Eden (Concept document)
Monday, 19 May 2008
When circumstances in the market changed and Play with Fire ceased to be a PS2 project (with a commensurate fall in budget), Eden was effectively shelved. Plans were tentatively made to resurrect it later, and inventive Belgian developer Tale of Tales were considered as an option for developer.
However, over the following years the project was to suffer further blows. The Japanese gardening game Shiki-Tei ("Four Seasons Garden") was released in June 2008 for download on the PS3 and featured time-lapse as part of its gimmick - it was apparent that the technology for this is still very expensive, and the quality of the time lapse in Shiki-Tei was nowhere near the standard we had hoped to use in Eden, suggesting we could not have delivered this part of the design pragmatically. Then, the following month, Dylan Cuthbert's Q-Games released Pixeljunk Eden for download on PS3, which meant the name "Eden" would have to be shelved.
Finally, in February 2009, Jenova Chen's thatgamecompany released their game Flower for download on the PS3 which had so many fundamental similarities to Eden that this project was officially shelved. Flower is a magnificent piece of work, and more beautiful than Eden could ever have been on the budget we were intending to use for it. Although the play of the two games is very different, it's apparent given the issues with time lapse technology that Eden was too ambitious for its time.
We present its concept document here for reference.
1. Grow It
Eden is a budget game for PS2. It presents the player with a barren world, and the responsibility to populate that world with all forms of life.
The player has direct control of a swarm of glowing lights. However, they cannot simply fly anywhere, as the lights can only move where life exists. New life may be grown in a set radius around the lights, by use of a single action button. Thus, the player may move the lights to a plant which neighbours upon some seeds, and then grow those seeds in order to expand their range of movement. Plants grow in a manner resembling time-lapse photography - but with the player in control.
The game world is built up of multiple, connected Gardens (levels), each of which is built from tiles of different types. The player's initial goal is to populate each Garden with plant life. With each completed Garden, a sapling at the centre of the world grows a little more. When the sapling is grown to its largest possible size, a man and a woman are created and the game ends.
Also, in some Gardens are statues of animals. If the player grows sufficient numbers of plants, that animal is added to the ecosystem, which adds new abilities to change and affect the individual Gardens. These animals can also be moved between Gardens.
Simple but beautiful graphics and trivial controls combine to give an easy to learn but engaging play experience, which will draw players into its unique game world.
1.2 Vision Statement
The player should be delievered the following experiences:
- Effortless play originating from a simple control scheme.
- Unique experience - the only game to be based around growing plants, and to use animations which resemble time lapse photography.
- Exploration of a beautiful world consisting of many different Gardens, which the player grows through their own actions
- Captivation with the beauty of the graphics, and the time lapse animations
- Creativity as each Garden can be grown in a number of different ways, according to the player's wishes
The inspiration for the game is Genesis, Chapter 1, although this need not be made explicit. The game will not include any content which is expressively offensive to any religious or secular belief. The Garden of Eden theme and imagery is a universal allegory with cross cultural appeal.
This game is expressly intended to be gender neutral, with wide appeal. The included demographics should be both male and female players, ages 9-70. A more detailed discussion of intended audience can be found at the end of this document.
2. Core Gameplay
All the play in Eden originates from three simple-to-implement core subsystems:
- Avatar concerns the player's ability to negotiate the landscape and the capacity to institute time-lapse growth of individual plants.
- Tiles concerns nature of individual plants in the world, which are arranged on a tile based grid 'underneath' the poly mesh landscape.
- Animals concerns the presence and effects of animals, each of which is in effect a simple subsystem in its own right. They are unlocked from Animal Statues.
We will discuss each in turn.
2.2 Avatar: Erelim
The player's Avatar is a cluster of little glowing lights; possibly but not necessarily as a particle system. It fills about a cubic metre. This is an Erelim (in Jewish tradition, the angels which guard over Eden). They are described as being made from "white fire", although the avatar will be able to glow different colours.
The player's abilities are as follows:
- View the environment. At any given time, the avatar is always positioned at a plant (tile) or an animal. The player turns left and right to rotate their view and look around.
- Move to a new plant or animal. When the player pushes forward., their collection of glowing lights begin to flow into a line, stretching out from the current position to new positions up to 2 metres away. This happens very rapidly. If the tip of the avatar intersects with the tile (or bounding box) of another plant of animal, the player moves there.
- Growing plants is achieved by pressing the Action button. All face buttons do this. The plants then grow as if viewed in time lapse photography. While growing a plant, the player's avatar should pulse rhythmically as growth occurs around it.
- Riding an animal or plant (e.g. Dandelion seeds) to a new location happens automatically when the player presses the Action button on a fully grown plant (or on an animal). The player will move around the environment in some fashion, dependent upon the plant or animal being ridden. As with plants, when riding an animal, the player's presence is shown as a glow around the animal itself.
