A 10-second game! This is the first in a list of prompts from an RMIT Games class I decided to follow.
Along with the prompts come some pointers at related games for inspiration. These are a few years old, so only some are still working out of the box – one of these is Queers in Love at the End of the World, a piece of interactive fiction in 10 seconds. I found the combination of urgency, intimacy, and epic end-of-the-world setting really appealing, so I went for “life in 10 seconds” as my topic – think big, right?
First lesson: the time limit is ridiculous! I had tons of subtle ideas for this game, but after implementing the first prototype that ran through in 10 seconds, about 90% went straight out the window. It was cool, though, because it forced me to strip down and streamline everything to the bare minimum. For instance:
- Free player movement was discarded in favor of simple lane switching.
- A numeric score display in the corner? there’s no time to even look at it. So I put symbols right below the player avatar.
- I reduced the number of items to just 2 per lane, a “regular” and a “special” item.
Still, there is way too much going on. You probably need to play a few times to even realize how this works 🙂 Which is partly intentional, I wanted to play with the feeling of having no control, life speeding up, and not knowing what just hit you. As it stands, I don’t feel it’s too successful a game, but as an exploration off the beaten track, this was immensely valuable.
Note to self: I really need to add sound one of these days!