This comes after a few weeks of careful consideration.
Primarily in regards to rewarding WG mechanics, but also thinking carefully about it’s implementation. As is right now, I believe the idea could be made into a smaller portion of a larger game or as a relatively lengthy game of it’s own. I’ll explain how further below.
So first: Where did this idea come from?
A character, specifically a mimic, in Stranger of Sword City. This mimic acts as an NPC during dungeons. You can feed this mimic old, outdated equipment to get money out of it or you can feed him unique equipment to get that same piece of equipment but scaled up to your current level. Unfortunately, this feature gets very little use due to how hard it is to keep tabs on your unique weapons and how hard it is to actually find this character in later dungeons.
Those well versed in game design theory can probably get a rough idea of where this is going. Those not well versed on it probably do as well. So…
As a game mechanic:
This idea could be implemented into larger games as a mechanic, simply, not making it a gameplay loop. EG: The mimic could act as a sort of cloud storage system, present in different parts of the game. The mimic has a limit, and the closer to the limit the mimic is, the larger they are.
Another alternative is utilizing the mimic as a faux crafting table. You feed the mimic specific items and the mimic burps out a new one.
Now, both of these are mechanics that are dependant on the player having a hub area (or areas) to return to.
There is also the possibility of not making this idea a mechanic and making it a sidequest of some sort. IE: A mimic girl requires high level equipment to lure adventurers, your task is to find X number of pieces of equipment that have X stats and feed those to the mimic. Point at which, the mimic rewards you by giving you a particularly rare item or, for the more ambitious, acting as either of the things mentioned above.
Unfortunately, that’s not the name of the topic, and so, we get to the main point of this thread.
As a full game of short to medium length:
The same way you implement the idea as a mechanic by not making it a gameplay loop, you build a game around it by making it one of the core gameplay loops. IE: Build a game around the idea of finding rare equipment and feeding it in bulk to a mimic to get rarer, and more powerful, equipment.
Let’s take this CYOA as a point of reference. In it, you’re acting as the overlord of a larger dungeon, and picking and choosing it’s denizens to defend yourself against the many heroes that’ll come knocking. It wouldn’t be too far fetched to consider both that those heroes will be carrying weapons and that your mooks will be too. So, a party of heroes gets defeated and your mooks round up the weapons. You can then either choose to equip your units with them or feed them to the mimic to have her give you a more powerful weapon in an X amount of hero assaults later. This becomes a core gameplay loop, since not regularly feeding some weapons to your mimic (or mimics) will result in your units being severely underpowered. It could be made so you have can get more mimics to feed equipment too, so you don’t end up overburdening your one mimic.
“But that’s not a Wg focused game” I hear you say, and you are most definitely right.
For that, I suggest that, instead, we look at both of these games. In both cases, the primary core gameplay loop is acquiring loot through dungeoneering, the second one is selling that loot at a profit and the third one is completing the story.
Now, let’s rephrase every gameplay loop. 1st: Acquiring loot IE ingredients through dungeoneering. 2nd: feeding those ingredient to the mimic girl to create meals and equipment. 3rd: Utilizing said food to upgrade (read fatten) both the mimic and the villages services, all provided by relatively slim characters, eventually revitalizing a previously abandoned village.
And if this is still not fetishy enough, the feeding of the mimic can gain relevance at the cost of (virtually) shortening the game’s length.
Let’s take the first idea, the “dungeon keeper”-like one. Instead of you being the overlord, you are just one lucky mook. Your job is to round up the loot after every battle and feed the mimic, else you become the feed. You have a specific amount of time to round up as much loot as you can, and feed as much of it to the mimic as possible. The more you feed her over a specific threshold, the more upgrades she is willing to give you. You can purchase temporary upgrades at a low cost or permanent upgrades at a higher cost. Some of these upgrades would include: carry capacity, gathering time, odds to obtain better loot, a substitute that she’ll eat if you fail instead of your character, protection to dungeon hazards, etc…
This later option would prove more repetitive, since the core gameplay loop is more immediate than on the other alternatives, being a brief results screen and an upgrade screen the only things breaking up the gameplay.
EDIT: Arcadey as it may seem, a well executed rewards screen should not be underestimated, particularly if good scores are properly rewarded. I’d be willing to bet getting a Sick Skills instead of a Smokin’ Sexy Style at the end of a level has been reason enough for someone to retry a level over and over again.
On the other hand, while more repetitive, it could prove a far more stimulating game if the spritework for the mimic overlord(ess) is paced appropriately and consists of more than, say, five or six stages. Alternatively, access to new areas could mean new overlord(esse)s to appease and new upgrades to add, but the latter kinda sounds like feature creep to me. That said, I’ll leave that part up to the game designers/artists.
This part should technically be empty since nobody’s had the time to ask anything yet, but I’m the kind of cheeky fuck that likes to get ahead of themselves, effectively guaranteeing they look like an arse to everyone around. That said…
Wow, you seem to have a good idea(s). Why don’t you make this?
Well first of all, I very much appreciate you consider it a good idea. Now, to answer your question proper: Even if my idea was good, I am not. I’m pretty much unable to do anything reliably outside of writing or thinking hard about things. And the last one is honestly still up for debate. I lack the infinite brain required to code and I have the artistic sensibilities of a toad in a ditch.
Can’t you pay…?
I’m gonna stop you right there to inform you that on 250$ a month, the only thing I’m paying for is an early funeral.
I like your idea. I’m gonna use it.
Usual cheeky “that’s not a question” answer to something I wrote myself and, thus, could’a made a question. EG: I kinda like your idea. Mind if I use it?
In any case, the answer is yes. I don’t think you need anyone’s permission to use an idea. Or at least I think you shouldn’t need it. Either way, if you do use it, consider doing me a courtesy and mentioning either me or this thread wherever you find appropriate.
You could also not do it. It’s not like I can force you. Still, if I find that out, I’ll wag my finger at the screen in a dissapointed fashion.
Do you have an [Social Media] account?
I, technically speaking, have a DA where I upload some trash every once in a while. It’s unfiltered and unchecked, so the quality is pretty lacking if I do say so myself. Nevertheless, I recently got a shoutout out of courtesy which has gotten me a bunch of eyes, so I’ll admit I’m trying to step up my game to deliver something to those that are expecting something of higher quality that my last public disaster.
Are you gonna link it?
I almost forgot, but thanks for reminding me.
I hope you’ll be able to enjoy some of the things I’ve written, even if I don’t think too highly of them.
And on that topic, I hope y’all will be able to use any of these propositions either in the next gamejam or in a non-gamejam game. Or that, at the very least, they may have given you some inspiration to do something interesting with your game’s mechanics.