I chose my theme (Hosea 6:6) but had a hard time with ideas so, for the rest of my design process I'll probably jot down the process I went to get from Hosea 6:6 and my own skills, limitations and preferences to a game design.
I want my game to communicate the meaning of that verse, so I have to ask - why was it said "I desire mercy not sacrifice" (I'll consider the other separately)
Reading through Hosea its clear there was a lack of mercy. After God made them suffer, they turned to Him in a way that was not particularly wholehearted, it would seem. It reminded me of Saul sacrificing loot in disobedience, rather than killing it as ordered. And of David - psalm 51.
Anyway, this considered I thought there were some things I want to incorporate into the design.
I'd like to use all means of propaganda, peer pressure, etc to get the message across rather than having it happen to someone who's not the player, if possible. I'll try to play the devil's advocate and get the player to learn from their own mistakes in game to get them to think about it in real life.
So then I made a basic plot line (Hosea still fresh in my mind).
In a small town, the residents are quite well off. The local pastor insists that since they are such good people, the Lord is blessing them abundantly. Accordingly, they might as well live like the kings. However, its the start of a drought (and whatever other disasters may be necessary to get the story across). The game shows a host of vain ideas, and tries to hook the player into doing them as much as possible. The game demonstrates the worthlessness of it as the situation becomes dire. That paves the way for showing them that salvation is by faith, that you can't buy God's forgiveness and that He really is merciful.
So now I enumerate the genres by the kind of gameplay, or type of fun to find some ideas.
- fast action, reflex
- role playing (as in "I want to play as an elf lord")
- adventure (as in pre-defined story)
- exploration (including stuff like crafting, doing research to find out what's next…)
- suspense, stealth
Strategy is my favourite genre so I'll start with that first, then enumerate through as many of them as I deem reasonable.
preserve a farm in the midst of all the calamaties. Go to town to trade for resources, upgrades etc. Story is delivered through the upgrade system, and as conversation during trade.
change the calamity to something more fitting fast action. Basically any will work with the story. So lets say its pestilence, and the game is a story driven fps. You go out on missions to keep the pests at bay (the pests being pigs, rats, cats, dingos…etc)
I'm really not a fan of puzzle games. I even got bored of braid, which imo is a masterpiece and still have only half finished it. So I'll skip this one.
probably not worth considering because I'm too limited time-wise to give players anything much to choose from.
Again, not really a fan. But that's mainly because most stories in games are so weak, I think. So…
You would play as someone doing odd jobs about town. Between the few characters in town, there'd be plenty of room for a standard story. I don't know what I'd do for gameplay mechanics…I might have nothing much at all, and just go flat out with the story.
now this could be very interesting. The town would be the place to go back to for resources for expeditions. The game would be exploring around the town. It would be quest based.
hmm… A hunting game, where the animals are dangerous. The town's story unfolds as you play. The situation with drought, fire, flood etc effects the hunting.
hardly worth considering but lets see…
You play as an angel in an epic battle against demons which are influencing the town. There's arial combat between angels and demons, and the story plays out like a Frank Peretti novel
You play as a postman, and in the wake of a flood you have to get supplies to isolated farms. You drive a particularly beefy quad bike. The town part might kill this though, as the story becomes out of place with the gameplay.
For now I'll go with strategy, but also also further develop the vertigo angel-demon areal combat idea because I really like the idea of flying through the air battling demons.
Strategy - expanding the idea
What are the possible actions, resources, etc for strategic gameplay?
- livestock may die if they go too far from water
- there is limited hay available, but some will probably die anyway
- when the game kicks into flood-mode, the topology becomes very important. Livestock can drown, and some can get impractical to reach
- livestock may follow you...or they may need to be herded. I might use a ute, and make them follow that.
- the things you can use, do, etc
- build a levy
- dig a trench (divert water, etc)
- lots more that could be done, like bulldoze scrub...but probably not worth the dev time
- dams can burst if the water level goes over the dam bank (quite probable, if not certain, when the flood happens)
- resources: hay bales (limited), water (can be put in a truck, naturally limited), fuel (not so limited), people (maybe...split things up so that someone can either fix the tractor or take the water to the trough in the back paddock), dingo traps (very limited - can loose sheep)
What camera? 2D/3D? etc...
- 3D would be nice, but the graphics would have to be very simple
- If 3D, I'd make it 3rd person for vehicles (probably) and first person for the player. Or else, first person only.
- If 2D, I'd make it top-down because I don't have the time to draw four sprites for everything that moves.
- probably more a choice of which is easier - sprites or a ultra abstract/simplified 3D look
- 2D has the distinct problem of showing topology. It can be done, but its not as nice as it is in 3D. And with the water...this is somewhat important.
- I can picture how I'd do it in 3D. The biggest challenge would be how to do a levy...I guess I'd make it impossible to shift dirt, and would make levy building an exercise in dumping sacks of sand with the tractor.
- the tractor would be a "dingo" (I'm sure they have other names)...its a little thing with all sorts of attachments, just what I need.
No doubt I won't have time, but shifting dirt could be pretty good. Unfortunately it'd require quite complex code for the terrain.
So, asset list. I'll try to estimate how long it'll take me to make all the things I'll need for this - no doubt a joke, but my estimates have been improving.
- cow and or sheep
- house (no interior)
- tractor dingo (standard shovel type) // this is the only model that has any complexity...except maybe the animals depending on what I do with them
- shed (where the tractor(s) are kept
- dingo (the animal)
will finish this later