtz in the traditional fashion, with a
machete during the ritual sacrifice of a Water Buffalo, and
returning to Nha Trang.
SKILL ACHIEVEMENTS
•
Johnny On the Spot - The Player ends the game having directly
caused friendly fire damage less than six times, and never
causing a friendly fire fatality.
•
Screwed, Blued, and Tattooed – The Player sleeps with at least
one character (Playboy Bunny, Roxanne, etc.) during the course
of the game.
•
Bravo Foxtrot (Buddy Fucker) – The Player directly kills more
than five friendlies with friendly fire over the course of the
game, or the Player directly kills any crewmember of the Erebus
callsign PBR Streetgang.
•
Madman - The Player detonates more than 100 explosive devices.
•
Balls to the Wall – The Player completes the game in less than
5 hours.
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DIFFICULTY ACHIEVEMENTS
•
Apocalypse Now Normal Mission Complete - The Player completes
the game with less than 80% time spent on Normal difficulty.
•
Apocalypse Now Hard Mission Complete - The Player completes the
game with at least 80% time spent on Hard difficulty.
•
Apocalypse Now Karnage Mission Complete - The Player completes
the game on Karnage difficulty.
•
Apocalypse Now Never Get Off the Boat Mission Complete - The
Player completes the game on Never Get Off the Boat difficulty.
There will be many more of these to come.
Downloadable Content
Optional Post-Launch Patched Content
The game team will design and build a minimum of three (3) postlaunch patches:
•
V1.1
•
V1.2
•
V1.3
These three patches will include gameplay and content and other
elements and features that did not make the cut for the gold master
and initial commercial release of the game. These patches will be
made regardless of sales outcomes. These patches will provide 90
days of post-launch support for the commercial release of the game
in October 2020.
Multiplayer
We have a Multiplayer design outlined in the document Apocalypse Now
Multiplayer which would be patched in for free in V1.6 around
September 2021, post-commercial release, if sales figures justify
the expense of the multiplayer implementation.
Captain Willard’s First Six
If commercially justified, the game team will create an expansion
pack for the game in which the Player conducts Captain Willard’s
First Six assassination missions. This expansion pack would be
roughly 7 hours long and cost $19.99. It would require the base
game. Players would be able to import their character from Captain
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Willard’s First Six into the beginning of the base Apocalypse Now
game.
Colonel Kurtz in Korea
If commercially justified, the game team will create an expansion
pack for the game in which the Player plays as a younger 1st
Lieutenant Kurtz during his combat tours in the Korean War. This
expansion pack would be roughly 7 hours long and cost $19.99. It
would require the base game. If played, it would add additional
narrative content to the Col. Kurtz endgame scenarios in the base
game focused on more revealing backstory in relation to the Colonel.
Captain Colby’s Mission
If commercially justified, the game team will create an expansion
pack for the game in which the Player conducts Captain Colby’s
attempt to bring Colonel Kurtz back from the brink. This expansion
pack would be roughly 7 hours long and cost $19.99. It would require
the base game. This expansion pack would also open up additional
narrative and gameplay content between Captain Willard and Captain
Colby at Kurtz’ Compound in the base game.
AirCav
If commercially justified, we design a side game mode in which the
experience is focused on piloting and riding helicopters during
AirCav assaults on a variety of Viet Cong held positions in the
Mekong Delta. This expansion pack would be multiplayer focused and
cost $9.99. This expansion pack would have no impact on the base
game.
Audio Content
Speech
We will rely on original actors for additional VO whenever possible.
We will rely on the original dialog recordings, ADR recordings and
loop group recordings of the original production whenever possible.
We will require, with a larger world and more characters additional
actors who will voice newly designed and written characters.
Music
Apocalypse Now’s music system will use multi-voice layering to build
and relieve tension as the Player explores the open-river world. The
layering system must allow the music of one area to flow into the
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music of another area. Key events, areas and characters will have
incidental music that highlights arrivals, actions and key moments.
The game will utilize the entire soundtrack from the original film,
dozens of popular licensed tracks derived from both the original
film and the Billboard Top 100 popular songs from 1966 through 1969.
The composer for the game will closely model new scored music tracks
on the original score by Carmine Coppola.
Sound Effects
The sound effects of Apocalypse Now are iconic and will be used in a
fashion as close as possible to the original film. Sound effect use
will be surreal and for atmospheric effect. We have access to the
entire three (3) gigabyte Apocalypse Now SFX Library and will
utilize it as the primary source. We will only create or source new
SFX if the library is missing what is required.
Reference Material
Reference Requirements
In order to work on the Apocalypse Now project, potential team
members will be assigned items to read, play, or watch from the
reference materials list below (which will be greatly expanded over
time). Team members should be prepared to both discuss these
materials in meetings and reference these materials in the
generation of documents.
Film
• Apocalypse Now
• Apocalypse Now: Redux
• Apocalypse Now workprint
• Hearts of Darkness
• Full Metal Jacket
• The Deer Hunter
• The Thin Red Line
• The Killing Fields
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Literature
•
Heart of Darkness
•
The Father of All Things
•
Dispatches
•
A Bright & Shining Lie
•
The Things They Carried
•
Kill Anything That Moves
•
A Soldier Reports
•
Street Without Joy
•
A Rumor of War
•
The Short-Timers
•
Paint Your Face on a Drowning in the River
Games of Influence
Some of the games that have inspired our work in no particular
order:
1. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series
2. Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
3. ARMA3
4. Far Cry series
5. Hitman: Blood Money
6. Spec Ops: The Line
7. Half Life series
8. Fallout 1 through New Vegas
9. Metro 2033 (Redux)
10. Resident Evil and Silent Hill series (some of them),
11. FEAR
12. Original Deus Ex
13. Alien: Isolation
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14. Thief
15. Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
16. System Shock 1 & 2
17. Amnesia/SOMA
18. All the Infinity Engine games
19. Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines
20. Black Mesa
21. Jagged Alliance
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