The Game Developer's Journal: So What Do You Do in the Game?

Friday, May 9, 2014

So What Do You Do in the Game?

So I'm making a platform game. No, it's an adventure game.
I'm not even sure of the standard criteria for an adventure game, but no doubt "adventure" is a major detail. Hey, it could even pass as an RPG.

 As a sub-genre, "casual" helps to improve the picture of what the game will be...but I don't like that word.

The fact is that the majority of game enthusiasts will tag "The Amoeba of Light" as a platformer by virtue of what the player will be doing most of the time. This includes falling, running, etc., only amoebas don't run.

Here's what Amoenu, the main character, can do.

Clicking on an object causes Amoenu to shoot out a psuedopod (which is the fake arm that an amoeba protrudes from its body) that sticks to whatever intercepts its motion path. He is then pulled towards that object if its something stationary, like a wall.

It's kind of cool that the player can defy gravity by clinging to walls and ceilings. Attaching an arm to another platform allows Amoenu to act as a slingshot!

You can pick up things, too. Pretty much anything, actually. The setting is the wide open outdoors, so every natural object is at your disposal to finish the levels. Other actions include: cyst mode, pull large objects, drop from a platform, and locomotion, which is the scientific word for "moving."

One of the really neat ideas for "The Amoeba of Light," is Amoenu's handy pack, which serves as a repository for special tools. That's for a future post.

Now I want to begin to unfold the story for you. Wisenchyme is Amoenu's best friend who acts as the foil.


Amoenu's father left his mother even before he was born. Before he left, the only thing the father left behind was a letter. And it is upon the words of this letter that the entire adventure is based. Of all the words his father could have written in the message, he mentions a treasure. He says other things, yes. But that word "treasure" got Amoenu's cogs turning.

He shared the message with his best friend, who shared it with others, who shared it with others... and the Treasury was formed. This group would meet year in and year out to discuss the possibilities of the treasure, until one special day when an amoeba reveals a map to the city mentioned in the letter: Phopolis. And the adventure begins. It just won't go as anyone planned and it certainly won't end with what anyone expected.

There's the tip of the iceberg.

As far as what I've finished so far -- well a lot of things actually. The years that I've devoted to the project have consisted mostly of planning and lots and lots of drawing. What I'm doing currently is "replanning" in a way, backing up and reconsidering some things. It feels like the real planning is happening now.

The "Amoeba of Light" is going to be a bit of a different game. I want to be imaginative. There are no "rules" to designing video games. It's those out-of-the-box ideas that will definitely set this game apart, and that's exactly what I'm after.

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