Every year the NGDC would have a “State of the Games Industry Panel” where big numbers would be thrown and everyone would paint a happy picture. Sadly, I was never convinced! Where were the good games? It seemed like we were an industry forever stuck in denial with a tonne of poor quality games mostly based on bollywood or cricket.
However this year, to me, was a refreshing change. The overall quality of everyone’s games on the floor was so much better! It was very heartening to see that there may be light at the end of the tunnel and it may not necessarily be the oncoming train. As the year draws to a close, I feel that two people have emerged who I will keep a close eye on, Apoorva Joshi and Vidhvat Madan.
Apoorva’s game Socioball was runner up in the Student Game of the Year category at the NGF Awards 2013, also his game The Drill is Gone was 2nd place in the BYOG game jam at the NGDC 2013. He has been making games for a while, somehow they skipped my radar :(
Vidhvat’s game, Lovely Planet, (which I had the pleasure of playtesting for a day) is tight, imaginative, colorful and really out there. Infact, he just got covered on Kotaku as I write this post.
And there is Diptoman Mukherjee, whose games I have not yet got around to play, but they look prominsing indeed!
Tanmay Chinchkar’s ongoing Project Heera is also something to watch out for.
Then there will be so many more who I have missed!
All in all things look better, and I hope we see lot more awesome games from the Indian dev scene in the future.
Last week Manu was sick, so Krishna and me decided to have our very own little Game Jam. Both of us would work on our own games on Game Maker that were infinite, could playable on smartphones, were one hit kill and about finding oneself. You Who was my attempt at that. It is fairly crude. The level generation logic is random and needs a lot of work. I don’t think I am pursuing it any further at the moment.
You must escape the darkness. If you collect yourself you get some bullets to push the darkness back. If you bump into others you will shrink and eventually succumb to the darkness as well.
Move the mouse around to move around and left click to shoot when you have bullets.
This is going to be a Design oriented post. You may want to just skip to the very end and download the design document for R.O.V.E.R. For anyone interested in more insight on this, I am going to be discussing my design process for creating the document which won a special award in the Playstation Asia Challenge 2012 for Vita. More information on the contest and other winners click here.
I had initially planned to make an MMORPG with the Vita but I felt it was really done to death. It had nothing unique that I could use from what Vita had to offer. While writing the documentation I was just not feeling it. I decided to switch over to something that exploits Vita’s complete potential in terms of the new hardware (Back touch,Front camera,Dual analog sticks, Gyro-meter). One of the first things I do is sketch the device out, giving my mind a visual of the device that the game is going to be played on. I also try to map out the different kinds of interactions one can have with the device. Here is the sketch straight from my design diary.
PS VITA Sketches
The next day I had to think of a situations/themes in which all of these interactions will be used in. This is probably the most difficult part but when it hits, it’s a home run. I had been playing Metal Gear Solid 4 and I really liked the idea of a stealth game featuring only an RC Vehicle. I also figured that the Vita could be an awesome controller for an RC Vehicle. I quickly sketched some situations the new controls of the Vita be used in. Here is another sketch showing the front camera in action. The lower sketch is actually an enemy trying to pick the RC Vehicle where the player can use the back touch pad to flip the vehicle out of danger.
Pre-visualization for situations
The PS Asia Challenge had a very good skeleton document structure for me to package my thoughts. I recommend you have a look at it as well here. On Day 3 I figured out certain keywords that would explain the game/gameplay clearly. My design would be based around these keywords. They were – Military RC, Nudge, Gyro-Controls (Tiny Movements and Adjustments), Gadgets, Exploring + Killing (more like disabling/destroying actually), Scale. I also quickly jotted down a list of gadgets/verbs in I would want in the game. They were Invisibility, Shorten-Lengthen, Rope, Snipe, Latch, Climb, Mines.
Day 4 – To figure out what the challenges would be in the game I asked myself few of these questions.
How do I reach there? (Maneuvering Challenge)
How do I take this guy out? (Survival/Disable Challenge)
What do I choose to do? Disable or Destroy (Moral Challenge)
Should I go here first? (Exploration Challenge)
The Interaction Map
With this information, I quickly plotted this sort of mind map of challenges you can see in the image below. Everything I wanted in the game was expressed by this simple one page connected map.
That was about it. At this point I had everything I needed to start working on the document filling in the missing details. This process is the longest and took me a handful of days. The story came naturally and hence is cliched. The story is something that will definitely need revision if this game ever gets made.
You are free to download the document and share it with anyone. Heck you can even go ahead and make this into a game if you deem it worthy.