Game Idea...

I had this idea of an empty world that needs to be filled with vegetation by the player. It was inspired from several games:

  • Journey: Exploration of an deserted place, contemplation (no fighting or anything)

  • Equilinox: Grow plants all around you and mix plant species together to create new and exciting plants!

  • de Blob: Transform a bland and dead environment to a colorful place

  • FEZ: For the unlockable door mechanic (collect items to open new zones of a open world)

And finally, the biggest inspiration is this video:

Wrapped from Crave on Vimeo.

“Wrapped” is a VFX driven short film by Roman Kälin, Falko Paeper and Florian Wittmann that combines Time Lapse Photography with CG to create a new reality. The short explores the effects of time and change focusing on the the world’s seemingly never ending cycles. The deterioration of one is the foundation for another. This fact takes on new dimensions when the unexpected forces of nature clash with the existing structures of our civilization.

Now for the game itself

The player evolves in an urban environment, white, devoid of life, even sanitized. The player can make this place lively and colorful again by adding plants. The player’s objective is to reach a specific location visible in the distance. For this, he will have to face many obstacles that can be overcome using plants.

To progress, the player will sometimes have to go back to places he already explored to access areas to which he did not have access before. The areas that he unlocks little by little give access to new plants, which increases the diversity of the player’s plants.

To unlock new areas the player must have a certain number of Gold Seeds which are found after having vegetated key areas of the map. By planting these Gold Seed, the player will be able to unlock the zone’s exit door.

Mood boards

The player

The player controls a robot and the point of view is first person. He can move around and interact with the environment. Different tools are at its disposal, such as the Lawn-Maker which is the most basic tool. The other tools will be discussed in more detail later. The player has access to different types of seeds, which he can plant in order to grow them.

In order to unlock new areas, the player must collect Gold Seeds. He can either find them while exploring the map, or by revitalizing key locations. To do this, he must plant plants in this area until validation of the area. However, plants cannot be planted anywhere. Zones have specific characteristics that force the player to crossbreed plants in order for them to survive in this area.

The place where the player evolves is a semi-open world: The player gradually enlarges the accessible zones by unlocking new areas. To unlock areas, the player has to collect Gold Seeds. Doors separate zones from each other, and a certain number of Gold Seeds is required to open each door (just like the cube mechanic in the game FEZ).

The plants

The mechanics that make this game interesting is the fact that the player can plant seeds which will give plants. These plants as they grow produce flowers, then fruits which the player can turn into seeds and the cycle begins again. This is the core gameplay loop.

All plants will be procedurally generated from a large set of parameters. The player can modify these parameters by crossing the plants with each other using a specific tool (the DNA Mixer), which allows to create diversity.

The THREE.Tree project from mattatz I found while searching for references and similar projects.