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Punk Designer

The Challenge?

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Hello, It's time for a game designers challenge; I was reading this Thread Jbadams was telling some new chap about maybe "following a set of rules or working within some set of constraints" and this got me thinking, wouldn't that take away from your options? I read on and he recommended reading Dogma 2001. I read this through and I suggest you to the same, it got me thinking, where would most normal everyday game concepts that get batted around these forums (mainly by me) like a little white block from pong everyday, where would they be with out such characters as robots, hostile aliens, orcs or even humans. I know most of my settings for a game are on earth or our world right here right now, or some magical woodland land, etc. So here is what I propose, the same as what Ernest Adams of Gamasutra suggested, five rules, five vows if you will, actaully make it six and with this, create a game concept, and post it below. This challenge goes out to all game designers as the guide lines will be easy enough. So please, don't stop reading, read the six commands and see if you are an imaginative game designer. I'm not for one minute saying I don’t love the characters of orcs or hostile aliens, I’m not saying I don't love the classic struggle between man and machine and I’m definitely not saying get rid of the classics, but lets just, for a few minutes, think what we can do with out all this. 1) The Game must use only two input devices, Mouse and keyboard. (Any other input devices will not be allowed, no microphone or touch screens here!) 2) The Game must not use any stereotypes or pre defined characters/objects from any previous game/novel/movie/real. (These include things like orcs, wizards, wenches, bards, bartenders, golems, giants, clerics, necromancers, thieves, gods, angels, demons, sorceresses, undead bodies or body parts (mummified or decaying), Nazis, Russians, spies, mercenaries, space marines, storm troopers, star pilots, humanoid robots, evil geniuses, mad scientists, carnivorous aliens or even vampires) 3) The Game will consist of three screens and no cinematic/cut-scenes/openings/endings, These Three screens will be Menu, Game and Win/Lose. (Menu is of course allowed to have an "options" button which leads into a new screen to allow changing of graphics/audio but not game play) 4) The Game will have no violence or direct killing; the games cannot be based around the mobilization or construction of armed forces. (This means no blood, corpses, visual representation of murder, no spending money on armies to do the players biding) 5) The Game cannot be one of the following or relate to the following genres of game - First Person Shooter, Side Scroller, Military Strategy (turn based or real time), sports, or driving/flying game of any type. (This means no Mario games, no half life’s, no football, no Command and conquer and no flight Sims.) 6) Included in the game documents must be a full financial out line from pre production to retail, the budget must suit you as a person, if you can't afford to spend $5million on a game then spend what you can. (From the hiring of programmers, modelers and artists to website space, advertising and maybe even retail? how would you do it.) This may seem like I’ve taken a lot out of game concepts, but this should be easy for those who really can think out-side the box, I know my head is already popping with ideas that clash with one or more of the rules. I hope this is alright and that everyone gets involved, even those admin chaps who type so well. Good luck and happy game designing. [Edited by - Punk Designer on January 14, 2008 3:48:20 PM]

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When you say no stereotypes, what do you mean? I'm guessing 'stereotype' also applies to cowboys, farmers, businessmen or an I missing the point? Is it not using stereotypes normally found in games? Does breaking the stereotype make it okay? For example a farmer who is actually an alien?

Or are you requiring a 'normal' person?

One game style is top down, is this not allowed too?


Games that might fit your restrictions: Harry the handsome executive, an abstract collecting game, paperboy?


To speak honestly, this seems retarded. There are good reasons clichés are used, they make the player feel secure and they are fun. This is the reason Pirates of the Caribbean is so successful, it's a quintessential pirate movie, nothing more.

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No,

See this is what I didn't want, people to instead of humor the challenge to attack it.

I said that I loved stereotypes, I love cowboys and all sorts, and I understand completely the need to keep games familiar I mean, for example given the choice between a tiger tank and a VX-356 L.T.S destroyer, which one are you going to be able to use? The tank of course because you understand generally what one is.

Now, in regards to stereotypes I meant solely those used in predominately in games, such as knights, cowboys (yes cowboys), etc. This does not mean of course you can't use them, as you suggested mixing and breaking the stereotypes is allowed as it is not pre-defined, which means you as a designer are thinking out side of the box, innovation if you will.


I said nothing about top down style, as I don't think it's over used, unless you are going to come up with an asteroids clone...I also said nothing about simulations though if you want to think really out side of the box you will try to think about something that isn't hotel tycoon or theme park.

Now can you think of a game that is innovative? Or maybe I need to re think these rules?

Thank you.

[Edited by - Punk Designer on January 14, 2008 3:25:56 PM]

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Quote:
Original post by Umbrae
To speak honestly, this seems retarded. There are good reasons clichés are used, they make the player feel secure and they are fun. This is the reason Pirates of the Caribbean is so successful, it's a quintessential pirate movie, nothing more.


So there's nothing to be gained by experimenting with new things then? By perhaps creating new clichés?
Makes you wonder why the dogma movies got so popular then, doesn't it?

Obviously, the point with this exercise isn't to make the next Halo killer. It is simply to, well, design games. Design without using all the predefined building blocks that have been used to death twice already.

Perhaps you missed the "challenge" part of the OP? [wink]

Personally I'd add in one more constraint though. (Perhaps to replace one of the others)

The game has to actually get made. That places a constraint on how complex things can get. Can you make something that's fun, with a smaller budget than Halo 4? [grin]
Something that a designer (who may not even be a programmer) can actually complete?

