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  Mechanic #078 - Family Photo Shoot
Posted: 02/27/08

Build entire games using only a single image for graphics data, level designs, and gameplay.

  Family Photo Shoot


The legacy of [#056 - White Noise] returns in a procedurally generated shooter!

The premise is, as always, simple in concept. This is a game where you take an image - a family photo, like from your vacation to Epcot or something - and from that image, all the assets of game creation are derived from it. This animated gif isn't the best example of how that design would play out. It is merely used as an illustration of how the White Noise concept, used with an image (and perhaps a little outer glow) can still create a playable area. The ship and collectable pellets are the only graphics that didn't come from the image itself.

The idea is that the image is the basic building block from which all design and art will be taken. Some procedural will look at the image, perform some sort of analysis on it, and sprout out a small single screen level based on it - perhaps something along the lines of [#061 - Diorama Designer]. I'm imagining a process that looks at lights and darks, perhaps tracing contours, and then applying some procedural magic to make it playable.

Then, the art assets themselves (other than the player's ship) will be derived from the background image as well. Again, I'd like to see some sort of image analysis picking out elements from the image and giving them life - perhaps even deciding on their function based on their form. Then each of these regions becomes a spawn point of sorts - but it is based on the location of the moving background - so a man juggling might have three spawn points for round enemies that moves around with the background.

The fun of this concept comes mainly from the different games that might be created depending on the images you use. For instance, a family photo may result in you being attacked by your dog's ears as you dodge tiki torches in your backyard, while a screenshot from a videogame might have you being attacked by Mario and Luigi against a sewer background. I can easily see people actively participating in the design aspect by purposely drawing pictures that will generate interesting gameplay situations. It's a game with infinite variety.




Copyright 2007-2014 Sean Howard. All rights reserved.