Game Idea a Day – Week 7

puzzle_prison_earlyThis week I have spent fairly productively prototyping a simple Action Puzzle game playable in VR with Google Cardboard. This idea actually came from my Idea A Day project entry on 1/20. Here is an early screenshot I posted in the MSP GameDev Slack.

I just checked, and my entire game ideas journal (in google drive) is 49 pages of pretty densely packed text. The first few entries don’t have dates on ’em, but the first one that does have a date is from 2010-04-14. Since high school, I’ve always had a paper journal I keep on me almost always (in my backpack). I fill one up much less frequently than I used to, now that most everything is digital. Anyway, it’s worth noting that a full 20 pages of my journal are entries since starting this project. Here are summaries from this week:

2/11 – Deckbuilding meets autorunner. Essentially I was thinking more about the idea from 1/29 and also about generative dungeons and had the idea to combine them. So you would have a deck of dungeon crawling “areas”, and a character that does the crawling. The character would move forward one dungeon segment every turn, no matter what you play, so if there is an enemy there, but you haven’t played the right equipment for him, that might be the end of your run.

2/12 – Thinking about goals in puzzle games, came up with a Tetris variant where you have pre-filled spaces on the board and you have to surround them. In retrospect, this is kind of like a “garbage clear” mode, but where the goal is to surround all the garbage instead of clearing it.

2/13 – Another action puzzle game idea, this one like bubble bobble, but you can only shoot upward into one lane at a time. Either turn-based, where you shoot and move on to the next lane immediately, or on a timer, where you can shoot into one lane at a time, but move to the next lane after a set amount of time.

2/14 – I’ve found there are definitely days where I think of a phrase or a game title, and then that becomes the brainstorm. I start exploring what it would look like. Sometimes, it’s just dumb, like this day’s phrase: “Hungry, hungry tetrominos”. I sort of sketched out a bunch of mechanics. About the only interesting thing that came from it was the idea of doing a square grid puzzle game, but rotated 45 degrees. That has potential.

2/15 – Obviously a lot of my ideas come from mashing up existing games and mechanics. For 2/15, I basically just started by listing out match-3 mechanics, trying to find a combination that hadn’t been done in some way before. (That I know about.) I ended up with a (quite short) list of powerups in match-3 games, (so actually two lists now that I think about it, but one was in bullet points, the other in a rambling paragraph), but not really anything original or useful.

2/16 – I hesitate to link this here, since I may not keep this up forever, but here’s that prototype I mentioned in last week’s post, one I’m calling Line Combine. To play it, you basically just click the arrows and that shoots a line into the game board. It’s definitely too easy (and random), as I have played it to about 200 or so points, with no sign of needing to stop. I’ll probably update that link if I work on it again. One thing that would be fairly easy would be to introduce more colors at some point, which would of course make it harder.

Anyway on 2/16 I had two entries: One was about ShipDeck mechanical changes needed to remove ammo and fuel cubes. (Don’t think I’ve mentioned ShipDeck on here before, but it’s a ship building deckbuilder that I’ve been working on for over two years now.) The second was how to use some of line combine’s mechanics in an isometric two-player platformer/battler game.

2/17 – A text adventure (with text parsing, like Zork) where you move around in (and explore) a world that is basically just colors and shapes. You have to figure out what’s going on (there is an abstract strategy game being played), then figure out what the rules of the game are (it shouldn’t be one that is already known), and then figure out how to play against an AI to “win” the game.

2/18 – I am so excited about this idea that I’m dying to begin prototyping. But I’m committing to getting the VR prototype playable before I start another one. Essentially, it’s an astronaut themed six degrees of freedom game, but played on a grid. So the grid spaces are subdivisions of a cube, and you can rotate the cube at any time to change the plane on which you are moving. I imagine the gameplay to be a mashup of Sokoban and Threes!, and I have quite a few specifics, but I think I want to keep them under wraps for now.