What a challenge

I'm setting myself multiple challenges:

  • create a game type that I've never done before;
  • do it using Web technologies;
  • make the game playable on desktop and mobile;
  • do it alone;
  • do it in 5 days;
  • write about the process every day.

Because the week is going to be short, I'm spending some time this weekend preparing for the jam, making a bunch of decisions and looking for resources that I will be able to use. I am no art creator, so all assets (graphics, sound) will have to come from the Web. Luckily, I've already spent a lot of time searching OpenGameArt and the likes for previous games, so I kind of know my way around those.

Building a builder

I talked about decisions, let's start with the first and most important one: what type of game am I going to build? I have a lot of game ideas, some in my head, some in little notebooks around my apartment, but most of them are too big to do alone in one week. There's one genre though that I love, that I've been playing a lot lately, and that I've never done: the city / village builder genre. Basically, you start with a small amount of resources, some space, and you'll use those to create buildings that will give you more resources and more space, and it goes on.

Most of those games have no real goal. Games like Banished, the Anno series, or the recent Foundation, just let you do your business as you like, sandbox-style, until you fail or you get bored. That means the game has to keep you hooked, and they do so by ever increasing the demands of your citizens. I want to avoid that and give my game a real goal and a real ending.

One of my inspiration in the genre is the old browser game Travian, where you build villages and each one helps you build new ones faster. The more villages you have, the more troops you can feed. Travian is a multiplayer game, where you compete against other players, sending them your armies and fighting over the construction of a wonder. In my case though, I want to build a solo game, but I like two ideas there: first, having separate villages, each one making the next easier and faster to build, second, troops that you can use to defeat… something.

How about demons? It's quite cool to fight demons. Let's pretend that the world has been taken over by abominations, and you're humanity's last hope. You and your small army have reclaimed a piece of land, and you are determined to use that as a founding ground to retake the world and defeat the demon king!

So, my game is going to be a village builder, where you fight demons in order to expand to new places, build new villages, and so on until you defeat the big boss. There are going to be two maps: a world map, each tile representing a potential village, and a village map, each tile being able to hold a building. The game is going to be turn based, because I feel that will add more tactic to it, and is going to be easier to balance than a real-time game. For the rest, I have ideas but we will see how the development goes.

Learning technologies

I want to use this opportunity to learn a new technology, so I'm going to build this game using Svelte, the JavaScript framework that has been gaining some fame lately. The game won't have any complicated graphics, like particles or complex animations, so using simple Web technologies like the DOM and CSS should be enough. Mostly the game is going to be interfaces, and I know how to build those with HTML.

I do want to have some graphics, of course, and because I want the game to easily fit several screen sizes, so that it works well on desktop and mobile, I intend to use simple DOM and CSS for as many things as I can, and SVG for more complex graphics parts. I have not worked with SVG much, so that's going to be another occasion to learn.

That's it for today! Tune in tomorrow to see how my first day went.

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