This morning, during my lunch break, I quickly opened my computer to check the theme. I expected the theme would be something like the last 2 years: Only really having a influence in the graphics department, any game mechanic could be translated to fit the theme. So when I found the theme of the front page, and found it was "Death is useful" I was totally surprised to find a theme that related to gameplay. It would still be possible to have a story based on this, but I feel like this theme is best explored as a gameplay feature. I was thinking about how death of your game character could be useful. First, I thought of a game where the goal is to die, but I didn't like that idea. I wanted a way where death is normally negative, but in special situations can actually have a positive impact. Then I had a idea: When the player dies, he/she loses a significant amount of score. This is sometimes good because there is a relatively very difficult mini-game where you can try to regain some of this score, and even more then you lost of you are skilled and lucky enough.
After some more thinking, I decided to make something similar to a game on yoyogames called something like geowars, which was loosely based on asteroids. In that game, you need to kill as much stuff as possible before you die. I decided to vary this a bit so death isn't bad, in my game, you need to kill as much stuff as possible withing a time limit. If you die, you lose a lot of score, and are teleported to another world with very narrow passages to fly threw, and more enemies. If you die there, you come back. Usually you will only spend a couple of seconds in the other place, considering how difficult it is, and if you spend maybe 30, you match the score you lost by dying.
I feel like it's really important to get the core gameplay in place as fast as possible. Right now, you can move around, shoot, kill enemies, and collect score. Tomorrow I will implement the time limit, and the special stage. It all depends on how much homework I get.