I have neglected this website for a long time now, mainly because there is still a lot of work to do on the site itself. Facebook has proven to be a much easier method of sharing things than this website is. However I will try and do some larger updates here as Facebook has some clear limitations as a method for communicating ideas. That said, you will probably have found the link to this article from my Facebook page. Irony is life.
I have been working on a number of different concepts and prototypes along with a friend of mine over the last few months. Primarily first person space/survival themed games. Green World has not been neglected, however I have made some conceptual changes to it which will require some reworking from the current project. Something which will be a large undertaking. I have also invested time and money into exploring film, comics and other games relating to some of the ideas I have been mulling over, and that primarily is the reason for a lengthy post here.
Firstly the primary project. I have been working with a friend of mine to create a company complete with a real logo etc. to move the copyright for much of this material into. Bulbheads Inc is in the early stages, not even an official start-up yet. But it gives us some framework to work by rather than the ad-hoc approach I have had so far. The Facebook page is rather devoid of real content right now. So here, or my own official page are still your best bets for updates.
The idea will be to continue the trend for clever games that incorporate science and environmental themes into simulated worlds. All of our games will attempt to add a new perspective on existing genres by changing who you play and from what perspectives you look at the game world. Green World is a good example of this where you play as “fate” or “morality” itself, manipulating Gods and Mortals alike. There is another concept in the pipeline as well, though we have not settled on a name, but “Thrown Away” has stuck so far. The idea is that humanity threw away it’s future by throwing away it’s environment, and it’s sense of ethics and community. The result is a survival game set in the far future in a world dominated by plastic and electronic waste. Still mulling over which way we are going to take certain aspects and just how “sci-fi” we are going to make aspects of it. The skeleton of the story and game mechanics concepts have been fleshed out to a small degree.
To that end I focused on some film material to build up ideas for these concepts. I have also been ‘flipping’ through a lot online comics, short stories and deviant art material for inspiration. I will list the films below with a very short summary.
9 - 9 is set in a broken dying world. A rag doll wakes up and has to figure out what is going on and what his purpose is. He meets other rag dolls along the way. This was a lovely little film. Rated PG-13, it means you can watch this with your kids even. Contains hints of very deep philosophy.
Sky Blue - Sky Blue is set in the future on some planet (Earth?) where the environment was collapsed due to excessive industry. The solution however eventually became part of the problem! A very nice little Anime with some very pretty graphics. Worth a watch.
Origin: Spirits of the Past/Gin-iro no kami no Agito - Set in a distance future where humans had destroyed and eroded the environment to the point that Earth was slowly dying. In an attempt to save the world humans created a project to re-seed the world with hyper-evolved plants and the material to rapidly replace Earth’s dwindling forests. It went wrong somewhere and the plants destroyed civilisation, even attaining a measure of sentience as a collective. In the far future there are three groups of humans. Those that have joined with the forest and given up their humanity, those that fight the forest, and those that have tried to find a middle ground and living within the world around them. When the main character stumbles on an old abandoned cry-chamber and awakens a girl from the distant past, during the height of human technology, things rapidly go crazy. The movie goes a little strange in parts. But it is generally a very fun watch. Lots of very pretty scenes early on.
Oblivion - A fantastic film, that really I cannot say much about or it would ruin the plot. I am not a fan of Tome Cruise personally, however he is a good actor, and he was given a superb role in this film. Very entertaining and very thought provoking about issues from identity, through to what life is about and why we would want to survive in a harsh world.
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind - A Studio Ghibli classic and possibly one of my most favourite films of all time. This also has a very comprehensive Manga which goes into the story and the world of Nausicaa in much much more detail. Worth spending some money on if you have some. I have drawn material from this movie for both games. In terms of the artwork and environmental concepts in Green World and for the post-apocalyptic views in Thrown Away.
As well as Movies and comics/Managa I have been looking at a few games within the genres regarding gameplay. There is one I really want to mention, even though I have plugged it before in other contexts, and that is Kenshi by Lofi Games. I have even been talking to the makers about Kenshi about the possibility of building Thrown Away using their engine, though they have been busy with updates and have not had much of a chance to reply so far. Finger’s crossed however as it would be perfect. I was looking at games such as Endless Legend by Amplitude Studios for improving the underlying mechanics with the Green World game. It is a early release game, so has a few issues, however it is great fun either way. Fractured Space by Edge Case Games is a superb game that contains many concepts I already had in mind for Thrown Away (if we ever got the space part of the game). I HIGHLY recommend this game to strategy space combat gamers out there. This last one might seem a bit out of left field, however I revisited the Geneforge series with Geneforge 5 by Spiderweb Software. It is a clever little rpg game that builds around creating/summoning monsters which gave me some ideas to add to Green World. If you like older style rpgs and don’t mind a slower pace of game then check it out. It has a complex story in a very unique world.