Things from the past – Part 5

Finding the concept

– After the devastating crash of the first concept we found an engaging new idea. But it was lacking a profound and solid higher concept it was aiming at. We reconsidered what we did in the past and what we liked as gamers. We started out making the same mistake as before: we literally thrown ideas and mechanics to the whiteboard, so the concept was too fat.

“You have a nice chicken soup but since you like muffins you just put them in. Maybe ice cream is also good. But at the end what you wanted is a chicken soup.” – random wise bum we met on the street

We followed the advice of game designer Chris Crawford (not the bum) of counting the verbs to describe what the player can actively do. We boiled down our list of verbs until just 3 survived: move, switch polarity and an electromagnetic burst. This is totally enough for a small game – even Super Mario has just 3.

At the same time we argued about the higher concept. What is interesting enough to dedicate a game to, and would engage the player? Normally this concept is told through the story like redemption as in Red Dead Redemption. We wanted something that could also influence the gameplay.

One of the abstract concepts we collected months before was the interesting relationship between siblings. Siblings can change quickly from partners to rivals. In one moment they team up to steal some cookies from the top self and in the other they are rivals fighting for the upper bunk bed.

We took this and combined it with the bomb and fuse characters. Now they are brothers racing for the same goal. The player can decide on the fly if to collaborate to go faster or fight each other for the sake of first price. We changed it to a fast paced Arcade game that is played in hot seat mode and will transfer the higher concept to the players sofa. Tips or timed action are allowed the same way as trying to distract or hinder the other player. We are evil, we know.

Now with the idea, the higher concept and interesting game play we could start to write our design document as well as the concept drawings.

The proof of concept we will show in the next post in 2014. Room 247 Studio wishes you all some nice holidays and a happy new year.

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