Tuesday, January 13, 2015

[PhD] Game Idea: Set meets Boggle

Hey everyone! My name's Philippe, and I'm a grad student at the University of Waterloo who used to go to Williams College and hang out with Morgan. Originally I was not going to participate in this month's Jam because I have decided to take a Graphics course this term and thus have little to no free time. However, last night at around 2:30am I had a sudden bolt of inspiration, and so here I am.

Recently I have been very interested in the so-called "Flappy Bird" style of game, where the concept and implementation is simple, but the game itself is incredibly hard. However, coming up with a game that is both challenging and fun is tough, and so far no inspiration has come to me... until now.

I want to make a game that is a combination of Boggle and Set (pictured above), and runs in the following way:

- First, a grid of symbols is randomly generated. Each symbol has 3 properties: Color, Shape, and Brightness. Each property has 3 possibilities: Color = {Red, Blue, Green}, Shape = {Circle, Triangle, Diamond}, and Brightness = {Light, Normal, Dark}. This leads to a total of 27 possible shapes.
- The game is played by drawing paths through the symbols just like in Boggle so that each symbol in the path shares no characteristics with the symbols before and after it. Paths cannot overlap, and each time a path is completed the symbols from that path are replaced, and the game continues. Players will have 60 seconds to draw as many paths as they can. The longer the path, the more points they get.

Ex. The following would be a valid path:
(Red, Circle, Normal) -> (Green, Square, Light) -> (Blue, Triangle, Normal) -> (Red, Square, Dark)

Ex. The following path is not valid:
(Red, Circle, Normal) ->  X (Green, Circle, Light) -> (Blue, Triangle, Normal) -> (Red, Square, Dark)

I believe that the challenging aspect of this game will come from quickly trying to form associations between adjacent symbols. This is the mechanic in Set that makes it so difficult, and I hope that translates into this game as well. However, I hope that it won't be too overwhelming so that people still have fun playing it. This is why I made the symbols have only 3 properties instead of the usual 4 in Set.

Given that I don't have much time, I will use a framework that I am familiar with to make this game, namely Morgan's codeheart.js. During the Jam I will only have time on Friday and Sunday to work, so to offset this I may start a bit on Thursday night as well. I hope you all can forgive me.

Looking forward to playing everyone's games!

Philippe Demontigny

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