RubyWeekend #3 Game Concept

RubyWeekend #3 kicked off about 8 hours ago, and I've been pondering game ideas since then. The theme is “A Tiny World”. I was having trouble coming up with something, but I think I've finally got a solid base for a game. It's still a bit vague, and I haven't figured out how I'll turn it into a proper game, with an objective and challenge and such. Right now it's just kind of a neat idea for a toy. (Which, to be honest, I find more interesting to create, but I should at least try to make it somewhat game-ish for the competition.)

As I was browsing Flickr images for inspiration, one of the most common “tiny world” concepts was a droplet of water hanging from a plant, refracting and reflecting the environment around it. Another common one was macro (close-up) photos of plants, fungi, and bugs, the tiny world that goes on around us, mostly without us noticing or caring. Other frequent turn-ups were polar panoramas, which warp the image so that landscapes turn into small planets suspended in the sky, with plants and trees growing out at all angles. Other ideas that had drifted through my mind, were that of small people living in the eye of a needle, and of a fish stuck in a bowl, its own tiny world. All of these ideas, plus my love of sea creatures, ambient music and sound generation toys (like Electroplankton), and inspirations from Pikmin and Super Mario Galaxy, have meshed together to form the core of my game concept.

So, with incredible inspirations like that, this will surely be the greatest creation ever, right?

Oh, wait, I only have… 64 hours left to actually make the darn thing. :P

Anyway, here's what I've got:

The action takes place inside a water droplet. There are animals or people who walk all around the inside surface, head pointing towards the center of the droplet, feet outward. There are also plants that grow there, growing up out of the outside surface towards the center of the droplet. Maybe there's a sun or something else in the center that they all grow towards and try to reach and wrap around. The plants aren't the usual kind, though; not flowers or trees or bushes. They're more strange and otherwordly, or like something you'd find in a coral reef. I might make them procedurally generated plants based on L-system or other fractal patterns, perhaps, or if that's too complicated, just simple sprites that grow larger.

In addition to being strange plants, they also make sounds. Pleasant, musical tones that contribute towards a Brian Eno-esque ambient soundtrack. Each variety of plant would play a different sound, quiet and simple when they are small, louder and more complex as they grow. To make the sounds, I might mess around with Garage Band on my new-ish Mac Mini, or maybe record some sounds and distort them beyond all recognition, or work with some samples from the various Creative Commons repositories around the net.

For me, that's the point of the game: the synthesis of visuals (colorful, otherwordly plants growing in a radial pattern) and aurals (a relaxing soundtrack of winds, strings, and chimes). If I feel like making it a proper game, I'd probably make it a puzzle. Perhaps something like the Grow games, where you'd have to choose the right order of seeds to plant? Of course, there'd be a free play mode, too.

This is all a bit ambitious, so I'll probably have to prune it down to something manageable in the morning, so that I'll have something done(-ish) before the deadline. But for tonight, I'm just going to let the dream grow in my brain as I sleep.


I think it is a really good concept! And thanks for the link to the polar panorama photos, they were really cool.

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