I have a confession to make.
I never liked Dune.
Now, I’m not talking about the father of the modern RTS genre, nor am I talking about the frequently-incomprehensible David Lynch film, nor even the John Harrison miniseries (although I never particularly liked any of those, either). No, I’m talking about Frank Herbert’s Dune, the original novel. I’m not going to go into the precise reasons why, here, but I thought it was important to mention that I’m not really a Dune fan, even if I will joyously misquote the “Fear is the mind-killer” mantra given even half a chance.
However, when it came time to select a topic for a new Game in a Week, Dune was the first book that leapt from my bookshelf, and it’s offered up a doozy of a quote. Dune is Copyright 1965 by Frank Herbert, and my particular copy is a paperback edition, and was printed by Clays Ltd. No printing date is specified on the book.
For those who haven’t seen me do this before, the topic selection process for Game in a Week games is simple; I select a book at (more or less) random, open to a random page, and take the first complete sentence at the top of the left page. I am then free to interpret the sentence (or portions thereof) in any way I wish, to construct the theme for the game.
In this case, the page was number 138. And the first sentence on that page is:
Lord, save us from that horrible land!
(It’s actually a lyric taken from the middle of a song, apparently referring to the harsh desert of Arrakis.. although as mentioned above, I’m not really a fan of Dune, so I didn’t check very closely to make sure that my interpretation of the quote was correct)
As always, I’ll make a few initial thoughts about how this sentence can be applied to a game.. though I think there are some pretty obvious ones. We could take the whole sentence as the topic; the player is God, and is tasked with protecting his minions from some sort of dangerous terrain.
Alternately, we could do any sort of rescue game if we just took “Save us”, or any sort of God game by just taking “Lord”, or an evil deathtrap game by taking just “horrible land”. But right now, I’m really taken with the idea of using the whole quote, and maybe even using it as the name of the game. I’m not quite sure what’s so horrible about the land that we need to protect people from it, but.. I’m sure something will occur to me.
And it will give me a chance to continue working with the terrain rendering which I’ve been playing with for the past little while, so that ought to be a good thing too.
But that’s all the gameplay consideration that I’m allowing myself tonight. Proper design work on Game in a Week number six starts tomorrow morning, and the playable game is due by the end of January 3rd. I’ll be posting updates here, as events unfold.
Wish me luck!