Sunday, November 29, 2009

So I'm considering making a video game.

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but my interest in game design applies just as much to video games as it does to tabletop fare. The main reason I focus on non-electronic projects is that I can focus most of my efforts on the tasks that most interest me- creativity and the actual mechanics of the game, rather than matters like animating an orc's attacks or trying to hunt down bugs.

Still, I've been paying alot of attention to the freeware release of the Unity3D engine- it's gotten plenty of buzz in the local game development interest group I'm a part of. And when Rock Paper Shotgun community member James Carey announced he was going to try an experimental game-building project, my first thought was "Wait a second, I could do that!"

The question is:
what sort of game could I do well? Something that had relatively few demands in terms of programming and creating assets, while drawing on my existing strengths (world-building, writing, complex systems of game mechanics). Something set in a small, well-realized game space.

And the answer is: The Oregon Trail IN SPAAAAAAACE.

The game's setting would be Maelstrom, a world (or rather, a solar system) that I've already talked about a little. You would play as the captain of a ship that's sailing along the main Aetheric Current, the setting's foremost trading route; a formidable journey that takes you by each of the 4 gas giants (the setting's equivalent of continents, since their moons are the the setting's inhabited worlds). The entire game would take place on your ship, the goal being to effectively integrate various aspects of the game into the actual first gameplay of moving around and interacting with things. To look at the map, you walk into your quarters, look at your map, and press "e" (rather than just hitting the "m" key wherever your character happens to be on the ship).

There's much more to the game's design than that, of course. I intend to take a page from the obscure gem King of Dragon's Pass, and confront players with a constant series of unique dilemmas where the crew members they've recruited will weigh in as to the best course of action.

The plan is have this be my main project for the month of December, to post development notes and weekly progress reports, and to have some kind of working prototype ready before 2010 comes along. We'll see what actually happens.

1 comment:

Rensei Bayushi said...

So.... i'd get space Dysentery(sp)?

(I realize the joke was bad, but I couldn't help myself. you can shoot me later)

joking aside, I wish you the best of luck in this little project. so, as they say, break a leg.