These are all the players' abilities.
2.3 The Player's Goal
The player's goal is always to grow new plants in order to reach and explore new areas, or to reach the thresholds of plant growth required to unlock the animals in particular Gardens.
The ultimate goal is to grow the Tree of Life in the centre of Eden to full size. The maximum size of this tree is determined by the percentage of all plant and animal life the player has grown.
Grow the current plant in time lapse, or begin riding the current animal/plant when appropriate.
When riding, press Action again to cease riding, when applicable.
|Action and Top Down View
As above, but the camera view tilts to give a panned back top down view. Press again to cancel top down view. (Toggles top down view).
Turn 90 degrees left
Turn 90 degrees right
Move Sideways to Left if possible i.e. stretch out lights to the left to see if there is a legitimate plant or animal there
Move Sideways to Right if possible i.e. stretch out lights to the right to see if there is a legitimate plant or animal there
One play session of Eden lasts 30 minutes. This interval is called a Day.
A sun should rise in the East of the skybox and set in the West of the skybox, being directly overhead 15 minutes into the Day.
When 30 minutes have passed, the sun sets. The player's view of the world fades. Then, progress is saved.
The player is treated to some static camera views of some of the Gardens they have grown that day.
After a Day is concluded, Night occurs. This happens off camera - the player never sees it.
In order to limit the amount of data that must be recorded about the world, certain growth processes and progress that the player makes is 'banked'. This is discussed later in this document.
The net result is that some of the player's achievements will be lost during Night.
The landscape is built from a poly mesh. The actual physical shape of the landscape can be generated by fractal noise synthesis or by hand.
Individual Gardens are bounded by rivers and mountainous ridges. The player can cross these using the abilities of various plants and animals (especially Dandelions - see below).
The underlying game structure of the landscape is mediated by a series of 1 metre square tiles. Each of these tiles can have one of a number of different states, e.g. Barren, Dirt, Grass, Earth, Flower etc.
It is important to distinguish between the identity of a Tile and the current state of a Tile.
Whenever we are talking about a Tile identity, the keyword Tile will always be present. Therefore 'Flower Tile' refers to a tile of the type: Flower, whilst 'Flower' refers to a specific flower (which may or may not be growing on a Flower Tile).
Tiles are discussed in more detail below.
Animals are special elements in environments. They don't do anything unless the player rides them (although we may wish to have them move around when idle).
These are very simply animated - because the game uses time lapse effects, they do not need to be detailed. They should also be modelled very simply, like the animals in Katamari Damacy, as illustrated below.
All types of Animal are initially unlocked from an Animal Statue. Each Animal Statue has a condition for the Garden it is in, relating to a specific plant e.g. Grass, or Flowers. When all the plants of that given species have been grown in that Garden, the Animal Statue becomes activated, and the corresponding animal comes into play (starting only in that Garden).
3.2 Types of Tile
The world consists of tiles. One of the key ways the game develops is that there is a difference between the internal game representation of a tile, and how it is currently displayed. The internal representation describes the 'maximum' state of the tile - but the current state of the tile will be something simpler, until the player has completed all necessary steps.
|Grass||Patch||Grass (1)||Grass (1)||Grass (1)||Grass (1)|
|Grass (2)||Grass (2)||Grass (2)||Tree Patch|
This process will be made clearer as the individual plants are discussed.
3.3 Types of Ground Tile
There are in effect four broad types of ground tile, as indicated in the previous table:
- Barren (Grey): infertile ground.
- Dirt (Grey-Brown): the basic type of ground. Only Grass and Dandelions grow on Dirt.
- Earth (Brown): Grass, Flowers and Vines all grow on Earth.
- Soil (Red-Brown): this is the most advanced type of ground, being the only ground that will support Trees. Only Trees and Grass grow on Soil.
The actual colours for ground tiles in particular Gardens may vary. For instance, on the coastline, we will want Barren tiles to be yellow and represent sand.
Water is intended to be a separate polygonal mesh to the landscape. As such, tiles can be positioned underwater. In general, a tile beneath water can only be in a Barren, Dirt or Earth state and will always be in the 'highest' of these states i.e. a Flower tile will be in Earth state.
It is possible for water flow to be altered, thus exposing any tiles under the water.
Similarly, it is possible for tiles that are exposed to become 'flooded' again. Any such tiles revert to being Barren, Dirt or Earth according to their nature.
3.5.1 Eden Map
The construction of individual Gardens should be achieved by dividing an overall map for the whole of Eden. This landscape can be constructed using fractal noise synthesis or any other technique.
It is suggested to construct the shape of Eden as follows:
- At the centre, a raised plateau (where the Tree of Life - the centre of the world - will be placed).
- Around the central plateau, a larger hillside 'island', surrounded on most sides by steep cliffs.
