I poured some more thought on the design of the game and its main gameplay mechanisms. Now it is probably a good idea to explain a little more about the actual gameplay.
The main gameplay is split in two parts: a disc and bubbles. The disc is split in different colored parts and the bubbles are also colored according to those parts. A player pops the bubbles and they are added as “weights” to the colored sides of the disc (blue to blue, red to red etc). The disc is reacting to the “weights” and tilts toward the side with more weight. If the disc tilts too much, it’s game over. In other words the player will be trying to keep the disc balanced.
- Player is popping bubbles
- Popped bubbles are tilting the disc towards some direction
- If the disc tilts too much, the game is over
- Player is trying to keep the disc balanced
- Player has to keep popping bubbles (in progress)
So, the lose condition is the disc tilting too much. The win condition on the other hand is still in progress. I am toying with “empty the screen of bubbles” or “pop bubbles before they reach the screen’s bottom”, I still need to figure that part out.
Bubble interaction ideas (non-exclusive)
- Player must clear screen of bubbles
- Player must keep the screen from filling up with bubbles (they do not disappear on their own)
- Unpopped bubbles count negatively (like bubbles flowing off the screen or remaining for too long)
- Bubbles keep flowing from top to bottom of screen (can ramp difficulty by speeding up)
- Bubbles keep appearing in random places (can also play with speed)
- Hold-to-pop mechanism (hold for 1 second to pop a bubble, provides a nice “hover” feedback)
- Turn-based progression (there is no time element, the game progresses only when the player interacts with it, this might be better for a mobile game where you can divide your attention easily)
I gave some thought on the progression of the game as well. I am thinking of starting the game with a two-colored disc which will be easy: pop white -> pop black -> pop white and it remains balanced. Then the game introduces a third color (both in bubbles and the disc). Balancing now becomes a matter of balancing each action with two more. Next up is a disc with four colors which plays like two parallel two-color discs at once. I believe that the most difficult will be the five-colored disc while the six-colored one will be challenging but manageable.
Difficulty progression ideas
- Starts with two colors: EASY
- Three and four colors: MEDIUM
- Five and six colors: HARD
Another progression path is to complicate the rules a little bit. Double-colored bubbles, multiplier bubbles, self-popping bubbles. Still very much in progress. Maybe I’ll have to implement a few of these ideas first and play them out to realize their fun-ness.
Rules progression ideas
- different sizes of bubbles (this was a given from the beginning)
- multi-colored bubbles
- multiplier bubbles (instead of adding a score, put a multiplier on a color)
- self-popping bubbles (the player has to pop them before they do themselves)
- bad bubbles (the player must avoid them, only relevant in time sensitive gameplay)
- bubble structures (connected bubbles or connecting bubbles by dragging your finger over them)
That’s it for now. More to come tomorrow.