[Prototype] The Ocean Doesn't Want Me

edited in Projects
So a while ago I buggered off overseas for a bit - a mere matter of days after the conference season in Europe ended. Doh!. But I still managed to meet some really cool people, and indulge in some games related activities:

Attended a small local jam hosted by www.dotBrighton.org geared mostly towards beginners, though I still got to meet some really cool people. The theme was "The Sea", so my game is based around red tide plankton, and the thought that something at the bottom of the food chain can get it's own back with enough numbers.


Still trying to figure out how to get that epic win feeling of turning the whole world red. Also have lots of ideas for turning the eating mechanic into some kind of upgrades system. Assimilate other creatures to get their powers kinda thing. Need to create more interesting choices for the player, oh and actually add more than four enemies ever ;) Also lots of scope bigger/badder/more interesting enemies.

Biggest struggle though: avoiding an osmos clone! (or flow for that matter)

In the end I think I hid behind my polishing skills instead of really nailing a solid mechanic. But hey, I won a cool little nintendo-controller-mints-tin prize for best technical achievement, and had lots of fun in the process.

PS Credits for music go to the talented Calum Bowen www.calumbowen.com


  • As you said, it's very difficult to look at this and not think Osmos!

    The poison thing is interesting, but ultimately it feels the same as that other prototype about flu in that you deploy your offensive and it kinda just sits there... Sure you can run all the way up to the other dudes and try deploying in their path, I suppose that's the key risk/reward here, but the controls feel a bit more of a hinderence than in supportive of nimble, precise play. Guess if you ramp the opponents all the way up and make it more chaos it could feel entirely different from what it is now. Maybe make it so that if you release poison while moving a certain way it would shoot off in the direction at 2x speed, giving you interaction between the offensive and movement bits.

    Thought really your polish is amazing for a jam game :)
  • I think that, unlike Osmos, the strength of this game would be in spreading yourself out and increasing influence broadly rather than concentrating power on yourself(although obviously collection mechanics should still apply).

    So focusing on map control, basically, which is something that Osmos kinda-sort-didn't really do.

    I think that a neat mechanic to explore, say, would involve any successfully poisoned organism existing as a permanent "red marker" of sorts after it dies, to help give the player that feeling of the swelling red tide among other things. This marker can serve a practical gameplay purpose: perhaps other organisms will tend to avoid it. This means that by poisoning just a few creatures in the right places, you can successfully herd the ones that remain and make them easier to poison in turn (this would be more useful against challenging enemy types, of course, rather than the ones that simply float around as-is and nom the pellets you drop).
  • Hmm, I like what you're saying about focusing on Map Control versus a single entity. My biggest design dilemma with that is how does one control multiple "things" at once, without making it into an RTS game.

    The thought occurs that you have to infect host creatures, shifting control from creature to creature. The interestingness comes due to the fact that infecting a creature causes it to die in the very near future. Thus you have to work quickly and make intelligent choices to kill as many as possible before you run out of suitable hosts. Eating could then have positive effects like keeping your host cell alive for a bit longer...

    Or one could take inspiration for a kind of parasite that infects rats and messes with their fear response so that they're more susceptible to death by hungry cat - the parasites target host. You take control of creatures and try and get yourself eaten by progressively bigger things till you can infect your host creature... certain creatures have immunity, meaning a challenge to get eaten by the right kind of creature. Or immunity could build up over time, meaning that you have a limited time period to work your way up the food chain before you get ejected from the host and have to start again.

    Virulence could also play into it, so for instance you can't take over a large host without first successfully reaching a higher concentration of smaller creatures. Kinda like wonderful end of the world...

    Too many ideas! Not enough time!
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