On January 28th, 2019 we pitched our game idea to a group of game developers. This was our pitch.
“Aimless Manor aims to be a surreal game based upon the core game mechanic that each door opens to a different set of rooms each time. It features two types of mechanics: environment and game mechanics. In terms of environment mechanics, we are trying to use non-euclidean elements to showcase rooms and interactions you would not expect in a physical space. A few ideas we have around this are magic mirrors, infinite hallways (like in Super Mario 64), and magic windows. For game mechanics, we have a point and click mechanic that allows you to interact with the puzzle items, as well as the environment itself. Also, we have an item and inventory mechanic where a player can only be holding two objects at a time. The game will then direct you into a room based off of which items you have and which items you need. For game references, we believe Fragments of Euclid and Antichamber embody the non-euclidean elements we would like to have. Additionally, Stanley Parable and What Remains of Edith Finch represent the desired narration guidance as well as the point and click mechanic. Edith Finch is also a good example of the aesthetics we are aiming for. For music, we will have a background music layer and an additional layer for each item/room, where picking up an item may trigger narration. The manor itself is stylized for a classic 1980s look. Each room is bright with an encompassing colour scheme and filled with various items. Key objects will be highlighted to stand out and help aid the player. Altogether, these are the main elements of our game, Aimless Manor.”
One of the most important things that we wanted to know when going into the game pitch is what kinds of features we should get rid of and what kind of features we should focus on. This was really important because the scope of our game at its current point is massive. While all of the game developers present said they’d want to play the game, they gave a lot of great feedback around what it would take to bring us to the next level. One of the biggest critiques they had was around the scope. Due to the fact we only have ~2 months to build a complete game with 8 people, there’s only so much you can do. In order to achieve the best game possible they wanted us to limit the amount of completely different rooms and instead focus on repurposing a single room, such as the bedroom. Through changing the layout and room orientation you can create a new but familiar room that can introduce new items and puzzles. By doing this we can massively cut down on the amount of time spent on modeling and instead, focus on getting the mechanics right. Another great suggestion they had was reusing assets. This goes hand and hand with repurposing a single room with a new orientation and saves a lot of time on modeling. Further critiques were based on how we would execute this type of game in an environment like level up. Typically, in a game demo environment, people will only be playing for 3-5 minutes so we need to create a lasting impression in that short of time while still making the game interesting. A great suggestion one of the developers had was trying to sell the game on time spent, rather than levels. Given the fact that our game has a lot of exploration that’s probably something we will need to look into. Lastly, the art style we have chosen may be hard to emulate in such a short period of time. Due to our art style, we have to strike a balance between highly populated rooms while still maintaining our scope.