Game Idea a Day – Week 14

Just going to jump into the recaps this week. (Apparently I had area-enclosure on the brain, but I frequently — and erroneously according to BGG — call it area control below.)

4/1 – I wanted to think up a game that had a bluffing mechanic (for April fools day), and ended up with an area control game where everyone can lie about what area they control. I think it needs more thinking to be interesting. (It’s actually a little too simple right now.) But the idea shows promise.

4/2 – I spent some time thinking about Flatland inspired mechanics, specifically how objects in 4-dimensional space would appear to our dimensional senses, and how to make a VR game featuring them. (One of my favorite authors, Rudy Rucker, features this sort of “extrusion” in his novels pretty frequently. One of his earlier works, “The Sex Sphere” is basically all about it, but it features prominently in several others as well.) Two ideas came rapidly to mind:

First concept is to allow you to rotate an object (somehow in all 4 dimensions, the controls might be… interesting). Of course you would only see the intersection with your 3D space, and then somehow you would have to guess the “real” shape. I’m betting this would probably be extremely hard to imagine for most people. Not to mention the problem of: how do you show the ones for them to guess? Also, it might not be that fun. But maybe it would be!

Another idea is to approach it like the inverse of Miegakure, and have a traditional 3rd person platforming game where instead of rotating the world through 4D, you rotate collectible objects (found in the world). You might find a baseball for instance that turns into a ramp to solve a platforming puzzle, or a pebble that rotates into a cathedral needing to be explored.

4/3 – An area control video game where you simply claim points (I could have also called them locations or coordinates) on a gameboard in real time. After each point, there is a cooldown before you can claim another point. The cooldown is directly proportional to the amount of area of the gameboard that you already control. Each point has a sphere around it that is directly influenced (primary influence sphere). If no other influence is exerted, that area will be under your control. Each point also has another sphere (call it a secondary control sphere) that will be influenced if it intersects with another of your point’s secondary control spheres. If a primary influence sphere under your control has territory that is under more influence due to your opponent’s points than your own, that point’s primary AND secondary spheres will shrink proportionally. For instance, an equilateral triangle where the primary spheres of influence overlap all the points of the triangle, made up of two of one color and one of the third, the third would essentially disappear entirely, since the other to points would shrink its influence to zero. That’s it. Basically you want to balance putting points closer together for more stability with getting more territory. Note: this could be 2D or 3D.

4/4 – Once upon a time, I took a T’ai Chi class at the U of MN when I was still a senior in high school through the post-secondary (i.e. free college credits) program. I have super fond memories of that class, and when I eventually graduated and had a real job, I started going regularly to T’ai Chi classes taught by the same instructor. I haven’t been in a while, but I got to thinking about how it would be nice to do it in my living room. I do think working out in room-scale VR will be a thing eventually, so I sketched out some notes for what I think would make for a decent Thai Chi VR application. I definitely think there’s a market there, but the tech might need a while to make it practical. (I just googled, and not only is T’ai Chi included as one of the many activities in “Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012” for the original Kinect, but there is also a T’ai Chi specific program for Xbox One called “Body Wisdom”.)

4/5 – This game idea practically wrote itself, so I expect to see one soon: A VR Cloudbursting Game. Lay on the floor and aim your gaze at the clouds. Maybe as the game progresses it gets more and more overcast and clouds are darker and deeper and the entire “feel” of the game changes from a beautiful sunny day on top of a hill, to a dark and dreary day with pouring rain and lightening and thunder interrupting your concentration. This also changes it from game where you can actually get rid of all the clouds to a game where your only hope is to get rid of all the HUGE thunderclouds before they leave the screen, as it would be impossible to get rid of everything.

4/6 – I came up with a maze traversal game idea for the bit-jam, a game jam with the goal to “make a game in 1-bit colour, on a 1px × 1px display with no audio; the minimum (non-zero) feedback that a game could possibly have”. First of all the theme screamed maze game to me since you can generate a maze where each grid coordinate is only using 1-bit to indicate whether it’s a wall or path space. Only two path spaces on the edge, entrance and exit. The player starts at the entrance. Input is directional, either with a controller or arrow keys (or ASDW). The game states: At rest – solid color A; Movement to another space – flash of color B; Hit a wall – solid color A (maybe a MUCH shorter flash of B, or two short flashes); Find the exit – Flashes A & B (until more input is detected, then it generates another maze?). This might not be super fun, but hey, it meets the qualifications of the game jam!

4/7 – Thinking about being an animal in VR, led to thinking about being eaten alive by a snake in VR, which led to thinking about eating yourself as a snake in VR. (Too bad ouroboros was the GGJ theme already however-many years ago.) This may have been influenced subconsciously by the Verge article about being a bear in VR, which I actually thought was about a game by @punchesbears until I read it.