Sink into the Sea of Imagination

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.


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