Game Design Sketch: The Big Bang.

Posted: June 12, 2010 by Guy Shalev in Design, Rough
Tags: ,

This is for lack of a better term, a game design “sketch”. It’s a rough idea I’ve had and which I am storing here. Quite interestingly, it’s a shape, almost geometrical, for currency and/or story to progress along a game.

I do not yet have content to insert into this form, but it’s here, just waiting for some content.Here is The Big Bang Diagram file, and if anyone has the skills (and time) to help make it look better, I’d be extremely thankful.

Anyway, I call this form “The Big Bang”, at the center there’s a pool of resources, or a situation that begins things (ala the “Bang!” term in story-games). Then the first circle around it has either events or actions. You can do any number of those things, or use your resources on any of these actions (use resource to initiate conflict, to ameliorate consequences, etc.). I am thinking that resources on this level would be either smaller, or be inside the fiction level.

Then, after a while, you get to move to the second circle, the second layer. Now, here it gets interesting. All those “or” are options, because obviously you could do any number of these things in different places.
Perhaps you only get to move resources to the outer ring if you performed certain actions on the inner ring, and this could also control how many tokens you move, or create on the outer ring.
Perhaps any resource used on the inner ring moves resources to the outer ring, but we also have the question of who will own it then.
Also, perhaps you need to earn the right to move, either to move resources or on the type of events, such as a fan-mail style economy. Perhaps you don’t want to move because you can only use Key style mechanics on the inner circle.

To use resources on the outer level, let us say more global events, or resources that are meta-fiction, perhaps the economy is “free”, that you can use resources on the outer ring while also making things happen on the inner. Or perhaps you only get to do things on the outer after a certain threshold of resources/events had occured on the inner. This however, could make it slightly more of a betting game, where you wouldn’t want to get your resources stuck on the inner ring, but you’d also not want to move all of your resources too quickly and be left without a way to affect the inner ring while play still progresses there.

And then, while playing on the outer circle, you also move things to a closure, if this represents story, or perform acts that move tokens if this represents resources. Back to the “Pool” at the center. And if this is not a free-flowing economy where you can exist on all levels simultaneously, after a while there is a “Bang!”, where the previous action (a scene, a series of scenes?) had concluded and this generates a new situation, or that a new resource cycle begins.
Such a resource cycle could lead to diminishing resources if you close the gate and continue with the resources from before, or you could reset it to the default amount each time, and of course, some actions could also create more resources.

Finally, I see the shape not just describing the nature of the game, either the plot’s progress or the resource currency (or both!), but as an artifact in play – a map that is used and has tokens and chips placed on it.

And this is the sketch I had in my mind during a train ride on Thursday. A sketch, where many details can and need to still be crafted.

P.S. I added blog posts from my personal blog here as well, seeing as I’m slightly changing what this blog is about, to general thoughts on games, story (and its form/nature), and game design.

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