One Game A Month 2013

I am participating in One Game A Month (along with a ton of other devs) during 2013. Flare will still be my main focus, and some of the games I make will use Flare.

I’ve been having some decent ideas lately, plus some that have been on the to-do list for a long time. I can’t sleep so I’m writing these down. I want to share my first solid game idea:

Don’t Ride Your Bike On The Highway

When learning to ride a bike growing up, there were a series of rules I had to follow. Early on (tricycle days) it was: don’t go on the road. Then when I first got a real bicycle I had to stay between the two nearest light poles. Finally I was allowed to roam the neighborhood as long as I didn’t take my bike on the highway.

During those days my brothers and I rode around the neighborhood nonstop. We had to be back home before dark, and night officially started when the power lights came on. During that near-dusk hour we would visit as many friends as possible. Often we would trade (borrow temporarily) toys with other kids, or return toys previously borrowed. I want to relive those days. One of my games this year will be riding a bicycle around the neighborhood I grew up in.

Milestone 1 of the game will be getting the bicycle movement working right. I’ll probably use arrowkeys or WASD to do full bicycle movement: up/W to pedal once, down/S to brake, A/left to veer left, D/right to veer right. The camera will stay fixed, so it will kind of be awkward to steer — hopefully emulating the feeling of first learning how to ride. Throw in some simple sound effects and I think this could feel really solid.

Milestone 2 of the game would be drawing the map and adding basic collision. It’ll probably be simple and tile-based. I will recreate my basic neighborhood, but a bit simplified and stylized. At this point it should be simple fun to cruise around a map on bicycle, and maybe that will be game enough.

Milestone 3 would add a Punish Meter, and would really give the game its namesake. There will be zones where you are not supposed to ride a bike, especially along the highway. But also: not in other people’s yards, not near cars or houses, etc. Riding somewhere that you’re not supposed to be makes the Punish meter fill up. Crashing a bike (into a ditch, or street sign, or parked car, or house, etc) will raise the Punish meter significantly. Riding the bike after dark is also forbidden (start racing home once you see the power lights turn on!). Maybe the game ends when you fill up your punish meter, or maybe you’ll just get an earful when you finally do get back home.

Milestone 4, something I may do post-release or as a follow-up game if the above is fun, is adding the toy-trading system. Part of the goal while you’re out will be to stop at houses that have kids your age and try to trade toys with them. You take 3 toys from your Toy Box before leaving the house (starting the level), which are randomized. Some toys may be more desirable than others — more kids want the NES cartridge than the bag of marbles. Trade for better toys to get more points. Also don’t forget who you borrowed certain toys from, because you have to return them next stage.

This is all terribly self-indulgent, I know. But it’s going to be fun to me. Hopefully someone else will relate.


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