Ludum Dare #26: Round 3 Voting Results
Who could have guessed that game programmers would upvote a theme called Creation and Destruction? [sarcasm] Obviously, similar themes have made appearances many times in previous LD voting, although I don’t think that they have ever been picked in the end. The first types of game that come to mind to mind and minecraft/terraria-esque games, where maybe you are smashing rocks or tearing apart old structures to build new ones. Maybe you have two vehicles — one’s a wrecking ball and one’s a crane or something. Single player, you hope back and forth between the two — but in multiplayer you can be paired up with someone (or many someones) and work together to do…something. Are you building skyscrapers out of a husk of an abandoned city, like Wall-e? Maybe it’s a survival type of game, where you are running to escape monsters — they can outrun you, but you have the ability to put up walls that they take a while to break through. A never ending sequences of run, create, and then more running while the destruction happens.
No Enemies definitely sounds like a game competition type of theme. It’s specific in one way, but otherwise quite free to explore. It’s a hipsterish reversal of the norm. The thing to remember is that this is a theme, not a rule. Just making a game that happens to be the sort of thing where there is no conflict (like SimCity), is not a particularly strong use of the theme IMHO. Additionally, the game could actually HAVE enemies — as long as there was an odd subversion in there somehow. Maybe you have the ability to mind control people, therefore making them not be your enemy. That sort of thing. And then there’s the idea of still having some kind of conflict, but not against personified enemies. Like man vs the environment (castaways, lost in space, etc…) It could be a kind of “social” game of deception, where all the characters are supposed to be working together (and not be enemies), but people are secretly competing and trying to get an advantage over one another. We could call it “Frenemies“. You could play as vicious, gossiping high school girls out to ruin each other’s social lives via Facebook. It could be a game about a huge interstellar war fought over huge distances — and when an invasion fleet finally reaches the enemy homeworld…they discover that they’re already dead, having accidentally killed themselves by mistakenly detonating a super-weapon.
Parallel Worlds has many literal and figurative interpretations. It could be a game where you constantly have to switch “modes” to be able to complete it — and in a multiplayer setting people could co-operate by splitting up between the parallel worlds. It could be about a bunch of castaways, each stuck on their own island…not far from each other, but separated by shark-infested waters. Maybe you can throw stuff to each other to build a signal fire. We could take a more symbolic bend — imagine a game where everyone plays in a single vertical column, representing a single human life. You start at the bottom as a baby in a randomly assigned country/income/culture/class and try to make it through life. Everyone progresses forward at the same speed, but not everyone has the same opportunities — but you have the option of helping each-other out. It’s kind of a Prisoner’s Dilemma game theory experiment. We could also do a space sim, where the players share a starbase at a wormhole nexus, and they can pass through the wormholes to switch to parallel dimensions to look for resources. It could also be a riff on the life/death thing — it starts off as a typical FPS/whatever, but when you die you switch to a “ghost” form where you interact with the world in a completely different way until you respawn.
Islands has strong literal and figurative parallels to Parallel Worlds. These could be actual islands, or they could be little asteroids or pocket dimensions in space. It could be about traveling from island to island.
Isolation could also be played with in similar ways to Parallel Worlds. Imagine a multiplayer game where players share the same space…but can’t actually see each other or interact directly. You can move objects or write on blackboards or something, which affect everyone’s world. Of course, it could also be a group of people isolated from the rest of the world (castaways or some such thing).