Lonely Gamer

Gaming for those who hate other people.

Posts Tagged ‘offline co-op

Designing a Design Document…

with 2 comments

Whew. I just finished writing my first game design document, for Pacifist. It’s about twelve pages long and I wrote it all today, after I got back from a BBQ at a friends. Effort.

I’ve done all that writing for a reason though – I’ve somehow managed to drum up a bit of interest for the idea of Pacifist and have abused my position as a games journalist to get a coder or two on board from within the Bit-tech community.

In my job, I often get people saying things along the lines of “Yeah, but it must get pretty dull after a while, right? You play games all day, but it must take the fun out of the games you actually want to play, right?”

The answer is always no, it doesn’t. I get paid to play games, then write about them. That shit never gets dull when you only have three hobbies in life; drinking and the two previously mentioned activities. It occasionally creates a bit of hassle, yeah, but as long as I have a USB stick I can bring my savegames home from the office and keep gaming here. Ace!

Game design on the other hand is a different story and, though writing the design document hasn’t made this prospect any less exciting assuming it gets off the ground, writing that much about it has muted by vigor somewhat. I’m still eager to go and full of shit and salt (and piss and vinegar), but after writing paragraph after paragraph about how the Main Menu links to the Help page, I’m a little tired. Wasted actually.

On the other hand, it really does help bring your vision into focus. I had the idea for Pacifist when I was walking to work one day and I thought it would be cool to have a game built around pacifism because, hey, you could make a cool arty game out of it with a subtext about Tibet, right? It was loose and flabby.

By writing this Design Document though I’ve been able tone that flabby idea right up, changing a concept around several times to something I think could actually work.

And that brings all the excitement flooding back.

Out, LG.

Written by Joe Martin

May 11, 2008 at 8:02 pm

I’m thinking of making a game…

with 8 comments

Kieron Gillen once wrote something that stuck with me – that all games journalists are just game designers who never learned to code. Me, I don’t like it implied that I’m lazy and I recognize the truth in that statement.

So, I’m toying with the idea of making a game and maybe writing a feature on it for bit-tech.net. A kind of ‘Money meets mouth’ thing. Admittedly, I don’t know how to code so at the moment I’m thinking something simple made in Flash or something similar. Something I can get my head around. All I have right now is a concept.

The game I’m thinking of making would be a platformer and would, by design, fly in the face of many gaming norms. I want to call it Pacifist. The plot is basic at this point – there’s an oppressive government and the people are peacefully protesting. The player is part of a large crowd in the protest and recognizes that the people need a sign to unite them – but doesn’t want to provoke a violent confrontation which the government would win. Thus, the stage is set.

The player leaves the crowd and sets out to achieve the objective – what this is exactly is still hazy. The key is that the player must not attack opponents, though enemies are numerous and lethal. If the player dies then his idea comes to another member of the protest and another person leaves the crowd on the same mission. Each person in the crowd represents a life, but as the game goes on the crowd loses motivation and disperses – this puts a pressure on the player to complete the game quickly, but as the game gets harder and goes on longer then the player has fewer and fewer lives.

How exactly the player deals with enemies I’m not certain on yet. This could be a stealth game with set hiding places (think Trilby: The Art of Theft) or an avoidance game (think N+) or it could be something entirely new. What I want though is to have a situation where players can kill guards and so on, but aren’t supposed to and will be punished for when they complete the game. You’ll be rewarded for pacifism, hence the title.

Yes, I am aware how this game plays closely to the topic of Tibet. No, this isn’t the idea in full. The whole concept plays on the previously mentioned idea of Massively Singleplayer games which I’ve since relabeled to Offline Co-op and I’m ready to discuss that at later stage only. It’s kind of twisty.

What exactly I could lend to such a project beyond writing, publicity and vision is a little iffy – though I’m ready to get hands-on. Again though, I’m only toying with the idea at the moment and this post acts as a place where I intend to bounce ideas around and see if anyone else is interested in pitching in.

All I have right now is the concept and the urge to see how far I can take this. If you’ve got thoughts or offers or suggestions then drop them in the comments before this turns into an endlessly planned but never realized Blaze Bolden.

Out, LG.

Written by Joe Martin

April 23, 2008 at 5:26 pm