Theme ideas for a puzzle game

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by mustardseed, Jun 6, 2007.

  1. mustardseed

    Original Member

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    I've been developing a simple "falling blocks" puzzle game as a side project. Development went very smoothly, and I'm very satisfied with the way it plays and works.

    I've been putting off doing the artwork because I did not have a theme in mind, but now that the programming is done, I need to do the artwork. Here's the themes I'm trying choose from:

    • Noah's Ark
    • Abstract (like geometry wars)
    • Original cute character (like how chuzzle was original)
    • Candy
    • Mayan Jewel Faeries of Atlantis :p

    Any thoughts or recommendations?
     
    #1 mustardseed, Jun 6, 2007
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2007
  2. Cartman

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    Here's my thoughts:
    Good idea. May turn off some of the non Judeo/Christian community. However it does work well with the sense of urgency. "Help noah get all the animals on board, before the water rises"
    Not a bad idea. Could work well. I'm not sure the casual market would embrace it though.
    Been done to death.
    I had thought to do this, so I say, go for it. Could be like a candy shop and different types of candy are falling.
    Been done too much already.
     
  3. Pyabo

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    I'm struggling with this same question too...

    The saddest thing is that a pirate theme would fit so perfectly with the game mechanics, that I almost can't *not* use it... but it's so done to death.

    I like Noah's Ark... I sketched out an idea for a falling block game once where the blocks would actually be very blocky animals. The 2x2 blocks are elephants, the 1x4 are giraffes, etc. Picture the Rhino from Cave Story and you get the idea. You'd need a clever artist to pull it off though.
     
  4. Techdojo

    Techdojo New Member

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    Why not do all of them and make the app "skinable", you could then offer new skins as bonuses or unlockables or whatever, there's a DS game called Trion Cube that takes this approach.

    Providing the graphics look professional and the gameplays good I don't think it really matters what style you choose - you'll always appeal to some and not to others...

    C'est la vie...

    Jon...
     
  5. Nikos Beck

    Nikos Beck New Member

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    Yes, do them all. But, make minor changes to each. Write one version, then change teh theme and see if any bits make more sense one way or another.

    For the Mayan theme, the targets are buried and you're excavating the site before it collapses. The falling blocks are relics mixed with stone blocks you don't want. In the Atlantis theme the blocks are the ceiling you want to collect to patch the roof. Maybe the different themes will give you enough subtle differences, besides art, that they'll play differently. You can maximize your investement by offering three games that are close.

    But, make sure they're different enough that someone doesn't see your website and go "they're just reskinned, they just want my money and they're lazy". Some differences in goals or gameplay.
     
  6. svero

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Create your own world/ip -- dont go with some standard tired theme.
     
  7. Bmc

    Bmc New Member

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    Noah's Ark - PopCap has a game that uses this theme, it's a fairly old game, whoever mentioned the religious aspect may be right, but as long as you don't lay the Christian stuff on too thick it should be alright

    Avoid abstract (called Vanilla themed) the last casual game to have a vanilla theme (and be successful) was probably Super Collapse 2. It's not enough to compete anymore.

    Original cute character/world - I think these is the way to go, you can use another theme as a starting point for this if you like.

    Candy - has been done, not too exciting to boot, unless you can make a candy version (a clone) of Burger Rush

    Mayan, Jewels, Fairies Atlantis - All of these have been done and done again. Try to find a unique spin, like Venice (the new PopCap game), Jamaica, Spain basically anyplace people (not you, your target audience) would like to visit
     
  8. mustardseed

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    Just to clarify, I was just kidding about "Mayan Jewel Faeries of Atlantis". :)

    Bmc, you did bring up quite a good idea with the different locale suggestions. Maybe I'll save Jamaica for the next game...

    Anyways, I did end up deciding on a theme (Fruit), or rather my wife told me what theme to use. :)

    I attached some tentative screenshots in the main menu and in-game. I don't have a name yet, so "Fruit Swap" is the stand-in name.

    What do you think?
    Main Menu
    Game Screen

    For the curious, here's the abstract theme I was working with, but have since abandoned:
    OLD Main Menu
    OLD Game Screen
     
  9. Surrealix

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    Personally I much prefer the original graphics you had. Your new graphics could come from any of the countless "falling x of y" games out there on portals, and your old graphics are much more interesting, and not really as abstract as you made out. I guess it depends on what you chose for the falling object graphics, but you could always settle on a theme such as flowers/plants - guessing from the title 'floria'.

