Shortly after the launch of Fates of Ort, I began planning and prototyping the new 8BitSkull project. A game about a small crew of aliens on a centuries long journey, dealing with crazy genetic mutations. I still believe the core of the idea is sound, but will not be taking it further at this point. This is for two reasons:
The mutation mechanic just did not feel good. I playtested a lot (in my head…), and all the gameplay configurations suffered from one problem or another. Either the mechanic was too simple, or too complicated. Either the mechanic favoured mindless mixing of genetics, or keeping “pure” alien bloodlines. I still think the idea has potential, but because of reason #2, decided that now was not the time to pursue it. This brings us to…
Scope too big. An infinite galaxy map to traverse. A solar system view where you could dodge enemies and seek out points of interest. A visual novel style encounter system with skill checks. A real time combat system. These are all good things - but they are too numerous and too large for my personal situation as it stands currently. The project to pursue must be smaller in scope to have a chance of being completed!
I spent a lot of time pondering what to do. I still feel drawn to the concept of generation ships and space exploration. However, the game I have come up is radically different to the initial plan. The game is significantly simpler, which hopefully leads to multiple benefits: First of all, it makes the game more feasible to complete. Secondly, it allows for more resources to be spent polishing the mechanics that make it in the final product. Finally, when done properly, there is depth and elegance to be found in simplicity (think of the old adage “less is more”).
WHAT ARE THE INSPIRATIONS?
We have drawn upon multiple sources of inspiration. From ‘FTL’, we borrow the node based space traversal, hopping from one event/encounter to the next. We also keep the sense of urgency in balancing resources (think hull, fuel, life support, crew population). ‘Reigns’ also has this resource balancing act, and the simplicity of player input (basically swiping a card left or right) is something we are learning from as well. We want the game to be extremely easy to pick up, but have enough depth to remain engaging for a long time. Finally, ‘Luck be a Landlord’ does a great job of distilling the roguelite experience down to its very essence, something we would like to achieve as well. The interesting combinations of skills creating wild synergies is also something we would like to emulate.
YOU HAVEN’T ACTUALLY DESCRIBED THE GAME…
See the top post!
WHEN CAN I PLAY?
Not yet! We’ve basically had to start over from scratch. Even though it won’t be particularly exciting, we have begun the journey towards the very first build.