Right I think it’s time to start talking about my new idea. This is daunting for three reasons:
- Sharing it means I’ll have to keep working on it and updating people on how it’s going.
- I have an irrational fear that someone out there will like my idea and use their superior game-making skills to make their own version which is far better than what I eventually create.
- I don’t think this idea has been done before and although it sounds amazing to me, I’ve never played this game yet so it might suck.
I can deal with point 1 as I think I already got over that bit when I started this blog. As for point 2, I think this is because I grew up exclusively playing on my BBC Micro where almost every single game was just a clone of an existing game (it took me years to figure out that Killer Gorilla was just a terrible Donkey Kong.) I’m going to tackle point 3 by telling myself that even if this is all a big, humiliating mistake it will not be a waste of time. Hopefully.
Debaser is the working title of my new idea. It’s a local two player turn-based head-to-head game, almost exactly unlike chess. You build a base, they build a base. You both build defences and guns, and then cheerfully blast holes in each other’s bases until one of you is just a pile of smoking rubble. The core mechanics of the game go a bit like this: [Building of SimTower] + [Facilities management of FTL] + [Combat of Worms]. I’m going to break this down. I don’t know why I said that like a rapper. I’m not a rapper.
I loved SimTower. Whenever I ask people about this game they either loved it or hated it. The people who enjoyed it tell me they liked the way you could quickly create a functioning building where there’s lots going on but there was still enough personality and closeness to the activities within the building. The thing people seemed not to like was the management side of things. Large buildings became cumbersome to manage and the game stopped being fun. Also, there weren’t any gun turrets. I intend to address both of these issues in my game.
If you’ve not played this, please do. If you have an iPad, buy it immediately. FTL is “a spaceship simulation realtime roguelike-like” (their words) which has sublime management mechanics which makes the game exciting to replay – there are always new choices to make and new strategies to try. This is exactly the kind of thing a building game with guns needs. The most terrible thing about FTL is it makes me want to never make computer games and just play FTL all the time instead, which is an amazing, but maybe terrible, thing.
Who hasn’t enraged their friends by being so amazing with the ninja rope that they can traverse the entire level and fire a shotgun into an enemy worm’s face, knocking them off a ledge into the gloop, all within 60 seconds? Or being able to precisely estimate where their bazooka rocket will land and knocking out an entire team in one shot? Oh, you haven’t? Well please humour me for a moment. Worms holds many fond memories and the “2D Tank”-style weapon firing system has always appealed to me. It allows for a good balance of skill, luck and determination – the more you play, the better you become (well theoretically; the more you play the more you also drink so the two can cancel each other out).
Combining all my favourite bits of these games could result in something really fun to play. I can just imagine an enemy rocket slamming through your steel block barricade and disabling one of your power units just before you were about to fire a high-powered laser at their building, and having to scramble your men to put out the fire, fix the roof, get the power unit back on line and hopefully build stronger defences or mount a counter-attack before the end of your turn.
I might be incredibly wrong but I’ve put it out there now, so I best get working on it and we’ll see. In following posts I’ll discuss other features I want in the game and how much progress I’ve made. What do you think? Please let me know or shout at me on Twitter.