And the pressure mounts

So here it is, Wednesday evening, and I don’t have a solid gameplay idea yet. To be fair, with Muncher’s Labyrinth I didn’t get the final gameplay idea until Saturday morning. But I’d still be a lot happier if I had a good idea to get started on right now.

When I’m working on a very wide-open game design like this, my general approach is always very visual; I try to get a mental image of what the game looks like on screen. Once I have that mental image, I try to invent gameplay mechanics that fit within that mental image. Sometimes it’s easy, like with Muncher’s, and sometimes it’s really hard, like with Petition Damsel.

With that said, I do have two vague images in my head, running with the ‘Cloud’ word, but I don’t quite have gameplay to fit with those images.

The first image is of a person who lives on a cloud. This person lives in a little house, built on the top of the cloud, and there’s a small smokestack that puffs out smaller clouds; the whole thing would be viewed from the side. I think that this mental image is heavily inspired by the illustrations from The Little Prince. This is, for me, the stronger of the two mental images.

The other mental image I have is a top-down view of someone flying in the sky, dodging between or flying through clouds, with a simulated ground in the background, potentially getting the effect of flying ‘up’ and ‘down’ by scaling that background. I’m not sure exactly what the player would be trying to do here, though. Perhaps the player would constantly be losing altitude, but gathering clouds would buoy him up, allowing him to last longer. For me, this is a pretty weak mental image, but it does at least suggest some vague gameplay mechanics.

So I’m not entirely happy with either of the concepts I’ve been working with so far.. I’d love to do something freeform and open like the Cloud game, but I feel that you’d really want a full 3D environment to really deliver on that sort of promise, and VectorStorm isn’t that..

Anyhow, with any luck, I’ll have a solid gameplay idea worked out by tomorrow, and will be able to start implementing. Crossing my fingers. :)