- A large coastline section, lower than the hillside section, just above sea level.
- Surrounding the large central island, a set of smaller islands of varying different sizes.
This overall map will be divided into a set of Gardens, whose boundaries will be defined on an ad hoc basis (that is, their borders can be any shape).
Therefore, the level designer will first begin by the player defining the boundaries of a specific Garden, then go on to specify the composition of that Garden.
3.5.2 Garden Size
Each Garden should consist of no more than 10,000 tiles. This could be a 100x100 square Garden, or a 20 x 500 long and thin Garden.
It is suggested, but not essential, that the dimensions of each Garden fit within the following ranges:
- Maximum length/width: 200 tiles-sides
- Minimum length/width: 20 tiles-sides
- Maximum area covered: 10,000 tiles.
3.5.3 Garden Borders
Each Garden is bounded on each side by a mountainous ridge, a cliff, or a river. It is essential that each Garden is bordered on all sides, although small connecting routes are permitted.
3.5.4 Expanding Eden
The initial build of the game would consist of the plateau area around the Tree of Life at the centre of Eden.
Subsequent Sprints would add more Gardens around this central plateau, thus gradually expanding the world. In the event that the full landscape cannot be added for any reason, the sea level can be raised, hiding the uncompleted landscape areas 'beneath the waves'.
4.1 Types of Plant
There are only five basic types of plant, plus Mushrooms, which are treated in some ways as a Plant and in some ways as an Animal.
|Plant||Seedling Version||Fully Grown||Effects|
|Grass||Single Blade||Patch of Grass||Free Move|
|Dandelion||Shoot||"Dandelion Clock"||Air Dispersal|
|Tree||Sapling||Fruit Tree||Fruit Dispersal|
|Vine||Single Vine Leaf||Vine Carpet||Free Move|
Varieties of Plants
In early builds, there will be only one version of each plant. However, in future sprints it is expected to add different versions of the plants e.g. different trees and flowers, to provide diversity. Ultimately, most of the Gardens in the game should have a unique appearance, either from the nature of the landscape, or the combination of plants within it.
The player can grow Grass on any tile except Barren tiles (which is always infertile).
In order to begin growing Grass, the player must find a Grass Seedling (which should look like a single blade of grass).
When the player Grows a Grass Seedling, it grows all the neighbouring tiles into Grass (except for Barren tiles or anything which is already in a more advanced state than Grass); the grass growing time lapse effect will flow across the landscape, carpeting it in green.
Most Gardens will have a Grass Seedling somewhere within them.
Some Gardens will require Grass Seedlings to be brought in by the action of grazing animals such as Deer (which eat grass and excrete grass seeds into new areas).
4.2.2 Free Move
The player can move freely over areas with Grass in them. That is, the player can move forward (and backwards) without restriction provided they are inside the bounding area of a field of Grass.
At the edge of the Grass field, they revert to the 'stretching' behaviour described before, in which the player's lights attempt to extend further away from their current location.
4.2.3 Types of Grass
There are in effect 3 different types of grass:
- Grass: this is "True Grass", which is to say Grass that is grown on a Grass tile (a tile which can only support grass).
- Grass (1): this looks identical to "True Grass", but is grown on Flower, Vine or Tree tiles.
- Grass (2): this should look lusher than "True Grass", as it is growing on the more fertile Earth tiles. Flower and Vine tiles support Grass (2). It can be identical to "True Grass" but taller.
Additionally, there are two types of Patch:
- Patch: this is a circular of Dirt in a patch of "True Grass" where a Dandelion can grow.
- Tree Patch: this is a circular earth space in a patch of Grass (2) where a Tree can grow.
Dandelions only grow on Dandelion tiles.
When the player grows Grass, a Dandelion tile becomes a Patch - it will look like a Grass tile, but with a circular 'dirt' patch in the centre.
The first Dandelion is grown from a Dandelion Seedling. However, this Dandelion can then be used to populate a wide area.
When fully grown, the Dandelion is depicted as a "Dandelion Clock" (as illustrated above).
4.3.2 Air Dispersal Rails
When the player uses the Action button on a Dandelion Clock, they will temporarily become a single Dandelion Seed, which will traverse a pre-defined route (an "Air Dispersal Rail" or "Air Rail") and land at a new Dandelion tile somewhere else, forming a new Dandelion Seedling.
Multiple Air Dispersal Rails can lead from a single Dandelion. Each rail is predefined during the level design process.
This works on the basis of the direction the player is facing when they trigger the Dandelion.
4.3.3 Choosing a Rail
There are a maximum of four different rails from each Dandelion. These correspond to the cardinal directions, North, South, East and West.
When the player is occupying a Dandelion Clock, the glowing lights which form up their avatar automatically stretch out along the legitimate rails (such that the player can see, broadly speaking) the different directions they can fly to from this Dandelion.
