My team and I are trying to refine an idea of ours for our graduation project. Originally, the concept was online team deathmatch, first person shooter where the guns wouldn't directly kill the player (i.e shoot bullets that damage them) but could apply forces to them which would lead to them flying into level hazards, colliding with walls or being knocked off the level. A few example weapons include a "gravity" beam that pulls players and objects toward you, a "grappling" beam than pulls yourself towards targets, and a push gun that shoots balls that explode on contact with players or level geometry, pushing objects/enemies/yourself from the epicenter. You would pick 2 weapons and dual wield them with controls like skyrim. Other ideas for weapons include shooting a bounce pad the applies force that collide with it in the perpendicular direction, a large ball that zero's force and velocity on touch and a spray that makes surfaces more slippery.
You would also select a passive ability and a special ability. A passive ability would be something like run 15% faster and a special ability would be like having a jetpack. You also have a melee attack that pushes enemies very, very far.
I was going for a large emphasis on twitch shooting/targeting with massive movement capabilities, using the physics weapons to also help yourself move around the level and equipping 2 of them to allow players to try to find a synergy between them. Think if I had the orange paint from portal 2, sprayed it on the floor around me, then used my "gravity" beam to pull an enemy into that area; they would slide into what ever hazard is around or off the map, or if they reach a high enough velocity, into a wall and die.
Essentially, I wanted to create something different in the FPS genre with the indirect combat idea, much like super smash bros is to fighting games. However, half the team feels that there needs to be the traditional weapons that do direct damage because they feel that most people wouldn't get the physics aspect of it and how to use it. They brought up a good point where, what happens if 2 guys meet in a corridor. It is assumed the corridor has no hazards that the player can try to throw the other player into and the space is limited, so that it is very difficult to apply enough force to knock someone into a wall and kill them. They feel very strongly that if you see a player, you should be able to kill them despite the situation, hence the need for guns that do damage.
My solution that I came up with is to implement a system like the super smash bros "health" system. For example, in the corridor, I would use my "grappling" beam to pull myself towards the enemy and then use my melee attack to push them away. The melee attack also applies a force multiplier on the enemy (for like 15 seconds). Next time I melee them, the force of my melee attack is multiplied by 3, hopefully generating enough force to knock them into a wall and die. If not the multiplier would stack, increasing the likelihood of that happening next time.
My issue with guns that do damage is that I feel it takes away from the cleverness and importance of using the physics weapons. The physics weapons is what makes our game different from other FPS games and to downplay them so that we can appease an audience or a perception that a FPS needs to have these elements to be successful, I believe, is not innovating. At the most, having guns that increase the force multiplier per hit instead of doing damage is not ideal but a compromise I could live with.
Any opinions on the matter would be greater appreciated. A third-party perspective would really help me see what direction we should take our game. Also, if I'm totally wrong, go ahead and let me know. Better to know now than to insist on a idea that doesn't work or have appeal. Or if I'm totally right, let me know also I wouldn't mind a few suggestions for physics based weapons either.