qubodup, March 19th, 2009
I got an idea for a simple color mixing game. Instead of presenting a well-structured description of it, I will explain it in the order of my thoughts. (Whether I managed this is questionable, as for example this sentence (this one (um..)) was written when most of the text below was already written.)
For a start, here is the image my idea bases on and which got influenced by the idea:
I was drawing a minimalist style image of plants. Then I thought about how the image did not satisfy me. I added a bee, but it did not help much. Then I got the idea to add berries to plants for more detail. I added berries to the pink and green plants.
I do not know when I thought of turning it into a game, perhaps when I was drawing the background. (Which was fun to make. I like hard-edge gradients.)
The idea was to let the player control the bee to harvest nectar from the plants to deliver it to its hive. However, bees alone wouldn’t give the game an interesting character.
By ‘character’ I mean ‘what there is to discover in the game’. The bee is kind of cute and can move around and harvest nectar - that’s it. This is not much ‘character’, it is a tech demo. Even though it has a graphic/sound style, the style is discoverable in mere seconds and there’s no reason to keep on playing. The bee may be cute, but it’s boring.
I felt that bees should not have a deep or whacky character, so I thought of adding a mad scientist that gives life to the bee (probably after having taken if first) and orders it to harvest honey, FOR HE HUNGERS FOR BREAKFAST. (Do mad scientists say “I hunger for”? Or is this something vampire-exclusive?)
The scientist would be of the Dr. Strangelove, Doctor Neo Cortex, Dexter, The Brain, Mojo Jojo type: extravagant, overly dramatic, hilarious, uppercase.
This image of ‘Ze Scientist’ was made after I finished writing all text to visualize the character, split the text a bit and act as a consolation for giving you a break if you’re reading what is around it.
Oh yeah, since I decided that sucking nectar is the theme, I added berries to the blue plant. Also I thought that berries would re-generate the nectar. Their fullness could be visualized through color saturation or size or both.
About the harvesting: The bee would suck the nectar (color) out of a plant and become of that color itself. When sucking the color out of different plants, it would gain a mixture of the colors.
For making color composition an easy task, the bee should also be able to get rid of the nectar it carries. For getting rid of one color type, it has to fly to a plant and press the ‘spit’ button.
There would be only one or a few ‘missions’ because I see no skill to ‘master’ here. If you can color three colors, you can also mix ten more. The game would thus be based on one or very few missions, unless I come up with ‘more game to play’ that is not repetition.
The overall structure of the game is:
- It lives! - Intro sequence featuring ze scientist creating ze bee and giving it ze task
- Bzz - Mission or missions for ze bee
- Breakfast! - End sequence in which a rapid change between dramatic and non-dramatic shows ze scientist breakfasting
- Apres-bzz - Some surrounding (the scientist’s room?) for ze bee to freely explore
I started thinking about what name to give to it. I first thought of “Bzz” and “Zzz” and “Sum-Sum” (this is how you write “Bzz-Bzz” in German). All of those names are already used and “Zzz” is kind of lame, so in combination of thinking of the mad scientist, I remembered that some of those like to have a strange German accent saying “ze” all the time. Ze Bee it is!
While writing the text above I thought of two more things. I paused from time to time and wrote them down below (in order of coming up with them):
- Delivering the honey can be made to look like peeing, but I do not like this idea, it is neither pretty nor interesting.
- I believe that bees do not get nectar from berries (do berries have nectar?) but this problem solves itself, as the bee has been engineered by a mad scientist and therefore there is no need for realism. (Not that there would have been a need for realism otherwise, but I prefer to avoid misinformation.)
- The game has actually some educational value about color mixing. It also allows for two different scenarios: subtractive color mixing by day and additive color mixing by night (luminous plants).
- Fireflies can be used as ‘decoration’ for night time play. They could also interact with the plants (they sipped some of the mad scientist’s reagents?) by blocking them. The player bee would have to fly near them at some velocity to scare them away.
- A better idea for delivering honey: the containers which the player has to deliver the honey to contain water, in which the player has to dip the bee in. (The scientist gave it some basic swimming skills!) Then it has to be shaked (movement physics underwater should be different) for the nectar to dissole in the water.
- Thought: if berries are used, the result is probably rather ‘jam’ than ‘honey’. Maybe a combination? This could be used for more diversity again. So flowers should be in the game too I think.
- About the lumenous plants from #3: why would they be lumenous? Did the scientist spill some of his reagents? Is there a nuclear power plant nearby? I do not know yet.
- What color does the scientist want? Well, how about three jars, and scientists just says “Bring me three different kinds of honey, ze bee!”. When the three jars are full, the scientist will judge them (insert color value comparison math here) and point at the one he doesnt like and complain about it or say they all are too similar, if they are. The mission or “what the scientist wants” can use some more thinking though.
- I never red ‘Doctor Frankenstein’ - I only experienced the character through various interpretations in cartoons. I will read and listen to it. Perhaps it will help me define the mad scientist’s character.