Actually, the exchange between me and my 5yr old son (Ill call him J) went something like this.
J: “Daddy, I have an idea for a video game. Its called Stop the Droid! Do you like that name?”
Me: “Shouldn’t it be Stop the Droids?”
J: “NO! Stop the Droid! Stop the Droid!”
Me: “Ok, so what is this game all about?”
J: “Droids are attacking you, and you have to fight them!.. and when they get hit, they make explosions! And when you get hit you make this sound. ‘ugggharg!!’ Is that funny? Do you like this game?”
Me: “Sounds pretty cool to me!”
And it was at this point that I realized I was completely tangled in his web, and that I would be spending the next few months working on this game. To be fair, I had been looking for any reason to make another game for XBLIG, and as it turns out, J’s first demand was that it be released to the XBox 360. (He said XBox to be fair, Ill just assume he does not know about XBox One
I was also looking for any excuse to use Spine and the XNA/C# runtime. Spine is an amazing 2d skeletal animation program with tons of supported runtimes. (Checkout Spine Here)
A lesson about originiality
So the next thing I had to do was to find out what this “Stop the Droid!” game was all about. The central idea for Stop the Droid! is a battle against wave after wave of droids from a droid army that is invading your planet. As it turned out, many of the first ideas that were presented to me were very VERY similar to concepts and characters from a certain wildly popular movie franchise that J totally adores. May the force be with you while you try to guess it. We had to have another talk.
Me: “I will make Stop the Droid!, but we cannot use Anakin, and we may not use Obi Wan. They are not our own ideas. We have to be original. Do you know what I mean?”
J: Blank stare
Me: “You need to think of exactly what will happen in this game, but most importantly, we must come up with our own characters and game-play.”
And that is when it started to get really fun.
Taking direction from a 5yr old.
I decided that my part in this wacky journey would be to develop for J as if he was the project manager. I started to treat every one of J’s ideas as something to consider seriously (and I continue to help out whenever he crosses the line with IP). I would not make any unilateral decisions, and I would run every idea I have by J. If he shoots it down, then it is done. I will come up with a different idea. And that’s the way we have worked for the last six weeks or so. Just about every day, J looks over what I have done, plays it for 10-15 minutes, and then gives me 500 other ideas. I have been totally astounded by the level of specific detail he has been able to provide. Everything from the sound effects and music to the box art, he has had a large hand in creating.
Stop The Droid! is still in early development, but we are progressing slowly. Just trying to manage the multitude of ideas that J has is like another job all by itself!
We are currently trying to:
- Narrow the list of upgrades and weapons that will be available.
- Decide whether or not to add “side kick” droids. (An idea J had yesterday!)
- Decide what droids will make the final cut.
- Incorporate the item and upgrade system.
- Finish Multi-player coop mode
Here is a short video of Stop the Droid! in its current state.