Not opposed to sharing brainstorms...

Post: #1
Until I tie myself to a chair and get all my nutrition through IV, I'll never get myself to be a competant programmer. Yeah, yeah, I keep saying stuff like that and how I consider myself more of an idea man - a brain stormer. Of course, there're no rea jobs for that without, oh, a portfolio. Then again, how can you have a portfolio if you never actually do anything aside from come up with concepts and designs? Wacko

Anyway, I'm a big fan of Nintendo's Animal Crossing because it's really straight forward. There's a lot I wish it could do, and as such I consider it to be pretty limited in its scope, but it's still highly entertaining (the way the characters talk alone deserves an award).

Animal Crossing falls into what I like to call 2D3D games. It's not a 3D engine with 2D graphics or a false 3D game. It's 3D (so far as I know), but never takes advantage of the fact.

The game also deals with most events at set intervals. Weeds growing on the ground are in random locations as are things that can be dug up, and I suppose that weather and dialogue is somewhat random (weather is influenced by the time of year in Animal Crossing). Otherwise, the game seems disturbingly simple.

So I'm working on a concept for a similar game called Welcome to Funville (yeah, WTF). Tentatively it's an overhead 2D game with some... Interesting characters. I work with a guy who has one of the most amazing illustrating styles and he's also good at making stuff like low budget action figures (cardboard, construction paper, bits of plastic, etc). He's pretty much signed on to do character designs (not like there's a contract or money involved).

So I started thinking about what this game would need to not only set it apart from Animal Crossing but also keep it at the same level of quality. The first thing that came to mind was making it more rewarding. Animal Crossing lets you expand the size of your home and furnish it with thousands of items. But... So? That gets old surprisingly fast, and if you're like me, you spend the rest of your time playing the game in trying to find all the Gyroids. Oh, those gyroids... Woah, where am I? OK... Then I started thinking about the Harvest Moon games, which I consider to be in this same sort of social-sim genre. I've never played the Sims, so I started thinking about MMOs and GTA and its clones.

WTF would need a skill system. Animal Crossing pretty much has two buildings of note: the museum (the curator of which is rather amusing), and the store. WTF would never survive with so little, so I thought that a) the town should be enormous thus deserving of b) an automobile/bicycle shop. This also lets me plug a character a cousin of mine made up years ago. In WTF you should be able to acquire a profession and develop your skill in it. Plus, as a computer game and not a console game, WTF would be endlessly expandable making the more trivial and material aspect of furnishing a home even crazier.

Plus, WTF would need some sort of twist. Disputes. Arguments. Characters could become frustrated with you and all of these spats would be settled with a duel set up in a classic Street Fighter sort of fashion. Side-scrolling 2D, one-on-one combat... But with no true purpose other than hopefully getting players to laugh. The duel starts - you spin the Wheel-O-Weapons, and get... A 5-pound block of sharp cheddar? Your opponent gets... An RPG launcher. Oh. This would have to go the next level of "Why did you even implement it?" by making the weapons meaningless and having the combat rely on forward and backward movement and mashing the one attack button.

Yeah, I've got too much time on my hands, which leads me to my next idea...

Maturity levels. Animal Crossing is extremely childish, and that's fine. It's cute and innocent and I've laughed at its bad jokes and grade school sense of intelligence. Grand Theft Auto is the total opposite. But why not make a cartoony social sim game that can cover these different levels of maturity? It could default to Childish and be able to be set to Perverse. Not to say Perverse would be all sex! That's as much of a crutch as all violence! No, Perverse would make the game even weirder (but frighteningly normal) by introducing organized crime, loan sharks, and the black market.

I really have no idea how I'd even implement that last idea, but the idea of a cute little character borrowing a grand from a mob boss and getting his fingers broken for not repaying on time makes me laugh inside.

If/when this gets done, it'd be totally free and open (save for, possibly, some art) so feel free to pipe in with ideas. If you've ever played Animal Crossing, The Sims or the Harvest Moon game you're pro's and con's musings on such titles would also be appreciated. (Personally, I'll always find something to complain about in a game because I'm such a pessimist; and I find my praises to never surpass the intelligence level of, "It's cool," or, "It's awesome.")
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