Game Idea Giveaway - Metastability

...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
  • what games you've made already
    Colorfill, a fill the screen type of game (Qix-like), SnakeBox, a snake game in 3D
  • your favorite Flash games
    Bloons, Bejeweled, this kind of games easy to grasp and where you have fun instantly.
  • your abilities in game design, programming, art, and sound
    mostly programming, game design OK, no artistic skills
  • your preferences in game design, programming, art, and sound
    Programming, definitely.

The weird idea: Prejudice

The normal idea: Metastability

In short, the idea is Tower of Goo combined with Crayon Physics, with a little bit of Tetris on the side. I know I've expressed annoyance at the countless Crayon Physics clones out there that waste a powerful physics engine with narrow gameplay goals. This is my attempt to design an alternative, a game that makes use of Crayon Physics' full potential.

Like in Tower of Goo, your goal is to build a tower as tall as you can. The world consists of a large horizontal platform, an island in a sea of bottomless nothingness. Random polygonal shapes form a layer of rubble on this island, which you can drag around with the mouse to form structures or just to toss off the island, never to be seen again. You can also draw your own shapes as in Crayon Physics, and drag these shapes around as well. New shapes drop down from the sky every so often, providing you with new material as well as threatening the stability of your tower.

You use these shapes to build a tower, but crucially, they must alternate between drawn and found shapes. And the tower is only valid if no drawn shapes touch the ground, the island platform. Otherwise, you could just draw a really tall shape and use that as your tower. Alternating means that a drawn shape must not touch any other drawn shape, only found shapes, and vice versa. If two shapes of the same type touch, the tower is invalid, and the offending shapes are highlighted in a conspicuous manner. To make this easy to see, drawn shapes should be colored differently than found shapes, and perhaps a beam of light shines down from the heavens if the tower is valid.

The height of the tower, measured from the ground, translates into your score. While it may seem that you could just draw really tall shapes and cheat, this does not provide an advantage. Bigger shapes are less stable, and since mass would be proportional to area, they would be so heavy that they might simply crush the shapes beneath them.

The game could provide a special timed mode, though this is not necessary since the shapes raining down provide their own form of time pressure, and the width of the island limits the maximum height of the tower. There could also be modes for different island widths, and different amounts of rain. You could even include a mode where the player can build several towers on the same island, with their combined heights added up for the final score.

I think this game could be awesome. If I didn't have a ton of other projects already, I'd make it myself. So you'd better do a good job of it! ;) Please keep me involved if you go through with this, as I can help you playtest and polish the design to its full potential and connect you with some good artists who know how to awesome-ify a game like this. If it succeeds, who knows - I could see Metastability making the same transition as Tower of Goo, toward the full-blown, award-winning World of Goo. There's a lot you could do with it.

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

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