Monday, January 08, 2007

Steal This Game Design: JZXKWT!

Sorry for the slight delay in coming up with this week's game design. Unfortunately, inspiration doesn't always strike at will...

Another note: the name of this week's game isn't really pronounceable, I know. The reason for it will become obvious as you read the description, but for those of you who stumble in your reading everytime you read a word that you can't pronounce, here's how I pronounce it: "jeh-zix-kwit".


The Story

JZXKWT is an alien life form, about two and a half feet tall, with green skin, pointed ears, three eyes, two mouths and no nose. He just crashed his spaceship on Earth on the way to his rendez-vous with the GZZZTQ fleet at Proxima Centauri.

At first he thinks his ship is beyond repair, but the parts of his on-board computer which still work tell him that he can use his QRTPGH-brand dismatterifficator to absorb certain objects that contain the necessary substances, and the dismatterifficator can then use the stored matter to create the damaged and missing components.

JZXKWT goes out exploring, finding all sorts of objects to dismatterifficate and rematterifficate, accumulating stored matter and its patterns. Absorb four chairs, you now have enough wood to create a table. It turns out the substances needed to create the needed parts are rare on this planet, hard to find, and hard to reach. It's a good thing the QRTPGH-brand matter detector can easily be created using a stored pattern on the dismatterifficator.

If JZXKWT can find all the substances he needs to rebuild and fix his spaceship, he'll be able to get back to his fleet.


JZXKWT is viewed and controlled from a third-person perspective, in 3D. He can walk/run/crawl, jump, hit certain objects with a little force (sending lighter or smaller objects flying, and gently nudging more massive objects) and use the dismatterifficator to absorb objects and create new copies.

JZXKWT needs to be in close proximity to an object to dismatterifficate it. Rematterifficated objects can only appear in front of JZXKWT. This means that most of JZXKWT's time will be spent trying to find ways to get to hard to reach spots that have objects made out of the needed rare substances.

Objects can be created stacked on top of each other, but stacks have to be stable, or they will fall down. Gravity and related physics are modeled as realistically as possible.

Graphics and Visual Style

Somewhere between Katamari Damacy and Pikmin: objects look a little more realistic than in Katamari Damacy, but still retain some cartoony exaggerations, like in the Pikmin games.

JZXKWT himself is cute, but more alien than the character of Olimar in Pikmin.

Textures can be detailed, but never to the point of looking photorealistic.


All the sounds for Earth stuff, things we are all familiar with, are realistic but sometimes exaggerated when needed.

Any alien technology that JZXKWT uses generates alien noises that clash and stand out from the "normal Earth sounds".


After hearing about the wealth of resources available on Earth, others from JZXKWT's planet decide to visit, and try to enrich themselves.

All player characters are dropped into the same "level", and have to compete for its resources. Since some substances are rare, and some needed alien technology requires more than one particular rare substance, some players might try to trade with each other, or attack each other to grab whatever the player is carrying in his dismatterrifficator.

Players can also attack a competitor's ship (but you need to build weapons first, so "rushes" will be hard to execute) and capture all his resources if successful. Players can also build defenses on their ships, but the game will instead encourage players to create various ordinary objects around their ship to make it harder to reach and easier to defend.

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