Looking for a game idea

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Mitch
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Looking for a game idea

Postby Mitch » Thu Feb 09, 2017 2:09 pm

Hello I have been tasked to make a game in unity by the 2nd of march based on some existing code.
You can view the base project source code here here or download a windows build from here
The trouble is the base project has no goal, no theme, no gameplay and I can't think of any ideas of what to make from it.

The kind of things the judges would be looking for are:
Effects
variety of gameplay.
Multiple levels
Upgrade systems
Tactics needed
A progression system
Powerups/ Collectables
Encapsulation
Code reuse
Tutorial/ teaching gameplay mechanics
Unlocks / Career progression

The code they have provided doesn't do much. Just has scripts for magnetism warping across screen boundaries and magnetism I'm not sure how to use or extend upon these.

I just wondered if anyone here had any cool ideas. Thanks.
Last edited by Mitch on Fri Feb 10, 2017 10:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Looking for a game idea

Postby Administrator » Fri Feb 10, 2017 2:22 am

Hi, Mitch! Great post, as always!

First, a million apologies for my relative inactivity on the boards for the last two weeks. I've been pulled in a bunch of different directions, working on making promotional materials for Outer Colony, implementing a guided / mission-centric tutorial system, and pushing other aspects of the project along. I've neglected the boards a little bit and haven't been posting news / updates like I should, but I'll aim to remedy that after this weekend.

I tried downloading the file for the Windows build, but I was told that I lack the necessary permission. I don't have time to setup Unity and clone the repo at the moment, and my dad is flying into town this weekend, so I might not have a chance to look this all over quickly.

What is the existing codebase like? Is it for an RPG? An RTS? Are there any existing assets? Are they sci-fi, fantasy, steampunk, or something else?

The code they have provided doesn't do much. Just has scripts for magnetism warping across screen boundaries and magnetism I'm not sure how to use or extend upon these.

If there really is no existing gameplay whatsoever, the tasking seems strange to me. By reading this quote from the instructions:
For this reason, it is important that you utilize the existing project and do not start again from scratch.

It sounds like there has to be something there, right? If it's just a framework with some magnetism scripts in it, I don't understand why they'd be so furiously intent on using the existing codebase. In fact, that seems borderline nonsensical, especially if they're trying to emulate what happens when you actually get hired somewhere. Normally, when you're hired by a company, you're taking over some existing codebase that's being used for some revenue-generating purpose. There's the framework for everything you do from there on. You're hired by a health insurance company to work on its record management system. There's a big codebase for generating reports and displaying records, and a 4TB database that feeds it. Your first task is to generate a new kind of report that's designed to identify extraneous portions of the provider network.

That's what usually happens when you're hired for a real job. The other (much, much rarer) situation is being brought onto a startup that doesn't yet have a codebase or isn't yet making money. But in this case, it's still not wackyshack. There's a business plan. There's management and leadership in the organization that has a vision. There exists some scope for something they're trying to do, and there's a plan in place to build some kind of software that'll hopefully generate revenue.

You'd never be hired by a company that says, "Hey, we have 4,000 lines of scripts that don't do anything, and nobody here knows what we're doing with it. Go ahead and make something. Also, even though you have total autonomy to make whatever you want, you have to shoe-horn it into our existing and useless codebase."

I know it's just a contrived contest, but the Unity project has to build into something, right? What happens when you try to play the existing game?

Once that question is answered, it'll (hopefully) be a little bit easier to figure out where to go next.

If you've only got until March 2nd, though, that leaves you with extremely little time. If you were living in the agile / scrum world, you'd have basically 1 sprint to design, implement, test, polish, and deliver a whole game. No matter what you do, the key here will be to keep the scope simple. Set out to do something really, really, really basic, but to do it well enough that the end result works. The #1 most important thing is to make something, anything that works.

Your options include:
1. Clone something simple and kinetic, like WinBrick or Bejeweled or QWOP. There are tons and tons of fairly shallow clones out there, and plenty of them make money. Given the time constraints, if you could deliver a polished version of something like WinBrick, where it's easy to design multiple levels that progress in difficulty, you would really impress the judges. it's the kind of game where you don't have to think very hard to make a bunch of levels, a simple upgrade system (the ball cracks bricks with more power), some neat effects (make one type of brick that explodes), progress (the levels can ramp up in difficulty without much complicated design), and power-ups / career progression.

It'd be a simple system that hits all the checkboxes in the judges' list. If WinBrick isn't your cup of tea, you can pick almost any kind of simple, kinetic game, fit the judges' requirements onto it, and you'll be golden.

2. Platformers are pretty quick to assemble. In fact, there are a bunch of Unity tools that facilitate rapidly building them. You might impress the judges by leaning on existing solutions, which is an extremely useful skill in the real world. It's cheaper and better to buy something than to build it, and if you can use the asset store to build a functional, polished platformer with a handful of levels by the delivery date, you'll turn some heads.

Those are the first two ideas that come to mind, but my biggest recommendation is staying away from things that are complicated. An RTS, a deep RPG, any kind of grand vision just isn't going to be possible in this amount of time. The worst thing one can do in the face of these constraints is to aim for something infeasible and ultimately deliver nothing. All you've got to do is make something that hits the judges' points, and you're golden. You don't have to actually make something you love or something that would sell, but that's OK. Virtually no one can make something they can love, and definitely no one can make something they can sell in 3 weeks. It's borderline impossible. Time is just way too short here.

