We had our time slot with Andy today as a group to discuss how the project is going so far and how our ideation process is developing. It was useful to get some fresh eyes on our project as we have all been working solidly on our themes for some time now and for someone new to come and have an insight has definitely helped us to think more about how we’re visualising our project.
Andy mentioned that maybe we should get more ‘visual’ with our process, which I agree with. I have felt quite bogged down so far with all of the research and now the ideation generation process and felt it has been quite wordy and text heavy. By visualising our creative process, we can help get a better feel of the games we want to make; it also could spout out new ideas from this. Something that we have already thought about is trying to make physical things, much like what Millie had started doing with her 3D building and her mini plant building she made. I feel that because of the theme I have, it’s quite hard to make something physical for this, therefore I will focus more on making physical aspects of our ideas that we are currently going through.
Andy was interested in our themes, which is good. He seemed to be relatively intrigued with our thoughts on how we would quite like to twist the present to make a future. He offered the idea of looking to build for the ‘near future’ rather than totally far out futuristic as otherwise, it would mean that we would have to create a whole new world which could take a lot of time and we need to consider this as we’re a small group of three; we need to think realistically as well as be ambitious. It would be nice to do the ‘near future’ as our current themes could all link well to this.
Idea Generation – Round … God Knows What Now…
See Sketchbook 2, blue tab labelled Carrying On Idea Gen, pages 74 – 80.
Today, we continued with expanding the seven ideas that we had narrowed down to yesterday. We were thinking about the possible mechanics that we could have, the setting, the narrative etc. It was really good fun and we began to drag in more things from our research to back our ideas. There were quite a few ideas that we weren’t as enthusiastic about yesterday, yet after breaking them down into different elements, we’ve started to become more excited about them.
Below is the document that James, Millie and I worked on together in order to get a file with all of our ideas clearly written out, explained and broken down into its key components. This was really useful to do as now we have a reference document to look back on. See memory stick for this in a word document if needed named: Idea Generation Document edited in Idea Generation folder in Phase 3 folder.
Idea 1 – 100 Wishes
Yellow = What we’re thinking of prototyping
This idea came from the brainstorming that we’d done prior. It took the starting points of terminal children being uploaded to a location when they die and allowing them to live out what would have been their natural lifetime within a simulation. We paired this with the thought of an AI that doesn’t understand basic principles like ‘Grilled Cheese’.
With this game we wanted to make it quite silly and family friendly with the elements of a powerful, underlying backstory. It would consist of a multitude of mini-games and the concept is that you’d play as a child within the simulation, and learn alongside your AI companion.
Goal: Teach and experience life within the simulation with your AI companion.
- Modern/Near Future.
- Simulation of Real Life minus evil.
- AI Companion acts as a Caretaker.
- Kids can have the life they’ve had taken from them.
- Could kids interact with their parents/the outside world?
- Play as a child with a terminal illness.
- Doctors agree to upload you to the network to allow you to live out your life with your consent.
- You are amongst the first to have your consciousness uploaded.
- Coming of age story.
- The story is revealed to the player as you play throughout the game.
- The child is not immortal, will experience death at a certain point.
- Learn things with your AI companion.
- Snapshots of the Child’s life are playable up to age 15.
- Problem Solving.
- Choice Based.
- Job Simulations?
- Fire Fighter
- Rock Star
- Racecar Driver
We felt that this game wouldn’t be a particularly hardcore game but more of an experience to be provided through VR. Again it’s definitely something that hasn’t been done before on the course which is the angle that we’re going for and also the tone that we could get for this could be quite beautiful and likeable yet with a hint of comedy.
Idea 2 – City Sleepers
This was the idea I felt we struggled with the most. We were combining the ideas of; Prison being a simulation, Dreams and Nightmares being a virus and Dream Catchers. This created quite a unique experience that plays on some movie tropes and gave us a different genre to work with. However, this was definitely more of a narrative game with the gameplay taking a little bit of a backseat. There’s potential for the game to be a cross between a Turn Based Strategy genre and RTS genre.
Goal: Cripple the opposition.
- Near Future/ 1980
- Rebels have a strong presence in the tube system. (Dreams have been outlawed by the government as they’re an unmonitored method of communication between people. Rebels are fighting against oppression.)
- Play as a high-ranking rebel official.
- Rebel official has been abducted by the Establishment.
- Forced into a simulation and is stuck in a dream state.
- Establishment questions the Rebel official who has no recollection of his status or troops.
