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Metallon

Thoughts on this game concept?

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Hello! I'm currently designing a game with a concept not quite like other game ideas I've had. I'm mainly doing it for fun, but it's still a serious project and the design does take programming, software and hardware into consideration. In other words, developing this game should be feasible for a small indie team. The concept is basically to have a game field consisting of a network of speherical slots divided into sections. Let me explain briefly how these sections are structured: Circles. There are circles of three different sizes. For practicality, I'll call them: Small circle. Medium circle. Large circle. - A small circle has a spherical slot in the middle with six surrounding slots in a mechanical circle. - A medium circle is a small circle with six additional surrounding slots in another mechanical circle. - A large circle is a medium circle with yet an additional six surrounding slots in the final exterior circle. Most slots are connected through lines, but not all. In addition, there may be nothing where a slot should be; in other words, a circle may contain six slots but could also contain less. It should also be noted that there may be one slot or a group of slots that are not counted as a circle (the difference between circles and non-circle sections will be explained below): Basic gameplay revolves around the player - represented by a large white spherical object moving around this network, using the lines to move around the slots. Moving to one slot counts as taking one step, and one step spends 10 Movement Points. The goal in the game will vary but for now, I've set the goal to simply progress to a specific point in the network. Usually, the path forward will be blocked through some sort of lock, and it will be up to the player to unlock it. This is done by collecting three (or more) key spheres that you have to place in line (vertically, horizontally or diagonally). The three slots must be all connected through lines. The player can also turn the circle or circles in order to alter the pathway to allow access to other slots or to form such a three-slot line. The player can also collect various spheres that can then be lined up like key spheres for special bonuses such as earning more time (if I implement a timer that counts down), more Movement Points or Life. Life is needed because sometimes one or several slots may be exposed to some sort of effect that depletes the player sphere's life - such an effect is preceded by a warning signal or a light around the dangerous slot. As an additional note, I'm not sure if I should have premade game fields or if I should consider randomized fields (either a randomized field based on certain requirements such as having at least X small circles, Y medium circles and Z large circles or N amount of overall nodes, etc? or just randomly placed lines?) I believe this is the basic premise, unless I've forgotten to add something... anyway, I have two points I'd like to discuss: 1) Do you think I should try to simplify the overall design in favor of casual gamers or should I keep it as-is and alienate some casual gamers but in return make it more appealing to gamers and even hardcore gamers? 2) Are the basic game mechanics fine, or is the design flawed? Did I miss a crucial part that will make this game very unbalanced?

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You don't need to change anything much at all so far as I can tell.
It's essentially a roller coaster maze of locking systems.

About the only thing I would change, based on what I've read, is remove the point spending to get to each circle and make it free moving from a force, like gravity or combined with options later such as propulsion (perhaps part of the trick is keeping up your momentum on a gauge), and instead slap a timer on the levels.

Then you get a much more intense rush of these mazes of connected circles and a push to figure out the locking systems for each node area of the network.

There's a very cool idea in what you've got there.

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I don't know if you just mistyped or something, but a circle contains many slots. Movement Points are spent to move to a slot.

The idea of keeping momentum as a gameplay aspect is interesting, but I don't know how that would fit in. What would I do with the slots (since they're an important part of the game) and if the game goes too fast, how will that affect the strategic thinking with turning the circles? I'll definitely think further into this as the idea to have constant movement and a momentum gauge is very interesting.

EDIT: Nevermind, I see now how the faster gameplay combined with it would (in theory) work out. I expressed myself wrong there. I meant to ask (myself more than anyone else) how the controls would work. I'm trying to keep this game as simple in controls as possible. If I were to play this on a console then no worries, but I'm also thinking about how the game would work on a computer, a Nintendo DS or an iPhone. But that's secondary, really.

Again, I'm going to see what I can make out of this momentum idea. Technically it would still allow the player to turn circles, collect spheres and other items. It would also enable additional bonus items like extending the time by adding seconds or something like that, and items that boost the momentum gauge. My only gripe with this is the puzzle-aspect of "placing spheres and turning circles".

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I would alter the circles and slots somewhat.

Make small circles 2 directional option.
Like train tracks, switch one or the other direction.

Medium circles 3 or 4 directional option.

And make large circles a combination puzzle to access the 6 directional options.

At the small circles and medium circles, they could hit a way-station prior to arriving at the circle that presents an over-head limited map that show directional options to trigger the circle to switch to.

If they don't trigger within a given time frame, it stays on default.

With the large circles, make them stopping points to determine the combination needed to unlock the door and rotate to the direction that is desired.
This is your puzzle-in-time-crunch spot, as well as your momentum-re-power zone as a launcher.

Make the multiple paths, each colored differently, and the circles can link together by these colored paths.

Make only one or two possible exit paths, (which may use a combination of different color tracks), and then make the other paths possible re-loop around to other parts of the track they have already been on.

How about moving it around a bit like that?

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I'm not entirely sure what you meant, but from what I understand, it's moving more towards a maze/kula world-esque game. While that could work, I may have to hesitate. I suppose it steers the game too for from what I I want it to be? What I can see in your idea is that you're essentially doing away with the slots, and opting to focus more on the paths and circles. With the slots merely being "connection points" that tells the player that one can reach another circle by following a path that connects two slots.

When further thinking about it, implementing the momentum mechanic would inevitably change the whole game. The intention was to still have it strongly based on problem-solving. So turning the circles and placing spheres on slots are ideas I think I want to keep, and I think that not having to worry about where the player is moving while working with the circles and spheres is a good thing. I'm still going to see what else you can do with the momentum concept. The idea of differently colored paths wasn't so bad either, one could work further on this. I have a few other ideas one could implement but it's kind of early at this stage.

Right, any other thoughts, people?

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