I’m participating in the first Steemit Game jam! If you’re unsure of what this means, check out this post, but the gist of it is, I’ll be attempting to make a game in 48 hours, with the theme Protect it!
There are usually two ways to go about a game jam. Either you let the theme influence an idea you already have, or you get inspired by the theme to come up with a new idea.
This time I'm already developing a game based on my idea, so I'd like to use this jam to break it up a bit, and be inspired to make something new.
Double rainbow, what does it mean?
The theme isn’t double rainbow, unfortunately, it’s Protect it.
Protect it is a very gamey theme, there have been countless games with that theme already. I usually like game jam themes to be limiting, for example my first game jam had two button theme, which is a big restriction on controls. However two buttons isn’t very thematic, so it doesn’t do a good job of inspiring ideas.
The obvious (very simple) game genres for protect it is base defense, tower defence some variation of breakout. It can also be interpreted as protecting yourself, if yourself is an it, like a ship, which really brings on endless existing genres.
I’d like to interpret the theme in a unique way. What genres (again, simple, we’re not making an RTS in 48 hours) don’t usually have protect it as a theme very often?
- Just from the thematic standpoint, what can you protect?
- Precioussssss (Obviously)
- An object
- The source of your power
- An agenda
- A convoy
- The climate
- The economy
- A specimen
- Your alien friend
- A pet
- Your base
- Hoard of gold
- Source of income
Anything from placing tetrino pieces to matching colors or solving pre-generated puzzles based on a system like sokoban don’t really have protect it as a theme.
- Placing tetrino pieces around a base in order to protect it from incoming fire. Tetrino pieces slowly degrade with hits.
- You’re giving a set number of pieces and you need to use them to protect something from an attack. The attack is timed, and you need to last the entire time. Possibly some time travel theme to have it make sense that you’re going back to reset your defenses. Each level is designed, not generated.
- A match 3 game with a twist. Two sides of the screen, one has a standard match 3 game, and the other has a planet with 4 directions. Meteors come crashing down, and hitting the shields. Matching 3 of the color of a shield strengthens it.
Platformers, especially side scrolling ones, usually have you protect yourself, attack, or both. Rarely if ever are they about protecting something. Though I guess Kingdoms: Classic is a side scrollind defense game, it isn’t really a plarformer. The lack of jumping from platforms is the reason.
- Get a ball to the end of the level by kicking it about, but be careful, it’s vulnerable!
Some kind of blast chamber spin off, could be multiplayer, could be single player.
- Protect a convoy, but as a 2d platformer could be interesting. Maybe you even have setup time before the convoy arrives.
- Power source in the center of the screen which powers your gun. Defend against waves of enemies that slowly whittle down the power source, making your weapon weaker. This is a negative feedback loop, meaning losing causing losing more. I usually avoid negative feedback loops, but it’s fine for a gamejam game, which should be relatively quick to allow testers to quickly enjoy the entire game. So making a mistake and it cascading into a loss would be fine.
- Lemmings but in reverse! Mindless enemies are reaching your precious (whatever). Stop them by pushing them off ledges or into pits, using spells or building blocks.
Card/board games can really have any theme you like, and it is more about the system you build from the game. The game has to do something clever with the cards or board. An example for a card mechanic protect it theme would be pandemic where “it’ is humanity, and you’re protecting it from diseases. The cards here have a fantastic theme which I’ve always wanted to borrow and see what I could do with it.
Ideas (as I said, more about mechanics than theme):
- Matt Leacock’s brilliant infection deck mechanic.I have a time travel game idea with this mechanic I could explore. Protect it can be protecting your time machine.
- Engine building by playing cards that support each other. Something like play a card or two, and then the game interprets the execution of the cards in order. Theme can be protecting an agenda.
I’m out of ideas. I’ll mull those over. I think I’m leaning towards either implementing something with Matt Leacock’s infection deck mechanic, or the limited pieces to defend something puzzle variant.
Feel free to use any of my ideas. Ideas are a dime a dozen, what makes our games unique and worthwhile, is their implementation. Even if we made a game based on the same description, it would likely be very different!