Last night I created some concept art for what I am currently calling Disaster City:
When I went to bed, I thought of how the screen might look and what the player might do.
So this morning, despite wanting to exercise and get some breakfast first, I tried to write down some ideas, but Gizmo decided I shouldn’t be too hasty getting into game development.
So I did some yoga and other light exercise, which is good because my back was bothering me earlier this week but seems fine now.
Then I made breakfast. I fried up some eggs, toasted some waffles, smeared them with peanut butter, sprinkled some cinnamon, put the eggs on top, and had a messy, drippy breakfast of game development champions.
I learned long ago that orange juice is basically full of sugar, so I no longer have a large glass and now make use of the juice glasses that I thought were ridiculously small when we got them shortly after getting married almost 10 years ago.
Finally, I pulled out my Ludum Dare t-shirt from 2011, when I went to an Ludum Dare gathering at GDC. It’s fitting a little tighter around my midsection but otherwise seems to still fit.
I spent more time than I maybe should have reading through other people’s posts. We’re now past the first 12 hours of the compo, and my goal is to have something playable within the next 12 hours.
So, Disaster City. I think the “Delay the Inevitable” theme seems to push me to make the kinds of games I started out making, in which there is no victory condition, just a game in which you see how long you can last before you lose. I want to resist this tendency, so what’s inevitable that isn’t also an ending?
Or maybe it is fine for it to be an ending, and the focus is on what you do before then?
Originally, my thought was that Disaster City would constantly be hit with multiple disasters, and you have limited resources to repair and restore what’s happening. Your efforts never make it 100% better, so it’s more about reducing the impact rather than eliminating it. And eventually it all comes crumbling down.
But now I’m sad. What’s the point?
Instead, what if there was a way to achieve victory?
I’m thinking that you are part of the city council. There is a meteor heading towards the planet, and you need to fund R&D and eventually a mission to divert it.
Unfortunately, Disaster City earned its name. You also need to deal with disasters such as monster attacks, floods, fires, etc. These disasters damage and eventually destroy homes, roads, utilities, commercial centers, entertainment options like stadiums, etc. As you lose those things, you lose people, income sources, and your capabilities to prevent and repair the damage.
So it’s a balancing act. You have an ultimate big bad thing coming, but you also have the more immediate things to worry about. You need to decide when to let go of the immediate consequences to focus on the long-term without letting the short-term consequences prevent your long-term goal from being achieved. The game ends when you manage to prevent the meteor from hitting the planet, or when it hits the planet, or when your city’s population disappears.
It feels overscoped at the moment.
I jotted down some notes and started trying to come up with a screen layout.
I think I still need to do some prototyping on paper to get a feel for how the game will actually work instead of hand-wavy vagueness,m but otherwise, I think this direction might work.