A game conceptI used to hoard game concepts. I wrote them down in books and on pages and in documents. All with the expectation that I'd do them, some day, when I'd be ready. Well, I don't believe that any more, and also I can produce many more game designs than I can execute on. So, here we are..
This game simulates an ant colony managed by the player. The ant colony is in conflict with the elements, with scarcity, and with other colonies. The player manages the colony by marking out pheromone trails (ie. work orders) and some internal settings of the colony, like rates of workers/warriors or desired fill states for reserves. As such, there is a split between the internal management of the colony, the underground part where the queen lives; and the outside world, where workers fulfill orders. As the game progresses, the gameplay changes from micro-level management (eg. "where to place this trail" or "where to build this room") to more macro-level decision (eg. "where to start a new hive" or "which armies attack where"). Naturally, the player can go back to the micro-level, but doesn't need to. This avoids both tediousness as well as "load-breaking"This is a phenomenon I see in many progressive strategy games: at some point, the workload of all the aspects of the game become so large that the player is bogged down in detailed tactical planning instead of looking at the larger strategic picture. in the late game.
The main gameplay loop consists of laying out pheromone tracks containing work-orders for the workers. The ants then self-organize to fulfill the work orders. Work-orders can be of different strongness; one order might be "collect food exactly here"; another order might be "collect food in this area until exhausted"; another order might be "explore in this direction". Work orders might also fade over time, unless reinforced by the player or by the ants themselves.
Once the game progresses past a certain size, the player can give more "wide" orders, like "build a hive here" or "move an army here".
The secondary loop is the internal management of the hive. The inside of the hive is built in the same way as the outside; however, there are more abstract aspects of the colony: mainly the numerical aspects of the ant economy: storage, reserves, resource allocation, rates of production etc. Naturally, these can be set on the individual buildings, but also for a hive in total, and for the colony in its entirety.
Inspirations here could be Dwarf Fortress, Rimworld or Planetary Annihilation (for scale and army management).
The game could offer multiplayer, both competitive as well as cooperative. Multiple players managing a colony shouldn't be very problematic.
The game allows sandbox play, competitive play (ie. sandbox with restrictions) and campaign mode.
A game in sandbox mode may enable and disable any and all mechanics that the player wants.
The campaign sees the player build a megacolony spanning an entire continent.
The game is presented in 3D from an overhead view, with slightly stylized graphics. Zooming out will present the game state in a more abstract way.
Inspirations can be Planetary Annihilation (again, for scale and presentation) or Spore (for scale and levels of management).
You may use this concept in any way you see fit. If you want to work with me on this, or if you need specific license terms, email me. Otherwise you may choose to receive the text of this article under the terms of the Blue Oak Model License 1.0.0 as written here:
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