In college, I had a course called „Media Design“. In this course, we were supposed to make a game about a political topic. We decided to stick with the topic of aging and becoming older, because we thought, this is a topic especially young people do not think about very much. This was one of the first „bigger“ games I worked on and I like the basic idea of the game and how the prototype we developed turned out so I wanted to show the process, we went through and how the game turned out. Sadly we didn’t manage to finish the game, but as you will see: The idea was pretty big and we only managed to make a solid prototype showing the base idea of the concept.
We wanted to create a game in which the player experiences the process of aging. Therefore we focused on one main aspect of aging: the loss of physical and mental abilities. We wanted the player to feel what it means to lose abilities they once had. So we took a well-known genre – the hack and slay genre and took diablo as a model for our game. The hero in the game was supposed to start at the peak of his abilities and by gaining experience and using his abilities he gets older and slowly starts to lose them. I liked this idea because it inverts the normal course of a top-down RPG like diablo where the player constantly gets stronger.
But the game also was supposed to be fun for the player and not only frustrating. But we figured that by losing abilities the players would have to face a bigger challenge, the longer they play. So the fun not only lies in gaining experience and becoming stronger, as is the case in Diablo for example but in mastering challenges that get harder the longer they play. Later in this article, you will see, how we achieved this in the project by reducing the speed and the damage of specific abilities.
Before I try to describe the game much longer, let me show a short demo of the game. Here you can see that the fireball-ability is very strong in the beginning and deals a lot of damage. The more the player uses it, the weaker and slower it gets. So the player has to play more carefully and a lot smarter. The same goes for his maximum health as well as his speed and energy. Potions and other items, we planned but not implemented, are supposed to help the player get around his missing abilities.
Here you can download a playable prototype of the game. It only runs on PC right now. And yes: It isn’t finished yet. There are some bugs but we were short on time 😉