Archive for February, 2010

New Game Idea: Snake Tower

23 February, 2010

I know I already promised to be making Symbll, but I must place that project on hiatus. That is right, I put it on the back burner. Reason: I thought up a new idea for a game! Well I’ve thought of several, but this one has the best chance of surviving the rigors of development.

I present you with the concept of Snake Tower (bullshit name for now…I mean secret covert redundant name *Ahem*). The concept is to mix a little game called Nibbler (Snake for those younger ones) with tower defense. How is this possible? Well think of moving around trying to avoid your “tail” and then deciding on where to strategically place yourself as a tower to blast away enemies. The “tail” will actually be walls which the enemies can not cross unless there is no direct path to the object you are defending (in which case it will only slow them down). The player can choose to turn into a tower at any time, which will automatically shoot enemies, at the cost of being stationary. This will add an element of constantly thinking about your position and force you to think of the best place to set up a tower. The object being defended will be an object, possibly animated, which the player will also have to keep track of at all times. When in tower mode your walls slowly crumble, leaving your defenses depleting while you take on enemies. If this seems like a daunting task, well don’t fret! The enemies will on occasion drop power ups, along with dropping a sum of money. The power ups will be temporary, but the money will last until you spend it on upgrades. Every aspect of the game will be upgradable/degradable. The length of the walls behind you, the amount of time the walls last while in tower mode, the width of the walls, the amount of damage the walls do if enemies cross over, and other things that people associate with wall upgrades. Different types of weapons for your tower? You bet! Enemy difficulty? You can control that too! Speed, hit points, defense, its all there! Different level types abound! Numerous play modes! Story modes, survival modes, hardcore modes, median modes, and multiplayer modes!

Expect it for all ages. Release date: this spring for a demo and summer for release!

Ambitious, bold, exciting, beautiful…


Part 2: Linear Games, Linear Stories

7 February, 2010

Often linear games can be more engaging than other formats. Consider that a person who is writing a linear game will know exactly when an event will occur. A writer can then know how characters have interacted, and how players have interacted with their characters. In open ended games a writer must create an immense world in which the player might never fully interact with. I would much rather spend more time creating a full story and character knowing the player will interact with that character, and that they won’t just overlook the character in a crowd. This is why even open-ended games have some linear element to them. I would be grateful to see a game with complete interactivity along with the depth and width of a 100,000 word novel, but its infinitely complex. Its always a trade-off between interaction and story telling. I recently played Bioshock for the first time a week ago. The game pulled me in immediately, and only in a way that a linear game could. For example, if I was allowed to just roam the streets of an underwater city I would have no idea where to start. For the first hour I would probably try to find a purpose to exploring. With the linear story though you are given exactly that purpose up front. Do x to receive y. Meet with x to talk about y. If something odd is going on, the player knows it will be explained soon, without the player having to ask everyone in a town what is going on (receiving the same 2 answers from everyone).

In any other format, creating a strong bond with a character might be difficult, if not impossible. Creating a bond might not be with just a character you control, but other characters in the story. For example in the Mega Man series the player never controls Dr. Willy, but has a strong bond to him because he is Mega Man’s creator. In Resident Evil 4 the player has to protect the president’s daughter, and after a while the player will probably despise helping her out. However, the player still feels a stronger connection to her than a guard in World of Warcraft (or really any MMO). A player could imagine the guard as being the next king and set upon defending the guard from any danger that approaches. After a while of defending the guard the player will probably find it pointless, as the guard will respawn when it dies. In the act of making the game open-ended, the player has no real way to bond with the guard. It is just another object in the world. In a linear game there could be a sequence where the player must aid the guard in defending a castle, and during the fight the player learns about who the guard really is. Perhaps later in the game the player will be able to visit the guard and have a conversation about when they defended the castle together. It seems like a tiny point in what a game is, but these little bits add up to the overall engagement of the player with the game. The experience can be vastly more rewarding than the ability to defend any guard who will never truly interact with the player.