We haven’t started the first one. Not really. We’ve got a lot of periphery stuff done, but we can’t do the real meat of it, the levels, until we build a level editor. Well, we can, but I for one do not want to build that stuff by hand. Typing out filenames of block images over and over to build walls gets a bit tedious. Before we’ve even started, then, we’re thinking about the next thing. Here’s a proposal I put on our google code wiki of an idea I had for a companion to colour-game, which I’m tentatively calling You Shine On Us:
So, ehm, I had an idea for a game that I thought I’d put up here. It’d use pretty similar concepts to colour-game (we really need to come up with a better name for that thing), although the gameplay mechanics would be considerably different, as would the tone. So I guess a companion piece? I don’t know, you guys see what you think.
I came up with the central idea pretty late last night, while listening to Vaka, by Sigur Rós. It’s a pretty bleak and morose song, and I recommend it. Anyway, it was dark, so I got to thinking, what about a game in which you eat shadows? A bit of a leap, but whatever. So you eat shadows. What does that do? Well, I suppose it would make the world around you lighter, which is a good thing. But it also makes you darker. So if you do it too much, clearly you turn you and the background into this grey, neither-here-nor-there shade, and disappear into obscurity (similar to the disappearing blocks of colour-game, but playing with dark and lightness of colours, rather than individual shades.).
So, I think that’s kind of interesting. Doing too much of this ostensibly good thing will eventually kill you. You can’t help everybody. In gameplay terms, it means you are effectively balancing two meters, your “health” and the state of the world around you. You can increase either one (what would a game about eating be if you couldn’t also vomit that stuff back up?), and that will make for some decent puzzles I hope. It also provides you with choice and balance to strike. Do you save your “health” that will make this puzzle really easy, or do you use it to lighten the home of this NPC that will presumably reward you?If you chose the latter, you’ll have to find a cleverer way to solve the puzzle with less health, or spewing the shadow you just picked up to show a completely different way.
In terms of basic gameplay, I was thinking a metroidvania, something along the lines of a gloomier Cave Story in terms of tone. That 2D openworld style, with little towns and settlements that you pass through seems to me the best way to get across the idea of a world, that isn’t in a good way, and is something that you affect, rather than a world that revolves around you. It’s a good way of showing off the progression from a black and white world to different colours, and seeing as each area is monotone, it would be very difficult not to know where you are. It’s also one of the best 2D playstyles I can think of for including an involved narrative, which this game would fit far more than colour-game. That mechanic, and the idea that you cannot save everyone, and trying will only hurt you is pretty chock full of metaphors fer exploitin’. And is what you are doing even right? Who says shadows are all that bad? You are pre-disposed to thinking that, because that’s what the game tells you at the start, but there can be characters who don’t like the light. So that’s another balance to strike. Once again, you can’t help everyone. Someone has to lose out. Perhaps you start the game thinking that only removing shadows is good, but soon find that that is a completely bigoted view of the world (Again, hella metaphors).
Aside from giving you folks considerable insight into how I think (hint: lots of brackets! I am the king of digression. Also exclamation marks.), hopefully this is a pretty cool idea! WHAT DO YOU THINK, LOYAL READERS?