Tuesday, January 31, 2012
iBonsai: Social Game Design Concept
A few years ago with the success of FarmVille, I had an idea to create a social game that revolved around the care of plants. There are plenty of isometric farming games!! I know, I know but mine is different. I've killed many bonsai trees in my time but it's not for a lack of trying to keep them alive. I'm also a fan of procedurally generated patterns or designs. My game concept marries the two.
I created that mash-up of trees above with the prototype that a few developers and I put together back in January of 2011. I think it's safe to say that we're not actively working on the project, though we had a blast iterating on it back then.
I wanted the game to feel like something put together by the Wii Sports team. Those games do a fantastic job of rewarding the player for very small achievements. It was also important that, though the game was 2D, the trees needed to feel alive with human-like qualities. We made it so trees would droop when the were undernourished or lacked the proper amount of attention. Alternatively when happy, the branches would playfully bounce after being fed or put in good light.
Since I'm not doing anything with the idea, I thought I'd share the quick design document that I put together to get the team on the same page. It's really just the skeleton of a game based off of a few brainstorming sessions. See what you think: