An original Game Design Document in public.
Usually developers don`t expose their Game Design Document ideas and keep it sealed until some fund finally involves. Anyway, we act different.
Designing a game from zero is a small adventure.
Finding the main concept, building your hero, the enemies’ behaviors, the end (if any). The game proposal document that follows is REAL and copyrighted to European law. It is easy to copy it (not to implement it though) but just in case…
The game is fresh, humorous, different and waits for its benefactor to fund it and bring it to life. There have been some talking with two companies but didn’t agreed so here we are, publishing a well studied idea that was hidden in my hard disc some months now.
Credits about this go to Legal Radiation Team (LINK) and especially to the guys mentioned at the end of this document.
God Throws Dice After All
(in contrast to A. Einstein who said that He Doesn’t!)
Proposal Document for HOLLY DICE
a 2D platform / puzzle game for all platforms and devices
HOLLY DICE is a 2D platform game for the iOs, Android and possibly Windows Phone 7 and Bada, consoles and personal computers, which tells the story of God`s “Chosen One” (err … you) who must restore the balance to the never-ending battle between God and Devil for the souls of humans. The procedure that determines where each soul goes, is nothing more than a game of dice between God and Devil. Devil as expected cheats. He has a pair of corrupted dice that he replaces the Holly Dice with, just before each game, in order to always win.
Our story begins when God decides to stop Devil from cheating. He sends an agent (you) down to Hell to retrieve the corrupted dice as evidence in order to expose the lord of evil and make the game fair again.
By solving puzzles, avoiding traps, beating enemies you manage to pass through Hell, trick the Devil and get the dice. After your escape from Hell, your mission is to deliver the Devil`s dice to God. This means that you have to travel on your own from Hell. An unexpected twist is that you are turned to a Zombie by the power of the corrupt dice and you have to travel through earth in that form. Eventually you travel through the skies as an Angel in order to reach God’s throne in paradise. Even when you leave Earth and you are ascending to Heaven, Devil`s minions are trying to stop you.
Will you be able to live up to God`s expectations and restore the balance between Good and Evil ?
The game consists of three main chapters: Hell, Earth and Heaven.
The graphics of the game are cartoonish, cute and funny covering a large range of landscapes and characters. Humor is a key element of our hero’s journey but the whole experience never insults any religious symbols or peoples’ faiths. The funny atmosphere of the game is enhanced by an uplifting music score which changes dynamically according to each situation.
HOLLY DICE is a platform game that blends action and puzzles through a humorous gameplay.
Some very rough concepts of the Hell world
The Musical Theme
Original synthesis recorded and inspired by me:
Polished by talented Fergus (not final mix):
- Pick up and play kind of game, easy for everybody.
- Many humorous stuff and references to worldwide known symbols (for example the well known figure of Count Dracula) used carefully and without insulting anyone.
- Lite and familiar graphics with high contrast and happy colors. Cartoonish characters with many unique and funny animations.
- Ability to share Scores and screenshots with others through facebook and twitter and various leaderboards.
- An inspired scenario that despite its many twists and turns, it is easy to follow.
- Game mechanics that are familiar to the casual gamer but at the same time the game experience is fresh and unique.
- A virtual joystick and a second option/mode for accelerometer lovers can handle our hero easily.
- A unique humorous soundtrack that along with a catchy trailer is one of our marketing vehicles.
- A first time seen weapon that our hero owns. The halo.
- The game is portable to other platforms (PCs, Macs and consoles).
Lead Game Line
“God Throws Dice After All”
60 Seconds of gameplay description
You open your eyes after the fall and you still feel dizzy. Everything around you is blurry, red and hot. Is it Christmas and you are near the fireplace? But why are you in chains? And who the hell is this old – white beard, barely able to walk – guy coming at you? Santa maybe? Without hesitation the weird, old man cuts your chains and reveals a glowing circle underneath his robe.
Wait a minute. Why your skin is red and what is that funny feeling on your head ?
Gosh ! You are in a devil`s suit, you have horns on your head and the old guy is definitely not Santa. He is your boss on this mission. God himself. With no delay He puts the Halo over your head while heavenly bells ring in your ears and cherubims sing gospels. He also gives you the Holy Dice that must replace the Devil`s corrupted dice. With a blink of an eye, you are alone in Hell.
Suddenly a jelly looking demon crawls out of the fires and start running at you.
