I used my trusty graph paper and my handy-dandy game design prototype toolbox to see if the game rules I came up with could be any fun.
In this image, the hearts represent pedestrians walking across the plaza. They are oriented in the direction they are going, a nice characteristic of heart tokens as opposed to circles or stars.
The star represents the person you need to deliver the package to. The package is represented by the red gem, which is held by one of the three couriers represented by the Mans. The barrels represent the agents trying to stop the couriers.
Playing with the game in this way, I realized there were questions that needed answering:
- If two pedestrians try to walk into the same empty tile, what should happen?
- Should pedestrians always try to go to the opposite wall they start on, or should they just go forward until they are forced to turn?
- Should shoving be a second phase after moving your couriers, or should it be a result of moving into an occupied tile?
- Should couriers be faster than agents? Than pedestrians? Slower?
- Would randomness involved in the creation of pedestrians (where they spawn, what type they are, etc) be enough to prevent making the game mathematically solvable and therefore boring?
And finally, what is in that package that seems to be so important to the agents in the first place? B-)
I played around with various solutions, and I was able to get a feel for what made the game more complex/confusing versus what made it simple and straightforward, especially from the player’s perspective. Part of the game is being able to quickly read the status of the board and making moves with predictable results, so complicated shoving mechanics might not serve my goals. For example, if you shove an eastbound pedestrian north into a westbound pedestrian, should the westbound pedestrian get pushed east by the eastbound pedestrian? And if the westbound pedestrian is shoved into an southbound pedestrian, and if your couriers can be shoved back, it means that the end result is the eastbound pedestrian is in the same position it started from! The chain of shoves can get windy and interesting, but maybe it would be more straightforward and intuitive to force all shoves in one direction, so a chain is really just moving all pedestrians in a line.
There is one day, 9 hours left in the compo. I don’t think I need to solve all of these problems. I can always play with them as the game is developed. I have enough to start breaking ground on the code. Let’s get to work!