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Relatively Painless Games - Week 1: Establishing Our Ideas

We first started developing ideas during the summer between our Junior and Senior year to get a small head start on our year. We wanted the ideas early so we could jump right into our projects. Before everything, we all immediately decided we wanted to work on a 3D game. We then threw a bunch of ideas into a Discord chat, anywhere from Tex-Mechs to Dream Platformer to Solitaire+. Some of these ideas stuck while some didn't. We expanded a bit on these ideas, then put it to rest for a bit all the way until our first week of school.

We revisited some of the ideas and talked about some new ones as well. In the end, we ended on 3 main ideas:

- A competitive multiplayer thievery game in which the players not only try to steal as much as they can, but also try to get the other players caught as well.

- A crowd-combat hack-and-slash game in which the monsters that the player slays fuse together to create new, more difficult monsters with combined traits of the two base monsters.

- And a crowd-combat hack-and-slash game in which the player smashes their way through legions of robots, takes their parts, and uses them to enhance themself.

It was pretty quick for all of us to agree on these 3 ideas, and I think it's for 3 main reasons. - We all would love to work on these games, so none of us felt like we were being dragged along.

- We fleshed them out early on to ensure that they would be in scope

- Each of these ideas allows each of us to flex our strength and truly show it off in a fantastical way.

I, as a level designer, loved the level design possibilities for each and every single one of these games. All of these have a lot of room for environmental storytelling to create a beautiful and meaningful environment and each of them featured mechanics or could feature mechanics that would really make use of the environment around them.

When I first thought over ideas, I immediately thought of two things: What kind of world they would be in and what different things the player could do in these spaces. Before I talk about these things, I should mention that I'm not attached to them. It's pretty normal for ideas like this to be messed around with and edited upon or thrown away altogether.

Anyways, for the thievery game, my mind immediately went to two thieves in a museum (though I was promptly reminded that a museum would be A LOT of work on the artist, so there will more than likely be a change in scenery there). I thought of a large, enticing crystal just sitting in the middle of a museum like something in a master-thief's dream. One player, of course, goes to quickly nab the crystal while the guards are clear, only to trip a tripwire the other player had set there, making a vase fall down to the ground and alert all the guards around. These guards then swarmed the area, but just as they got close, the player who they were running after throws a firecracker that lands at the feet of the player that had first set the trap, diverting the attention of the guards. This back and forth where the players manipulate these guards sounded something both interesting and fun!

When I thought of the monster-slaying game, I thought of a dreary swamp full of slimes, lizards, and bats. My mind jumped straight to the end game, though, and I could see this abomination with the body of a slime, the tail and tongue of a lizard, the wings of a bat, and the claws of a falcon (I don't even know what the claws were connected to honestly) morphing in front of the player and letting out some grotesque roar. That moment happening over and over again with different combinations throughout a whole match sounded both hilarious and entertaining. Admittedly, my mind also flew to Dynasty Warriors games, and I thought of how fun it would be to slash your way through these massive armies of abominations while they came at you. And I, along with many other people, love that epic feeling.

Lastly, when I thought of the robot-slaying game, I thought of Wilhelm from Borderlands immediately - more specifically, Wilhelm in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. I thought of how each time Wilhelm upgraded, you saw the upgrade on his body and you saw what it did. I thought of making the player into what Wilhelm is when he appears in Borderlands 2 - a giant robot covered in different machinery and one of the most feared beings at the antagonist's disposal. I thought about the player being these terrifying mechanical abominations shredding through armies of robots Dynasty Warriors style in a robot junkyard straight out of Real Steel.

After that, perhaps in opposite order as we were supposed to, we talked about what we wanted out of this year - whether we wanted to spend this semester experimenting and just prototyping, or whether we wanted to move onto next semester with our project. We ironed out a few details, such as how comfortable each of us would be in a leadership role and what/who we would need if we moved to next semester. After that conversation was finished, we decided we did want to move onto next semester with our game, and treat our development as such.

And that then brought us to Week 2!

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