Creating a video game [Part 1]

After drowning myself in work after a breakup last year, I desired something to relax. I released the big feature update for Condense in late Summer 2014 and was not in the mood for another serious project. I wanted to take a closer look at animations and so I went ahead and created an app sandbox where I was able to play around with all kinds of ideas I've carried around with me for a long time. From what I had learned I started developing a little iOS statistics framework:

After doodling around with different sorts of user interface animations a thought manifested itself: I desired to create my own game.

Limits and expectations

I thought about what type of game I could realistically develop on my own. I had already created a Flappy Bird clone in Unity before and also wrote a little OSX game in GameKit. What I learned from these was that I'm not experienced enough in animating a character well enough to tell an enthralling story. If I created a game which I wanted to be satisfied with, I needed to focus on mechanics rather than storytelling…

I adore minimalistic games that focus on one single mechanic and exploit this to its maximum potential. These kinds of concepts which take you 15 seconds to learn and enable super quick plays whenever you feel like you need a tiny bit of relaxation. Super Hexagon, Tiny Wings and Puzzlejuice do belong to my favourite iOS games for this exact reason.

So I knew the general direction I was steering for, yet I had no specific idea what to do. I thought about creating a difficult sidescroller, a turnbased strategy multiplayer game or a little top-down shoot'em up. What turned me down was the fact that I did not really have an original idea for those. It would have just felt like another clone. Also every single one of these concepts would have taken an enormous amount of work to just show a mildly interesting prototype. I, running a one man business, am not really in the position to spend half a year on a project that I'm not entirely sure about.

Luckily I stumbled upon a video clip about some nicely stacked dominoes, standing in certain patterns and falling down one after another… I've always been fascinated by Rube Goldberg machines, the recursive Lindenmayer system and Conway's Game of Life. These inspired me to think about creating a game about chain reactions…