Week 4: New Cycle

PDF Download: Newsletter: Week 4

Week 4 starts out strong with a brand new assignment from SCEA! Specifically:

“Assignment TWO:  Beauty is in the details.
Take what you have and build a simulation game about a beautiful fish tank. Please make your deliverable less about collection and more about the balance and management of your environment (i.e. SimCity not Farmville!)
Demonstrate how an individual can invest in a virtual world and also enjoy playing with the equilibrium they create. Create a challenge within the environment that can influence the progress.
This assignment should test your design abilities as much as being able to build upon your beautiful ocean environment.”

This time around, we’re not supposed to focus on character, instead pointing our design skills at mechanics and systems. Fortunately, we also have a wonderful opportunity to reuse some of the beautiful assets generated last cycle!

This assignment presents an interesting challenge, as our team does not have any dedicated designers. Additionally, none of us have any experience developing simulation games in the past. We’ve spent the week so far brainstorming ideas and generating a list of directions to take this next game, with possibilities ranging from a basic “pet” style fish tank game to scenario driven strategy simulations.

One of our goals this cycle is to try something new and different; we don’t want to do the blatantly obvious. The challenge is going to be in maintaining the sprit of the original assignment while delivering something that is pleasantly surprising. We have the stirrings of some interesting ideas of how we might accomplish this, but nothing solid yet. In order to head off any possible crunch time, we came up with a list of definite mechanics to begin development of this week, including:

  1. Grid based map environment
  2. Cell selection using a controller
  3. Basic fish AI, including flocking
  4. Fish and cell objectsPoster_Small

In this way, we’ve ensure that the programmers have something useful to do while the artists prepare concepts and other art. We have our work cut out for us these next 2 weeks! Our next big step is settling on the overall gameplay and developing the specific mechanics needed for it. We plan to have a playable prototype by next Friday so we can test and iterate over our last week.

Finally, on the ETC side of things we’ve settled on a new logo and Poster design! Thank you to Sahana for our beautiful new look. Please join us next week, when we should have something to play with!

-Team PlayStation Ignite