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  Imaginary Estate 02:09 PM -- Fri May 23, 2008  

I'm feeling like I'm at kind of a stuck point in Happyponygate. It's a point where some design is needed. There are still a lot of things I could be doing - dozens more enemies to make, bosses, tiles, objects, tutorial system, talking to people, even just plain coins you can pick up! Tons. But there's just an overarching element absent, so I've been moving into a design phase to get it cleared up a little.

What I focused on today so far is what you do with money. Since you will be collecting coins all over the place, you need a reason. And it needs to be compelling and last for at least most of the game. In addition to that, there's an issue that you have an inventory which holds something like 200 items... so what on earth will those items be? It's an awfully big spot just to hold different colors of jellybeans. So I'm working on that.

On the issue of items, I've done a pretty bad job so far. But as for things to spend your money on, I've got a huge thing going. However, it's a lot of work. This is something I intended from the beginning, but while some of it is simple, some very isn't. Anyway, it's buying buildings. There will* be some buildings/houses with For Sale signs. Bump those to buy them if you have the huge amount of coins needed.

The simplest building is one submitted to the Funtest - The Maple Syrup Factory. Once you buy it, it generates money (no need to explain exactly how the syrup is getting shipped, or who is watching over the factory as it runs). Come back to it any time to collect your earnings. Then there are more complex ones. I'm gonna tell you about the most complex one, that probably just about doubles the development time. But it's something I've wanted to have in there since the beginning in some form: Houses.

Buying a house involves the internet. Only one person can own each house (caveat to come), and when you buy it, it enables the editor. You can use the editor to build a level, in standard Supreme style, though with a different set of limitations (for one, I think you'll need to 'capture' all the enemies you want to use before you can use them, so it doesn't spoil the game for you). Then other players walk over and bump into your house and they can enter it (it downloads from the internet when they do). So a chance to make your own stuff, though only one level instead of as many worlds as you like. You just keep expanding and refining your level. You could divide it up into a bunch of mini-levels with teleporters to let the player choose.

The ownership caveat is this: there are only so many houses to buy, so once all are owned, you can buy one someone else owns and be Roomies with them. That just means that when someone visits that house, it asks them which 'room' to visit, instead of knowing automatically. Then once every house has 2 Roomies, a 3rd can join, and so on. So no limit on how many 'rooms' there can be, but it is one per person.

It would save your work on your computer, then when you decide you like it, you hit "Upload" and it replaces the one online. I guess there would be some kind of rating system and stuff too (for both difficulty and quality), to make it fun. And heck, why not, in the process of adding a comment system to those ratings, make each person's house sort of like a bulletin board for that person, like the shoutboxes people have on web pages. You could comment on what the level's like, or just say hi.

That's an incredibly huge concept. I like it a lot, though. And if we had that level of internet connectivity, might as well add a trading post where people can list items for sale (or can you buy stores around town and use them for that purpose, much like the house system?). Of course, in order to justify that, there need to be a variety of interesting items in the game, which is the other thing I have to be figuring out! When I think about the trading concept, I think the game would be too small to warrant it. It's not an MMO where you'd keep on going forever... but then, with the house-building, maybe it is. You'll always need more ingredients to cook things that buff you up if you are trying out everybody's different and ever-changing levels. I don't know. Just stuff to be thunk upon, and lots of it.

An idea I had way back when was that you could buy a house and lay it out, but it would just be a small room, one screen big or so. And what you'd do is buy various furniture and stuff. It'd just be about decorating (like Animal Crossing), not about making a level. I like this level-building idea much better, but maybe the furniture thing could still be part of it - why not? You could still buy special furniture and things (special enemies, too), and you might be special as the only person who got the purple couch, because it's a rare drop from Super Choco Beast. Interesting prospect. And supports the trading idea. I really could go on about this for hours. I am not easy to shut up.

* If this actually gets implemented. It's just ideas.
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