As part of my day-to-day schedule over the summer, I am currently studying a fantastic book on game design and its related topics. To give it it’s full title ‘Design and content creation’ which is a gamedev.net collection, is in essence a collection of articles from various sources, but mostly gamedev.net. I’ll give it a full review once I’m finished with it, but it looks promising so far. One of the early articles makes the point that before you sketch or write anything about your game, you should have it fully imagined in your head. That includes the general look and feel, the characters, levels, game play mechanics and so on. Today I’m going to talk about some of the ideas I have fostered in my mind in response to this over the last few days, and some snippets of other things I have gleaned during the process.
The first thing to consider with this sort of undertaking is your restrictions. It’s no good designing the next Elder scrolls clone if you don’t have the money, staff, or ability to pull it off. So far I’ve been focusing on a 2D game, perhaps suitable for the android or iOS market. I’m also considering my own personal artistic abilities at the moment, which affects what’s possible and what’s available to you. The final point I’ve considered so far is the mechanics, which is where I have thought the least. I think for the type of games available to me, there needs to be one or two simple, addictive game play mechanics. Whatever these turn out to be, they need to be easy to pick up and play with, but a bit tougher to master and beat the harder levels with. There’s not going to be any complex systems, believe me!
So, in accordance with what’s been said, you’ll understand why there is no artwork so far. It’s unlikely this game will ever get made but I’ll attempt to flesh it out once the concept is clear in my mind. The main premise I have so far is a sort of reversal of space invaders. You control an asteroid, and it’s your job to fly into the path of ships, satellites, stations and so on, and gain points for each destroyed item. I’ve toyed with how this would be achieved but haven’t reached a concrete conclusion yet. I can’t decide whether ‘controlling’ an asteroid would seem too weird or not. Regardless, the mechanic would probably by one or two degrees of freedom, with possibly some sort of firing mechanism, of what I am not sure. The points system would be fairly simple and any initial implementations of this would certainly have no networking capabilities. I basically envisage a level system based on different planets or solar systems.
I guess the theme would be pretty simple. You control a standard looking rock in space, and crash it into stereotypical looking ships and so on. Perhaps later levels could include alien devices and so on. The graphics would be limited to rough and cartoony, but as a mostly educational project I really don’t mind. At this stage, I won’t bother making the visuals for the points system too wacky, and just concentrate on the key items being recognisable and the game play being fun. I’ll try to update when things move along a bit more!