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The 4 E's of game design

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Yay, its time again for the 4 elements contest! I really want to get together a submission this year. I have missed out the last few years due to inexperience, apathy, and just being too busy. This summer, I'm not working (for another month, then just part time), I have learned quite a bit about game programming and theory, and I have hopefully conquered the laziness.

The elements from this contest really caught me off guard. Previous contests were just 4 small things that could easily be incorporated. This contest uses much more advanced concepts that will greatly affect the gameplay.

Unfortunately, my current engine is not mature enough to even be considered for such a project. I want to spend most of this time working on the gameplay, rather than tweaking DirectX to get decent font rendering... Therefore, I'm going to be using a free graphics/game engine. Currently I am looking at Ogre3D. It has pretty much all the graphics features I would need and I have a bit of experience with it. Of course, depending on the game I design, other engines may prove more useable.

Right now, I am trying to come up with various game ideas that could incorporate these elements. I guess I can list some for people to criticize/expand upon.

1. A kind of survival game based in a small european town. You must learn to survive in a quaint european town. You can find a job, buy food/other goods, rent hotel rooms, etc. Of course, unless I can expand further, this won't be too exciting. And how to incorporate emotions and some emblem without being to hackish...

2. Invasion of Europe. Some country declares war on some European country and decides to invade its capitol. I could go either way (you invade or defend), but the city would have to be fairly recognizable (like Paris or Rome). This could be more exciting than the previous idea. The Europe, and emblem parts would be set, but not alot of room for economy and emotion...

3. An underground militia type group trying to gain control of a country. Perhaps the government has become too totalitarian and you must regain democracy. The emblem could either be your faction or the government. The setting could convey a very frightened/depressing environment. Obviously it could be based in some recognizable european city. Finally, the economy can be of the weapons/supplies you will need to fuel the uprising.

Number 3 is currently my personal favorite. It looks like I would be able to incorporate all the elements fairly fuidly and could still be quite fun. Whether I can actually implement the gameplay and such is not certain. Of course, I'm going to need to expand on whatever idea I choose and get a good design doc going to have any chance.

My modelling/composing skills suck pretty bad, so I may need help there at some point. I am planning on using free/crappy models/textures of my own creation until I can get some good gameplay going. Then I may consider looking for a 3D modeller to make it a bit prettier.

If you have any suggestions for ideas or expansions/complaints with my ideas, feel free to post!
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While I think 3 is your best bet, there is some definate room for economy with 2. War costs money, ships, planes, tanks, weapons, and soldiers are exactly cheap. Of course the same thing could be said for 3.

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