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Amateur game design for the technically impaired


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Alchemy Top RightMy original design concept for this week is more complicated than I expect most of ours to be and, as much as I hate to admit it, would probably be impossible to create without a knowledgeable team.

Alchemy: A single player puzzle/simulation.

The premise of this game is that a reclusive, aging alchemist has decided to take on an apprentice in order to pass on his archaic skills before he dies. At the top of his tower, he begins to train the player, his lucky recruit, when he suddenly passes away. The player is left trapped at the top of the tower with no way to bypass its many security systems. The only tools available are the alchemical supplies at hand and his basic introduction to the art.

The basic introduction given by the alchemist could serve as a tutorial.

Gameplay: Different elements must be combined and drawings created to synthesize new materials with brand new properties. The challenge is in discovering the effects that each element has on the synthesis, as well as the effects of the drawings (runes). The runes are by far the most complicated feature. Players are allowed to draw the runes freehand and different shapes will have different effects on the synthesis. For example, circles will have a certain function, which might be altered by bisecting it with a vertical or horizontal line. Concentric circles might interact in different ways than tangent circles. There will be a complex system beneath the gameplay and the entertainment is in uncovering that system.


Here are a few clarifying examples of what could be:



A: Basic shapes stand for various properties. Perhaps circles alter hardness and triangles determine luster. The relative locations of these two shapes are important. When one object is within another, the outside property becomes more powerful. When they are separated, they are considered equally. These relations are not set in stone, just a few brainstorms.


B: Vertical interactions and horizontal ones alter the result as well. Perhaps lines in general could create crystalline forms – in that case, angle of bisection would indicate various physical forms of the same substance.


C: Large, individual forms could have one effect while a multitude of smaller ones would have another. Using the “circles are hardness” example from above, the individual shape would create a substance useful as a solid, while the group would then lead to a useful powder.


D: With a few rules like the above set forth, complex designs like this could be parsed by the engine with a result that would be difficult to predict. In fact, the harder it is, the longer the appeal of the game will likely last.


Like I mentioned before, these are just a few brainstorms for the sake of clarification. The basic idea is this: a simple set of rules is created and a game engine is created which can interpret images based on those rules. Because the interactions between those few rules could be infinitely complex, those basic mechanics would be difficult for the player to figure out.


Written by justindopiriak

March 4, 2008 at 6:10 am

Posted in Original Game Ideas

Tagged with , ,

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