My main goal for my conference game was to make a game that I would want to pick up and play almost without thinking, the kind of game I see people playing every day to breeze through life’s more mundane moments – on the subway, standing in line, etc. One of my first ideas stuck with me: a kind of single-player pong game where you control the movement of the puck by constantly redrawing a paddle. You would collect gold coins/tokens by steering the puck into them wit your paddle, and for each one you collected a new mine would appear at a random point on screen. Touch a mine and you’re toast. I thought this kind of gameplay would work particularly well on a tablet. I also liked the idea that the length of the game was only limited by player skill: like Snake, you just keep going until the increasing difficulty does you in. The swiping mechanic involved in drawing a line feels intuitive on a tablet, and is the foundation for some very popular games, like Fruit Ninja – I was sitting on a gold mine!
I even expanded on the original idea and came up with another game using those same mechanics. In this one, the puck is initially sitting still, and needs to be guided around a minefield of “dead zones” (those large circles with skulls and crossbones in them) to the gold coin/token, again by using paddles you draw. Once you’ve set up your paddles, you release the ball and see how it plays out. This one would involve actually creating mazes/levels for the player instead of letting the challenge develop through the course of gameplay. There might also be a scoring system where you’re rewarded for making it through in a short amount of time, or using the least amount of paddles possible.
I wanted the overall aesthetic of the game to be like the vector graphics of old, or at least similar to other games of today that hark back to them, like Geometry Wars:
Black background, objects made of bright primary colors (red, yellow) and neon-ish ones, too (cyan, magenta). The overall idea intrigued me throughout the semester.