Thursday, August 02, 2012

Game Design Challenge: The Return Of R.O.B.

Please check for more details. You can red this blog post here.

The latest's Game Design Challenge is about R.O.B., aka Robotic Operating Buddy, an accessory for the Nintendo Entertainment System released in 1985. The challenge is to design a game that uses Nintendo's R.O.B. peripheral somehow. I decided to give it a go and create a Game Design that would not only use R.O.B. as a peripheral, but also gave him the leading role in the game itself. I came up with the idea described below and it would be awesome if you could provide me with any feedback you might have. It would mean the world to me as it would help me to become a better Game Designer! Thanks!

Also, I would like to give due credit to Nuno Barreiros (X-Tense) for the fantastic in-game screenshot he made just for my idea. It was exactly what I had in mind, fantastic work! On to the idea...
Game Title: DJ R.O.B.

Background Story: After several years playing secondary roles at different games, R.O.B. decided to take a vacation and travel around the world. Paris, Rome, London, New York, you name it - R.O.B. was there. But when he came back, there was one place that didn't get out of his mind: Ibiza! Oh boy, did he party in Ibiza, met a lot of interesting people, danced all night long... That was the life! R.O.B. felt that the time has come to make a change in his life. And that was it, he was going to be a star: R.O.B. was going to be a DJ!

Basic Concept: In DJ R.O.B. the player plays R.O.B. himself, trying to become the best DJ in the world. To accomplish that, the player must help R.O.B. put together different music pieces to create one masterpiece mix!

Gameplay: The player must help R.O.B. put together pieces of music that are literally coming down on his DJ plates.

These pieces are represented by colored blocks that, when matched in groups of 3 or more of the same color, will be added to the mix increasing the mix's quality and granting R.O.B. music score (points). The higher the score, the better the mix is.

R.O.B. has 4 plates and every one of them has a bonus color, meaning that everytime the player matches 3 or more pieces of a specific color in the plate with the same color bonus active, he will get combo points, increasing the music score.

To be able to do this, the player is able to move the colored blocks right and left while they are moving down to the plates, but as soon as they hit the plate or another block under them, they will stay in that position and will be unable to be moved.

R.O.B. would have two new accessories that should be put on the left and right side of him. Each accessory would have two colored plates, just like the image attached. The player would have to use his controller to tell R.O.B. to turn left of right and touch one colored plate, activating bonus score. The plate R.O.B. touched would grant extra music score. While the player could play alone using his controller, if he used R.O.B. he would be able to have a better score.

Game Objective: For each level, R.O.B. will have a limited amount of time to produce one mix and he has to achieve a certain amount of music score (points) to progress to the next level, otherwise, he will fail his goal of becoming the best DJ in the world.

Score would accumulate on each level and in the end, the player could submit his high score to be able to compare with other DJs around the world.


Bigsby said...

You can an ultra advance level where the pieces have different sizes and can only fit on top each other from larger to smaller, like in Tower of Hanoi.

Pedro Honório Silva said...

Very nice idea! Thanks!

I originally wanted the music blocks to had forms and fit in together, like in Tetris, but if I ever implement this game, I'll consider that too, as it seems a nice idea who would fit in nicely in the current design's gameplay.

Yuu said...

Hi Pedro,

The illustration was very good-looking !

Before I comment on specific details, do you think your concept is a bit similar to an awarded concept last week ? Here's its link:

From what I've read about the concept, it can be summed up as a Tetris game using matching three as the goal right ? I can see some problems with the design as follows:

-We all know about R.O.B slow movement, did you take that into consideration ? There would surely be timing problems for players to handle as R.O.B needs several seconds just to perform the ordered action.

-Why should R.O.B have more than one accessory if there would be virtually no difference which one the player should choose. The game design is to encourage players to play balanced on all plates, right ? That would also mean there will be few cases where players are going to be encouraged to choose one accessory over another, especially when there's also this timing problem R.O.B has to deal with.

-One more point, you said that you wanted R.O.B to play the leading role in the concept, however it was also made clear that players can play the game without R.O.B, so your vision and concept are contradicting each other at the moment.

Other than these problems, I think the concept was solid in terms of gameplay, presentation and explanation. Good job !

Pedro Honório Silva said...

Hi Yuu, thank you very much for your comments! I really appreciate them!

First off, I don't really feel that this design resembles Huy Luu Quang's Melodian, apart from the fact that both are related to music and music blocks (in my design) come from the top of the screen as the notes on his concept. At least I can assure you that it was not based on that design. Music is a broad subject and many people have ideas related to it, that doesn't make the concepts similar, does it?

Regarding your appreciation of my design, you could describe the base of my design as DJ Hero meets Tetris with a match 3 mechanic, yes.

Also, in my design, I mention that the player can play entirely without using the physical robot, yes. Playing with it will improve his score, as he will be able to have bonus score by asking R.O.B. to touch one plate to make it "glow" on the screen. Nevertheless, R.O.B. always has the main role in the game, as it would be him you would see on the screen all the time (just like in the image), whether you played with or without the physical acessory!

I did take into consideration that R.O.B. is ultra slow, but that is part of the fun factor and challenge in playing with him, just like it was with his original games (like gyromatic). Playing my game with him would be very challenging as the player would have to coordinate the order of the pieces he had on his screen and incoming with the ability to ask R.O.B. to touch a specific plate in time to get the bonus.

And when I meant two acessories, I meant two plastic "arms" supporting two plates each, one on the left side and one on the right side of rob, to have the same number of plates that you see on the game image. Then, you'd have physical R.O.B. with two plastic acessories, one on each side, one with yellow and red plates (left) and another one with green and blue plates (on the right). Does it make sense?

Once again, thanks a lot for your comments and appreciations, it really means a lot to me! ;)