Author Topic: Challenge 1: Minimum Viable Games?  (Read 3098 times)

Chris

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Challenge 1: Minimum Viable Games?
« on: March 13, 2012, 10:30:17 AM »
I was listening to an episode of Second Quest yesterday where they mention Dark Souls and how cohesive the game's focus is. It got me thinking about minimal game experiences. Here's the podcast. The whole episode is good listening, but the part I was focusing on is right around 47:00:

Quote
It's very clear what's in that game and what isn't. It's not a big game...it's not nearly as big as a Skyrim, or something like that. Every part is in there because it belongs...the imagery is so tight...
I love that they didn't waste money on things like--that the NPCs like, don't move. They basically don't even move. You'll go up and talk to them and they don't even turn their heads...I don't think. Maybe I'm just remembering it that way. You know, someone might have actually stood up in one of those meetings and said, "We have to have NPCs that walk around. Oblivion had NPCs that walked all over the place. They could walk all the way across the game world. Why do our NPCs just kind of sit there. Everyone's gonna think we're lame! We're gonna get an 8 score for gameplay from whoever!" and you know they knew they didn't need that...and there were probably many other decisions like that.

Taking a game you know and love, how could you reduce it to the most minimal game possible?

Example:
Game: Go
Reduced version: Go

 ;D

I'll think of another one later.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2012, 10:32:04 AM by Chris »

Chris

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Re: Challenge 1: Minimum Viable Games?
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2012, 05:41:37 PM »
Here's one:

Out of the two sandbox games I've played recently, I've played way more Terraria than Minecraft. "But why is that?" you might ask. "It has one less dimension!"

Terraria and Minecraft are both sandbox building games, to some extent. And it's hard to play a building game from the inside; that's why we don't play Simcity from an inhabitant's perspective.

The other advantage of Terraria is that leveling is much more addictive than MC was for me. 4 swords isn't enough to build a progress tree; 18 might just be enough.

On the other hand, Minecraft is naturally more immersive and more building focused, with cool pushcarts that Terraria doesn't have.

In conclusion: A 3D top down builder with leveling up and fast transit would be cool. But that's not a minimal game.



A proposal:

A minimal sandbox building game would be a deck building game (cards are the simplest inventory item). In it, you can fight enemies based on how powerful your cards are, but it's not mostly about fighting, but rather creating emergent behaviors. For example:

  • You have 1 iron and 1 forge. If you have no finesse you can hammer out a crude iron club, but if you have a special finesse you can make a bell, or a sword.
  • You have 10 wood and a hammer. You can buy a house card, that you can now live in. (Having a house is the most important part of this kind of game)