Since I have not found a better method yet to start my game design process with, I am using the 10 things every game needs as the foundation for the first game I make in 2016.
Part of the first game’s goal is also to learn how to build an app for Android and how to release it in the Google Play Store, so it needs to be pretty simple. I do not want to be doing animation, multiplayer or any other complex stuff for game #1.
So I decided that a nice text adventure should be a good first app. Also, last year I did not make any games of this type so it is a new genre to learn about making.
The first thing any game needs is a goal. For our text adventure, the goal is simply to reach 1 of X (X probably being 4 right now) endings where the player is still alive. These ending may vary wildly in their perceived desirability with some leading to riches and others maybe leading to minimum survival but the goal is just to get to a survivor ending.
As with most text adventure games, it will be a game of choices. Choices that players make early affect the choices presented to them later.
Also, this game will have some resources that make the player choose when to use and what they can bring along with them. The choice options will depend on the players items and other resources.
This does not really exist in this game as it is single player. The player only interacts with the game and the choices that are presented to him. We can sort of simulate an opponent through the story, but I feel that this is not in the spirit of this particular design element.
Catch Up Feature
Again, since this is a single player game this does not really apply. There could be choices that allow the player to risk something to gain more resources if they managed them poorly in the beginning of the adventure so they can reach one of the survivor endings. I will have to think of how to implement that.
There is no going backwards through the story. Once you have made a decision it cannot be reversed. Pretty straightforward inertia.
Unless someone has played through the entire game several times, they cannot know what the consequences of their actions are or how to get to a certain ending. Each choice is a surprise. Also, some elements of the story can include surprise like events. Even a little randomness could be added.
Managing your resources and learning the best response to the enemies you encounter to get to the best possible ending is where strategy comes in.
The book I am currently reading on game design states that the purpose of game design is to evoke an enjoyable experience from the player. This can be the choice making and the surprise one gets from unexpected consequences of the choices that were made.
This is usually whatever scifi or fantasy story I am currently reading, but I think it will be a cross up of several stories. Leaning towards having the player start in a crash landed escape pod, waking up with amnesia on a planet with dinosaur like animals and a mix of futuristic and modern day technology. With the usual intergalactic war, pirates, mercenaries, crime lords and politicians.
I think I actually need to do some research into hooks for text adventure style games. The only thing I can think of for this is “Find out who you are by the choices you make. Run by the most powerful graphics processor known to man, the human imagination.” Borrowed the last bit from the Big Bang Theory from where the main character, Sheldon, plays a text adventure.
Its not perfect but it is something to start with and that is one of the most important things. If you don’t get started, you will never figure out what works and what needs to change.
Keep growing and learning.