Inspiration comes from the strangest places and I’d like to take a short period of time tonight to do the first half (maybe the first third) of an explanation of my upcoming game project. It’s inspired but my job, my life, and the game “Game Dev Story”. What I want to build is a game where people experience what video game publishing is actually about. When I was meeting with users I heard them almost daily saying to me “I wish I had your job.” or that “You are so lucky! Playing games all day!”
There have been times I’ve agreed and times that I’ve disagreed. So I thought why not build the experience? I don’t know the arc yet so I want to talk about one of the mechanics we’ll be working with instead. The first is naturally where does the name come from?
As you have seen with Slap Happy I do not have strong art talents under my belt (at least yet). So I felt that for a simulation title we could create something charming and engaging with simple geometry. Squares in particular are very easy to draw and those will be my targets. Similarly when you live in a cubicle this feeling of squareness becomes a part of you. You see your restrictions and you see what you’ve become.
You are a square at the end of the day. A dollar sign with a production output. There is a tack board with your name on it and it is treated with greyness and complete lack of compassion.
This motivates the next design aspect of the game. The characters and the office will both be gray scale. Though as your characters get into their place and start experiencing their job (to the settings you give them) they will begin to glow. The color that they radiate will express the emotion they are feeling. A character that is envious of the praise of their coworkers will glow green, those that are angry with their job will glow green, happy ones might glow orange or purple. If they are a mix of colors those colors may mix at different levels. If they are very happy but a little envious they will radiate purple brilliantly but have a small ring of green.
In this way your office will grow in color and you will begin to feel the emotional level at a glance. You won’t need to click on the squares to see how they are being impacted. I want to help people get a grasp of human psychology. To see the impact of their actions on the heart and soul of those they are influencing and controlling. Too often we think of wounds or triumphs as those of flesh and blood. There is a side of us that is much more precious and much more fragile.
I’m not looking to make an art game mind you. I want this to be a very detailed simulation. Little squares will walk into their cubicles and sit on diamonds (tilted squares) while working on their square computers. Their progress will depend on you. Success, failure, perhaps even their lives and deaths. Understanding the subtle influences of different emotions on the squares will be important.
More on the concept tomorrow and likely all weekend as I draw up the art assets.