Game Idea #7

This weeks idea builds up on a previous idea of mine, Saviors!. But instead of saving humans, this time it’s our friends the animals that need the help. Have a glance at Animal Rescue.

Game Idea #7

Animal Rescue

Animal Rescue is 3-D FPS puzzle solving game in which you combine various tools and items in given environment in order to rescue a variety of animals, all with different behavioral patterns and characters. Your goal is to save or remove the animal without giving damage to the animal, the people around or the property in which the rescue mission takes place.

A mission will start with a call from a customer who will demand that you come to the property and check out the situation. The animals that are in/create danger range from crododiles, bears, serpents, dogs, cats, racoons to bulls and sheep. The player will have to choose the right method to catch the animal, set up traps or re-arrange the environment in order to lure the animal into a position that will make it easier to catch it. As the player gets experienced and earns money for successful missions, he will buy new equipment and vehicles that will enable him to go on more dangerous and tricky missions.

Animal Rescue will be fun because it unites action with puzzle-solving and uses the First Person perspective for more than just shooting monsters… although some might claim that a racoon is much more monstrous than a monster in Doom!

Game Idea #6

My latest idea is inspired by French writer Raymond Queneau, founder of the experimental literature movement Oulipo. His experimental poetry book “A Hundred Billion Poems” seems to bear the conceptual foundations for the creation of an ‘inexhaustible game of games’ which can also be used as a ‘testbed’ for game designers and game researchers. Intrigued? Read on!

A Hundred Billion Games (AHBG)

AHBG can be described as a real-time game construction and experimentation set that can be used by players, game designers and game researchers alike.

AHBG provides an interface that enables players to alter in real-time the rules that govern an ongoing game. The interface consists of a playboard in the middle of the game window, the menus to play the game in progress, and a list of various drop-down menus to the left with which the rule set of the game can be changed on the fly. Each of the menus in this list represents a category of formal game building blocks. By clicking on the menus, we can utilize the building blocks that are displayed under that category. We simply select the rule we want to be applied, confirm the change and see what happens.

Given that we have a list of 14 drop-down menus (categories) with 14 different building blocks under each of the categories, we would have a potentially hundred billion games in one application. Hence the name A Hundred Billion Games.

Depending on the users, AHBG will be fun, serious, relaxing, challenging, casual, demanding, instrumental, gimmick-like, time-saving or time-killing! It will be a great source of learning for aspiring game designers and a good tool for experimentation for the more advanced professionals in the industry. And it will be a great way for the lazy person to affirm herself!

Yet Another Satirical Game

One of my ideas that I also personally like a lot is Spitzbube. Spitzbube is a german word that is used for annoying little boys. I wanted to use the stereotypical image of such a Spitzbube for a Multiplayer Online First-Person Shooter game that tries to ridicule the testesteron-loaded and dark ambience of most of the games in this genre. So I came up with a satirical schoolyard FPS in which you play in the shoes of one such annoying little kid (or should I say premature macho?).

This is how I wrote it:

Spitzbube

Trailer

Oh, how cheerful it was to be a kid, when you put dead spiders into the palms of girls or hid frogs under their skirts. Wasn’t it like being in paradise when you heard them screaming and running away like those stupid geese that they were? And how great it felt to beat up a kid and make him cry. The pleasure you felt when he said “I’m going to call my dad” — Ha haa, you little weakling, go call him *smack smack*!

Now you have the chance to revive and relive those glorious, unforgettable days. Here comes Spitzbube, the FPS schoolyard game!

Concept

Spitzbube is a Multiplayer Online First-Person Shooter Game in the settings of a primary school. You play a pupil that during the lesson break engages in fights with other pupils. You try to hurt and annoy your counter-parts until they start to cry and threaten you with calling their fathers. Each session starts with the school bell ringing and ends exactly after 5 minutes, with the teacher coming out of the building and saying: “Ok kids, it’s enough, get inside now.”

The pupil have a variety of “weapons”, all made from ordinary stationary material and equipment. These weapons and their projectiles don’t kill, they only hurt or plain simply annoy. A pupil that runs out of “ammo” will use the classical defensive method of spitting or throwing with snot until he finds a new weapon.

The arenas are the schoolyards of fictional or real primary schools. Ideally the game level provides rich interior and exteriors that pose a variety of tactical and strategical challenges.

A player which takes too much damage during combat will start to whine: “Nooo, ,stop it, stop it! I’m gonna call my dad!” This means defeat. The defeated pupil will respawn at another point of the schoolyard.

The pupil who at the end of the break made the most pupils cry will be the proud winner.

To add some variety and ambience to the game, there will be “stupid” little girls around which will scream and run away when they find themselves inbetween the fighting boys.

