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lunch hour games

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The topic is short-form games, and specifically what kinds of elements could be used to further the style. I''ve had a few ideas dealing specifically with lunch hours: 1) The player should be able to indicate a specific duration (possibly with some minimum and/or maximum limits for developer sanity). 2) The game would then organize itself around keeping to that deadline. This has several consequences: a) The AI would probably become steadily more aggressive b) The levels would have to be somewhat dynamic or be pre-categorized so that time didn''t become a factor. c) The endgame would preferably be very, very quick so that the player can spend most of their time engaged in the heart of the gameplay. Anyone have any other thoughts here? ld

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The company I''m working for is into PDA games - some of these are aimed at people who only use their PDAs as a toy in their spare time, which is, indeed, lunch time.

I don''t think it''s necessary to actually have to stop the game once the lunch hour is over. Allowing an extended pause function can also be good.

Unlike other games, which need to keep the player playing as long as possible, these games should allow short bursts of fun that aren''t too hard to interrupt. This also means the replayability should be much higher: there must be some kind of almost immediate reward for the player for picking up the pad.

Concerning the "short bursts" idea, any kind of game without continuous gameplay is fine (this means that there should be definite levels with stressed-on transitions between them where the player can save). Unlike other games, we don''t want to give the player a feeling of continuity. You should rather be cutting the game into short pieces so the player isn''t frustrated to stop playing.

Concerning the immediate reward for playing:
- Make so the player can only advance. The player will be playing if whatever he does, he can only improve. Instead of losing things, simply make the player gain fewer things than if he had played perfectly.
- Great action, special effects, explosions and other "ooooh"-inducing effects can bring players back.
- Always allow for more than one activity for the player. This might come from having different game modes (teamplay/deathmatch), having different ways for the player to solve levels (stealth, firepower, speed), or several open missions the player can attempt.

Victor Nicollet, INT13 game programmer

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Nice ideas. If it''s for lunch time, it''d be nice to be playable primarily with one hand (eat with other). So mouse-only or one-side-of-keyboard-only games.
I also agree with ToohrVyk about pausing/saving.

- WarbleWare

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