Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

19 August, 2006

Weekend Design Challenge: Cats
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 11:49 PM

Something a bit different this weekend. Let’s pretend you’re a designer at a small game company. The word has come down: the company has been talking to a cat-themed website and they want you to come up with some brief design treatments for cat-themed games. The games should be “casual”, and generally cat-positive. What kind of games would you suggest?

My ideas below.

Let me get the obvious stuff out of the way: re-skin existing types of casual games with cat themes. For example, you could take match-3 type gameplay (like in Bejeweled) and make the items into cat toys. Between rounds when the board clears, you could have cats scampering across the board scattering the toys.

So, what’s your more original idea?

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  1. Two words : cat herding!

    Your goal is to get those cats out of the living room before, I don’t know, Timmy’s birthday party. Use a click of the mouse to nudge the scrolling/marauding cats in the right direction (the exit), perhaps while requiring them to overcome various obstacles or dangers. The varieties of colours and sizes of the cat reflect their personality (or affinity). Curious, Spastic, Lazy, etc. The small cats are lighter and faster so they need only one click to get them moving. The fat cats need more attention, as they have more momentum. Once in a while your powerup appears (a can of tuna) which you can place anywhere within a certain radius, attracting all of the cats to it. The various types of cats react differently to the objects and obstacles in the room. Some cats are coloured similarly to the shag carpet in the room, so that they’re hard to see.

    Now get coding! :)

    Comment by kafka — 20 August, 2006 @ 5:24 AM

  2. I don’t know if you allow trackbacks or not, but if you’re holding mine for moderation you can delete it as I’m about to link to my response manually instead:

    My Three Cats

    It was a fun ‘challenge’ for an early Sunday morning, thanks!

    Comment by Corvus — 20 August, 2006 @ 10:48 AM

  3. Ball O’ Twine! You are a cat, you climb on a small ball of twine and have to follow the path of the rest of it. The path will cross all crazy kinds of obstacles such as jumping dogs that jump up at the twine, mischievous mice that nibble away at it (making a bit of a time attack). It’s a sort of donkey kong gone wrong.

    Comment by Jpoku — 20 August, 2006 @ 11:50 AM

  4. I don’t know if you allow trackbacks or not

    I do, yours got caught as spam. That’s the danger of using an automated plugin, but I’m sure nobody here wants to read the sex-related spams that show up every day. :P

    Intersting ideas so far. Keep it up!

    Comment by Psychochild — 20 August, 2006 @ 3:05 PM

  5. I do, yours got caught as spam.

    I shouldn’t have mentioned phentermine in the post that generated the trackback then, eh? *kniw*

    Comment by Corvus — 20 August, 2006 @ 4:23 PM

  6. Or in that one, either. It got caught up in moderation!

    Keep up the good work, everyone. I look forward to more ideas.

    Comment by Psychochild — 20 August, 2006 @ 11:35 PM

  7. “Virtual Person”. An inversion of the virtual pet games. You play a cat. You need to train your person to let you in and outdoors, feed you the best food, and often, play with you and pet you. You Purr and snuggle to reward good behavior and snub or sulk to punish bad behavior. But be careful not to over door it, or your person could become very happy and not do anything you want. If your person is happy a long time they will get promotions at work and can buy better toys and better food. (Be sure to snub the old stuff.)

    Best of all, the game is designed to be played in short spurts, and often, just like normal virtual pets. And players would have a feeling like they had to “Check up and see how things have progressed.” That’s ideal for the website that wants to see people bounce back often, as I’m pictureing the game as being a part of the website (not downloaded). If the site sells anything it would be easy enough to add it to the game.

    OK, I really think I got that one right. An answer that’s creative, Can I get a gold star?

    Comment by Rik — 21 August, 2006 @ 12:10 AM

  8. For some reason this Cat challenge has invaded my mind. I keep idly thinking up cat games without even planning it. Viral Challenge!

    Anyway another quick idea: Spot The Chesire Cat. A mix of a ‘where’s wally’ game where there are thousands of cats and you have to spot one. But to mix it up a bit sometimes you will get say a picture of a forest with a few cats blended in (the shape of a branch being a tail perhaps) and you have to spot the blends. It wonder if games like this might have a better marketing appeal too. I know that a lot of families of all ages have cats, but it always seems to me that there are a lot of cat ladies who might not want action games.

    Comment by Jpoku — 21 August, 2006 @ 6:42 AM

  9. I really like Jpoku’s idea, for a ball of twine riding game. It initially reminds me of Katamari Damacy, but you could make it more of an adventure type game, or an inverse of Katamari, where your ball of yarn is a certain size and it un-ravels as you move about, and you have to reach certain objectives, clear obstacles, etc. before the yarn runs out. It seems like that could be a fun cellphone game in the end, just a simple little game where the yarn size is your limitation (instead of time), and it could prove to be quite difficult at times! A lot of other good ideas around too, I’m very surprised and I love the unique challenge!

    Comment by Bartoneus — 21 August, 2006 @ 7:45 AM

  10. Idea presented here:

    Cat Game Challenge

    Basically inspired by Incredible Machine.

    Comment by Josh — 21 August, 2006 @ 9:59 AM

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