Now that we as a class have one prototype under our belt, it’s time to abandon it, divide into brand new teams, and move on to prototype #2. (Actually, we are still developing Starving Artist because we all liked working with each other and we all thought the game was good enough to finish.) After being split into our new teams this week, we were given instructions on how we were to proceed on the second prototype. The process of creating the first prototype was very much a “vertical slice” style of development meaning that we got the basic core mechanics working with polished art and sound assets making an almost finished product, albeit a limited one. This time we will be trying our hand at building a “white box” prototype where we build using one week sprints to get as much done and usable as possible then the next week we reassess the game, try to find out how we can make it more fun, and do another development sprint the second week. We will be doing it in the same amount of time as the first prototype, but we should have a far more complete game functionally than we did the first time.
Another caveat for this prototype is that we are required to take an existing game from the late 70’s and early 80’s and re-make it (hopefully better than the original). This helps us save a lot of time trying to figure out a set of mechanics that may not have been done before and allows us to focus on making the game. As a group we decided that an interesting game to mess with would be Dig Dug. It has a simple set of mechanics and is still challenging. We wanted to make it a little different though (as per the assignment) so we added 2 things that were not in the original game. First we added a map that you can spin, similar to the door lock puzzles in Skylander Giants.
This feature wouldn’t be very fun if we left it as is, especially because the original Dig Dug characters were not affected by gravity. Only the rocks were affected by gravity. This leads me to our second change to the original game. The main character and the bad guys will all be affected by gravity. This adds a great new challenge to the game. While trying to kill the bad guys, you may accidentally spin the screen the wrong way and plummet to your death. You always need to be sure that you have a safe place to be when you spin that screen or you’re in trouble.
As you might notice, the big red guy in the above picture is quite menacing compared to the original bad guys in Dig Dug. We wanted to make a little more sense than a guy in an astronaut suit running around inflating cute animals to death. Ours is set in a place where there has been horrible mutations to plants and animals. These plants and animals have dug deep underground and are devouring all the food. Our main character is trying to destroy them and save the food. The big red guy above was inspired by a tomato (with jackhammer hands) and other bad guys will have different inspirations and attributes. There’s a lot still to figure out.