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Game Concepts

Narrowed down from a list of dozens, the following are the top three concepts we're pursuing, in order of team interest.

  1. A tense, fast-paced, high-impact, action-heavy 3D parkour-platformer in which you play as a robot and must dash through a visually-spectacular city as it crumbles around you.

  2. A gripping and straight-forward 2D-perspective shooter/platformer in the vein of games like Contra, set in an unpredictable city modeled after a Möbius strip, in which the end is the beginning.

  3. An experimental and emergent 3D game in which players assume the role of a robot who gathers light with which to grow buildings and farm a unique, interactive city.
Before I joined the team, dead pandas had already been working on game concepts. Because I joined a team which had already been working for several weeks, with five programmers and four artists, I didn't feel it was my place to forcefully impose my own ideas on the team, but to refine the team's goals. At the same time, I had no plans to limit myself - if I had an idea that was outside the pre-established concepts, I would certainly propose it, but my primary role was to uphold and strengthen the team's vision.

I asked the team what they wanted, and jotted down a full page of requests and details, which we were able to whittle down to five traits on which I was to focus:

  • Gritty city: The environment should be a dark, imposing city. The city from Blade Runner was explicitly mentioned.
  • Robot: The player would assume the role of a humanoid robot that can run, jump, and fly or glide.
  • Eye candy: Given the choice between a game that looks great or a game that plays great, I was instructed to lean toward the former.
  • Subtle, subtle, subtle: The game should be all about the minute details.
  • Hold the player tight: This is best explained with two quotes from the team:
    • "Not a forest fire; make an A-bomb."
    • "No Alt-Tabbing."
While we ultimately settled on three very different experiences, all three were conceived with the intention of being feasible uses of the art and technology already in production. None of them came directly from my own concepts, nor from the concepts being developed before I joined the team, but from all of us working together.
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