As I’ve been trying to figure out what game to make for this Game in a Week project, I’ve had a lot of thoughts.
I promised myself that I was going to make a smaller game — a game which I could have playable early in the week, instead of programming the basic features right up until the last minute, as I did for the last few Game in a Week. Part of this was the decision that whatever my game was this week, that it would be a 2D game, and rendered entirely using simple vector graphics. I really didn’t want to be spending all my time working on creating 3D artwork.
My mind kept returning to my Asteroids testbed. As I mentioned yesterday, I’d been thinking about doing a little game like that and building a small epic space battle game out of it. But honestly, making a game that’s about shooting things just doesn’t inspire me. I spent years straining against that sort of game design while I was in the games industry, and doing it now would feel like giving in.
So as I was daydreaming about those sorts of games, I imagined an introductory sequence where the player flew his spaceship into the combat area, was immediately destroyed, and then took over control of a weapon-less space whale, which, in my mind, was like the space whales from Starglider 2, a game I remember well from my childhood. The player would then “swim” the whale around through the fight, simply trying to survive by keeping out of the way. Theme: “I don’t know why I came” — the whale not knowing why it’s here.
Of course, that doesn’t seem like a particularly strong motivation. And there’s no really obvious reason for the whale to not simply go arbitrarily far away.
And so for the moment, this is the plan I’m going to follow for this Game in a Week: The player is a giant space ship, and has an AI crew. The player can go places and try to get his crew to do things, but the crew may or may not understand what the player wants. Or be willing to help the player. The theme, then, is still “I don’t know why I came”, but not regarding the ship; instead it’s regarding the crew.
As always, this Game in a Week game design is subject to radical change on very short notice. But thus far, this is the first idea for this theme with which I’ve been completely happy.