Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bits and pieces: Random game ideas volume 3

Huh, this is the 250th post... How about that. Also, short article tonight- er, this morning. Sorry 'bout that.

And if you want to check out the previous editions of "Random game ideas", here ya go.

Every now and then I get an idea for a game that just isn't complex enough to warrant an entire post. I keep these ideas in storage, so to speak, until I flesh them out enough. Here's on idea I feel is ready to be posted.

A sandbox-style LEGO game

I love creating things, I love video games, and I love LEGO bricks. What better way to combine them than a 3D LEGO game? The player is given an infinite amount of bricks to work with, and they can just build to their heart's content. That's really all there is to it.

This would work great on the Wii, of course. Here's how I picture the controls working:

Wii Remote

Pointer: Move block around
A button: Place block
Press and hold B button: Pick up already placed brick
Release B button: Place brick
D-Pad (Any direction): Delete held brick


Analog stick: Move around the "map"
Z trigger + Analog stick up: Push brick further from player
Z trigger + Analog stick down: Pull brick closer to player
C button: Enable "fly mode"

The controls really would be that simple. As for the "fly mode" I mentioned, that would allow the player to move around the map freely in all directions, including moving up into the air and flying through already placed bricks. This would enable the player to look at their creation from every conceivable angle, as well as help them escape if they accidentally build themselves into a corner.

There would also be several preset models for beginners to work with and become accustomed to. They could freely add on to and take away from these models, giving them a great starting point.

Now, I'm aware of programs available online such as Blockland and LEGO Digital Designer. But there are quite a few problems with each of them. First of all, Blockland has only very simple bricks available due to it not actually being licensed LEGO software. It also has somewhat of an adventure feel to it instead of being a pure free-building program. As for LEGO Digital Designer, there are several camera problems, such as it not letting you freeze the camera at particular angles. It also has a very basic player interaction mode, as it is intended to be a program for LEGO users to build a set and send for the pieces within it. They wouldn't want this program to offer too much interactivity, or else players may find the virtual version is good enough, and decide to not purchase the pieces to build it for real.

Which I suppose is a bit of a problem when it comes to the LEGO game idea I've written up. The LEGO company probably wouldn't want to license a virtual LEGO building product, as it may detract from sales of their actual LEGO sets. Sure, to me there's nothing like actually building a model and holding it in my hands, but some people may be happy with a 3D, computer-generated model.

On the other hand, people not happy with a 3D model could decide that LEGO products are right for them and proceed to collect them. I guess it does kind of depends on who you're talking about.

Regardless of the probability, I'd still really like for this software to become a reality. It'd be really cool to build a 3D LEGO model and walk around in it as if you were one of the LEGO people. Opening doors, climbing stairwells, exploring hallways, all built by your own hand... There is a certain aspect to it unavailable in the real world. I suppose I shall only be able to dream for now...

So, what do you think of this? Would you buy a sandbox-style LEGO game? Do you prefer to build with real LEGO bricks? Do you have any suggestions on how to improve on my idea for a LEGO simulator? Do you really not give half a rat's ass about LEGO products whatsoever? Well, have your say in the comment section, or in this forum thread.

The Duck Has Spoken.

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