Some Pet Game Design Ideas
by, 09-10-2011 at 06:26 PM (4184 Views)
Since I am currently looking for a position as a designer on a pet game project that is getting started, I thought I would make a blog entry to introduce the different types of pet games I would be interested in creating. I'm mainly interested in three categories of game:
1. Single Player Breeder Tycoon Sims
2. Single Player RPG where the player uses a deck of pet cards or a small army of pet units on a tactical battlefield to fight
3. MMO games where all of the monsters in the game are captureable, and pet breeding is a crafting-like activity which involves playing minigames.
In all of these cases I'm generally interested in a breed-em-all dynamic with fantasy pets (e.g. breed a lion and an eagle to get a griffin). I am imagining a system with somewhere between 200 and 1000 types of pets (eg. pink fox would be one type and purple fox a different type, so it's not as many as it sounds like). I also have a strong preference for humorous, cheerful, cute or beautiful games, and the story optionally could include romance. I'm not really interested in anything where the world is supposed to be dark and bloody and constant fighting.
1. Single Player Breeder Tycoon Sims - Here I am talking about a flash or PC game like Celebrity Pedigree, Fish Tycoon, Plant Tycoon, or a similar game but with combat added. In addition to the CCG (collectible card game) and tactical (army on a chessboard) types of combat mentioned above, one other type of combat that could combine nicely with a breeder tycoon game is tower defense, particularly like that seen in Plants vs. Zombies.
A game of this type would have two main screens: a breeding screen and a combat screen. In the breeding screen the player builds and upgrades nests, hatches eggs, takes care of babies which emote their needs, and unlocks new types of pets for combat use by raising one to adulthood. In the combat screen the player uses the units they have unlocked so far to fight increasingly high level monsters; when killed these monsters drop crafting resources used to build and upgrade nests, consumable items used to raise babies, some sort of currency or resource spent to breed pets and possibly to buy more upgrades and consumables from a shop, and rare eggs or consumable items used to mutate adults. So the player alternates between the two modes until they have unlocked all possible kinds of pets (become the master pet breeder of the world). This achievement should unlock a boss fight, basically the end of the game.
2. Single Player RPG where the player uses a deck of pet cards or a small army of pet units on a tactical battlefield to fight. - Some examples of this type of game include PS1 games like Eternal Eyes or, although not a pet game, Disgaea is a great example of a modern tactical RPG. For a CCG RPG the old Magic the Gathering Game Shandalar for the PC was a great example of an RPG where the player collects cards and builds an increasingly good deck with which to defeat increasingly high level opponents.
In either a tactical or CCG context it again makes a lot of sense to give the player a goal of unlocking all units or collecting all cards. For a typical RPG the player would be given one new unit or card as a reward for completing each sub area (optionally they would have to breed the subtypes from this and their other owned units/cards) and completing this collection would coincide with having explored the whole map and unlocked the final boss battle. The main difference between a single player RPG and a tycoon SIM is that the RPG has a lot more NPCs and story, while the SIM has more sim gameplay such as monitoring the needs of maturing eggs and babies.
3. MMO games where all of the monsters in the game are captureable, and pet breeding is a crafting-like activity which involves playing minigames. - This type of game is impractically large to develop unless someone has a few thousand dollars to invest. But since I play a lot of MMOs I enjoy thinking about how I would design one, including a pet system which is an improvement on those in the MMOs I have played. Personally I'd be more interested in an MMOSIM (like A Tale In The Desert plus combat) than in a standard MMORPG or a forum+minigames arrangement like NeoPets or Gaia Online.
I could see doing either a 2D MMO with anime/cartoon style graphics, or a 3D MMO with fantasy graphics (Perfect World is a fairly nice example). I could see doing either a level-based progression or a level-less game which would be more PvP friendly - if everyone is the same level it's a lot easier to find opponents with whom you are fairly matched. I could see either making the main combat system tactical, like that of Dofus, or making two parallel combat systems - a realtime one for human avatars and a tactical one for pets.
I mention A Tale In The Desert because I would like to have a similar system where players do a lot of gathering and crafting of personal items like custom houses, storage chests, and appliances which are used for further kinds of crafting. I'd be quite interested in including a dating-sim like system where players could court the NPCs, as well as a non-romantic larger-scale version of the same system where players built reputation with various factions to unlock access to special mounts, clothing, etc.
So, if anyone is interested in one of these three types of games, I'm available and eager to discuss particulars. ^_^
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