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Video Games Inc. (Gavin Carter)

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Video Games Inc. is a fast, cooperative, and silly game development simulator. Pick your title, genre, and string together a list of random features to come up with wacky game concepts. Think it's high time someone made that first-person golfing text adventure? Well, now -you- can with up to three of your friends. 

Work at stations like graphics, story, and levels, to produce game value and raise the rating of your game during frantic, timed development sessions. Combine your efforts as a team across multiple areas to add features and increase your game's appeal. But be careful! Lose control of your bug count or miss your deadline to ship promised features and you'll face the wrath of the public. After shipping, read the reaction of fans and critics in procedurally generated reviews and forum posts. 

Work with friends, build features, and ship crazy games in Video Games Inc!

Vote for this to be one of the prototypes we make over on Humble.com

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Hey everyone! I'm here to say hello and answer any questions you have about my pitch. The idea is really about taking complex game dev sims like Game Dev Story/Tycoon and distilling them down to a quick and fun co-op experience. Looking forward to talking about it!

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Absolutely love this idea. My question is: what kind of things will the players be doing at each "station"? Will it be like start out at the design station then people do some programming and art and stuff?

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37 minutes ago, kyle3wynn said:

Absolutely love this idea. My question is: what kind of things will the players be doing at each "station"? Will it be like start out at the design station then people do some programming and art and stuff?

Hey thanks for the question. I use Overcooked as a model and see the basic gameplay as similar to that. So there will be some process required to produce "game value" in a certain area. Could be something as simple as holding a button, like cutting lettuce in Overcooked. So you're at the graphics station and hold "A" and some graphics thingy pops out. I think it'd be funny to randomize it a bit so it's always a little surprising. "Shaders!" "Resolution!" "Toon shading!" Of course you might produce bugs too and have to decide when's the right time to deal with them.

To keep people moving, I think you'll be required to take the little bits you produce to a main server for integration. Not realistic at all to physically carry stuff around like that, but the point is to have a frantic experience with people tripping over each other. I also had ideas that some features could require contextual mini-games. For instance, a feature might require a "meeting" where all players have to get in the same room at once and do some button combinations together (or whatever). Stuff to break up the flow and prevent it from being a game where you watch people type on computers.

All of this is of course just ideas at this stage, and it's all stuff I'd love to jam on with the team if we go forward.

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I think the biggest fun of this could be those reviews for everything weird game option you can fit in.

Is it possible this would be played solo is or is envisioned at least for protoyping as only a co-op?

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10 hours ago, Reid_Harris_Cooper said:

I think the biggest fun of this could be those reviews for everything weird game option you can fit in.

Is it possible this would be played solo is or is envisioned at least for protoyping as only a co-op?

Yeah, I think a lot of the charm would come from the reviews. "Man, Game Informer hated my goat parkour dungeon crawler!" It would take a lot of writing but would be pretty rewarding if you got like one line that directly references the weird combo you created.

Co-op is the primary experience I'm thinking about. Overcooked had a solo mode where you manually switched between two characters. It worked, but was a bit clunky. The other route I can think to go would be to do a solo mode where other characters have some basic AI. Probably outside the scope of a prototype though.

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On 4/4/2017 at 5:36 PM, Gavin Carter said:

To keep people moving, I think you'll be required to take the little bits you produce to a main server for integration. Not realistic at all to physically carry stuff around like that, but the point is to have a frantic experience with people tripping over each other.

Probably extraneous for a prototype, but that could possibly explained by the game company head or somesuch being so frugal that there's no LAN, period.

Nonetheless, definitely intrigued by the pitch and hoping this will be one of the four to be prototyped so everyone will be able to make their own Tim McGraw's What If? Trucks: Fates.

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11 minutes ago, Do not even ask said:

Probably extraneous for a prototype, but that could possibly explained by the game company head or somesuch being so frugal that there's no LAN, period.

Nonetheless, definitely intrigued by the pitch and hoping this will be one of the four to be prototyped so everyone will be able to make their own Tim McGraw's What If? Trucks: Fates.

Thanks for the support! Yeah silliness is kind of one of the pillars for this games, so there are all kinds of ridiculous ways you could explain it away, and that is certainly one of them. 

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Nice idea, Gavin! Are the reviews going to be mostly little clips that are procedurally generated? Is it going to be based on a roll of the dice luck whether a certain feature gets a positive review or not, or is there some algorithm that players will learn makes for good reviews (just the right balance)? 

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57 minutes ago, Acheron said:

Nice idea, Gavin! Are the reviews going to be mostly little clips that are procedurally generated? Is it going to be based on a roll of the dice luck whether a certain feature gets a positive review or not, or is there some algorithm that players will learn makes for good reviews (just the right balance)? 

Thanks! I haven't worked out the entire algorithm but the idea is to take into account everything that happens and try to react in a semi-realistic way. The sim could evaluate the produced game on things like:

  • Scores across basic categories like graphics, story, etc.
  • Committed features vs delivered features.
  • Bug count

That could be used to generate a score and an overall positive/negative review tone. You could do things like figure out (for instance) if graphics came in much lower than the other category scores and generate a comment about that. In addition to that you could have some flavor text based on your chosen genre and any theme or setting modifiers. It'd also be great to have some easter egg-like text if you went for particularly weird combos. The more we can do to generate something that feels tailored, the better the feature will feel. 

I think you'd get something like one 3-4 sentence review and a couple 1-2 sentence forum/Steam posts. The review would be like what I describe above, whereas forum posts would be a place to just go fully for humor. The whole thing would just take a LOT of writing to try and keep things feeling fresh for as long as possible.

Edited by Gavin Carter

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