Here's a rough overview of the game idea. Keep in mind this is obviously a very early draft, and if things don't change significantly I'll be extremely surprised. Comments and suggestions are strongly encouraged (that's why I post stuff here!)
Some people call you mad, and that is true; you are mad. Mad that although you earned your Doctorate in Applied Mad Science your professors called your ideas "too outrageous even for mad science" and denied you any postgraduate funding. Mad that your father managed to spend the entire family fortune on his own latest experiment, only to blow up most of the laboratory (and himself) in the process. Mad that you are now left with nothing but the lttle gear you had at graduate school, your crumbling ancestral castle, and the old family retainer and faithful servant Igor to continue with your research. But that's not going to stop you! You'll show them!! You'll show them ALL!!!!!
Live the life of a Mad Scientist. Build your skills, obtain new equipment, perform acts of Mad Science, deal with random events and keep everything teetering in that fine point between loss of productivity and total disaster.
Genre and Graphics
I'm not that sure about the specific gameplay genre this game will eventually be classified as (I'm not a huge fan of genres), but given the heavy time constraints I expect this will be like a strategy management RPG style game, with mostly text and either still 2D graphics or reminiscent of that type of animation you see in those really cheap cartoons. The closest example I have seen to the gameplay style recently would be Cute Knight, although I strongly suspect my game will play a lot differently to that [smile]
Here's a sample picture I whipped up to give you an idea of the style. I still need lots of work on my art skills, but this isn't that bad and is a fair indicator of what the graphics in the game will hopefully be like:
The game will be set in a castle overlooking a village somewhere in Eastern Europe; probably somewhere like Bavaria (Germany), Transylvania (Romania), or somewhere in Austro-Hungary, although I might not have to make this clear. Time period will be some most likely sort of cartoonish 19th century.
There will be a lot of stats that need to be balanced; exactly what are yet to be determined. However given the emphasis of the intellectual aspects of the Mad Scientist, many of the stats will be mental and some emotional. For example:
Sanity: Get too crazy, and you'll spend too much of your time laughing insanely, gibbering in paranoia, and performing other destructive acts. However, get too sane and you won't have the inspiration you need to dream up new ways to defy the natural order of the universe. It's a fine balancing act.
Humanity: Morality is all good and nice, but often it is easier and sometimes vital for your research to know when to perform acts that some people might regard as a little bit questionable. However go too far and your practical approach to learning anatomy might earn you the epithet "The Ripper" and some unwanted attention
Fear (Village): Unafraid villagers will be helpful and courteous to you, but it can be distracting having to fetch yet another ball that a pesky kid has lobbed through your castle window. Scared villagers are less likely to deal with you, either for good or ill. And if the villagers get too scared, that might attract the attention of those annoying monster hunters prowling through Europe...
Anger (Village): Similar to fear, villagers who like you are more helpful than ones who think you are evil incarnate. The strong difference in effect is if the village hates you much more than they fear you, then you are in serious danger of feeling the serious end of a lynch mob's pitchfork.
Respect: One of the goals of the game is to gain the respect of other mad scientists. Perform acts of Mad Science to do this, and win the coveted awards at the annual European Conference of Mad Science!
You might be able to get research material with just a shovel, a cloudy night, and a nearby graveyard, but quality glassware and lightning rods aren't free! You will need to earn money by performing some useful research, selling potions, or by doing contract work for clients who want something "special" made for them. Then you can restock your lab with the finest equipment money can buy! Or rather Igor can, as you tend to be a bit too busy for menial work....
The seal of the Royal Academy of Mad Science is symbolic of what you are trying to achieve; fame in the world of mad science. It is included on all their official paperwork and on the certificates of merit and awards from their conferences. Earn as many awards as you can to gain maximum Mad Scientist points.
I'm a bit unclear on whether all those elements will be suitable (Emblem is a bit iffy), but hopefully this is all okay from respect to the rules of the competition. I'm also unsure of whether this is achievable in the few months I have, but even if I can't get this finished on time it sounds like a really fine game idea in general and worthy of completing even if it goes overtime.
As always, any questions and comments will be welcome!