on Nov 3, 2006
One of these days I hope to get the chance to make my own videogame. I don’t know if I would sell it, or ask for donations, or just give it away, I just know I want to write one if I get the chance. My Terrain Project was a result of me trying to scratch this particular itch.
I know I’ve got too much going on to make the attempt right now. This might end up being a “Mister Holland’s Opus” thing, but if it does happen it will probably deal with some sort of Sim or stats-building game. I like constructing simulations and inventing tech trees. The idea in Virtual Villagers has already been done, but I still enjoy toying with the concept in my head and thinking about how I might have done it differently. I just need to stay focused and resist the urge to go write some code. Or write a design document. I’m not kidding – it is taking real effort to not write down the technologies and gameplay dynamics that would drive a game like this. I have several files floating around on my hard drive along these lines, from when some game tickled the game-designer parts of my brain and I ended up mapping out a game just to get it out of my system.
After playing Virtual Villager for a couple of days, I can see there is a lot more this idea has to offer. You could take this same idea (guide a group of villagers to prosperity) and make it as a “Sim” sort thing, and end up with a very different game altogether. I keep looking at the tech ladder and picturing ways to make it into a tech tree, with the ability to pursue hunting / gathering / farming at different levels and with different tools.
I would also like to see a game along these lines where the player arranges marriages instead of arranging matings, which would give the thing a more tribal feel. There would also be a strategy element to it: As long as the player isn’t shy about a little low-tech eugenics, they could try to breed better hunters or better engineers…
Ah! I’m doing it. Okay, enough of this.
Virtual Villagers is amusing. A demo is available.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.