Gatho at 9:00 - Dev Diary #1

Our first project in studio 2, is to design a game around an experience we've had in our life. A memorable one for me, is rushing to get prepared if i'm having friends over or going to theirs. That feeling of being pressured for time and quickly scrambling to accomplish a thing, is something i'd like to replicate in a game.

So, the basis of the game, is that you are hosting a small party at your house with friends, yet you're unprepared. They all arrive at 9pm and you still need to pick stuff up from the shop and give those friends of yours a lift since they don't have a car. The game has you going through a number of different "scenes" or states. Where the player has to do certain tasks in order to progress to the next one.

These layered tasks, ticking of the clock and general atmosphere will hopefully make the player feel pressured, rushed and anxious. Because if they fail, their friends will be disappointed, as this gatho was organised weeks ago.

So what sort of things will the player be doing to create these outcomes?

  • First, there are 3 different states currently. The driving state, shop state, and friends state. Each will feature different controls and objective that needs to be completed. The better the player is at each state, will decrease their time in it, in turn: finishing the game faster, which is the goal.
  • The driving state, is what connects all the other states together. When the player needs to travel between locations, they will see on-screen the car moving along horizontally. To increase the speed of the car, there is a skill-check at the bottom. This will require the player to time tapping a certain key on the keyboard to get a speed boost.
  • The shop state, has the player controlling a first person controller. They need to find certain items from around the store based on a shopping list in hand. The similarity of many products and shelving positions will hopefully make the player feel pressured and hopefully have them running around the store.
  • The friends house state, has the player looking out of their car window at a friends house. They need to spam the space key as fast as they can, which will decrease the time that their friend has to come outside. This emulates the experience of tapping your finger when anxious/rushed for time, increasing the player's heart rate.

In terms of other features which will encourage the intended experience, those are:

  • Background music which is fast. A ticking clock can also be heard. Sort of like music you would have in a chase scene, but not as "actiony".
  • The time remaining to 9pm on-screen. This will give the player a good understanding of how long they have left, so they know if they need to hurry along faster or not. Now, it's either that option or another one i've been thinking about. And that is having the player need to hold down a button to bring up the time on their phone. This could emulate the feeling of looking down and seeing the time when you're late, with the moment of dread just before hand in not wanting to see how bad it is.
  • The general transition between the states will be instant. For example in the driving state, when the car reaches the edge of the screen, the next state will instantly appear. This adds to the urgency. It can be seen in movies, where characters in a rush are cutting from one place to another instantly.