Monday, October 15, 2012

Here it is... My first game! *Update*

Finally. I finished my first real game! Try it now: SameGame

Screenshot from "SameGame"

It's done with the CraftyJS Framework and is based on a tutorial by starmelt which you can find here.

Comments with your highscores are always welcome!

UPDATE: Changed the light green to dark green, apparently there where some people who couldn't see the difference between light green and yellow. Nice reminder to have good tests for all your games before you publish them.

Focus on!

Today I will write about game focus and use one of my game ideas as an example. Maybe you remember this game idea, this is what I would want the focus for this game to be:

The game is an on survival based role-playing game. The player takes the role of a refugee and his experience will be based on the development of this character. It is the players decision if he want to play his character alone or use him to lead other NPCs in order to survive by building up a town. While doing so he needs to collect resources while being under steady attacks from his unfriendly environment. So the player while experience the feeling of being in danger while he struggles to keep himself and his town alive and growing. The overall tone of this game is a very dark one.
This is the focus I like to create. It doesn't tells you all about the game play or anything but what the main aspect of this game should be.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Wouldn't it be cool... My favorite!

As a last part of this mini series I like to present the idea I like the most and which I hope to realize soon. I have to admit I got greatly influenced by two (indie-) games while coming up with this idea. So I guess it's not a totally innovative one, but on the side I think those are very rare and not necessarily to create a good new game experience. Of course you can't just copy one game but by connecting good parts from two different games you can create a whole new experience for the player. At least that's what I say to myself when I think of this idea ;)

So here are the two games I was talking about:

Screenshot from Minicraft 
Here you play the game in your browser and also find a description about it's creation, read it!

Dwarf Fortress
Screenshot of Dwarf Fortress - yes that's how the vanilla game looks like
Here is the official site of the game. It's really hard to get into the game as it's not easy and has almost no help for beginners which I consider a flaw of it, but there are a lot of helpful tutorials around the forums and it's really worth it because you can do so much in it. One very good example of deep game play with lots of opportunities.

And now my idea:
The Refugee-becomes-the-survivor-in-the-wildness-and-starts-his-own-civilization-game 
(I did mention that names are not that easy right?)

Technology: 2D, isometric view
Gameplay: You control one character in a random generated world which is kinda 3D (don't know how to describe properly but you have an x, y and z axis). You would just need keys to move in the world plus one for interaction with objects, one for your inventory and one for your character screen. You would start with just a few tools but similar to minecraft you can chop wood or mine into mountain to get stone and ores to produce better tools, weapons and armor for yourself. You are not alone in the world with enemy of different strengths will roaming around and attack you if the spot you so you always have to be ready to defend yourself. Of course you always can choose to build yourself a house or any other kind of safeplace because you are able to build walls, floors, doors and all those kind of stuff with the materials you collect. You could go on like this as long as you want while improving yourself and exploring more and more of the world. Up to this point I guess it's pretty much minecraft with a different view but i want to give the player the opportunity to build up city in this game. You would do so by building some sort of special buildings which attract NPC who populate them and do different jobs in your city. An example would be to build a little house with fields nearby which would attract farmer to join you. All in all there would be different profession from guards to smiths and so on and you would need a good mix of them to keep your city running well. All the NPC are controlled by the computer so your task is not really the micro management but more the macro management.
Story: You are a refugee from an evil empire and fled to unknown lands in order to escape some kind of punishment. You can choose to try to survive on your on or as pointed out above you could try to unite other refugees and build up your own city and maybe even an empire to fight the evil empire.

By the way I found an article interviewing Notch the creator of "Minicraft" where he speaks about innovation and ideas (and some other stuff) and I think he would agree with my statements at the beginning of the article. You can read it here. So at least one of the creator of the influencing games would not sue me for realizing this ;)

Wouldn't it be cool... Where to get an idea

Where do you get ideas from? Well basically I think that you should try to make the kind of games you would like to play, if your lucky people will feel the same about it. At least that's my approach for the moment, we will see how it will work out.

