Monday, June 6, 2011

The Next Game

I’m in the really one of the best phases of game development: brainstorming the next idea. No boring work, no technical snafus, just fun thinking.

I have a couple of ideas in my head that I’ve been kicking around for a while now.

Restaurant management game
Whenever I go out for sushi, I watch the orders get delivered to the chefs, and watch them plow through their orders. What I wonder about, though, is what happens if a huge order comes in for a big party, and a minute later, a single diner orders a single little tuna roll? Do you take orders as they come in, first come first served, or do you preempt larger jobs with smaller jobs?

I could imagine a game where you make these kinds of decisions on many levels… seating patrons, taking orders, making food, delivering, cleanup, collecting money, but always trying to do so in the most efficient manner.

I like this idea a lot, but it probably won’t get done. My gut says it requires too much custom art.

“Gather, Build, Share”
Like everyone, I’ve been intrigued by the Minecraft phenomenon. I think GBS is really a core psychological touchstone, and making a game that involved gathering resources, some sort of crafting, and then some ability to share what you’ve made would be awesome.

Team Collaboration
I’m really impressed with how well the online persistent world of Battle for Venga Islands worked out. The execution wasn’t perfect, but the core idea worked and worked well. It would be fun to work on something else like that. Lots of people have done “mining” games, so I thought a game about building a tower or pyramid might be fun. Some huge program that no single player could accomplish, but by working as a team with other players, everyone contributes to a greater good.

The downside to this is that it requires online connectivity to be a part of the team. Hard to demo the game in a trial mode. Same issues as Venga Islands, basically.

Puzzle Game
A while back, I made a game for coworkers called “The Game”. It was really just a set of puzzles, loosely tied together with some story about a secret agent. Many of the puzzles were inspired by the game “The Fool’s Errand”, and some involved physically searching around my office. The puzzles were really just various forms of encryption, like morse code, Braille, etc.

My idea was to make some boring sounding game, like “Bingo” or “Slot Machine” or something. But have that surface game be broken, giving up a fake error message. And then somewhere else, on the main menu, have some sort of “debug console” or “developer login”, which would prompt for a password. You’d figure out the password from the error message. One getting into the debug screen, the actual “game” would start, which is actually figuring out all the puzzles hidden inside the game. Again, maybe something about a secret plot that only you can solve.

There are a lot of money-grab trashy games out there that involve hot chicks on the box art. Maybe making a game called “Under the Covers” with a hot chick on the front would be a sneaky way to attract attention without actually intellectually whoring myself out. Or at least, whoring myself out, but in an ironic way. I dunno.

This is probably the most likely candidate. But like I said, just kicking around ideas and seeing what sticks.

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