One of the puns in the game is the “America’s Army” or “Ronald Reagan” power-up. A player who collects this power-up will enjoy increased accuracy – for limited time though. This is a reference to Ronald Reagan who praised video games for developing the hand-eye coordination of young men, and believed that the U.S.Army should benefit from this.

Game Project Presentations Finished!

Finally the big day came and my game design course students presented their game projects in class. Some were really cool, some still needed some work, but when considered that we had only six weeks during a very very hot summer time, then its really nice what my students put together.

A quick post-mortem

What went right:

Rapid prototyping and iterative design turned out the be fruitful and prevented right from the start that students got into some sort of “writers blog”. Actually any sort of writing has been kept to the minimum during the process, so that student developed the habit to “show it”, rather than to “talk about it”. I only asked for a one page high-concept in the first lecture which was assigned for the next day. I quickly read through these and asked everyone to bring a paper prototype of their game idea for the coming week, so that we immediately could start discussing systems and mechanics on what they had brought to class. Those who couldn’t nail it down within the first two lessons were asked to go for a simple racing game design, an idea which I am Brenda Brathwaite very thankful for. Combined with a grading system that put emphasis on attendance to game testing sessions, it “forced” student to stay focused throughout the six weeks they had. Despite the quick prototyping and the limited time that students had, it was amazing to see how much the initial ideas transformed and developed into totally different games.

What went wrong:

I was surprised to realize that all student projects required still more testing and design iterations. The theory/practice ratio of lecture hours was approximately 1:1, but I urgently need to find ways to create a ratio of at least 1:2 in favor of practice. This simply means that I have to deliver the theory more compact, with simpler to understand examples from games.

Another weakness was that I had not developed any effective measures in monitoring the progress of the iterations in detail. Students (although they were asked to do so) rarely ever kept lists of the changes they made to the game and how these altered the behavior of the game and the status of the players. Often memorizing was my only way to follow the change in projects. This definitely calls for the development of a formal method to standardize the ways in which testing results and change in the designs are logged. This log must become part of the grading in order be taken serious by the students.

Most of the students totally skipped the reading assignments. I had to reduce the number of articles due to problems they had with the english language. Students had huge difficulties in understanding the texts and therefore only learned something from the summaries I made in class. This is sad because they really miss the chance to know about some of the coolest articles on game design that you can find out there. I’m also a bit of the Old School and I strongly believe that reading is an essential part of the educational process. However, I must come up with ways that make it easier for students to read what I told them to read.

Conclusion

Despite the many “wrongs”, I’m happy with how the summer school went and I’m looking forward for the coming semester. Hopefully another game design course, more projects, more game discussions, more fun! It’s just phantastic to be in midst of it.

And Another Piece of Satire

If Super Break-In isn’t really your type of game, then why not trying out Need for Weed: Pot Pursuit?? Actually I liked this one especially for its funny name, but the game itself turned out to be quite serious as I continued to elaborate on its features and gameplay. At the end only the name was what remained to be satirical. Uhm, and the secret levels ;)

Need for Weed: Pot Pursuit

 

Backstory

 

The streets aren’t safe anymore! Rumours say that the Puff Puff Gang with its lethal delivery team is in town to distribute not less than one ton of weed to our innocent teens. The police is alert. They must prevent the distribution of at least half of the stuff or the gang will make enough profit to stay in town.

 

You are given the task to investigate the activities of the gang and track down its dealers before they can deliver. But beware, the Puff Puff Gang has many friends and it won’t be easy for you to stop them.

 

Can you prevent the Puff Puff Gang from making a profit and force them to leave town?

 

 

Featured Gameplay

 

  • Gather knowledge about deliveries.

Search the city for pedestrian small-time crooks or members of rival gangs who will tell you the rumours they’ve heard about the Puff Puff deliveries. Chase them with your car into dead-ends where they have no chance to escape so that they share with you what they know. Be sure to confirm the information you gathered through other sources, because some of these guys might lie to you just to make sure that you let them go. Also the gang loves to spread false information about their deliveries. The game will trigger a cutscene if you chased a faked delivery that shows the Puff Puff gang members making jokes about you while they count the money that they earned from the actual delivery.

 

Drive through the city and discover stores, garages and other places populated by gang members. Follow gang members secretly to find out the places where they hide. Trigger cutscenes in which you enter those buildings and witness gang members talking about deliveries.

 

Establish a network of spies that you regularly have to pay a few bucks to receive calls from them about deliveries.

 

Unlock new neighborhoods and secret buildings as you combine your knowledge.

 

Follow up the map to see where and when deliveries will happen.

