EMP First Thoughts

Clues about my intentions for the Extended Major Project may have cropped up somewhere in the preceding posts! We were given the official briefing for the EMP at uni yesterday, so now the clock is counting down to that fateful day in mid May when my latest creation will appear to the world.
My thoughts have turned recently to questions like “what makes a game?” and more importantly, “what makes a good game?“. I read a lot of books on game theory over Christmas and I’ve been left in one of those states of existential pondering… I’ve been asking myself “what makes a good game developer??” which has a lot to do with why I decided to write seven posts on some really awesome ones.

So I guess the theme underlying all else throughout this project is:
How can I use characteristics from “good” existing games to create a brilliant, contemporary, unique new game?

The aim is to create something new, but which echoes games past. The final outcome will emerge in the form of a 2D platformer, so already it has (or should have!) echoes of the great platformers of the early Nintendo years…
This kinda sums up my thought patterns so far:

In answer to my questions about good game developers, the release of Indie Game The Movie is on the horizon, and this little online extra was released a couple of days ago. Unfortunately I can’t embed the video for privacy reasons(or something), so watch it at the link below. I think this immediately separates the exceptional from the ordinary:
Indie Game The Movie Online Extra

It feels to me better than Mario, which was in my mind the perfect way for a platformer to feel. It feels like Mario, but in a lot of ways a lot of aspects in it feel better. It feels faster, it feels like I have more control, especially in the air. I feel like I have complete control over the character. And that’s number one with a platformer.

The movement code for meatboy is nothing that isn’t nature. And it’s totally just scripted, fixed, duct-taped stuff, but there’s so much of it, and it’s so often that it actually feels pretty good. I think it’s just because I complain.

You can’t make a platformer and when somebody dies they say:
“aww, the fucking game feels stupid”
“aww, it killed me because the button feels dumb”

Advice accepted. That’s going straight onto my list of goals!
For this project, I’m revolving my research and development around a theme rather than a genre or aspect of gaming. Before, I vaguely asked “how can I make a game which simulates a strange experience?” This time, I’m saying “let’s make a game about the Japanese custom of Hanami.” All I have to do to create the game is apply the characteristics I discover from researching good platformers and combine this with some sort of objective, eg. “collect all the cherry blossoms that fall post-Hanami.” And then obviously there’s the complicated technical and arty parts to work on, but that’s what the next 18 weeks are for…

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