After finishing first semester there was still a lot Syl and I had to figure out. We could go two different ways with what we wanted our project to be about; the first a fun and challenging game with a unique puzzle system inspired by deforestation, and the second again a challenging puzzle game that is designed to make the player think heavily about the struggles of deforestation on tribal culture. We did want to take the second route but after some idea generation sessions and a conversation with Adam, we were using the idea of deforestation too literally in our game universe so it wouldn’t be an effective way getting our audience to think about deforestation. So, we decided to take the first idea forward and simply make a fun and challenging game with a unique selling point.
Since the Indie game revolution in the late 2000s, 2D puzzle games have soared in popularity and have become a focal point of games design, which has seen many of these types of games to be made. So, for our game to stand out in the crowd we needed to find a mechanic that can both challenge our creative capacities and instantly grab the interest of the player. Currently, simply using the customs to solve puzzles in the game world isn’t enough to capture the audience, so we went back to the drawing board to find the missing piece of the puzzle, pun intended. A video of a table-top Rube Goldberg machine gave me a thought about how our game could function as a Rube Goldberg machine, as the customs that feature already are similar to some of the features in the machines. So, we begun to fling around some ideas of how it could work and we instantly became hooked on the idea. A mind map of idea generation can be found below.
Following a conversation with Adam too, we begun working on how the Rube Goldberg machine mechanic work within our game world. I played and watched some play-throughs of 2D puzzle games similar to the one we want to make. One that stood out to me was Heist, which for the first third of gameplay gave little challenge to the player and instead the game acted as a way of the player feeling comfortable in the game world to understand how everything works. So, Syl and I decided to use this in Isiko so the players can feel more comfortable when entering the game world. The first levels of the game will also need to act as an introduction for how the customs will work so letting players ease into that will make for a better game experience.
- Introduction to how the game works – This will feature a Rube Goldberg machine that is interacts with the game environment and doesn’t feature customs.
- Introduction to customs – Each custom will be introduced one at a time and has to be incorporated into a RG (Rube Goldberg) machine. These too still feature interactions with the environment.
- Main game section – These will feature puzzles that will increase with difficulty and use more two or more customs in each. As the puzzles get harder they will be less interactive with the environment and more interactive with the industrial machinery.
Above is a rough guide for the stages of our game and how they will work. I have made this guideline for myself so I know what to prototype when and this will allow me to stick to a stricter and more productive schedule which will give us a longer and better gameplay feature. Puzzle design is the biggest aspect of our game so a lot of work has to be done for these to both work and be fun for the player. So, I needed to watch RB machine videos in order to better my understanding of them. A link to one of the videos I watched can be found below. I followed the videos and sketched out ideas that stemmed from them in my book as this was a way of quickly generating ideas and using existing machines to influence the mechanics is likely to ensure the puzzles work to their full capacity.