Sink into the Sea of Imagination

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Prototype I Test Results

Well.. after playtesting the paper version of the game concept last week, here is a general summary of the conclusions drawn from the test:

- Core mechanics of attraction and movement work
- Balance of speed of movement and attraction power work at the set arbitiary values.
- Supernova mechanic needs quite A LOT of fine-tuning as we could result in a deadlock if we make the wrong choices.
- In regard to the Supernova mechanic, more balance will be needed in the digital version to actually make it useful and fair in the game.
- Objective of game, even for the specific case we tested, which is of planet defence, might need further specification when doing the actual digital version of the game.
- Consider other obstacles besides time to add challenge to the player.

Yup, from our simple prototype that about sums it up. Kinda reminds me of the last assignment we had to do in 3216, where the paper prototype is not enough to give a fair represenataion of the digital game, since so much of the game is reliant on physics of attraction and the dynamics of that mechanic. Well guys, guess we need to build an early digital prototype soon so that we can start on the tuning. But as far as the basic concepts go, it is still functionable so far.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Prototype 1: Ship Rules

As discussed over Mac Dinner on Tuesday, here are the rules for the paper prototype:-

Things needed:-
- Hex Board / Grid Board
- Thumbtacks or pins, lots of them
- 20 sided die.
- String

- To build enough barriers to defend the home planet in a set number of turns before the meteor shower comes.
- To build a planet of a certain composition before the time limit is up.

- Player starts at level 1.
- Player moves die a set number of spaces.
(Depending on current player level)
- Attracts objects from surrouding hexes.
(Type of objects that can be attracted depends on player Level)
- Mass increases with each object attracted, turn die according to mass attracted.
(Mass only increases at higher levels when a mass corresponding to the current level is attracted.)
- As mass increases, attraction level increases
(refer to stats below).
- Player can activate Supernova at will to blow up bigger masses.
(strength of supernova depends on current level.)
- Players collect enough mass and surround home planet with barriers.
- Meteor storms occur every 20 turns.

Level 1 - Mass 1-4, Movement 5, Supernova range 1, supernova strength M/1
Level 2 - Mass 5-8, Movement 4, Supernova range 2, Supernova strength M/2
Level 3 - Mass 9-12, Movement 3, Supernova range 3, Supernova strenth M/3
Level 4 - Mass 13-16, Movement 2, Supernova range 4, Supernova strength M/4
Level 5 - Mass 17-20, Movement 1, Supernova range 5, Supernova strength M/5

Supernova Effect - when player activates Supernova, the all masses within range will become
(X) x M/(X) pieces, where X is the current player level.

Mass Levels:
Level 1 - Green
Level 2 - Yellow
Level 3 - Red
Level 4 - White
Level 5 - Black

Well guys.. think its confusing enough as it is.. lets play it out tomorrow and see how it goes.. till then..

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Idea Voyage: Land-Ho!

After weeks of deliberation, we have finally FINALLY settled two things, firstly, about the Roles and Responsibility thing, and secondly, about the FINAL game idea. In regards to the roles thingy, the breakdown is as follows:-

Chan Si Wei - Artist and Lead Programmer
Jeremy Kang - Lead Designer and Marketing Head
Ng Ling Xiang - Project Manager and Co-Programer
Teo Kim Sheng - Creative Director and QA Manager

I love my roles (since i personally chose them myself), but seriously, these two roles would be the roles that i would love to really land in the game industry, in their respective orders. Hope everyone loves their's too, esp Sheng since he was involuntarily assigned QA...haha. But seriously, like what I said guys, we will still all be involved in every process of the game design pipeline for this project, its just that when it comes to discussion, we should try our best to approach the problems from the perspectives of our assigned roles, like my creative ideas as designer vs. siwei's practical approach as programmer. Oh yeah.. and its also great that we have two roles each.. cos it makes us all the more important ppl...haha.

Anyway.. on to the second and more impt point... after thorough brainstorming of the potential of creative development, the flexibility of the gameplay mechanics, and the feasibility of implementation, and the possible problems we might encounter.... we finally decided to go with BIG BANG! instead of BATS IN A CAVE. So as designer.. it is my job to put up the new design vision of the game.


Game Concept:
About the same.. still controlling some body with a gravitational field attracting objects or elements in space, using these objects as fuel to trigger off explosions called Supernovas, to blow up bigger objects that the player cannot currently attract due to the objects being too big and so on. But the thing is... even though we are keeping the same core mechanics... after brainstorming we realised and came up with many more interesting scenarios in which this mechanic might work. Oh.. and we also added some form of conflict in the form of meteor showers and random comets. And... we gave more character to the player character by making it a UFO (tentatively) so that players can at least have a bit more relation to what they are playing rather than the cold, inpersonal (but scientifically correct) gravity well thingy, (of cos only after much protest from Siwei was this decided on).

