Sunday, March 23, 2014

Original game concept: Afar

We've come very far from the initial concept so I decided to tell you guys something about the origins of Back From Afar! It all started from our collective decision to make a simple game design. We split into teams and tossed some ideas around for a week after which we were supposed to tell the others what we've been brewing up. All of us voted for the concept we wished to see in action and Back From Afar became the chosen one among some really great simple game ideas.

The original concept for Back From Afar was named Afar. The idea formed as a synthesis of previous two game ideas: balloon flying and space colonization. As you can probably guess, flying in space became the setting. Me and Roni became a team and begun developing a concept by writing and drawing on the nearest piece of paper I could find - a study grant notification from Kela (The Social Insurance Institution of Finland). So the concept began to form and after about an hour, the paper was already full of Afar stuff.

In our vision, Afar was going to be a casual, atmospheric game with a film-like narrative and minimal amount of dialogue. This is because we didn't want the game to exclude non-English speakers and kids who can't read. This inevitably led to stricter requirements regarding usability, which was not a problem since it's something we're both passionate about anyway. Our platform of choice was Android and the graphics were intended to be made in a silhouette style with a splash of color in the background. Silhouettes seemed like a convenient way to start learning how to do game graphics and I was really into the style of Feist and A Walk in the Dark, both of which I found when I tried to find games similar to Immortall.

The original idea of our game was the player trying to survive and find a place to call home by flying in space and exploring nearby planets. This is because we decided that making the Earth explode and allowing one space module to escape might result in some interesting situations. However weird or intimidating the situations might seem, they weren't supposed to be fatal. Anyway, the lonely space module was going to be manually steered away from the remains of a dead planet.

The module was supposed to run out of fuel to limit the playable area so the player would be forced to land on one of the nearest planets. Finding the edge of the very tiny universe would undoubtedly shatter the illusion of vast nothingness so we decided to use a time limit and fuel as an indicator of flying restrictions. Originally there were going to be two anonymous characters on board, but later the whole team thought it was better to ditch the parent and give the limelight for the kid. The player was supposed to see the silhouettes of the main characters for the first time once they would emerge from their module. The characters would search for a place to stay without any luck because of space bedouins, boars.. you name it! Eventually the player would've come across a very familiar looking planet, run into some loved ones and see a healthy looking Earth.

The interpretation of the story was supposed to be left to the player. Was the first planet Earth after all? Was it all a dream? What would you have thought?

How the game has changed from the first concept is a whole nother story.


// Some of the concept image backgrounds are from Wikimedia Commons. I bet you know which ones!

No comments:

Post a Comment