In my last post I presented my first game idea by writing about three category which gives the reader a basic understanding of what the author tries to describe: the technology used, the game play and the story the game wants to tell. I haven't come up with this method on my own but again got it from Richard Rouse III and his book "Game Design Theory and Practice, Second Edition" (seriously, get the book if you're interested in this topic!).

In the arena of computer game design, the process of coming up with a game idea that will work is complicated by a number of factors fiction authors do not need to worry about. In part this is because computer game ideas can come from three distinct, unrelated areas of the form: gameplay, technology, and story. These different origins are interconnected in interesting ways, with the origin of the game’s idea limiting what one will be able to accomplish in the other two areas. So when a game designer starts thinking about the game she is hoping to make — thinking about it in terms of gameplay, technology, or story — it is important that she consider how that initial idea will impact all aspects of the final game.
 Richard Rouse,Game Design Theory and Practice, Second Edition 
So here is my next idea, which by the was created by thinking about an old school game ported to modern platforms and I had to think about this game I played a lot during school.

The Tron-Light-Bike-Drawing-Fight (Names are hard)

Technology: 2D, just drawing some lines so nothing fancy
Gameplay: Each player controls a different colored line. Each line moves with the same speed forward and the player can just control the direction with a left and right button. If you press any button your line makes a curve to that direction as long as the button is pushed, if no button is pressed the line goes straight forward. A player loses and his line stops moving when you hit the boundaries of the game or a line from another player or your own. You can see all the time the whole game area so it's not moving with you in any way. The winner is the one one survives the longest. I think this is actually and pretty simple game play but my friends and I had a lot of fun with it in the hot seat mode because of it's competitive nature. I would like to port it to smartphones so that you can play it together with your friends over bluetooth, wifi or your data connection.
Story: Nah there's no for this one, maybe something like the TRON lightbikes, they make everything cool.

Wouldn't it be cool...Some game ideas

The basic must have thing as a game designer are cool game ideas and I would like to present you some of mine here in this blog. On the on hand I can train to write my ideas down in a way other people who are not familiar with my thinking can understand them and on the other hand you can then criticize them as much as possible. These both aspects are very important, you have to work with others in a team in order to create games and so they need to understand your vision which is just achievable by telling them in a proper way. But if you tell somebody your thought you must be ready to accept comments and criticism both are very important for you because you can use them to improve your ideas. No matter how they sound to you, there is always space for improvements and sometimes you need other people to point that out for you.

I think I will present some of them in post starting with "Wouldn't it be cool.." because, well I hope it would be cool if those ideas could be become games.

Let's start with the first one: Since I played World of Warcraft a lot, I mean really quite some time, it always fascinated me who addictive this game could be. I think it was the progression you character made by getting leveling up and later getting new equipment together with friends was the secret. Because of that  I thought how you could adapt this to the new big trend in the gaming industry, the social games.

The social dungeon crawler
Technology: 2D, isometric view
Gameplay: Basically it is a dungeon run game, where you can go to different dungeons with a groups of your friends. In the dungeons the monster would drop coins, armor, weapons and so on so that you get better equipment with every dungeon run. Also you gain experience with takes you to new levels and unlocks new, more dangerous dungeons. Of course the quality of the loot depends on the level of the dungeon. Players can choose for every character a base class like warrior , ranger or mage and specialize with every level. While this all is kinda basic stuff and there are many games which have those features I like to concentrate on the social aspect of the game. In the really good dungeons you can just go with a group from 3 to 5 people so you need to gather your friends. If you have you would automatically join a voice chat when entering the dungeon the exchange and make tactics and so on because the harder dungeon would require more than just basic hit and run. Of course you also can trade your loot with your friends so it's basically a simple World of Warcraft for Facebook.
Story: It's fantasy themed, so most of the dungeons would try to tell a story about a villain or be part of a larger quest to save a kidnapped child or stuff like this.

In the next post of this series I will explain why I have choose to split it each idea into these three categories (technology, gameplay, story) of course together with the next game.