Careful what you write for – a series of thoughts on writing and designs.

23 02 2015

I really need to do better at writing any sort of post even if I don’t have much to talk about. In this case I do have a bit to talk about which is my slow process at working on Ablation again. While trying to figure out if I should get 2D Tookit or not (yes I’m going to), I also worked on making a Design Document so I could ground my ideas a bit better. This helped in a few ways, namely identifying I want PC and FireTV releases above all else, and while I’d like to put the game on mobile phones and tablets I think that should come after I at least have the core tech down.

I also tried to write a very bare-bones plot for the game in the document. While doing so I got reminded how your story decisions, even when you don’t expect it, might influence your artistic decisions.

When I first envisioned this game, back in college, it was going to be more of a free-form shooter similar to Escape Velocity, only set in a massive debris field. The idea being this field was the result of a never-ending series of battles between two rival star empires. The player belonged to neither of those empires, instead a “neutral” third party that would routinely scour the debris for technology to repurpose. Of course the empires would also send their own salvage teams to recover tech, as well as patrol ships. The idea being the player could grab other pieces of debris to make their ship bigger and more powerful, but at the cost of maneuverability. The top “layer” of upgrades (i.e. the newest attached ones) could be cast off as missile/bomb type weapons to also free up speed)

While I do like this idea still, I feel it’s very similar to the game Habitat (although my idea would control differently), and as such I probably won’t try visiting it for a while.

Anyway, for this iteration of Ablation I initially wanted the attacking force to be colonists, miners, etc. attacking Earth over some greivance or another, but I felt that was cliche so I wanted to turn it around, that the player was on the side of the colonists attacking a facist Earth government. The problem is that doing it with the colonists as the enemies would’ve actually been more interesting from an enemy design standpoint. After all, miners could be using ships that were jury-rigged or repurposed mining vessels rather than purpose-built military craft.

So I almost want to go back to that idea, but I want a way of doing it that doesn’t feel cliche, even though this is a vertical space shooter and the plot doesn’t really matter. Also at the same time a bunch of jury-rigged ships might be seen as less powerful than a military one, but at the same time i’d imagine mining craft, especially out in space, would be made to be pretty robust.

Anyway, I hope to have more in a bit, possibly some art or something of that effect because I have been doing a lot of art work in the background.