Without second thought you pick your halo and throw it towards him. The blast attracts more unholy ridiculous creatures that try to take you down. You start running, jumping on ledges and shooting your halo to get rid of them while flaming rocks fall from above making your escape more difficult. A few levels above you find out the source of this menace. It is the stomach of an ugly, miserable and mean boss demon. Trick him and continue your holly mission.
Game Story: Introduction
If you are a criminal, you are doomed to Hell. On the other hand, if you lived a life of a saint you earn the eternal life in Heaven. But what if you are in between?
Our hero is an ordinary guy, with an ordinary life. One day he gets hit by a falling piano and dies. His soul gets out of his body and flies up to the sky…
Still blurry, you see a bizarre scene: The Big Boss (God / sweet old man with white beard) and the master of badness (Devil / red, sly and not that likeable) play a dice game. The chief of the worst criminals wins by switching the dice and your faith seems sealed by a nasty cheat.
He wins…your soul, poor man! Forever… Yet the Almighty God knows that Devil cheats. Of course He could unleash his wrath and blast the unholly one to hell where he belongs. But He works in mysterious ways. He chooses our hero to help Him solve this ancient problem. His plan is to send our hero down to Hell and retrieve the corrupted dice. The hero must deliver the corrupted dice to God.
Game Story: CHAPTER ONE / HELL
You drop in a long shaft which leads to the world under (known as hell).
You find yourself wearing the devil’s servant suit with tail, horns, goat legs, weird funny face. God appears before you, breaks your chains and gives you your super weapon that will be your only company and salvation to your journey: The HALO (the lighting circle we find over the heads of saints and angels). He also gives you the replacement dice. While exploring your surroundings, you avoid traps and shoot enemies. During your exploration, you must confront 4 big bosses. When you defeat the bosses, your devilish characteristic (your horns, the goat legs, the tail and the wings) are removed in return for not killing them. In a torture chamber of Hell you find a poor soul which you set free. In return, the soul helps you to trick the Devil and replace the dice. The punishment for touching the ancient corrupted dice is to turn into a little zombie! Zombies don’t fit in Hell. Our hero instinctively starts digging towards earth….
Game Story: CHAPTER TWO / EARTH
You dig your way out of Hell and ascend into a cemetery of an abandoned village somewhere in Transylvania. After defeating several unholy creatures, lurking in the swamps and dark woods, you reach the church of the village. You meet an old priest, who knows about your mission and reveals the secret to break the curse of the Devil’s dice. The only way to Heaven is to dive into a pool of holly water and become an Angel! Your goal is to reach Dracula’s Castle and find the secret pool of holly water to get rid of the zombie appearance. You fight your way to the castle by shooting bats and vampires. Once inside the castle, you manage to get rid of Dracula and discover the crypt where the holly water is.
You dive into the pool, you become an Angel and fly away from the castle.
Game Story: CHAPTER THREE / HEAVEN
You are now jumping your way to Heaven. Your little wings help you make longer jumps from cloud to cloud in a world full of flowers and ancient divine structures. Flying demons from Hell try to stop you. After many obstacles you reach the gate of Paradise where Saint Peter won’t let you pass that easy. You solve the final riddle and you get into the gardens of Heaven. You give the Devil`s dice to God, completing your mission. The Almighty is pleased and gives you a chance to reach the highest level to angels hierarchy. He passes you His dice to roll and decide your level. The result is influenced by the points of goodness you collected during the game. In your whole journey you had the chance to make good deeds and collect these points of goodness. Now it is time to redeem.
After your place in Heaven is decided (the title of Archangel is the highest rank) we see God leaving you in a hurry. He has a meeting with Devil for a new dice game. This time the game is fair and you are proud to be part of this achievement.
END OF GAME.
Our hero is an ordinary guy that was chosen by God to fulfill a holly mission.
During the game, he takes three different forms:
- Sly Devil in Hell
- Little Zombie on Earth
- Cute Angel to his way to Heaven.
The game consists of three different main chapters.
1. Hell: “Up you go / watch out it burns”
Summary: God sent you here to retrieve the Devil’s corrupted dice and replace it with a normal ones.
Your adventure starts here.
The place is full of caves and tunnels with lava coming out from rocks. Bright red colors and cartoonish elements create a hot, hazardous environment that intrigues you to explore. There are funny demon creatures to defeat, flaming rocks & deadly traps to avoid, ledges to climb, big bosses to pass, caged angels to set free and the Devil himself to trick.
