Category Archives: Game Ideas

Game Twik Tuesday

The category for today is: Limited Perception! That means the information you get from the game are going to be more limited than you’d experience in real life. Imagine being an ant, imagine being blind. We have a couple games ideas for you.

  • Zombie Ant (or Ophiocordyceps unilateralis): you control an ant moving around, visualizing the trails of your comrades and enemies as a wavy colorscape immediately in front of you. Avoiding predators and picking up sugar to fuel your journey, you pilot your ant ever higher into the canopy before releasing your spores to infect the next host.
  • Pedestrian Yield: you open the game to hear cars zooming by on either side. An image comes up on the black screen demonstrating that you hold down to move forward. You wait until it sounds clear. You start walking, footsteps fall. You keep walking. The sound of a car comes faster from one side. Is it in front of you, or in your lane? Screeching tires and a thud ring in your ears before the game pauses and resets. Get to the other side and you will learn about how you got here, why you can’t see, and why, of all things, you must cross this busy road to find out more.
  • The Deep: you are deep underwater. Everything is dark, foggy patches of unfocused shades of gray. Water noises surround you with the occasional calls of creatures you can’t name. After a while you will start gasping for air, which you’ll find along your travels in tiny bright patches, but never enough for you to feel comfortable. Avoiding the more dangerous shadows lurking on your sides you must press onward for more oxygen, wondering always when it will end. It won’t.

That’s all for today!

Game twik Friday

So I’ve got three twiks for you all today that hopefully will see at least a prototype level development sometime in the near future. The theme of the day is: Color! I love colors. The twiks are

  • Sheepdog–use your fingers to guide sheep into the pens of their color while chasing off wolves!
  • Lighthouse–position lighthouses with different colors to mix their lights and fill up colored beacons
  • ColorLyne–basically just Lyne but with colored paths and color changing vertices (it would be able to embed both Lyne and Flow Free, that popular and routine iOS game)

I’m only going to talk about Sheepdog because I think it’s the most interesting and I’ll probably be prototyping it soon (so consider this a pre-proto warning for the beta testers out there reading this). The neat thing about Sheepdog is the whole concept is built around flocking, algorithms for which have existed for a while (e.g. BOIDS). There are a few core mechanics/parameters that I think could make for a very interesting game. They are

  • terrain and placement of units
  • species/types of sheep and their flocking parameters
  • wolves and their speed/intelligence/etc. parameters
  • number and speed of sheepdogs

Difficulty increases with topologically complex terrain, slow/few dogs, fast/intelligent wolves, and hard to understand or mixed flocking dynamics, and conversely the game is easy with simple terrain, single type of sheep with predictable flocking, slow dumb wolves, and fast/numerous sheep. The interesting variable to me is the flocking behavior which is highly parametrizable, and it would be possible to make it fairly complex or even genetic in response to the player’s play style (given some type of level set challenge).

This gives rise to another game entirely, which is something of a get all sheep in the pen as fast as possible, with the sheep having strategies that are genetically selected so as to make it as difficult for the player as possible. Completely custom levels that no one else has likely seen. Seems like a neat idea. Or you could have automated sheepdogs that learn your strategy via a set of parameters in your behavior (i.e. you are training them) and then you’re scored by how well they perform.

What kinds of AI games would you like to play?

Recap and hello!

It’s been a while since the last post here, but oh how we’ve been busy at Three Pixel Heart. Things I’ll touch on in order here are 1) progress on Block Party, 2) status of our live apps, and 3) new games for the new year.

1. Block Party
We’ve continued production on Block Party, researching manufacturing methods such as screen printing and stamping, but we’ve been pretty disappointed about something: manufacturing domestically (in the USA) is really expensive. The lowest bid we’ve gotten so far is $18 a set, which is basically what we’ve been selling them for. On the other hand, we have a bid from China at $3.80 a set–far more realistic aside from the fact that we’d need to order at least 8,000 sets, and we don’t have that kind of startup capital. Kickstarter comes to mind, but we’re going to look into manufacturing them ourselves a bit more first because we’d love to make it locally. Our current trajectory there is to make some stamps via laser cutter so that we can do one side of an entire set per stamp, 6 stamps total. This would lead to a potentially very fast production process, though the quality and price of inks (and the images they produce) is something we have yet to determine.

2. Live Apps
It’s been over a month now since we launched Unique and Party Rush to the app store, and we’ve been, while not overwhelmed, at least pleasantly surprised with the response to Unique. Party Rush is a much harder game (most people who play it have physical Block Party sets) and so hasn’t gotten a very wide audience. With a couple hundred downloads of Unique though we’ve become convinced that it’s a concept worth pursuing further, and the uniform feedback across the board is that it’s just too damn hard. Who has the patience to play over and over to the point of being able to remember 49 snowflakes (other than yours truly, who felt compelled just because he felt somebody had to beat it)? So we’re scaling down, adding a level system, downloadable content, and all new images to produce Unique: Things! Be on the lookout for it in the next month. We hope it will be a memory puzzler which will keep you engaged for hours on end, learning how to remember and classify whole sets of things you never thought you would. Of course, we’ll start with something more doable, so be prepared to play with famous portrait paintings!

3. New Games
Here is where I am REALLY EXCITED! Did you get that? I mean REALLY excited. But why all the excitement, George? It’s just more games. You’ve done some of those, right? Where’s the novelty?
Let me tell YOU where the novelty is. I’ve recently realized that doing things at least once (in a developer context, but you could generalize) makes the set of things I can do expand greatly. In the past few weeks we’ve picked up novelty bonuses for

  • multiplayer on a single device (Finger Disco)
  • unlocking achievements via exploration (Colorfun)
  • google analytics integration (PushButtonGetHappiness)
  • image masking in Corona (Lotus)
  • level system (Unique: Things)
  • one-battery prototype (Iris)

(Facebook integration is also on our list.) If you’re reading this when it’s published, most of those are probably meaningless names. However, they are all new games (except PB;GH, which is more of an interactive art project) which we currently have in development. A few of them are mockups, proof of concept pieces, but they hold the seeds for things to grow. Finger Disco is a two-player game best played on a tablet where players go head to head to dance and contort their fingers. Colorfun is an adventure exploration by way of a synesthetic canvas. PB;GH is linked. Lotus is a sketch of a music playing game. Unique: Things was discussed above. Finally, Iris is a rhythm puzzler with themes similar to the ones in Circadia (video below) but without the really annoying finicky bits, plus COLOR PHYSICS! I do love colors. If you’re interested in betas and have an iOS device, feel free to sign up with us on TestFlight

In the meantime, you can enjoy this trailer brought to you by IGN.