Now that everything is nice and settled, it’s finally time to write. I honestly don’t know how often I’ll be writing here, for I’m sure my interest will wax and wane. Regardless, I plan on this to be just my musings on the current state of the industry, or projects I’m working on, or school - topics along that nature.
As for me and my style, I like to think that innovation lies in simplicity. If you glance at my past creations, they’re all relatively simple derivatives of classics - Pong, a maze, and a vertical shooter. But I think, although unbalanced, they are fun to play and good reminders that there is still so much undiscovered in terms of mechanics, both large and small.
I go about creating prototypes by thinking of an action and building off of it. Take Blur for instance. The action? Switching between tracks - Boson X-like. I then went to implement that as simply as possible. Add a couple of enemies and a constraint, and we get Blur. The game revolves around the core mechanic, and builds off of it. From Charmie of funstorm so elegantly puts it:
Although Charmie goes into the outer layers of a game too, I feel it’s the inner-nucleus that is most important. For without the nucleus, it is impossible for the game as a whole to be fun. It’s like the caramel-onions corrupt teenagers give out at Halloween - no matter how much caramel and sprinkles they put on it, it still tastes like an onion. Without a good core mechanic, a visually awesome game isn’t so awesome.
Not all games fit this model well though. Take any of the GTA series for example. They’re sandbox games, but there are many core mechanics - driving, shooting, exploration, etc. They’re also multi-faceted with regards to progression - story progression, mission progression, exploration progression. Obviously, then, GTA doesn’t fit the single core mechanic model well, but by no means is it a bad series. Quite the contrary.
So, the single core mechanic is by no means an end-all, be-all, but I feel when dealing with smaller-scope games, especially mobile, it’s important for the main mechanic, whether it be flinging birds or running endlessly while sliding and turning, to be spot on.
That’s how I go about design.