Okaaaaaay! So, in visiting the story again, it forced me to ask the following question:
“WHAT DO I WANT TO CREATE HERE?”
And the answer “a red dwarf game!” just isn’t good enough. After a couple of hours really thinking about it and what i want from it, i came to the conclusion that i want to create the experience of being part of the crew.
It’s not good enough to just want to create a puzzle game aboard red dwarf with the crew characters. It needs to make the player feel that they are really there and part of something. Not just completing something but creating something. Sooooo….
“WHAT DO I WANT TO CREATE HERE?”
The feeling of camaraderie and a real connection for the fans who’re usually watching on the sidelines. I want to create an experience for the player that will make them feel they’ve earned their place on the crew. I know that this all sounds lofty and unrealistic but i broke it down to smaller chunks by asking myself questions. It may sound a little weird but it really seemed to work!
“HOW DO YOU FEEL LIKE PART OF A TEAM?”
You have a special talent/skill that has its place in the group
“WHAT ELSE MAKES YOU PART OF A TEAM?”
You realise that the other members of the team also have special skills/talents that you don’t… and that life may be easier when you’re all pitching in
“WHAT MAKES AN INDIVUDUAL FEEL LIKE THEY’RE VALUED AS PART OF A TEAM?”
Using their individual skills successfully for the benefit of the team
“WHAT’S SO GOOD ABOUT A TEAM ANYWAY?”
The player has a bond and reliance on the other teammates. The player gets to trust and rely on the team’s skills
“HOW DO YOU GET THE PLAYER TO TRUST THE TEAM?”
“HOW DOES THE PLAYER FEEL LIKE THERE’S ANYTHING TO LOSE FROM COMPUTER GENERATED TEAMMATES?”
This one’s tricky but i think this can be achieved by having planing stages for group tasks. The player gets to plan for the big group tasks and how successful they are depends on their knowledge of the team members strengths and weaknesses. Think, Red Storm’s: Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6. The characters were given bio’s you had to read to find strengths and weaknesses. Now, having read these bio’s, if a mission went tits up, well…. you lost a character that you may have weirdly bonded to and it was down to your planning. A feeling of loss to promote the contrast of feeling worth for what you do have.
“HOW CAN THIS FEELING OF CAMARADERIE BE ACHIEVED IN A SINGLE PLAYER GAME?”
… Weeeeeeeell, that last one took me a while. After this while though, I figured that a three act story could work:
- Act One – player gets to know his individual character’s strengths and weaknesses
- Act Two – player meets the rest of the crew and gets to know their strengths and weaknesses
- Act Three – player must use their knowledge of the crew’s strengths and weaknesses (both cumulative and individual) to overcome the antagonist and achieve the story’s objective.
To get the player feeling more valued and part of the team, I decided that they should be able to select any member of the crew to play as but that they should stay as that character for the remainder of the game. The player will then start the game at one of 4 points along the storyline, depending on which character they chose to play as. Each character will have their own evolution arc as they learn to accept the thrown-together-band-of-misfits as their surrogate family.
I’m hoping that this approach will make the player feel invested in their chosen character and create the experience of value and worth for Red Dwarf and game fans alike.
Super wordy, i know, but i can’t post the diagrams i’m drawing at the minute because they obviously contain spoilers. More shiny-shinies soon!!!