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Week of Awesome V: Day 1: Chains and Invaders


Greetings and salutations!

Once again, the "Week of Awesome" has come around, and once again I mean to enter!

The themes for this year are, I believe: "Chain Reaction", "Assassination", "Castles", and "Alien Invasion".

I'll confess that these themes gave me some trouble: it took me some time to find a concept that I was quite happy with--and even then, I'm not quite sure of the one that I've picked.

Of the four, I wasn't inclined to "Assassination". "Castles" I like, but setting the game in a castle felt a little obvious--something that I prefer to avoid. As to "Chain Reaction", the direct interpretation--gameplay involving one thing setting off another in rapid succession, as with explosive barrels placed beside each other--simply didn't interest me much.

I did fairly early come up with an approach to "Alien Invasion" that I rather liked: this needn't be a sci-fi concept. There's no reason that the aliens couldn't be from another dimension, or another celestial sphere, or even simply another world. And indeed, I intend to use this theme, under that the interpretation.

What then to use with it? Another thought that I had fairly early on was to reinterpret "Chain Reaction" not as a set of reactions, one prompting another, thus forming a "chain", but rather as reactions to or from chains. I toyed with a number of ideas here--ghosts in chains, swinging from chains, playing as a chain swinging itself around, and so on--but struggled to find something that both sufficiently met my liking and seemed like a good interpretation of the theme.

What I settled on in the end is this: The game-world is composed primarily of chunks joined by great chains. The player's weapons-fire can break these chains, sending the chunks flying apart, until at last they stop. After a brief pause, the chains reappear, and the chunks pull together again. Thus the chunks react to the presence or absence of the chains.

This way I intend to make an exploratory first-person-shooter: the player navigates from chunk to chunk, trying to find the way towards the top of a sort of "tower", where the game's goal (and final boss ;)) lies. Along the way they face enemies in old-fashioned shooter gameplay: quick movement, slow bolts of magic, etc. I also want there to be rewards for exploration: it's how additional weapons are found, as well as the traditional health powerups.

I'm a little nervous about how the judges will feel about this interpretation of the "Chain Reaction" theme. We'll see, however!

As to progress, I believe that I have the bare basics done: movement, an initial pass at weapons-fire, and some prototype geometry. I don't yet have chunk-movement in, or the chains, or enemies. Still, for the first day's work, I'm fairly happy with it! ^_^

That's all for today--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^


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