    :) just my 2c.
     
  10. Agent 4125

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    There's a mixup in the links, right?

    Please tell me the unimaginative fruit theme with every web 2.0 cliche in the book (glassy, diagonal lines, everything bevelled, shiny floor) was the placeholder, and the unique, striking and tasteful art is what you are switching to. =)
     
  11. WaveRider

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    100% agree with Agent 4125. The "old" screenies are amazing. If you're not going to use those then send the artist my way.
     
  12. Therion

    Therion New Member

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    YOUROLDARTISAWESOMEDONTCHANGEITPERIOD

    Seriously.
     
  13. mustardseed

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    Haha! Well, thanks for boosting my self-esteem as a designer!

    The few days that I spent working on the old designs, I had a blast. I was trying to create something I would enjoy and feel good about as a designer. I haven't designed something for MYSELF in quite a while, and it felt really good.

    But I also was realizing that the gameplay is a very casual game, and my art felt out of place for that audience. My wife really likes the new art because of the bright colors and "cute" looking fruit. She didn't really want to play it at all until it looked more appealing to her. Now she plays it every chance she can get for at least an hour at a time!

    I think I'm going to continue the old theme while also working on the "unimaginative" version and submit both to the publishers and let them pick. I know they will probably pick the safe fruit one, but at least then it will be out of my hands. Thanks for the encouragement.

    Oh and WaveRider, if you need some artwork like my old version, just send me and PM and we can discuss it. :)
     
  14. Bmc

    Bmc New Member

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    I also prefer your older gfx to your new ones.

    Either way, both would be perfect for a free flash game, but neither really work well for the downloadable casual game market. They just aren't up to the necessary level.
     
  15. rioka

    rioka New Member

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    I like the old one as well. What you can do is make two versions of your old style. One of the old version with the color scheme you have now and make another version of the old one with more cheerful colors. Pitch both.
     
  16. V_Sama

    V_Sama New Member

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    What about matching up someone's fingerprints? As if you were trying to bring in some Mob Boss or a serial killer. You could have them split into three or four sections so add a little difficulty to it.
     
  17. VaderSB

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    Your old graphics set is better, indeed. You're doing great work and I believe that you should take this challenge further - try to keep your old style but make some improvements to it so it will be more attractive to casual gamers. Just consider the possibility that it's not a or/or case and there is a chance to adapt your style (that's fresh and original and stands out from overused casual-fruity-style) to your target auditory.

    Best of luck and inspiration!
     
  18. Spiegel

    Spiegel New Member

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    Well some themes...

    * Space theme - Save 'Mr. Robot' spaceship
    Blocks are dropping on the engine if the weight becomes too much the spaceship explodes...


    * Trapped Animal Zoo - a.k.a. Ace Ventura theme
    Just change the blocks to bubbles with animals from the zoo (one in every block) inside, trapped by an evil scientist or Mainstream Computer game distributer CEO, that you have to pop to release them.

    * Thief theme - a.k.a. The family jewels are gone
    The blocks are loot, hide the loot to make money and then your escape from all coppers...

    * Chubby madness - a.k.a. Fat Boy 'is not so' Slim
    You're a chubby boy that just wants more candy... you enter shop all around the city to eat all of the shop's content, got to the top and you'll have a congestion...

    * Time traveler a.k.a. - Thief of time monk business (Discworld punt intended)
    TIME HAS COLLAPSED ONTO ITSELF... Lots of pieces from all of time became small pieces of history... you must pop into a time bending, super gluer, mega fantastic machine that collects bits of time and restores order to all of the planet history...

    * Saving captain Nemo - A lot Leagues under the sea
    Captain nemo is under attack, the boats he tries to sink are returning fire, if this was not enough... the sea creatures are ganging up on the Nautilus... save nemo so he can take more life's in boat sinking madness once again...

    * Geeky funky boy
    Save the inner Funky boy out of you... You're teacher is throwing books at you so you actually study.. don't let yourself become a computer science graduate... save him from a life of making indie games and help him become a bum... by hiding all of he books they throw at you... maths are worth double points...

    just to name a few out of my mind in the last 2 mins...
     
    #18 Spiegel, Jul 24, 2007
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2007
  19. Sirrus

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    I second, third, and fourth that.
     
  20. Nexic

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    Porn theme.
     

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