Zen/exploration game (was Suckless Libre Games)

Zen/exploration game (was Suckless Libre Games)

Postby PeterX » 22 Jan 2021, 19:22

I opened this new thread fork for the game idea:
drummyfish {l Wrote}:For some time now I've have an idea for another suckless game. Maybe it would be for another thread but let me throw the idea here for now:

It would be an exploration/zen/walking simulator game on the same engine as Anarch, but taking place in an abstract mostly procedurally generated colorful blocky land, vaguely resembling Minecraft style games, however it would not be about creating but rather exploring the alien world and its mechanics. There would be no goal, just exploration and goals the player would impose on himself. I would like to make it more suckless by not using any textures or sprites and not even any text (no language barriers) -- there could be animals like butterflies but only composed of very simple geometric shapes. There would be no menu, you would just be thrown into the world at the beginning, and there would be no real position saving -- you'd unlock locations simply by discovering how to get to that location. The goal of the game would be to provide a nice slow world to escape to from the real world, e.g. when you're in depression (I used to deal with depression like this with proprietary games, but since I stopped playing them I've had no place like that anymore, so I'd like to create one).

I wonder how far I could push the size of that game when I drop all assets like images and sounds.

Sounds interesting, but I personally probably wouldn't play it. I would miss puzzles and a goal. But I can see how this is good to relax and cheer up a bit.

I feel that this kind of game needs a minimum of graphics, so complete text-only UI would not have the relaxing effect. But reducing the gfx to simple 3D objects or voxels seems good.

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Peter
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Re: Zen/exploration game (was Suckless Libre Games)

Postby drummyfish » 22 Jan 2021, 19:56

Specific kinds of puzzles aren't out of question, you would have to figure out how to reach certain places -- one idea is that there would be e.g. flowers that you could consume and they would have different effects like making you faster for a while, another one might prolong the effect of of any other flower etc., and you would have to figure out how to use the combination of these flowers to get to a top of a mountain, where there could be some reward, e.g. a flower that would make you fly for a while. Same thing with animals, there could e.g. be a rare animal that would be very fast and if you manage to figure out how to corner it and catch it, you'd be rewarded in some way, e.g. being able to ride the animal, which could help you to get to another location and so on. These location would be visible but not easy to access, to peak the player's interest. So it's not like there would be a lack of challenge, but they wouldn't be thrown in front of you in a scripted way as is usual, part of the fun would be searching for the challenges.

Basically I'd like to build the game around the idea that works in many other games, but mostly not because the developers intended it -- players dedicated to a certain game will create own challenges and search the game for hidden secrets long after they've finished the game.

BTW if anyone has their own ideas related to exploration/relaxation-based games, please share them here, I feel like this kind of games is missing in the libre world. Minetest is close but it's based on creation, exploration alone didn't keep me entertained for very long as the world gens start repeating themselves and without mods there is no wildlife etc. A game I enjoyed that offered this kind of experience was Black Voxel (very underrated game), you are thrown into a world that at first seems plain flat and boring, but then you start digging, discover different materials and layers of the world, you discover machines, automation and other parts of the world that look very different and to get past them you have to use your knowledge about the world.
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Re: Zen/exploration game (was Suckless Libre Games)

Postby PeterX » 22 Jan 2021, 21:17

I could imagin change of
- daylight (with beautiful star-sky and sun-set/dawn
- weather
- seasons of the year

Or maybe different layers, like a large cave level underground
And climbing trees and mountains.

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Re: Zen/exploration game (was Suckless Libre Games)

Postby drummyfish » 22 Jan 2021, 22:21

Yes yes, but I'd like the time and seasons to have different rules from our world and leave it for the player to analyze the rules of the world's time and based on it perhaps even make theories about the world such as what kind of planet it may be. I would like to communicate a deeper lore as a reward for exploration, but without using language of course, which would be a nice game design challenge.

This whole idea evolved from me thinking about exapanding one Pokitto demo I made, so the game might look something like this:

Image
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Re: Zen/exploration game (was Suckless Libre Games)

Postby PeterX » 22 Jan 2021, 23:03

You could spread items all over the map and when a player uses an item on another item or a part of the landscape, sometimes something special happened. Like getting another item, or raising a flower or a machine starts.

And maybe some plants or rocks pulsate in colour and or varying brightness.

I had a look at blackvoxel, which is free SW (but only if you download the source code, downloading binaries has to be paid, I think). And it is promising, gives the general idea of exploration games.

I played Myst (still proprietary I guess), and it is a 3D landscape where most riddles are (inter)actions to environment items, like levers, portals, doors, etc.

You could have icons for an action menu, which each action has to be found and activated.

Symbols ideas:
- eye: examine
- arrow: push
- apple: eat
- flower: grow/plant
- shovel: dig
- drop: water ( for example a plant)
- egg: hatch
- flash: apply energy
- hand: pickup
- sack: inventory

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Re: Zen/exploration game (was Suckless Libre Games)

Postby drummyfish » 22 Jan 2021, 23:20

Have you played The Witness? It is a very good puzzle game (proprietary) inspired by Myst, it is also an inspiration for my game. It takes place on a very mysterious island and utilizes many ideas we are talking about -- it uses basically no text, just gameplay elements to communicate information, and there are no hard-locked areas, you simply get to them by learning the principles of the puzzles that are required to access them. It was a great experience playing it.

About the menu: icons are a good idea, but I think it is even more elegant if the menu is implemented in the game world itself. I think this was done in the first Quake games where you would choose difficulty and campaign by walking to specific rooms in a special hub level. My idea is that upon starting the game you'd always be spawned at a specific start place on the map, and there would be teleports to the further parts of the map, but those would only be usable if you knew how to use them. This would completely eliminate any need for persistent saves and files and would basically save the game progress in each player's brain.
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Re: Zen/exploration game (was Suckless Libre Games)

Postby PeterX » 22 Jan 2021, 23:30

drummyfish {l Wrote}:... but those would only be usable if you knew how to use them. This would completely eliminate any need for persistent saves and files and would basically save the game progress in each player's brain.

Never heard or thought about that. That's a really good idea.

Don't know if it was "The witness" but I played a game that took place entirely in a one-room hut where you indeed had to interact which the surroundings and the game slowly unfolded.

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Re: Zen/exploration game (was Suckless Libre Games)

Postby Technopeasant » 15 Feb 2021, 03:44

This is a cool idea.
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