Archive for August, 2007

World of Goo: Art and Gameplay

Monday, August 20th, 2007

wog_c1.jpgOne of the reasons I wanted to make World of Goo is because the gameplay is entirely physics based. I’m a sucker for physics / user generated / procedural / emergent / whatever systems – basically, stuff that writes itself so the developer doesn’t have to do a bloody thing and still get replayability and variation for free. But..

I’m also a sucker for adventure games. I grew up on games like Space Quest and King’s Quest and the LucasArts games. They are totally NOT physics / user generated / procedural / emergent / whatever, in fact, they are all the way on the other side of the spectrum, where game devs actually had to script every single possible interaction. The plus side was that since there was little re-use, nearly every scene and major action could be extraordinary, and the imagery iconic. And somehow (maybe because I was like 9 years old, but still even recently replaying Grim Fandango) I felt, I could go anywhere, lick anything, etc. Clever design and visual cues made me feel totally free in an otherwise entirely scripted and basically linear path. Anyway, that’s probably a whole article on interaction design, but the point is, I wish every game could be as visually iconic, artistically varied, and beautiful.

wog_t1.jpg wog_t2.jpg
wog_t3.jpg wog_t4.jpg
some levels from World of Goo

So my goal for World of Goo is to (hopefully) combine the best of both, where all gameplay is 100% physically simulated, and where each level is thematically extraordinary, visually iconic, and always (at least mildly) related to a story arc. There is very little asset re-use between levels, which is expensive in the sense that I have to create unique art by hand for every level, but as I’m seeing the game come together, I’m kinda happy how “beautiful” (or at least original) it is becoming. I just hope mom and dad (uh.. Sierra and LucasArts) are proud.

Anyway, I just got a piece of video capture equipment, so I’m gonna try and get some video of World of Goo online hopefully this week. Screenshots up above in the meantime.

Update: Good timing, I just found via gamesetwatch a post on the return of the adventure genre. I still don’t think the new casual versions have the heart the oldskool Sierra and LucasArts games had. Anyway, it reminded me of Johnny Rocketfingers 2 (not a casual game btw) – a dirty step in the right direction.