This month’s One Game a Month entry is probably the one I put the least effort toward. I worked around 7 hours on it.
August was a hectic month for me. My wife and I closed on a new house, which meant that most of my “spare” time was spent preparing the house and getting ready to move.
The theme for August was “Philosophy”, and I had originally envisioned a game about making eye contact with strangers.
I wanted to have a very dark room, so you could only see yourself and your immediate surroundings. You can tell where the other people are because their eyes would be the only visible feature, similar to what cartoons did to show people walking around in dark rooms.
I wanted the eyes to be incredibly expressive. They should communicate attraction, danger, and sadness.
I thought that the goal of the game would be for the player to navigate a room, avoiding eye contact with dangerous and creepy strangers while trying to make eye contact with a potential romantic partner.
As you got closer to other people, you would see features besides their eyes: skin color, nose shapes, weight, etc.
And these other features wouldn’t matter at all.
That is, you might find that the potential romantic partner is not someone you might normally be attracted to in real life.
But with even less time to work on the game than normal, I had to scrap most of this design. I kept they eye contact idea, though, and I am pleased with what I came up with.
I started with an eye that the player controlled, but eventually I realized that for the game I was creating, there was no reason for the player to be an eyeball. It was too confusing when you couldn’t easily tell your character apart.
I made the eyeball a “guardian”, rotating around while the player tried to pick up squares in the area. When the guardian spotted the player, it would freeze for a second, then shoot towards the location. If the player touched a guardian, it was game over.
To add challenge, when a guardian shoots off toward the player, it would also leave behind a clone, so now there were two guardians looking for the player.
As you can see above, the game got exponentially difficult.
So I made one more change:
When smaller guardians touched, they combined into a larger guardian which constantly chased the player. This change solved the issue of too many multiplying guardians while also providing a different challenge to the player.
Finally, I made the pick up item look significantly different. A white box in a sea of eyeballs didn’t stand out enough, so I made it the same color as the player and also pulsated it. The animation made it stand out nicely.
I would have liked to have added a third type of challenging guardian, or added some way for the player to remove guardians. I would have also added sound effects and particle effects, but I ran out of time.
Despite not having a lot of time to dedicate to it, I really like Eye Contact. It’s one of my favorite #1GAM entries. There is something disconcerting about all of these eyes looking for you.