Tuesday, December 23, 2014

What's in a Game - Part 1

A few weeks ago I was interviewed by one of my friends at the local university for a radio program. It was for a program on indie game development and it was that interview that actually prompted me to create a site for Daikaiju Director. In this post, I'll expound upon what we talked about as well as discuss the history and current state of the game.

The first question of the interview is the one I most often get when people learn about Daikaiju Director (well besides “what the heck is a daikaiju?”) And that is "what inspired you to make this game?" Simple question, right? WRONG! The answer to that could be simple or complicated depending on what is actually being asked. 

If they're asking what inspired me to “want” to make Daikaiju Director, the answer is this: I love games and I love giant monster movies and I wanted to combine these two passions into one awesome product that I could share with others. I've been making games almost as long as I've been playing them. My experience with gaming has always been defined by the question "wouldn't it be cool if ______?" I would make card games based on my favorite tv shows or add rules to existing games to simulate different things that I thought would be cool. Tweaking the rules to existing games set me down the path of creating the games I wanted to play that didn't exist as far as I knew.

When FASFAC's Epic Games Contest started last year I knew I wanted to make a game based on giant monsters. Originally I wanted to have the players build their daikaiju and fight all over the globe, but I couldn't decide on how to give "crunch to the fluff." Eventually I wound up with a Risk clone that had a deck building component that was just a mess. I didn't have enough time to focus on both my grades and making a game so I shelved the project.

This year I had a much grander idea for the contest. Daikaiju Director started off this years contest as a giant monster movie simulator of sorts. One player, the director, dictated the scenario and the other players or actors fought against the director. It was a convoluted mess of deck building and points systems that would take longer to set up than actually play, which is no fun at all.

This brings me to the second interpretation of the original question, "what inspired you to create this game?” What the curious interviewer is really looking for is what aspects of the movies made it into the game and what mechanics from other games made those aspects work in a fun way. The answer to that complicated. 

I try to squeeze in everything I can that works with the rules I've established. I simplified the game from more of a pseudo roleplaying game to a sort of tactical miniatures game. I messed around with "areas" instead of spaces and then square spaces before settling on hexagonal spaces. Hexagons made the movement feel more natural. The Twist deck, which started as something that only the director could use, was given to each player to give them more options when playing and the director role was removed. 

These are the three biggest changes I've made to the game in development this far. I'll go into more specific examples of the game's evolution in my next post.

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