A simple game

Most of my game ideas are too ambitious to start.  I want to make games with procedural footprint generation, 3D traversal with encumbrance and different terrain types, or tons of dialog and subtle human reactions.  This means most of my games don’t progress past text files,

While watching AGDQ 2017, I realized that people love simple games, like the ones that fit on an NES.  The graphics are simple, there are only a few stages, enemies, and powerups, but that’s enough.

So I’m going to make an NES-style game, with one twist.  The main interaction is moving antagonists around, not destroying them.  The player fends off fans who rush a celebrity’s limousine with oil slicks, velvet ropes, and other cartoony tools.

I looked around for a game engine to use and settled on Godot.  In YouTube tutorials, some people pronounce it “Guh-doh” like the play, and others say “Go Dot”. The official site’s FAQ does not address the pronunciation.

Now that I have a game engine and can start writing code RIGHT NOW, I realize how many decisions need to be made before I start.  I don’t want fans getting to the limo, but how exactly does that work?  Do fans stop the limo, and the player fails if the limo is late?  Does the celebrity inside the limo have an annoyance gauge that increases as fans touch the limo?  If the fans have limited acceleration and turning speed, I can make more interesting traps that spin them around or slow them down.  Can I knock people down?  Are they injured by jumping in front of the limo?  Boss fights are traditional, but what is a ‘boss’ in this context?  A really big fan?  Do the different tools act like different weapons in Mega-Man, Contra, or Metal Slug?  I’m sure the answers will change as I go, but here is my first attempt.

Main game loop:

Top-down, real-time, 2D game.

A limo moves through a city on a pre-determined path.  It stops whenever a fan touches it.  The level ends in success when the limo reaches the end of its path.

When the limo stops, the celebrity’s annoyance increases.  The level ends in failure when the annoyance gauge is full.

The player controls a bouncer who moves independently of the limo on foot.  The bouncer can’t move out of sight of the limo.

Fans scattered around the level will try to get to the limo.  Fans activate when the limo moves inside a certain radius.  Fans give up and go home when pushed a certain distance away from the limo.

Possible types of fans:

  • Normal fan: default speed
  • Big fan: can break through velvet ropes
  • Quick fan: a bit faster
  • Screaming fan: can stop and scream, which summons more fans
  • Paparazzi: can upset the celebrity from range

Possible tools:

  • Bouncer’s glare: freeze a fan on the spot for a short time
  • Velvet rope: blocks a path.  Force fans to go around
  • Autograph:  Throw autographed merch.  All fans near the merch’s path will chase it.
  • Spring trap.  When triggered, push back everything in its path
  • ice or oil:  slows fans moving through the area

Possible levels

  • An actor goes to a shooting location
  • A singer goes to a concert
  • A celebrity goes to an award show
  • A politician goes to give a speech.