Game Idea a Day – Week 9

The big news this week is that I made a gameplay trailer for Puzzle Prison. I hope you like the VR game ideas, because there are a bunch of them this week!

2/26 – An idea for a sort of idle/unfolding game where there are floating stores in the sky. It’s a side-scrolling platformer type game, but you can’t jump, so you have to buy tetromino shaped ground pieces to get to each new store (where you can buy upgrades and additional ground pieces, etc). I’m not sure I’ve seen any idle games with character movement in them, much less the “building” aspect of the tetrominos.

2/27 – Thinking about first-person puzzle games, and scale. I like the idea of pushing really giant things around. The idea was a sort of sokoban style block pushing game, but the blocks are HUGE, and also contain their own push puzzles inside them. So you have to push them around to get to the puzzles inside them. (And presumably find collectables or something inside them.)

2/28 – While watching visualizations at an Animal Collective concert (my first concert in years, thanks Dan for the ticket!), I started thinking about a territory game played on some colorful images. Essentially the first player picks a pixel in the image, and then the second player has to make a 2D polygon using that pixel. Your score is a percent of the volume of the polygon used, based on how close in color the other pixels you chose are. So if you manage to color-match perfectly, your score would be the entire volume. Then you pick a pixel for the other player. (I just had the idea to try and play the game with a vine, or other looping image, instead of a single image. That could be interesting.)

2/29 – Had a simple idea for a cat painting game. (I like the ambiguity here, so I’m leaving it at that.)

I also spent a bunch of time documenting some thoughts I’ve had about level progression in Puzzle Prison.

3/1 – Thinking about a sandbox game that literally takes place in a sandbox. I’m surprised I haven’t seen this before, but essentially a minecraft for kid’s playgrounds. Kid’s playgrounds are already these elaborate fortresses with hanging walkways and tubes to crawl through, elaborate slides, etc. And what kid wouldn’t want to spend a bunch of time designing their own?

3/2 – I recently backed Overload, the new 6-degrees of freedom game by the original makers of Descent. 3/2’s brainstorm started with thinking about what it might be like to strap yourself into one of those full-body gyroscopes, but with a VR mask strapped to your head. And again I was thinking about puzzle games played in VR. I ended up with three separate game ideas:

– A puzzle game on the inside of a sphere, centered on your viewpoint. I actually played a VR game at IndieCade last year called Darknet that felt a bit like what I am imagining here. Essentially just a sphere around you, but instead of (as in the case of Darknet) a simple RTS, this is more like a block-fitting puzzle. (I guess sort of an inside-out Tetrisphere.)

– A farming sim style game, played on the inside of a rotating sphere (or just cylinder-shaped) spaceship built for the purposes of growing plants.

– Final idea, some kind of game where there are points of light inside the sphere, and you have to connect the dots on the edge of the sphere, to make a “Web” through the points of light. This could be super cool even just with a standard Vive setup. No need for the sphere. Just the 3D points of light in a box. How few lines can you use to connect all the dots?

3/3 – Two more VR ideas:

– A Vive game where you have some geometric target. A shape or weird polygon. You are inside a cube to start, and you can attach ropes to the walls of the cube (probably just at certain anchor points), and then pull the rope to deform the cube (then attaching it to something else, another wall, or another rope, or something like that. You can then zoom out and see if you have matched the target shape.

– Second idea: A fantasy aesthetic 3D map where you can grow or shrink at will, perhaps with a trigger button on either controller. When you press this, the world rotates around you, as you shrink or grow.

I originally cut/pasted the following paragraph from my journal, but it doesn’t really count as a summary at that point. Anyway, I liked it, so consider this a bonus description of the previous game idea. (Usually this is the kind of rambling narrative I save you from by summarizing each entry.)

I’m imagining you emerge from a city, see a long (and empty looking) road ahead of you, so you grow to be giant, take two steps to the mountain range that had previously been in the distance. You see what looks to be a mouse hole at the foot of the mountain, so you shrink until you can walk comfortably inside. But then you notice that you are still standing twice as tall as the trees in the nearby forest, so you shrink even further, until the mouse hole is actually a gargantuan cavern. You walk inside in awe of the massive stone working and grandeur. You notice there are dwarves nearby, but they are hiding from you as if in fear, so you shrink even further, until you are their size and they come out of hiding to greet you. Later in the game, you come upon a pool with fairies hovering above it. Your instinct is to catch one in a jar, of course, but instead you shrink to their size, upon which they pick you up and take you to meet their queen. Maybe this is how the game should begin, and maybe you’ve been granted this magical shrinking and growing ability by the fairy queen. (Perhaps in order to battle an evil giant, who lives high in the clouds? Probably your name is Jack.)