Design by Opposite Example: Nebulous

Yesterday I wrote about a way to think about designing something: by comparing opposites. I also think you can use the idea of opposites to generate a new thing from something else.

This is an exercise I did recently to design a game.

I call it Nebulous, because it’s meant to be a play on a “nebula”, which I am thinking of the opposite of an asteroid. Nebulous is the opposite of Asteroids.

Here are some essential elements of Asteroids

  1. It is about survival through evasion and destruction. You die if you touch an asteroid (or spaceship or get shot)
  2. The camera is stationary in space
  3. The game surface is the finite surface of a torus (it wraps on the sides)
  4. It is black and white
  5. All of the game elements are a stroked white shape
  6. You pilot a ship that can thrust, rotate, fire, and hyperspace

I used this to generate what could be the essential elements of Nebulous

  1. It is about survival though finding and nurturing. You die if you run out of energy, which you get by flying through a nebula.
  2. The camera follows the ship
  3. The game surface is infinite in all directions
  4. It uses color. Each nebula has a color and the color indicates its behavior. Mixing colors is part of game play
  5. (not sure yet of the design language)
  6. You pilot a ship that only has two thrusters. You turn by using just one of them. You can eject stored nebula gases.

I am still thinking about this. At this point, I don’t need to keep thinking about the opposite of Asteroids — this starting point will be the seed that goes in its own direction from here.