 

 

 

 

  • Survive attacks and keep your car in shape

 

Gang members will shoot at you from their cars wherever they spot you and chase you until you manage to escape. You must go to the garage to repair or upgrade the damaged protection shield of the car after attacks or your car will become more and more vulnerable until you might die in one of those attacks.

 

In later parts of the game, in order to get rid of you,  the gang will hire Dark Steel, a famous assassin in the appearance of a huge lethal black truck (inspired by the one in Steven Spielberg’s movie The Duell). Dark Steel will smash your car like a tin can if you can’t escape it, but thanks god it isn’t very good when it has to climb steep hillroads.

 

 

 

  • Engage in Deadly Sprints with Gang Members and Prevent Deliveries

 

Chase dealers in deadly sprints through the city and prevent them from delivering. Find out how many kilos of the stuff are in the back of the car.

 

 

 

  • Become Famous and Unlock Rewards

 

Get featured on Journals and Newspapers as you catch gang members.

 

Unlock new features such as neighborhoods, tracks, vehicles, engine parts and accessories as you grow your reputation.

 

Strenghten your ride. You’re going to need it!

 

 

 

  • Secret Game Modes(for the sake of controversy)

 

Push the tab button, enter one of the codewords below and hit enter:

 

Smashing Pumpkins. Enables you to play as Dark Steel which in return enables you to smash cars, pedestrians or both.

 

Halluci-nation. If you enter the codeword after you caught a delivery car, a pop-up window asks you if you tried out the stuff you’ve found in the back of the car and when you answer “Yeah” the graphics change and for 15 seconds or so you ride a flying carpet or a Reindeer-phaeton and steer it through the… um, wow, this looks so amazing.

A Piece of Satire

One of my attempts to write a satire piece for the Game Career Guide design challenge addresses the issue that everyone wants to become a game designer. However chances are often said to be minimal, so a “break-in” story is often perceived like an epic tale. Usually you hear such type of break-in or break-out stories only when it comes to mythological tales about “national” heroes that are said to have “molten holes into iron mountains” to free themselves from oppression. I built up onto this notion and made a parody of the breaking into the game design issue by utilizing the famous game Super Breakout.

Before anything else, it was a writing exercise for me, because I am not an native speaker of english, but I’ll be glad if still someone finds it funny. ;) Here you go:

 

Super Break-In

The not-so-casual game for the casual game design wannabee.

 

 

Who says that games cannot create emotions? Now the game industry presents to you a game that speaks right from the bottom of your heart. But wait, don’t break out into tears, break in the game industry! Here comes Super Break-In, the break-into-the-game-industry game.

Finally you get that big chance, but use it wisely! The walls between you and your desired job are thick and bear many unpleasant surprises! Are you skilled enough to put your dream company under siege with your irresistible ideas? Do you have what it takes to tear down the walls that stand between you and the likes of Sid Meier, Will Wright and Peter Molyneux? Find out NOW! With Super Break-In, the break-into-the-game-industry game!

 

Unique Features

·         Familiar gameplay in a fresh, never-used-before epic story setting

·         Tons of unique power-ups for entertaining and long-lasting gameplay:

o        Networks

o        Schmooze

o        Free GDC cards

o        And many more! 

·         Three difficulty levels

o        Intern (Hard)

o        QA Guy (Very Hard)

o        Elevator Pitcher (Insane)

 

Super Break-In in the Press

“Believe the hype!” –

Ed Bartlett

“This guy [the designer] should have gotten on the elevator with me!”-

Bing Gordon

“A game worth a thousand FAQs.” –

– Dan Merchant

“Nice.” –

Tom Sloper

Game Idea #5

This weeks game idea is quite different from those I came up until now. This time the game is an interactive virtual garden.

 

Game Idea #5

Eden

Eden is a garden building game that can be played with minimal effort and over long periods if desired.  Care about the plants in your virtual gardenhouse and unlock new plants and flowers as you start to understand the reactions of different plants to water, light, earth and other factors. Let your garden thrive in the most beautiful colors and be able to give your beloved the rarest plants on the planet.

Eden is a game in first-person perspective in which you have a glance at the interior of a garden house. By using the interface and controls you can buy seeds, modify the interior, and interact with plants as they grow. You will be able to zoom in or out, give your plants names and even talk to them. But be warned: it will require patience, skill and love to be able to make some of these flowers blossom. As you learn the secrets of becoming friends with plants, you will unlock new species and finally breed your own perfect flowers.

Eden is different from other games because it looks at plants and flowers as a passion and aims to make the player share this attitude. The reward of mastering the game will be having a beautiful garden, some serious gardening knowledge and wonderful pictures of amazing flowers which you can share with friends and family.