- Establishment uses the Rebel in a strategist position as he single-handedly commanded the various victories against the Establishment.
- Realises who he is nearing the end of the game. Due to his captivity, aims to cause mutual destruction on both sides to diffuse suspicion but also to take down the Establishment from within.
- Map Based, Turn-based Strategy.
- Command troops, manage relationships with allies. Strike trade deals and barricade supply lines.
- Could be text based.
- Traditional Turn-Based gameplay.
I’m not too keen on this idea personally as I feel we have a lot of other ideas that are a lot stronger, yet it was still fun to try and create something from nothing. It gave us a lot of scope to design and I’m relatively happy with what we came up with.
Idea 3 – Five Days
We only had two ideas to mash together from this one so we were all a little worried that this newer idea wouldn’t have much substance; we were gladly proven wrong. This was probably one of the most fun concepts we developed. The idea is that it would be quite a fun game with a focus on the mechanics which is in contrast to some of the previous ideas we developed above which are more narrative based.
- Arcade like.
- Isometric Dungeon Crawler.
- Bright Colours.
- Body Farming via Assassination.
- What kind of criteria for the hits?
- Is the player a literal farmer – feeds animals with remains that earn no money?
- Athletes and the Elite request ‘performance organs’.
- Play as a Farmer with a debt to pay.
- Five days to pay off your debt.
- An underworld of farming synthetic body parts is your only option.
- You have a daily threshold to reach.
- Different levels of contract change the difficulty of the hit but increase reward.
- Hired by rich Elite or professional Athletes to harvest organs from those deemed ‘Unworthy’.
- Currency is Illegal organs.
- Interchange body parts when they go ‘bad’.
- Planned assassinations.
- Collect and objects and stake out locations.
- Watch and observe your targets patterns.
- You decide where but not when a target is taken out.
- Don’t draw attention to yourself
- CCTV Cameras.
- Body Disposal.
- Peacekeepers try to prevent you from performing Hits. The antagonist for the Player.
- Methods of Assassination effects body parts claimed.
- Be careful not to destroy needed body parts.
- Bear Traps (Take off legs/feet).
- Mild Explosives.
- Razor Wire (Remove head).
- Knocked out via drugs.
- Lethal vs Non-Lethal Organ Extraction (Morality? Dishonoured, where you can complete a play through without killing anyone).
Idea 4 – Lucidity
For this one, we had the prompts of Dreams as a commodity, prison as a simulation and confusing dreams as reality as our points from the last workshop session. It started off as being hard to think how all of these areas could link together to form a game, yet once the creative juices started to flow, we got some inspiration. Long story short – you play as a murderer who isn’t aware that he’s awake when he commits his crimes. The player doesn’t know this so they have to decipher if he really is awake or dreaming.
What we’d like to get from the narrative:
- Short, episode –esque
- Make the player question themselves
- Make the player feel uncomfortable
- Society prefers to dream instead of experiencing reality
- Prisoners trapped in nightmares
- Near future/2050?
- Solved world problems
- People aren’t needed to work so turn to dreaming
- AI perform their jobs
- Man walks in/out of a Dream Café
- Loosely connected events with little tangible connections
- Lucidity occurs within dreams
- Fooling the player into thinking dreams are reality
- Brain overloaded with stimuli when not dreaming to protect the player
- Player is a police councillor. His flashbacks are actually his murders but he believes them to be memories of his patients. He realises their experiences.
- Constantly shifting surroundings (contact Layers of Fear)
- Misleading quick time?
- Memory overlay – chopping an onion into chopping someone’s arm (split second view enough to startle player)
- Mechanics disconnect the player for short periods of time (frustration)
- Experience more than gameplay orientated
Idea 5 – BellJar
For this idea, we had three starters of ‘grow your own dreams’, ‘Dream commodity’, and ‘upload to network city’. This idea came to us quite quickly once we started to think about how you could go about growing dreams and what you could possibly do with them. This was personally one of the funnier ideas to work on as it offers great visuals, simple but enjoyable mechanics as well as a short back story.
We are thinking this to be a tycoon sort of game based in a 2D/3D isometric shop layout.
Goals: Rent, customer satisfaction, expands and upgrade – run a shop of Dreams!
- You’re the owner of a dream shop
- Just opened so you must focus on client and business relations
- Future yet not necessarily near future
- High Fantasy World
- Future yet this is a rustic setting (the shop)
- Plant seeds (procedurally generated = AI.) Dreams based on a key.
