Game Idea Giveaway - Lava Land

...continued from The Game Idea Giveaway Thread

Request by freelanceflashgames:
  • what sort of game idea you're looking for
    Something fairly simple and easy to code, yet fun. The game would probably feature achievements and upgrades, but it isn't required.
  • what your goals are in making this game
    To make a good game that will be different from others and people will have fun playing.
  • what games you've made already
    whack-a-mole, a sort of falling game, an unfinished platformer, unfinished climbing sort of game, and pong
  • your favorite Flash games
    Onslaught 2, amorphous +, hedgehog launch, the last stand, bubble tanks 2, fancy pants, bowmaster prelude are just some that I could think of.
  • your abilities in game design, programming, art, and sound
    Good game design, decent programming, pretty good art, and alright at finding sounds.
  • your preferences in game design, programming, art, and sound
    I'd say most is art, then programming and game design. I can't make my own sounds, so I usually go looking for them.

The weird idea: Garden Chomp

The normal idea: Lava Land

In short, this idea is a simple arcade collection game (like Pac-Man) on a shifting field of lava. You are a little guy running around on the field of molten lava. Your goal is to collect the crystals that form as the lava cools, without getting burned by the rock-meltingly high temperatures underfoot.

It's basically an enhanced version of Acid Rain, a game I made several years ago for the TI-83 graphing calculator. It's what the game always wanted to be, freed from the limitations of the calculator's tiny screen and slow processor.

The focus of the game is on the environment, and how it changes. The entire map is a 2.5D isometric grid of tiles, and fits on one screen, without scrolling. Each tile has a height and a temperature. Cool temperatures mean that a tile is solid rock, safe to walk on, while hot temperatures mean molten lava.

Blobs of molten lava constantly rain down from the sky, as if spewed out by a nearby volcano. Each blob lands on a random tile, raising its height with the added material and raising its temperature to molten levels. Molten lava will quickly cool and harden to become rock, but you don't want to be standing on it while you wait for that to happen. Sometimes a blob will cool and turn into a crystal instead. When that happens, you can walk onto that tile to harvest the crystal.

The net effect of all these blobs raining down is to continually raise the height of the lava field, forming an interesting landscape of peaks and valleys. To compensate for this (we can't make things too easy) the whole field is also sinking at a constant rate. All tiles sink gradually, and when their height drops to the lowest level, they go permanently molten, submerged in lava. Of course, they can be raised up again if a new blob falls from the sky.

The fun of the game is in making your way through this shifting landscape, avoiding danger and plotting your path to the crystals that pop up. All you do is move, with the arrow keys or the mouse, and jump, with the space bar or the mouse button. To collect a crystal or a powerup, just move onto it. Your protective suit gets damaged when you touch a molten hot tile - the hotter it is, the more damage it does. If your suit gets damaged too much, you lose the game.

That's pretty much it. It's meant to be a simple game, like something you might find on Orisinal. There are a number of details you could add, like crystals of different types and rarity, shields that recharge, a time limit, powerups, upgrades, or achievements. But that's up to you. Attractive artwork and well-tweaked numbers will be important for this game, as well as making sure the controls are easy to use. I'd be glad to help advise on the design once you've gotten something going. Let me know. :)

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


Jordan Magnuson said...

I wasn't aware of the Game Idea Giveaway Thread before, and I just wanted to say that I think it's a great idea. It really exemplifies the spirit of creativity, generosity, and collaboration that indie game creation should be about. Kudos.

axcho said...

Thank you, glad you approve! :) You are welcome to join in, by the way, or start your own giveaway. I would be glad to have some company.

Jordan Magnuson said...

Alas, I've had a lot of ideas over the years, but I haven't fleshed most of them out as well as you have... and the ones that are more defined tend to be of much larger scope. Perhaps I'll revisit some of my old concepts and see if they're in "sharable" form at all... thanks for the inspiration in any case.

axcho said...

You're welcome! Do let me know if you decide to try sharing them after all.