Game Mechanics:
- Players control a UFO from a top-down view.
- Attract objects to the UFO with a gravitational field. Size of objects that can be attracted depend on the current size of the UFO and its attracted mass.
- Attract bigger objects as UFO gets bigger.
- Have on button that will allow the UFO to drop the current mass its holding and pick-it-up again.. thereby controlling the gravitational force.
- Trigger off Supernovas based on attracted mass to blow up bigger objects. Range and power of Supernovas depends on the current attracted mass.
- When Supernova is triggered, half of the current mass becomes debris again. The other half is lost in the explosion, thereby giving some limit to the number of times a player might want to activate his/her Supernova, adding a bit of strategy to the mechanic.
- Avoid random moving comets in the game map that will cause the player to lose mass if said comets collide with player.
- (Tentative Idea) Avoid meteor showers which occur every few minutes by finding blackholes to take shelter in. This mechanic and the one above give a semi-shooter edge to the game, and make it like a cross between katamari and some shooter like raystorm or something.. without the shooting.
- (Tentative Idea) Speed of UFO gets slower as mass increases thus making it harder to avoid said disasters and have players make choices as to when and how fast they think they should gain mass.
-(Tentative Idea) Reversal of the guide concept here, players might have to avoid attracting some stuff such as space bombs which will blow off mass as well if attracted by player. Speed of such bombs depends on the current mass of player.. so if the mass held is bigger.. such bombs will zoom more quickly towards player.

Ok.. basically, the above sums up the mechanics of the game... which lay a good foundation for some interesting gameplay scenarios. Some of which we came up with include:-

- Big Bang:
The most basic of objectives. Gather as much mass as possible within a time limit and activate a Supernova big enough to be a Big Bang!. Could be used as the tutorial scenario to introduce players to the mechanics of the game.

- Planet Formation:
Attract objects of certain elements in a certain composition to form different planets. For example.. attract enough red elements to form the planet Mars say.. while avoiding the blue elements that will be drawn towards the player but will diminish the count of the red elements. Supernova mechanic can be used to blow up big masses of red elements that are too huge to be attracted.. or to blow up planets to uncover the red elements hidden underneath them. For more challenging scenarios.. could build planets with more diverse compositions such as Earth, which require red inner core, brown middle layer and blue surface layer.

- Guide the Stars:
Attract enough mass to attract and guide stars (which cannot be assimilated by UFO, but can follow the attractive force of the player). Can guide such stars admist all the obstacles into a formation to form certain constellations like say, simple ones like Orion's belt, to more complicated ones like say Cancer.

- Planet Defense:
Sheng's good idea of a defense concept. Attract mass of objects to form barricades around a home planet to defend it from an alien invasion or a meteor storms which happen periodically. Bigger masses are able to sustain more hits than smaller ones totalled together. Drop them off in strategic positions to defend the home planet. Take too long and see your home planet destroyed before your very eyes.. yeah something like that.

- Boss Fight:
Attract mass of objects to launch through a cannon against a boss say, to Siwei's fancy, a space dragon. Or run in to trigger off Supernova blasts to damage the boss to kill it or chase it away.

So there... just some of the possible gameplay scenarios and objectives noted down from the simple mechanics. Jotted down so that we don;t forget the ideas we came up with. Now that we have decided on the gameplay idea and mechanics... anyone who comes up with any possible additions or ideas can just post freely here.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

angels and demons?

abit late for brainstorming, but this is the idea of the good/evil game i was thinking about:

main concept is somewhat similar to Black and White. but for B&W, you are a neutral god who can choose to lean towards the good or the evil sides. for my game idea tho, i'm trying to implement a system where you have to be both good and evil at the same time.

the background story could be a ludicrous comedic parody (like katamari) - humans are obsessed with their blasphemous Science, turning away from their roots. No one believes in the old stories of God and Devil anymore. They got real peeved at being ignored; now they are teaming up to convert men back to the true path again.

the core mechanics - probably a topdown perspective, a puzzle-like game. will probably be real-time rather than turn-based. the player controls one of two characters - the Angel or the Devil. characters can be switched in at any time, and each has its own set of powers and/or limitations too. for example, the devil cannot enter a church?

the aim for a stage will be to convert a certain number of people or specific targets. however, plaers will have to maintain a balance between the light and dark sides (god and devil are supposed to be buddies now) - so the player cannot just rely on using the devil's Nightmare powers while the target sleeps to pump his Dark belief; or to repeatedly Bless him so he is uninjured after suffering a car accident. the key is to think of creative ways for the two to work together to stage a setting and event so they can make their appearance and be worshipped/feared.

the biggest draw will probably be the interesting concept. the main problem is...we the developers will have to think of a LOT of possibilities to create a free non-linear gameplay. and as with many puzzle games, once a way has been found to complete a stage, replayability goes down. so it will definitely need a lot of work.