- Grow into dreams (bell jars)
- Dispose of Nightmare vines that crop up
- Cater to customer requests “ I would like a star based dream”
- Choose dreams to grow based on supply and demand
- Ensuring rent is paid and maintenance costs too
- Clean machines etc
- Expand and upgrade
- Respond to competition
- Character customisation
This idea is becoming one of my personal favourites as it has a cute yet relatively complex idea behind the story when you consider everything you have to think about. There is lots of potential here for prototyping too which is great as it would be good to test to see how well we could get some of the mechanics working as well as the character customisation.
Idea 6 – The Sleepers
Hoo boyo, the big one. The boss man. The final show. The “How did we Get here.” No honestly help us there’s no way we could get a finished product out with this at our hands like, sure maybe a walking sim trailer and a nice looking lore book with concept art and stuff in but. Woah. Okay, I’ll try and tackle this one but there’s a lot in there.
- Our story starts in ancient Greece as we know it from our history books, though it wouldn’t stay that way for much longer. Alternate history.
- The Sleepers are powerful beings that have the miraculous ability to manifest their dreams into reality, creating powerful technologies and objects that civilisation can use.
- Their Keepers, “Oneiromancers”, keep them pacified and asleep to prevent a collapse in society
- If a sleeper wakes up, all their manifestations disappear and they go on a rampage
- Sleepers are summoned into a willing human body, and their bloodlines then become the only ones that can communicate with them via dreaming.
- Oneiromancers must battle nightmares within the dream realm to prevent them from manifesting into reality.
- Because the Sleepers can be communicated with by other dreamers, anyone outside the Bloodline that has the Rare ability to do so is either taken into the fold of the Cult or Incapacitated. They cannot risk a rogue Dreamer waking the Sleeper.
- There is a Fanatical order about the sleepers
- The order is Neutral but believes itself superior above all others.
- Sleepers manifest in their hosts, changing them by gargantuan proportions, so are housed in temples of great grandeur.
- The Beginning
- “Have you ever dreamed of a better world?!” The man standing upon the podium cries loudly in the town centre. Yes, you think, Every night.
- Our Player is an Initiative in The Beginning (the sleeper is about to be summoned, and the cult leader has rounded up all the dreamers outside the bloodline.
- This begins with them as a teen, proving their worth, training to become part of the cult and gaining experience
- The Reign
- Implementing dream training and communicating with the sleeper
- Fighting nightmares
- Learning to keep the sleeper asleep
- being a bitch ass priest or w/e
- The Fall
- THE ROMANS(???)
- yeah they want a piece of that
- they sabotage the sleeper???? with a dream???
- it wakes up
- This is how the library of Alexandria got smashed
- There’s a desperate fight to keep at least one of the Order alive to continue the legacy when the world might be ready for it again.
- The After
- A modern day city.
- A figure in the Shadows
- “Have you Ever dreamed of a better World?”
- This would be in an RPG format, one of a linear timeline, as branching narrative wouldn’t suit this story so well
- 3rd person RPG, Real-time combat, follows one character over several years/decades
- Armour and weapon customisation
- Combat Styles and Classes
- The Covenant
- The “Templars”
- The Blood of Somnus
Yeah okay so that’s a pretty big scope, so if we were going to prototype this for exhibition we’d make a walk-through trailer, which is sort of half demo half “this is what we want to do with this” in which the city is laid out for us and there are things going on all around us, snipped of gameplay and voice overs, nightmares lurking in the corners, a hint of the fanatics that the order inspires.
We could also bring a physicality to this, write the stories out, get some concept art on the go and make a super nice publication of it. This all depends on which Idea we want to complete in our second semester, but this one by far would be the most challenging, if not the most rewarding.
Now comes the exciting part. What are we going to start prototyping?
We split it up into:
- Artwork = A
- Programming = P
- Story/Storyboarding = S
We’ve had a discussion as to what we would like to work on individually over reading week however we’ve said if there’s any that we want to do that someone else is already looking into, it could be good to get a different perspective so working on it as well could be useful.
Currently, I have chosen to work on:
- Belljar Art and Animation (the object)
- Belljar Character Customisation
- 5 Days Storyboard.
These tasks from the off don’t seem too big to handle so hopefully I’ll be able to help pick up on more prototyping or help out if Millie or James need it.
We choose these tasks to see if the mechanics we were thinking about could be feasible to do and also designing/prototyping things such as the narrative to see if the story could work in the way we imagined it too – what style could work best for this? This too goes for the artwork as it can help us get an overall feel for what things could potentially look like design-wise.