Capstone Part 1 - What Game Should we Make?

Starting Senior year brings the biggest challenge I've faced in my education so far. In Sophomore year, I worked with three teams over a semester, making games over a 4 week period. In Junior year, my team worked on a game over the course of an entire semester. Now, the goal is to spend the entirety of my last year at college making, marketing, and possibly publishing, a game. Over the course of the next 9 months, and possibly beyond, I hope to document both my and my team's experiences along this journey.

Our first week in action was relatively calm, as we simply focused on compiling our own ideas, to create a list of possibilities, before narrowing it down to a few we want to prototype. On an individual level, I simply had to come up with 5 different ideas, though these could all change over time, especially after hearing more opinions on them. In no particular order, here they are:

  1. My first idea is in on one of my favorite genres of games: dungeon crawling roguelikes, or "roguelites", as they've been re-dubbed by strongly opinionated individuals. Specifically, I drew inspiration from Edmund McMillen's The Binding of Isaac, a game I spent far too many class hours playing through High School and College. Instead of biblical and bodily themes, I was setting my sights on carnivals, fun-houses, and creepy clowns. It should also give me an opportunity to work with procedural generation, which I've been itching to get back into.

  2. The next idea draws from something I really fell in love with during my years at college: card games. My artist, who also had a similar idea, was actually one of the people who introduced me to Magic the Gathering. Both our ideas however, were deckbuilding dungeon crawlers. Personally, I was recently enamoured with MegaCrit's Slay the Spire, and using cards as your move-set. It's very reminiscent of using dice to play Dungeons & Dragons. Thematically, I was still looking at creepy clowns, but branching out a bit. DIfferent groups of classic monsters (zombies, vampires, werewolves, clown, etc.), would work as the different tribes, offering their own types of cards, and unique combinations.

  3. My third idea was inspired by a combination of things. Playing God of War back in May created a longing for more games with a Norse mythological setting. However, I didn't like that the trolls in that game were of the evil, brutish variety. I prefer my trolls to be a happy village of little creatures, like the Smurfs. In terms of gameplay, I was hoping to go with a 3D platformer / collectathon, in the vein of Hat in Time or Mario Odyssey. Oh, and it takes place during Ragnarok, because death and destruction are exciting!

  4. One of the settings in games that people have most tried to replicate, with little major success, is Rapture, from Bioshock. I don't want to try that, but the idea of subterranean civilization does intrigue me. A game I know little about, except what it looks like, and what I can infer from it, is Sunless Sea. Explore, collect (in my mind, mining), transport, and thrive in a civilized underwater society, while travelling in a submarine. It's all very loose for now, but I think there's a lot we could do with it.

  5. The last idea is probably the least expanded one, and the one for which I have the least clues on what to do with it. The idea of time manipulation as a puzzle mechanic really pulled me in. The first thing I came up with is a broken, dilapidated bridge, which you fix by turning back time. Like I said, not very expanded, and I doubt we follow up on this one, but if we did, I'd be leaving a lot up to my designer.