So aim really simple in your scope, aim to hit many of the things the judges are looking for, and you'll be in good shape! I hope this helps, but feel free to post more here! I'll be really interested in following your journey through this project. You're a really smart guy, Mitch, so I'm positive that you're going to do great!!
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Re: Looking for a game idea

Postby Mitch » Fri Feb 10, 2017 2:04 pm

I tried downloading the file for the Windows build, but I was told that I lack the necessary permission.
It should now be downloadable google drive decided to disobey my orders and make it private.

I just am I finding this quite annoying as I don't have much time and want to get cracking on it straight away.
The problem is they say multiple times to use their codebase however, the codebase has nothing of real use in it. Like you say it is not a realistic scenario to be given a codebase that has no game play or even has any indication on what game play they are trying to achieve with the existing code. I see why they set it up like this from their perspective. They need to make sure people don't just submit games they have made prior to the start of the competition so they get you to work of an existing codebase.
I don't see what I can do as anything I make will involve disregarding almost all the base code.
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Re: Looking for a game idea

Postby Torvus » Fri Feb 10, 2017 2:06 pm

Not a progtammer, so take this for what it's worth (practically nothimg). Bu magnetism you mean magnetism between virtual objects and it isn't some coding lingo right? If you were to focus on magnetism, I'd have a puzzle game. Each level is about you clearing a path from point A to point B for some little guy. Or a little girl. Judges dig that. Call her Maggie. Each level could be covered in junk and only some of it is magnetic. By putting down a limited number of magnets, you clear a path and finish the level. You could also have some out of the way collectables to pick up. As for upgrades, stronger magnets! Maybe some of the collectable items can only be obtained by replaying early levels with more powerful magnets
I am Torvus. My titles at voyager games are thus: Lore Weaver, Creature Consultant, Chief Science Officer, Company Chaplain, and Star Magus among others.
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Re: Looking for a game idea

Postby Mitch » Fri Feb 10, 2017 2:15 pm

Thanks Torvus,
I was thinking of making it a puzzle game myself. Your idea sounds pretty cool my idea was similar except the character would have some sort of magnetic ability and use that to solve the puzzle.
Placing magnet could allow for more scope and depth in the puzzles if I decide to go this route.
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Re: Looking for a game idea

Postby Administrator » Fri Feb 10, 2017 3:37 pm

Torvus wrote:Each level could be covered in junk and only some of it is magnetic. By putting down a limited number of magnets, you clear a path and finish the level. You could also have some out of the way collectables to pick up. As for upgrades, stronger magnets! Maybe some of the collectable items can only be obtained by replaying early levels with more powerful magnets

Way to go, Torvus! That's a freakin' great idea. If the game has to involve magnets, that's as good an idea as any.

So long as you keep the scope bone-simple, plan it out a bit, and start in the next few days, I think you'll be in great shape.
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Mazarus
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Re: Looking for a game idea

Postby Mazarus » Sun Feb 12, 2017 4:13 am

Hey Mitch, I've been viewing the thread for a little bit and decided to throw my two cents in.

I agree that a puzzle game would definitely be a good idea for the contest, accounting for the materials given, and the time constraint. I also think the idea of using magnets in the puzzles is also a great idea.

Mitch wrote:
The kind of things the judges would be looking for are:

Tactics needed


When I remembered that the judges would be looking for Tactics, I had a small concept form in my mind. Basically, you have a small metal ball. on the same area is a small hole it needs to get to to complete the level. The game starts in Plan Phase, where the user can place down a magnet to attract the ball. When the user is finished with their plan they proceed to Action Phase, which then activates the magnet and draws the ball toward it. If the user gets it in the hole succesfully, the level ends, if something doesnt work right they can go back and adjust the magnet.

Now it's a basic idea and you can expand on that, like adding repulsion, timers on the magnets, or even letting them up the magnetic power a certain magnet has. You can also add obstacles such as, walls, magnet blocking material, and maybe even drop offs that instantly boot you back to the Plan Phase.

But yeah, that's just the little concept I thought up that possibly could work.
Questions? Comments? Concerns?
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Re: Looking for a game idea

Postby Administrator » Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:43 pm

Mazarus wrote:When I remembered that the judges would be looking for Tactics, I had a small concept form in my mind. Basically, you have a small metal ball. on the same area is a small hole it needs to get to to complete the level. The game starts in Plan Phase, where the user can place down a magnet to attract the ball. When the user is finished with their plan they proceed to Action Phase, which then activates the magnet and draws the ball toward it. If the user gets it in the hole succesfully, the level ends, if something doesnt work right they can go back and adjust the magnet.

That's a pretty cool idea, Mazarus, and I'm sure Mitch appreciates it in a big way.

Have you made any good progress so far, Mitch? I'd love to hear how this project is going!
Mitch
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Re: Looking for a game idea

Postby Mitch » Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:38 am

I have been extremely busy with work and uni coursework and getting immersed in opengl programming.
I have neglected this more than I should but I am going to give it I final push now and will post an update in a few days with the final game.
Oh and Mazarus I never thanked you for your idea. Thank you,. I think it is great and fits the scope well I hope I can produce something nice from it.
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Re: Looking for a game idea

Postby Administrator » Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:06 pm

Mitch wrote:I have been extremely busy with work and uni coursework and getting immersed in opengl programming.


Raw OpenGL programming is pretty awesome, man! I took a course on it on college, and I kinda' enjoyed it. Are you having fun with the that low-level, graphical development?

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