Friday, November 21, 2014

Game Design - Tiny Moments

Game Design - Tiny Moments

I've been designing games around singular moments for the last two months.  In the depths of night, completely alone, with only hand crafted assets around single things.  I've been designing small games, tiny, infinitesimally small, unpolished games, usually one a week.  A lot of them are exercises.  To make sure I still know how to code in Game Maker, Flash and Unity.  Sometimes they are about figuring out how to do one little thing, dynamically dealing with specific problems or solving specific ideas.

Sometimes though, I make a tiny little game, because there's an idea that needs to get out.  It encompasses everything I do when I walk home, or to work.  I think about it while I eat lunch, I sketch it in the margins of my notebooks, I recite the lines of text or ideas of the game to myself while I listen to music.  It has to get out.

So I build a tiny little game.

This one is called Crosshair.

It's very simple.  You're a soldier on the back of a jeep, you have a machine gun, a .50 cal mounted to the back.  You're in an urban environment, and you have a spotter.  Your spotter designates possible targets, you swing around your crosshairs and sweep the street to check for the target possibilities.

45 seconds in, between the 4th and 5th target possibility you get a call out on the alley to the left.  The instant you swing over there, your crosshairs fix on a young Iraqi girl of 5.  She freezes.  Her mother appears behind her.  She also freezes.  As long as the crosshairs are pointed at them, they stay frozen.  You get text, and chatter, voice over, information...but as long as you stay pointed at them, they stay frozen.  If you point it away, but where they are going, they stay frozen.  You can only disengage and point it straight up, and you won't see them then, but they'll run across the screen and leave.

The game takes just over a minute.  The 'game'.  It's not really a game.  It's just a moment.

You're in full control.

I needed to make this.  And I'll never release it.  Ever.

I've been making tiny games, about super tiny little moments.

I'm not sure if it's for my sanity, or everyone else's.