When you boil a video game down it’s most basic (and possibly cynical), you’re left with a repetitive series of button prompts that, if you’re good enough at responding to, can allow the player to avoid a Game Over state. Of course, the video game industry makes billions of dollars a year, so it’s not outlandish to say that we’ve managed to get games to a point that is, perhaps, a little more compelling than that.
There are all sorts of strategies to this. You can floor your audience with stunning cinematics. You can re-contextualize their actions with a powerful story. You can even throw so many mechanics at the player that they experience a form of sensory overload. Maybe if you’re so bold, you can even create mechanics like those found in Super Mario Bros that are just damn fun to play. No matter what you do though, it nearly always works towards hiding, or distracting from, that ever present input loop.
Here at Gears of Eden, we’re hoping to achieve that through a large pool of interactions with the environment and other characters, and I’ll be honest; the temptation is always there to jump straight to the big stuff. “I want the player to accidentally destroy an asteroid that they’re on!” “I want the player to get involved with a city full of kick ass karate-wizard aliens who are at war with snake people!” Who wouldn’t want those sorts of stories included into their space adventure? You can’t build a skyscraper without a solid foundation, though.
Right now, that’s what we’re working on. We’ve been creating resource veins for the player to directly interact with, but we also want there to be indirect interactions: the sort that occur whether or not the player means for them to. The current stage of that is to make your movement feel physical within the space, rather than as if you’re just moving along a surface to get to the place you want to be. To accomplish this goal, we’re starting with creating dust kick up and wheel tracks.
To be fair, I did mention that we’d be getting started on this last week, but I thought it’d be fun if, this week, I talked about the broader why of it. It’s also a pretty fun topic because it’s actually giving us a little trouble! There was a time when I wondered why made trails in video games didn’t last forever, but let me tell you … that time is past. Of course, if we can get as far as we have, there’s nothing to worry about in a few pesky wheel tracks, so don’t worry.
I’ll be sure to catch you up on further progress next week, but for now I must say farewell. As always, thank you so much for taking time out of your day to read our weekly Dev Update; it really means the world to us. If you’d like to see the latest updates on everything Gears of Eden, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook! And hey, we’re still looking for people who want to check out our upcoming first alpha build, and signing up for our newsletter is a great way to get in the drawing for one of those keys! But maybe you’re the generous sort. Or the rich sort who doesn’t want to rely on a drawing! Well you can pop on over to our donations page and, if you so choose, make a donation in exchange for certain fun rewards, one of the which is one of those very alpha keys! Anyway, that’s it for this week’s Dev Update, so thank you again and have a wonderful day.
P.S. I was just making stuff up in that part about aliens (you know, because I don’t want to spoil anything), but now I really want the karate-wizard aliens. Please, for the good of all of us, sign my change.org petition.