Chapter 204: Chapter 203: Brainstorm
Su Jinyu and a few other staff members were brainstorming in the meeting room, trying to figure out a way to make Don’t Starve fun.
“According to the manager’s hint, it’s a survival game right? So we should build the game around surviving.
“There should be two main factors in play: things that help with survival and things that harm the players.
“What kind of resources would there be and what kind of negative factors are there? Thinking back to the real worlds, weather, temperature, monsters, food… These could all be included in the game.
“That means the source of enjoyment for this game is to have the players control a character to survive in a completely foreign world. They’ll need to explore the map for resources and use them to help them ward off the negative factors.
“We have the outlines of this game at this point. The game seems quite fun judging by the core gameplay.
“Next will be the overall design of the game. The players will need a few statistics to judge how well they are surviving. A simple example would be health.
“The players’ health would decrease when they are attacked, get frozen or burned for example, and the game will end when their health reaches zero.
“What else? The game is called Don’t Starve, so obviously the manager wants us to integrate a food value into the game. The players must search for food and would be worse off if they don’t take care of it. It could even decrease move speed or something.
“From the looks of it, our target is in sight.
“But there are still flaws. There feels to be something missing outside of these two factors.
“Yeah, these two factors feel a bit lack-lustre. For example, rain, snow, hail, or drought, affects humans in real life, but how do we do that in game? Do the players take damage when it rains? Or do we reduce their food bar when it rains? That doesn’t really make sense.
“Moreover, if there only two factors, the players would feel like they are playing a videogame character instead of a person which ruins the immersion.”
“Yeah, it feels like there’s a missing factor…”
Chen Mo walked in as they were thinking.
“The other attribute should be sanity,” said Chen Mo.
This caught Su Jinyu’s attention, “Sanity? To represent how the players are doing mentally?”
Chen Mo nodded, “Bad weather or other terrible events will decrease the players’ sanity. Similarly, they can increase it with certain items.
“When their sanity reaches zero, the character becomes insane. They’ll experience hallucinations and the world world would look different, and shadow creatures will start attacking the player.
“The players will recover a certain amount of sanity after killing the shadow creatures. On the other hand, the game ends if the players are killed by them.”
Su Jinyu gave it some thought, “That’s a great idea. Hunger, health, and sanity combined would be a great way to describe the state of the character. You sure are good, manager.”
Chen Mo laughed, “It’s nothing, you guys will figure it out eventually. This is more or less a must in a game like this.”
Su Jinyu said, “Manager, you should brainstorm with us. I realised that there are many interesting aspects for a game like Diablo Starve. If we properly develop the game, it’ll be a great one!”
Chen Mo rolled his eyes, “Of course, why would I get you to develop a game that didn’t have potential. You guys will have to hand in your homework without my help. This is for you guys to gain new perspectives, you can’t expect me to hold your hands the entire way.”
Su Jinyu pouted, “Fine…”
Chen Mo casually changed the topic, calmly saying, “Emperor Dynasty Entertainment is working on a VR Diablo.”
Su Jinyu was shocked, exclaiming, “Huh? Since when? What are we going to do? Why aren’t you worried at all?”
Chen Mo leaned back into his chair, “Why should I be worried? They’re working on a VR game, there’s not much I can do there.”
Su Jinyu quickly followed up, “What should we do? And what’s wrong with Emperor Dynasty Entertainment copying us!”
Chen Mo asked her to calm down, “Relax, it’s fine. It’s hard to tell if Diablo could be successfully made into a VR game. It might take a long time to amend some points that aren’t suitable to be copied. It’d take at least a year for it to finish.”
“We should pick up our pace then, manager. We’ll make a simple VR game in half a year to test the waters, and use the other half of the year to make Diablo into a VR game!”
Chen Mo was speechless, “You’re going too far. We can’t do that in such a small time frame. There’s no need to worry, I’m just using it as a reminder to make sure Don’t Starve goes smoothly without any delays. I want to use it to test some player reactions.
“I have plans for what games to make in the future, at most I’ll have to make a few minor adjustments. It’s not worth it to mess up all our plans just to go head to head against Emperor Dynasty Entertainment.
“I’m planning to release Don’t Starve in two months, meaning the end of September. Of course, as it’s going to be the first version, we’ll need to push updates based on player feedback, and release mods for the players to pick from.
“Reaper of Souls should be done in three months with an extra three weeks in testing, meaning it’ll be released mid-November. We’ll set Diablo aside after that’s done.”
“We should have plenty of player feedback by November. By then, it’ll be all hands on deck to make a VR game to try and compete against Emperor Dynasty Entertainment.”
“Alright!” Su Jinyu said clapping, “I’ll try and move it along as fast as possible to produce a demo earlier for discussion.”
Chen Mo nodded, “Sure, but you don’t have to be in such a hurry. Two months is plenty, make sure the quality is up to par.”
There was no need for going over Don’t Starve’s success. No matter sales or the brand, it was considered a classic indie game.
Chen Mo chose this game as practice for the others not only to help them be more creative, but to also test the players’ acceptance of sandbox games.
Sandbox games usually have large maps with many different mechanics and a high degree of freedom with a lot of room for creativity. Creativity is a core element for games like these, allowing players to achieve a goal using resources provided in game.
There are games that give players a lot of freedom in this world, but in Chen Mo’s eyes, these weren’t particularly successful sandbox games.