That was a major motivation for the Dogma films that inspired the Gamasutra article too. It had to be possible to actually *make* the movies without a Hollywood-sized budget.

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I love it,

I did think that was apart of Dogma but I didn't want to add it to this as we were just bouncing ideas of the wall that is gamedev.net

But let’s try going half and half, rule/command/vow six -

6) Included in the game documents must be a full financial out line from pre production to retail, the budget must suit you as a person, if you can't afford to spend $5million on a game then spend what you can. (From the hiring of programmers, modelers and artists to website space, advertising and maybe even retail? how would you do it.)

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Here is what I was thinking:

A game where you control a colony of ants, from queen and a few workers to a million strong empire spawning hundreds of meters underground and above. I would have it text based, though there would be an animated map in a box in the right hand corner which shows you the extent of your colony (shows black space around a white square with the letter Q in it, the map would be a Grid as well A-ZZZZ and 1-9999) The way you control the ants is by inputting commands, like "Dig" being the command "tunnel" what you want them to dig "G1" and where you want them to dig. As your colony extends you will learn new commands and your empire will grow, commands like "build" will come available (completely fantasy setting you must understand) and soon enough your queen (or third by the time it happens) will be able to talk back, tell you what she thinks needs to happen (based on figures and facts from your colony) and soon all the ants will be communicating and talking and you will have yourself a proper race. The game will be teemed with food supply and demand, living space and demand, etc. The game will also have random events, like floods, birds, etc.

I was also thinking of adding in as a secondary part of the game, warrior ants, the right to defend yourself against other bugs and other ant colonies, though death wouldn't be represented so it would steer clear of the violence rule.

What you thinking so far?

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It sounds like this exercise would be made easier by taking an extremely effective hallucinogen and randomly scribbling lines and incoherent concepts down on paper.

I won't say the goal itself is a bad one, but I personally wouldn't want anything to do with the result. I like new things, but I like to have those new things rooted in familiar ground. Too much change all at once is bad for my smile.

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Here is my idea:

It is based on Conways Game of Life.

In this game, the idea is to drain your opponent of their Elan Vital resource.

Each player has a drawing region at the bottom of their Game Screen. In this drawing region, they can place "Cells" of their colour. Drawing Cells overwrites any cells in the drawing area. Players can not draw Cells outside their drawing area. The drawing region is aproximately 1/4 of the screen height and extends completely across the play field.

Once a cell is drawn it will be subjetc to a modified rule set of Conway's Game of Life.

Modified Conways game of life rule set:
1) If there are exactly 2 cells of any colour surounding a cell of any coulour then the cell remains in the same state and the same colour.

2) If there are exactly 3 cells surounding another then the surounded cell will become active and take on the colour of the greater number of cells surounding it. SO if there are 3 Red cells surounding a cell, then it will become active and take on the colour "Red", or if there were 1 Red cell and 2 blue cells then the cell will become active and tak on the colour "Blue" (where red and blue are the colours of the two players).

3) With any other combination the surounded cell is switched off and looses it's colour.


Each player starts off with some "Elan Vital", this is a resource that is used when drawing cells in the player's drawing zone.

Players can gain Elan Vital by erasing cells of their own colour from their own drawing zone. This give an equal amount as it would take to draw a cell. As the number of cells can increase after the player has drawn then, this can be used by a skillful player to generate resources.

If the opponent has cells within your Drawing area you will slowly loose Elan Vital. The speed of the drain is the same regardless of the number of enemy cells in your drawing area.

To win the game you have to drain your opponent of their Elan Vital, and still have some yourself. If a player places too many cells in their draw area without "Harvesting" them, then they can drain themselves of Elan Vital and loos the game that way.

Quote:
1) The Game must use only two input devices, Mouse and keyboard

It really only needs to use the mouse.

Quote:
2) The Game must not use any stereotypes or pre defined characters/objects from any previous game/novel/movie/real.

It is an abstract game.

Quote:
3) The Game will consist of three screens and no cinematic/cut-scenes/openings/endings, These Three screens will be Menu, Game and Win/Lose.

Although I didn't directly specify this in my post, it only needs these 3 screens.

Quote:
4) The Game will have no violence or direct killing; the games cannot be based around the mobilization or construction of armed forces.

On this rule it do skirt the edge, however, it is an abstrsact game so there is no violence as such, and although you are using cells to take over the game board, you are not really mobilizing or constructing "Armed Forces"

Quote:
5) The Game cannot be one of the following or relate to the following genres of game - First Person Shooter, Side Scroller, Military Strategy (turn based or real time), sports, or driving/flying game of any type. (This means no Mario games, no half life’s, no football, no Command and conquer and no flight Sims.)

Again, skirting the RTS limitation. It is an abstract game, and if you could argue that Checkers (Draughts) would fail this criteria, than I'll accept that.

In any game where you have to make choices in real time could be argued on some level to be a RTS game. So as far as that goes, it is an RTS.

Quote:
6) Included in the game documents must be a full financial out line from pre production to retail, the budget must suit you as a person, if you can't afford to spend $5million on a game then spend what you can. (From the hiring of programmers, modelers and artists to website space, advertising and maybe even retail? how would you do it.)

To do a full financial outline for this kind of game, would probably take longer than to make the game itself. It would probably take a single programmer a week to make this game, it has not great art requierments (but you could make the cells look like biological cells if you really want) and althogh it would requier internet/network access, it would not be too hard to code that functionallity in.

As for marekting, I would look at the causual game market adn place it on one of the websites dedicated to promoting them and including it as part of such collections and sales would be handled the same way.

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