Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Design Document Excerpt

So we thought it'd be nice to give some sort of introduction to the game on the blog. Here's an excerpt from the design document we've all been working on.

Game Summary

What is Intelligent Design?

Intelligent Design is a video game for PC being developed by a group of students at Olin College of Engineering. A first-release playable version is scheduled to be out in May 2009.

Intelligent design is a sandbox/multiplayer strategy game where you define the logic of and build single-celled creatures that fight for dominion of the petri dish. Guide their evolution from above, but be prepared for unexpected mutations, viruses, and enemy cells.

Customize your cells with signaling and sensing organs, energy processing organs, weapons and protection and other special abilities. Also, define the logic that governs how the cells function and interact. With blocks that specify cell organelles, priorities, values, random numbers, and algebraic operations, you can relatively quickly put together creatures that attack, patrol, follow, guard, forage, circle, and sabotage. The real strategy begins when cells combine multiple functions, choose priorities in behavior and start showing teamwork.

This game will have two modes of play. There will be a multiplayer mode where you can connect with up to three of your friends (or: one), choose the environment and gameplay settings, and settle your differences on the agar. But in preparation for the showdown, it may help to try out some pre-defined creatures, or test out the more complicated logic of your own custom creatures in a fully-controllable sandbox mode. Create some cells of your own, a few opponent cells for them to battle, and help yourself to as many resources as you need to perfect your strategy. But after this, it's back to the petri dish, where your perfected micro-army will literally either sink or swim.

What isn't Intelligent Design?

Most game design firms will build a game in 9 months with 5 to 40 people working 40 hours a week. We have 5 people, but we're really lacking in the months and full time labor departments. To make up for this, we're making it clear up front that this is not your full-featured, beautifully rendered, 3D, major studio release. In fact, we want to cut out a lot of things standard to many modern games, including

  • the z-dimension
  • a single-player mode or campaign
  • an in-game tutorial (any tutorials will be written out in document form)
  • more than minimal attention to graphics
  • more than minimal attention to sound and music
  • a help section, packaging, marketing, localization.

Because of this, we're making a concerted effort to design a game that has the maximum player enjoyment to development effort ratio. A strategy game seemed the ideal way to go in light of this goal, because once a framework is set in place and tweaked, it's up to the players to push the game to its limits.

Hope this peaked your interest,

- The Management

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