You play trying to reach the top of each stage. Arcade action style and puzzles to add more hours of gameplay. Avoid this rock, jump on the other to reach the higher level, hit the little demon with your halo etc.
There will be funny signs like “forbidden area for saints”, “watch out for fire drops”, “get out angel” (like driving warnings) and many more we come up with.
This world consists of several mini levels, power ups, combos and bonuses.
2. EARTH: “Back to earth. Little zombie you…”
Summary: Your purpose is to reach Dracula`s Castle and dive into the pool of holly water in order to get rid of the zombie appearance. This is the way to become an angel in order to reach Heaven.
After you escape from Hell, you emerge from the ground inside a cemetery as a Zombie. You run through woods, swamps, villages until you reach Dracula’s castle. You play from the side (left to right) and it is kind of run, jump, avoid, shoot. Your enemies are everybody. Vampires, werewolves and other zombies want to keep you here and make you one of their army, priests want to save your soul, grandmas hunt you with wooden molders and other kitchen stuff, witches attack with flying brooms, villagers throwing axes. You will face traps, riddles and physical obstacles.
Triggered animations will add fun, for example a bad entity that tries to capture a man and if you are fast enough to save him you get a bonus, or a zombie that forgot its foot behind and returns to “wear” it back etc.
3. SKY / HEAVEN: “Flight to eternity. Not all angels are saints”
Summary: You fight your way up to Heaven, and solve the puzzle to get inside Paradise. You finally meet God and give Him the Devil’s dice.
You are an angel. You play vertically going upwards. At first your wings are small and you are able to perform short jumps. As the level progresses your wings get bigger so you can jump higher. While you jump from cloud to cloud you will have the chance to enjoy suited (dead) guys with their luggage flying to heaven, jealous little angels that will try to trip you up, little demons sent by Devil to get the dice back, other monsters hunt you with flying jets etc.
The landscape consists of light, clouds and floating rocks. There are holly shrines and exotic flowers, ancient temples, pillars, monuments and other divine structures.
Finally you reach the gates of Paradise where everything is bright and shinny. The gardens of Heaven are blooming and we can see all kind of exotic greenery.
Rich Storytelling Experience
The plot has many twists and an unexpected surprise at the end.
Amazing Special Powers
Three playable characters each with unique powers they will have to use to
Action / puzzle gameplay:
Use quick reflexes to survive and simple logic to solve the puzzles throughout your
journey. Good observation skill is required in many cases.
The rich story during the game is unfolded with many pre-rendered cut scenes.
The player interacts with the virtual buttons and/or joystick alone or optionally a combination of buttons and accelerometer.
The controls are Left, Right, Jump and Shoot. All other interactions in the game happen by touching specific elements on the screen.
Attributes and Player Statistics
The following are the attributes of the player that affect gameplay.
Number of lives
Your character has 3 lives. During the game you get extra lives. Each time you get hit by trap or enemy or you fall you lose one life.
Good Deeds Points
Each time you set free a trapped character you get points of goodness. These points will determine your position in Heaven at the end of the game.
When jump button is pressed, each character has a theoretical max height. This
attribute is updateable with power ups.
Walk and Run speed
When the right button is pressed (or you turn your device slightly, player will walk in that direction. This attribute is animation driven.
When the hit button is pressed the player throws the halo to the direction he is looking at. It hits enemies, interacts with elements to solve puzzles and it is updateable with power ups.
According to how fast you completed a sublevel, how many enemies you beat and how many hidden treasures you found, you get three stars maximum. These stars affect your final score and unlock extras (concept art, music themes etc.)
Musical Scores and Sound Effects
The soundtrack is an original score inspired from the scenario.
All audio will be Dolby Surround (where supported).
Music for Holly Dice will be dynamic. Every chapter will have a unique score with variations that will be blended between, depending on the level of action occurring in the game. The styles will vary, each song will be entirely under the create influence of their composers.
Many different sounds will occur during Holly Dice gameplay. These fall into several categories: Below are some examples
Attack grunts, funny cries of pain, falling
Weapon impacts, weapon release sounds
environment impacts, objects
Haunting winds, water dripping, sounds of the woods, flying bats
user interface sounds for button clicks, beeps, other stingers
Stam: Game concept, game design, music synthesis, graphics, animations, sounds
Ioannis: Lead programming, game design
Nektarios: Lead artist, character design, game design, animations
Fergus: Lead Musician
Follow Up on this article by August 2nd 2012
We desided to participate on a contest about game designing in Greece.
We got the second place