Friday, June 11, 2010

Upcoming game, codename “Escape”

Here’s a very simplified mock-up of the iPhone and/or Windows Phone game I’m working on. 


Not much, right?  Well here’s the premise: You know all those sci-fi games / movies in which the hero destroys the enemy mothership/starbase/etc. and escapes in his or her ship just in the nick of time, before the enemy craft explodes behind them?  Well the span of time between setting off the chain reaction and escaping safely is the entire premise of this game.

You’ll need to race your ship through corridors, twisting and turning to avoid obstacles and the walls on your sides in order to outrun the explosion approaching behind you.  If you’re not quick enough, you’re toast.

I still have many design decisions yet to make, but there are some I am pretty solid with so far:

  • The game will feature vector-based, “geo-style” graphics
  • The game will be controlled with motion controls (accelerometer and/or gyroscope).  I will need to test this on an actual device to ensure that it’s fun, but the goal is that the ship itself doesn’t rotate; the world rotates around the ship as you rotate your device.
  • It will be impossible to die aside from letting the explosion behind you catch up to you.  Everything else will just slow you down; scraping against the sides of walls, colliding with obstacles, etc.

And here are some I’m not so certain about:

  • Will this be an iPhone or Windows Phone game first?  The development environment for Windows Phone 7 (XNA, Visual Studio) is much more appealing, but the toolset is still in beta and the performance of the emulator makes me nervous – not to mention the big risk of placing a bet on WP7.  Additionally, Steve Jobs just announced the new awesome iPhone4 super precise motion controls, almost as if it were a personal gift to me for this project. SmileAlso, if I go the iPhone route, another decision may be whether or not I limit the game to the newer iPhone graphical capabilities (OpenGL ES 2.0) or if I support older iPhones as well.
  • Will the levels be random or fixed?  One plus side of the random option is that it avoids the need for a level editor and completely pre-defined levels, but it also eliminates the ability to “master” levels through practice, or be able to compare your accomplishments equally to anothers’.  I see a lot more potential for sharing/comparing/feeling a sense of accomplishment with fixed levels.  I’d rather escape from The Death Star than Random Level 46024.  Random levels would mainly just be a time-saver.  Of course, if you guys disagree and think random levels would be cooler, I’d be happy to do it that way.

There are also tons of stylistic considerations regarding how the ship and levels will look, especially related to the simplicity versus intricacy.  I may keep it very simple aside from some “juicy” particle effects.  But, though personally I am fine with a very emotionless, geometric world, I think the game could benefit from a little bit of “cuteness” or other personal touches.

As always, any feedback is welcome.  I’ll post more videos and images as the project progresses.

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