Game Idea Giveaway - Prejudice

...continued from The Game Idea Giveaway Thread

Request by kokosan:
  • what sort of game idea you're looking for
    a game involving physics
  • what your goals are in making this game
    Have fun developing it, and to get players to have fun playing it

The normal idea: Metastability

The weird idea: Prejudice

In short, the idea is Geometry Wars combined with Crayon Physics, with rules based on the dynamics of racial or cultural discrimination.

Like Geometry Wars, the game takes place in a field with a bunch of shapes in it. Everything in the game is a polygon, of varying shape, size, color, texture, and mass. Random shapes appear on different sides of the screen, proceeding past each other and disappearing off the opposite side, somewhat like Mondrian Provoked, or a large volume of pedestrian traffic. Unlike Geometry Wars, however, you cannot shoot. Instead, with deft strokes of the mouse, you ram into enemies with your sharp corners to do damage, while avoiding theirs.

Not every shape is an enemy, however. This is where the "prejudice" part comes in. At the top of the screen is a row of icons, each one depicting a particular shape. When the game begins, there is only one icon in this row - that is, the evil shape who has somehow wronged you in the past. Perhaps it killed your father. Anyway.

This evil shape, like all shapes, has several defined characteristics, such as area, number of edges, perimeter length, shortest distance across, longest distance across, color, and texture. Any shape that you encounter in the field is an enemy if it shares at least one of these traits with the evil shape. That's the prejudice part. The more traits it shares, there more points you get when you damage it and kill it. But if you attack a shape that does not share any of these traits, you lose points. Pretty simple.

There's more. You can add shapes to your "evil" list. How? If another shape happens to damage you, bumping into you with one of its sharp corners, then, naturally, it's evil. And it gets added to the row of icons at the top of your screen as a new evil shape. When your "evil" list is full - when it has more than, say, four icons in it - then the oldest shape is bumped off the list.

So any shape that shares a trait with any of the "evil" shapes in your list is an enemy that you can attack. These shapes are given a suspicious dark tint, for your discriminatory convenience. But in general, most shapes are content to mind their own business on their journey across the screen. Few shapes will attack you outright unless they are provoked, and some might even run away. This personality trait has nothing to do with a shape's "enemy" status - it's simply a way to modulate the difficulty of the game as you progress.

As if that's not complicated enough already, there's another twist to the idea. Not only can you have enemies, but you can have allies, too. This is where the Crayon Physics drawing engine comes into play.

When you have earned enough points from lynching enemy shapes, you can choose to spend some of those points to create allies. When you create an ally, you simply draw a shape in the mouse with the handy ally editor, and assign it a color and texture. Then, the ally gets added to a second row of icons at the bottom of the screen - your "good" list. There is always at least one shape in the "good" list - your own shape. The twist is that any shape in the field that shares a trait with any good shape - any ally - is not considered an enemy, even if it shares traits with an evil shape. So having allies reduces the number of shapes that you can legally attack.

But allies can be useful. Marked with a white tint, they swarm around you to shield you from aggressive shapes, and can also help you attack. When you hold down the mouse button, they swarm in tighter and flock with your velocity, so you can direct them in coordinated attacks. And if your very own shape is killed, then you can continue playing as the next ally in the list.

Like your "evil" list, your "good" list has a limited number of slots. If an ally is killed, its icon stays in the list. You wouldn't want to forget an ally killed in battle, would you? But if your list is full and you buy a new ally, the oldest icon is pushed off the list, though its corresponding ally remains in the field.

I want to explain the movement controls in a little more detail, as well. You move your shape with the mouse. One vertex of this polygon is the forward vertex, the point of a spike most easily used for attacking, and this vertex is made to follow the mouse cursor. This allows you to control both rotation and velocity with simple mouse movement. Allies swarm around you loosely, using a simple swarming algorithm. Just like your shape, they move from their forward vertices, which you would assign when you first draw them. When you hold down the mouse button, they try to swarm closer, and they also try to match your velocity and direction with a flocking algorithm, making their forward vertices point in the same direction as yours. This should allow you to direct their attacks.

That is all. Let me know what you think of the idea!

Want an idea? Make a request on The Game Idea Giveaway Thread!


Jordan Magnuson said...

Really enjoying reading your various ideas. Thanks again for sharing!

axcho said...

Ha, glad to hear it! Thanks for letting me know. I always wonder if these posts are useful or not... :)