Monday, January 31, 2011

Hot Potato v.0.4

I've been working on a game concept over the break, it's based off an idea that I've had for a while now. Sadly I lost the original sketch that started it off but I'm rectifying it by posting up my design document's progression.

The initial concept

When I first conceived this idea, it was simply IPhone game of a maze toy. Instead of a little metal ball, you'd have a flaming ball that you'd use to just blow stuff up. I'd pegged it as "carthartic entertainment", the kind of game where it is culturally acceptable to be as violent as you like. It didn't even have a name at this point.

This first design document is pretty rough and was definetly unfinished. Things get better at a later date.

Hot Potato (v.0.4)
Destructive Puzzler

Player must keep the "hot potato" on fire as they manoeuvre it towards the goal.

The "hot potato" is controlled the player who can control its rolling direction and bounce. The level will end if the ball's flame is extinguished, so the player must keep fuelling the flame by colliding into flammable objects or by causing explosions.

The player will also need to avoid obstacles that can slow down momentum or extinguish the flame. Points are rewarded for speedy completion of level, destroyed objects and explosions. Points are multiplied if destruction and explosions are chained. (Note to self: Consider ball upgrade system using points as currency)

The game is broken up into levels, each has a goal that must be completed to finish the level. Examples include*:
- Reaching a goal within a time limit
- Destroying a specified number of objects
- Destroying a specified object
- Creating a specified number of explosion chains
*(Note to self: Temperature achieved?)

The game could be divided into different modes, these could be broken down as follows:
Classic - Play through the levels normally
Rocket/Pinball - Propel the ball as far up as possible by exploding nearby objects
Arcade - Play classic games using the ball*
Demolition Derby - Play through the exploratory levels, points will not be awarded but the player can unlock some achievements
(Note to self: Games like Tetris, Bubble Bobble, Breakout)

Unlocks are additional extras that can be accessed when a player spends points. Players will be able to unlock additional levels, game 'modes' and sandbox elements.

Achievements can be accessed via the main menu and allow the player to keep track of their progress. Completing some achievements can open certain unlocks.

Sandbox Mode
The game features a sandbox mode that allows the user to create their own level or edit a pre-existing one to experiment with.

Main Menu Progression
(Blogger doesn't do indents, go figure.)

- Play
/// - Level Selection

- Unlocks
/// - Balls
/// - World Pieces
/// - Modes

- Achievements
/// - Medals (earned)
/// - ???

- Sandbox
///- Level Editor
////// - New Level
//////- Load Level
///// - Play Level

In Game Menu
- Resume
- Restart Level
- Return to Main

Has the following properties:
* Flame: Degrades over time and if it is extinguished, the level will end. The flame's size indicates the destruction radius of the ball.*
* Weight: Affects the ball's movement as it travels and how far it can be propelled by explosions.
Also affects ball's bounce and how much force it applies to an object.
* Explosive Power: Determines how much power to multiply collision based explosions by.
*(Note to self: Consider variables of: heat and oxygen playing part in this system. Also consider temperature as a property)

Ball Upgrades
The ball could be upgraded to have these additional properties:
* Gas Emitter: When triggered, releases gas that can set off more explosions
* Double Detonation: Gives the player the random chance to double the amount of explosions
* Ignition: Can provide additional spark to prevent ball's flame from dying
* Firefly: Ball can produce additional sparks to set off additional explosions or cause destruction
* Disrupt: An upgradable property that allows the ball to produce more shrapnel from destroyed objects
* Kinetic Gamble: An upgradable property that will allow more explosions to occur during destruction chains
* Nova: Kamikaze explosion

The ball can destroy objects by either crushing, burning or exploding them. Destroying objects will add fuel to the flame while shrapnel can fly and damage other objects. Points are rewarded for how many objects are destroyed and additional points can be rewarded if explosions occur during the destruction.

When an object is destroyed, there is a chance that it will produce debris. This has the chance of destroying or damaging nearby objects or can be used to fuel the ball's flame. The force that the ball imparts will affect how far the particles/chunks will be flung from their source.

Explosions occur when the ball collides with explosive objects or randomly during destruction chains. Explosions will fuel the ball's flame for longer and can create or multiply a destruction chain by burning or smashing other objects.

Depending on the size of the explosion, the ball can be propelled in certain directions. This can be advantageous to the player as they can use it to navigate around the level or reach more objects.

Destructible Objects
*Cardboard Box
* Cars
* Buildings

Explosive Objects
* Blocks

*Explosive Crates
* Oil Barrel
* Gas Cylinder
* Bombs

Obstacles can be broken down into various types that have an effect on the ball or its flame.
* Air: Obstacles that can push the ball in certain directions but can also blow the flame out depending on the strength of the obstacle
E.g. Fans, turbines, air vents
* Water: The can douse the flame out
E.g. Water, ice, fire hydrants
* Earth: Rolling on these types of obstacles can put out the flame and slow the ball down
E.g. Dirt, quick sand, mud
* Chemical: Colliding with these could douse the flame or destroy the ball
E.g. Acid, extinguishing foam
* Physical: Objects that can either aid or abet the ball's progress in a level
E.g. Seesaws, weights, cannons, conveyor belt

Alternate Systems
Hot Potato could be altered to for a different control system that tilted the world rather than the ball. This could prove to be more challenging but also extremely frustrating depending on the world's physics.

The game could also be turned into a simple chain reaction game where the player must decide on the optimum position to drop the ball into the level. This version would let the user upgrade their "arsenal" to different types of balls. This could include, world tilting to optimise success. (Would only be available after certain upgrades)

The game could also be styled so that level creation was part of the gameplay. The player would be given a goal and needed to construct the level and play to see if they were successful. Play would become more difficult if the level had pre-defined objects that the player needed to work around.

Level Ideas
- Circular track (motorcycle cage)
- Ice/Snowfield
- Cannons
- City
- Nuclear Power plant
- Tetris
- Rings of fire

- Is flame temperature a factor in destruction? (If yes, thermometer needed)
- Does everything explode or will real world chemistry and physics need to be a requirement?
- What works better, rolling ball or tilting world
- Tilting would work well on iPhone
- Additional button press to boost explosions (maybe upgrade)
- Camera view
- Directional arrow