This was a nightmare of a day. Our team meeting began after 10am and didn’t finish until around 3pm.
We went around in an awful lot of circles and group tension was very high by the end of it.
Bob came into the meeting with a great game idea – lil Grim Reaper that trips and falls down to the bottom of the 9 Circles of Hell and has to climb his way back out again. Unfortunately we couldn’t think of any defining unique mechanics that could be implemented within the idea and Lexi expressed her concern with animating it.
We expanded the idea outwards and explored lil Grim arranging accidents to save up the life force of the victims and prolong the life of a young girl. Unfortunately this was far too open-world for us to reasonably conceive the entire idea in the time-frame we have and apparently our planned core mechanics had been used before in a game called Lucius.
But all of our brainstorming came back to the same thing – instead of shaping narrative around a unique and solid core mechanic we had just been trying to think up unique mechanics to justify a story.
*(Although one interesting mechanic we came up with during this part of the team meeting was a ‘confidence’ meter that changed the appearance of monsters and also their strength – if lil Grim was too scared he would be unable to defeat them and so he would have to find a way to increase his confidence before he could try again and pass.
- This could become more relevant with the introduction of a timer for each level, where the time spent to recover confidence is precious and would encourage stealth gameplay instead to preserve confidence from the get-go)
At the end of the meeting we threw out cute-grim. It was a great idea but it meant we were far too focused on narrative over mechanics.
The main things we learned during the meeting that can help narrow our executive gameplay decisions are:
- UNIQUE MECHANIC BEFORE NARRATIVE
- In order to maintain a workable scope, we are very hesitant in exploring open-world or RPG style gameplay
- None of our team want to write heavy dialogue in our game – thus narrative must be embedded in the gameplay or conveyed in animated cutscenes.
- Lexi prefers to only animate in 3D with a minimal number of – but highly detailed – character/creature rigs
- She is most comfortable creating fantasy models
We are also hyper-aware that when people play a part of our demo we have a very very short amount of time to engage them in. The gameplay needs to be fast-paced, rewarding, innovatively novel and demonstrative of all the features our game offers.
At the end of the meeting we went home with a new theme to chew over – ‘Colour’.
Ideas we have thought of include:
- 3D, 3rd person, stealth. A professional chameleon is hired to steal a target – but must first pass the security cameras in the room. It must find objects to touch so it can turn into that colour and pass by the cameras undetected in monochromatic environments. Further levels can increase difficulty by requiring the Chameleon to touch several colours to mix them (eg Red, Blue -> Purple) and also by changing access to lighting so the player must use their memory to find and touch the correctly coloured objects.
- “Paint the Town”, 3D, 3rd person, Beat-Em-Up, multiplayer. In a world full of grey places and grey people, you must bring the life back to the party by racking up impossibly ridiculous combos and getting the townspeople dancing. No violence, but contact and move-combos convert grey ‘neutral’ townspeople to your colour and gets them grooving. Can be VS MODE at a house party for % possession of rooms or all-you-can-convert ARCADE MODE where you take the party to the streets in frantic, button-mashing mayhem in crowds of townspeople.