So, the official 4 elements have been announced for the GameDev.net 4 Elements Contest. (For those who are not familiar with it, check it out here. The basic idea is that you have to build a game that includes 3 out of the 4 elements. This year the elements are crystals, ponies, explosions, and accountants.
I did a bit of chatting with a friend of mine, and we have come up with a design for a reasonably simple game. It could basically be described as Smuggler’s Run in space. The basic objective is to fly your spacecraft (called a Pony, for some obvious reasons we will tell later) from Point A to Point B without dying and without losing all your cargo (which so happens to be crystals). Of course along the way you will encounter various things preventing you from getting to Point B – asteroids, gas clouds, space mines (that explode when you get close to them), and of course the evil space accountants that are trying to hunt you down for stealing their crystals. You can choose different difficulties by stealing heavier crystals (say rather than juice crystals, you steal metal crystals). Along the way you need to pass by certain fuel dumps that act as checkpoints. The heavier the cargo, the more fuel you use between fuel dumps. If you run out of fuel, it’s game over.
There’s a little bit more to it than that, but that is the general jist of things. The gameplay is simple enough, but could become more difficult by adding more and more obstacles in the player’s way as the game progresses (such as gravity distortions, enemy ships that follow and shoot at you, etc). The nice thing is, is that I have a friend helping me with this – Allen. He’s in the New Media program, and has taken a few courses that are more about game design and artistic type things, so I get to take care of the coding end of things (for the most part) and he takes care of the art end of things (for the most part). I figure with the two of us working on things, we might actually be able to churn out something half decent by the contest deadline.