Friday, October 3, 2014



So, what is my game and how will it be designed?

"Phi" (as you know, working title) is primarily a game about exploration. That is very important for me! As you might know, I am one of those gamers who grew up with games like The Legend of Zelda (NES). Fortunately that means I still have a great deal of imagination left compared to nowadays kids who in my opinion are getting a bit too pampered with explaining and showing everything, while they are kept addicted and interested by providing them with rather easy tasks leading to a purposely fast and deeply psychological sense of (false) accomplishment.

I can immerse in an environment even if it is not in ultra-high resolution. I don't care if I play a game with 30 FPS or 120. I am annoyed and actually almost disgusted by games that promise unlimited freedom, which then turns out to be an unlimited struggle of completing the same boring quests/tasks over and over again for maybe even up to 300 hours of my life. I enjoy a good story - better yet - a story that is not fed to me in the cheapest way possible, like for example by constantly finding new extensive emails in the game. I prefer a really basic setup that allows for my imagination to kick in and construct the wildest theories far beyond what any progressive storyline could tell. Furthermore I like challenges, using my brain and I like games that will not take up the next three months of my free time but instead can be completed in several hours while providing an intensive replay value. Here is the quick summation of my basic design philosophy for Phi or rather any good modern game in general:

  • Make a simple game based on classic and proven principles (if you haven't the absolute new and innovative idea that was never there before)
  • Keep the presentation at least contemporary, better: special, unique and interesting
  • Make a truly challenging game that requires both skill and thinking
  • Make a game with a beginning and a manageable end but high replay value due to proven principles like multiple endings and a lot of secrets and unlockables
  • Make an atmospheric game that puts the player in a fantastic place, outline only the basics of a seemingly amazing story so that in truth most of it will be written inadvertently by the individual player's own imagination along the way


Let's get on step further and talk about genres: As I said Phi will be a game deeply focused on exploration. However that alone doesn't help since that would describe Zelda as well as Minecraft and they are rather different games after all. So, in order to make you understand Phi here is a genre description that I think fits best: 2½D Fusion-Adventure!

I know “Fusion” is not a common categorization but ultimately hitting the nail on the head because Phi will inherit and or fit/make use of and combine the following mechanics, genres and descriptions:

2½D - Platformer, Jump&Run, Shooter, Adventure, Survival, Point&Click, ...

I know, for you as gamer, that still doesn’t help too much because in order to get a response it is necessary to create in image in your head. - And since I can’t show you something yet, I would like to do that by description one last time:

Imagine a game like Super Metroid in "almost"-3D. You control the hero and have to find your way through an ancient labyrinth, structured in several connected but distinct areas, which are constantly expanding by revealing new paths depending on your skill and equipment. All you start with is your backpack, a flashlight, a lighter, your phone (which is not working inside the massive stonewalls), the diary of Dr. Connelly and your prototype scanning device (details to follow). Your journey is naturally linear but still provides limited freedom of choice in terms of what you would have to do next and what you can leave out completely. Ideally you will find many useful items such as a pistol and powerful ancient artifacts that will help you, because on your journey into the darkness you will of course encounter several obstacles to overcome. Obstacles can range from simple, closed doors, partially mathematical puzzles, frequent and deadly traps to fierce enemies in form of animals or mysterious and frightening creatures. How you will overcome these obstacles should be up to you and the game will provide you with a variety of options (Multiple Solution Approach). Your initial goal of simply finding a way out of the Khufu's pyramid will become more and more blurry as you progress further. Down the rabbit hole you will uncover ancient mysteries, wake something better left sleeping and ultimately be the hero to save the world!

Play more! Concept more!

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