After looking at hundreds of games in detail (thanks GameBoardGeek), and playtesting and watching many online games, I have finally created an outline for the game.
I really wanted to create something different and also wanted to stay well away from the collectible card genre.
Having the ability to play a solo game or a game for up to 6 players was also important.
In the end, I’ve decided to concentrate on the solo game model. However, I want the ultimate goal to be able to support up to four-players online. (Because the game mechanic requires the players to see each other’s cards, the screen real estate felt too tight to manage six users at one time)
Game Mechanic: Strategy Card game
Some cards will remain hidden, and other cards will be visible to other players.
Genre: A spacing mining game
Players will bid for licenses that allow them to mine selected minerals and/or items. They will send ships out to do the mining at the end of each turn.
Upgrades: The ability to upgrade ships
Players can upgrade the efficiency (and return) of their ships by buying add-ons or paying for experienced crew members.
Diceless: I don’t want to use dice. I want to maximize strategy and minimize the random effect provided by throwing dice.
Highly replayable: By removing selected cards, the entire gameplay (and strategy) will change. For example, if you slow down the refining process by removing the ability to refine goods during your turn, players may decide to concentrate more on minerals or items that don’t need refining.
One of my (many) concerns is how I will display the cards of other players on the screen.
During my research, I discovered a game called Splendor in the Steam Shop. I really like the way it displays cards for players at once on horizontal rows.
My current thinking is that I will display miniature cards on the main game board – but when you hover over any of the other players, you will see a new popup window with all the cards at once. This will allow the player to analyze the other hands and compare them to what they are currently holding.
I was also thinking that if you hovered over a single card, it would show a zoomed version of the single card in the middle of the screen.
Artwork: Buy from the Unity Store and GraphicRiver
Without a doubt, my drawing skills are a major limitation. A large part fo my game design is going to rely on the items I can buy in the Unity store. If I can find a good artist, I may consider contacting them to create custom images – or I could have a look through the artists on fiverr.com
With more than 100 cards to design, I really want to make sure I don’t bust the bank balance until the game is proven. For now, I might just have to use placeholder images or icons.
Now the game mechanic has been decided, I guess its time to start learning GameMaker Studio 2. Wish me luck!