Big experience, small budget
With Spheres by Sense of Place Games we are trying to create a big experience with limited resources. To give you a better idea of how the game experience unfolds we've created a new video that features five minutes of typical gameplay.
How do we do it?
Non of the action in the game is pre-orchestrated, nor is it completely procedural or random. Instead, the game creates what you see in the video by layering multiple interacting systems together over a hand crafted framework. Many of the systems are simple enough on their own, but because they are sufficiently sensitive to each other and their starting conditions they create dynamic outcomes that will be different every time the game is played.
This approach to creating complexity is inspired by the work of John Conway's on Game of Life (see wikipedia for an overview) from the early 1970s in which he showed how simple rules can bring about startlingly levels of complexity when they self interact.
All of the systems in our game (AI, physics, animation, day/night cycle, level design etc) contain a degree of randomness or variability that is carefully tuned to create a game world that is logically and physically consistent, yet dynamic enough to always present new and unique outcomes. This allows the player to develop skill and a growing understanding of the world around them while never putting them in the same situation twice.
It's been a busy year: new to fatherhood, first time game developer and now a blog! Can't be so hard can it? Stop by from time to time to find out...