Going into this, I knew nothing about WebGL, MySQL, PHP, or Ajax. Somehow I made what I wanted to using all of them.
The question I have right now though is if what I have created is game-ish enough.
From the start, I knew this was an issue with the idea I had. It was more of an interactive experience than it was a game. If it can even be called it game, it’s by no means traditional.
But whatever it is, I like it.
When I originally thought of the theme–alone–my mind immediately went to shadows. For a while, I was considering a game where you’re alone and interacting with your own shadow in some sort of “I wish I had a friend” sort storyline. It was a nice idea, but the time limit I had meant I was extremely uncomfortable with if I would be able to finish it in time. and knowing me, I tend to undershoot coding deadlines by a LOT, so it just wasn’t an option.
The next thing my mind went to was space. Space is lonely, right? And it has some rather beautiful landscapes–spacescapes?–if you want to design it that way. It was at this point I started getting the idea that I wanted my game to be something beautiful.
It still left the problem not truly embracing the feeling of being alone though. Yeah, sure, it’s space, that’s cool. Space is big and empty. There’s not much too it. But that doesn’t really inspire a true feeling of loneliness… does it? Well, not as much as it perhaps it once did, given how many games are out in space.
Somewhere along the line it became clear that you had to interact with other people. This couldn’t be single player, but at the same time, multiplayer is quite the opposite of being alone. And even ignoring the technical side of writing net code–something I have never really done too much of either–there’s the simple fact that it’s not all that likely for that many people to all be playing the game at once.
I think that was sort of the moment were it all clicked though. It DID have to be a game you played with other people… but only to remind you just how detached you are from everyone else.
Thus the idea was born: When you connect, you are left somewhere entirely black. If you look around, you might find lonely blips out in the distance. If you fly to them, you can enjoy their beauty…
But they are not others. They are only what others have left behind. They are gone, and what you see is all that is left. A memory, long since forgotten.
And when you leave, you too will leave behind a memory. A message in a bottle than will never be answered.
This is what it means to be alone.
None of the blips you encounter have been pre-crafted. Every one of them is from someone just like you who was here once, but now gone.
But… does that make it a game, or just art?