Game Idea Giveaway - Paint Physics

...continued from The Game Idea Giveaway Thread

Request by kcaz_rel:
  • what sort of game idea you're looking for
    I'm not quite sure, something simple but with a twist an idea I had was a sort of physics RPG.
  • what your goals are in making this game
    Again a new twist that is completely different from what you would expect.

The normal idea: Monk Tactics

The weird idea: Paint Physics

This is a game born of hatred. Or at least disdain, for the legions of Crayon Physics clones that have so shamelessly made their success, most notably Magic Pen. So, the player starts up Paint Physics, anticipating perhaps some delightful fluid dynamics and colorful creative fun with paint. They are soon dismayed to see that this apparent Crayon Physics clone does not take fingerpaint as its nostalgia-inducing motif of choice, but that the Paint here is in fact MS Paint, the maligned instrument of art noobs and of course, Satan. The word for today is anti-aesthetic. Clicking the inexpertly scrawled play button, they are greeted with the sight of a familiar blue ball and yellow star, rendered in MS Paint's distinctive style. Oh, how cute - the mouse cursor looks like the pencil tool from MS Paint. A line of text at the top, artfully displayed in an aliased Times New Roman font, suggests to the player that they use their mouse to trace around the dashed outline of a square placed above the blue ball.

Here is where the fun begins. The player dutifully proceeds to trace a line around the shape, and there it is - a messy but passable square hovering in the air above the blue ball. Now, will this shape suddenly solidify and fall to the ground with a graceful crash, nudging the blue ball delicately toward the waiting yellow star? The player releases the mouse button, expectantly. Nothing at first, but then, slowly, this squiggly outline begins to peel away like a wet noodle thrown on a wall, until the whole thing collapses into a limp, tangled heap on top of the ball. Oh dear. The player mouses over to investigate. Oh look, the cursor changes to a drag icon when the mouse is over the blue ball. Can you drag the ball? The player drags the ball around, and shakes off the ropes. Drag to yellow star - level complete!

Now, if this were the whole game, it might be somewhat amusing as a parody but not really worth all the work necessary to develop it. Fortunately, that's not the game. It's just the intro. The true game would be a physics-based mouse avoider combined with a physics construction toy. Given that the basic action is to drag a blue ball all the way to a yellow star in order to beat each level, you've got a lot of options for mouse avoider obstacles and puzzles right there. And given that you'd be using a physics engine like Box2DFlash or similar, there are lots of creative physics-based ways you could take this without having to simply imitate an existing avoider game. But anyway, let's just say that certain shapes, as well as perhaps more actively swarming enemies will result in you losing the level if the blue ball touches them. Let's say that these are all the red shapes. Well, how might the player ease their way through the hazards that lie in wait, using the humble limp noodle pencil tool that is their sole accessory?

Having the ability to create flexible, perhaps stretchy, ropes is more useful than you might think. If you draw a rope with either end inside an existing object. like a floating platform or a box sitting on the ground, the end of the rope will stay attached to it. If you draw a rope from the blue ball to, say, a heavy black box, then all of a sudden you've got a weapon against your reddish attackers - pick up the ball and starting bashing them away with the heavy black box, a la Hammerfall. Basically, you use the stretchy ropes to connect the objects that already exist in the level, rather than drawing your own. I haven't seen this mechanic used anywhere yet. But if you really feel like the player must be able to add shapes of their own, I guess you could also make use of MS Paint's circle and rectangle tools, or even the others if you can figure out how. ;) Either way, I imagine that level design and testing would take up most of the development time of this game, at least if you're using an existing physics engine like you should. The success of Paint Physics will hinge entirely on its level design.

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


Krystian Majewski said...

I don't quite get Paint Physics. Maybe it's because
1. I don't like Crayon Physics
2. I don't hate Paint
3. I don like Mouse Avoiders

But I love Monk Tactics! Would be really cool. Somewhat like Commandos but smaller and more procedural. Yum!

axcho said...

Yeah. I don't particularly like Crayon Physics, and I don't hate Paint either (it's good for pixel art). But a lot of people do, and the game is meant to poke fun at them.

And yep, it would be really cool if someone made a Monk Tactics game! I can see it becoming a genre like tower defense...