Again, like with the 40-Hour RPG, time spent just thinking about the game does not count, nor does time spent adding new features to my framework. Only coding time specific to the game counts.
So, here’s what I’m thinking. I’m thinking about two things, an old game and an old computer.
First, the old game. Once upon a time, a long time ago, a designer named Howard Thompson came up with a novel wargame idea – a game set on an alien planet, inhabited by huge, semi-sentient hive-minded insects. He called this game Hymenoptera, and unfortunately a complete version never saw the light of day.
It also had the word “hymen” in its name, which caused everyone who heard it to snicker.
As Hymenoptera languished in development hell, Thompson’s company, Metagaming, decided to focus on small, simpler, easily portable and playable games that they called microgames. This strategy proved successful, and Thompson decided to create a microgame set in the Hymenpotera universe. He called it Chitin: I – The Harvest Wars.
I know that killer bugs have kind of been done to death in the RTS space, what with the Zerg and the Tyranids, but I think I’m going to do it anyway.
Now, on to the old computer. I’ve talked about Daniel Remar rather a lot on this blog, and I’ve mentioned his game Hero Core many times, too. Now, the interesting thing about Hero Core is that its native resolution is 200×180, which means that it could easily be replicated on the ZX Spectrum, which had a native resolution of 256×192. In fact, I always thought that Hero Core felt like a ZX Spectrum game – austere but imminently playable.
And then there was the Easter egg in Startopia that presented the game almost as if it were on a ZX Spectrum – and the game was still playable! The only real problem was that the text became unreadable, but you could still build and manage your aliens due to the use of very clear icons.
So for a while I’ve been wondering what an RTS on the Spectrum might have looked like. And I’ve already mentioned that by limiting himself to a small resolution and monochrome palette, Daniel was able to get effective graphics for Hero Core in a short amount of time.
So I’m following suit. my 40-hour RTS will use a low native resolution to make it easier to do the graphics (I’ll scale the final graphics so the window will be larger on the screen, I promise) and it will be about bugs fighting over various resources they need.
And I’m going to call it Chitin, after the original microgame.