Life’s Impetus Devblog #4 – The Game that it Once Was

Last devblog, I talked about the battle system and gameplay my game currently has. This time, I’ll be talking about the gameplay my game used to have.


Fountain of Life

You know, Life’s Impetus is a game idea I’ve had going around in my head for a long, long time. At first, it used to be a board game concept where your life was measured in turns. This version didn’t ger far though, but I still liked it, and it’s the idea I decided to go with when I finally resolved to make a full game. The only problem was that I didn’t really know what I wanted the game to be like, just what I wanted it to be about. Fountain of Life, as I used to call it, was basically about being a being that carried the souls of the dead to the other side. So, I made a prototype basically about that.
Instead of turns, you now only had a certain amount of seconds to live. You had to find people near death and wait for them to die to bring their souls to the Fountain of Life, which gave you more second of life. I iterated on this basic concept a lot, just changing details. For example, to see when somebody would die, you had to activate your “spirit field”. At first, having it activated would make you lose seconds faster but then I changed it so that the longer you used it, the smaller it became until you let it recharge. If you’re interested in the details of the changes, here’s a video I made:

Not What I Wanted

I eventually scrapped this line of prototypes though, because they had qualities I didn’t like and removing them made the game worse. The main aspects I didn’t like were these:

  1. Simplicity: To be honest the game was very simple, and I didn’t want it to be like that. I definitely had planned to include a variety of elements to make the game more interesting but they didn’t change the core gameplay, just made it more varied. Why didn’t I want the game to be simple? Partly because it felt like a mobile game, which was a problem when I didn’t want to make a mobile game, but the main reason was because I wanted this to be my first “real” game. I felt like I needed to do something more complex and deep that what I had done before if I were to be happy with this project.
  2. Memorization: “Where was that guy again?” was a typical question you’d ask yourself while playing one of the old prototypes. You see, the game was in great part about memorization: you needed to remember who was going to die, when would they die, where they would die, etc. I didn’t really want to make a game about memorization, but when I removed it with aspects like markers that kept track of a person’s location and time, the game lost an important part of what it was.
  3. Searching: Another thing that was necessary to win was to find the people near death in the first place. You had to be constantly looking for people, and I didn’t like it since I was not trying to make a game about finding stuff. Yet this was what the game was about; when I removed it, I realized the player had nothing to do between people’s deaths, because he/she always knew where and when to go.

After all this, I pretty much realized that if I wanted to make something that’d fit the theme of my game, I’d have to scrap everything and start again… But it worked, and that’s why I’m here now.

Bonus Question

What games did you buy, only to discover it wasn’t what you expected at all? For me, it was Monster Hunter. I was expecting an epic action rpg with an epic story and an epic world… What I got was a mission based action rpg with a simple story and a small (but pretty) world. I ended up loving it when I gave it a chance, though!

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