When the player presses Action on a Dandelion Clock, they automatically travel along the Air Dispersal Rail which is closest (in angle) to the direction the player is facing.
In Gardens with Mushrooms present, there will be one (or more) Mushrooms Tiles placed.
A Mushroom Tile can have five states - Dirt or Earth, Grass (1) or Grass (2) and Mushroom.
The Mushroom state is depicted as a Mushroom growing on Earth.
As well as Mushroom Tiles, there are also "free roaming" Mushrooms (which are in effect a type of Animal - see below). These can be placed anywhere, but they do not persist being removed at Night.
If the player leaves their current Garden, when they re-enter, the only Mushrooms that remain will be those at Mushroom Tiles.
4.4.2 Riding Mushrooms: Spores
When the player rides a Mushroom, it produces a spore cloud, which expands to a circle with 1 metre radius.
New Mushrooms then grow at all points in this 1 metre radius circle. The player moves automatically to the Mushroom on this circle that is in the direction they are facing. (The original Mushroom then dies and is removed).
If the player continues to Ride the Mushrooms, the new Mushroom they are on then spores, as above. This process will repeat as long as the player rides the Mushroom, although spores which land on mountainous ground or Barren tiles will die and are ignored.
Any Mushroom which lands such that it intersects another Mushroom is ignored.
This process is depicted in the diagram to the right, which shows how a single Mushroom can be expanded into a set of intersecting circles of Mushrooms.
There should be a maximum number of Mushrooms allowed in each Garden; when the limit is reached "free roaming" Mushrooms are removed, oldest first.
The transformation from Dirt to Earth (or Soil) is called Enrichment.
Any Flower, Vine or Tree tile in a Dirt or Grass (1) state which has a Mushroom positioned anywhere that intersects with that tile becomes immediately transformed into its Earth state.
Additionally, any Mushroom tile which has a Mushroom positioned anywhere that intersects with that tile goes into its Mushroom state. Remove any "free roaming" Mushrooms.
4.4.4 Mushroom Tiles and the Grass (2) State
When the player spores a Mushroom, it vanishes. This happens to Mushroom tiles as well as "free roaming mushrooms".
A Mushroom tile therefore enters its Earth state when the player rides it.
If the player then grows Grass nearby, the Mushroom tile will enter its Grass (2) state.
If a Mushroom grows on a Mushroom tile in the Grass (1) or (2) state, it immediately enters its Mushroom State. (The Mushroom should be seen to grow with its usual time lapse effect).
4.4.5 Re-entering Gardens with Mushroom Tiles
When the player returns to a Garden, any Mushroom Tiles in the Earth or Grass (2) state automatically go into their Mushroom state.
This ensures the player always has access to Mushrooms that they have already grown in a particular Garden.
4.4.6 Special Mushrooms
In places where the Mushrooms are special for some reason (especially, anywhere that Mushrooms are required to activate an Animal Statue), more prominent red mushrooms like fly agaric (pictured) should be used.
Flowers grow on Flower and Vine tiles.
Flowers are grown from Flower Seedlings.
The player must use animals to produce new Flower Seedlings through pollination.
Various animals can be used to pollinate flowers, in particular Butterflies and Bees. Pollinators only move from Flower to Flower (although Bees also travel to Trees).
When the player is riding a Pollinator, and that Pollinator is at a Flower, the Flower automatically produces new Flower Seedlings at all Flower and Vine tiles within 3 metres (except those that are already occupied by Flowers or Vines).
When riding a Pollinator, the player still grows Flowers (via time lapse effects), and therefore the player can, for instance, use a Pollinator to 'grow' along a chain of Flower tiles.
Only Flower Seedlings within 1.5 metres of the Pollinator/Avatar's position are grown while riding a Pollinator.
Chains of Flower Tiles can therefore be used to link to new or hidden areas.
Many different colours of Flowers will be used. Each Garden can have its own different coloured Flower, if desired.
Trees grow on Tree tiles only.
The player can see where Trees can be grown when they convert Dirt tiles to Earth tiles by the process of Enrichment (see below), as they become marked with Tree Patches (gaps in the grass).
Trees are grown from either Saplings (Tree Seedlings) or Fruit.
4.6.2 Fruit Dispersal by Water
When a fully grown Tree enters time lapse because the player presses Action, it produces fruit (apples by default - later, we will have more varieties of tree).
One fruit then drops to the base of the tree. The landing site for the fruit is defined when the Tree tile is placed and is known as a Fruit Target (this is a positional point, not a tile).
If the Fruit Target is over water, the fruit will float downstream, following a Water Rail to a Soil point further downstream (like the Dandelion Air Rails, these rails are preset during level design).
The player rides the fruit to its destination.
If there is a Tree tile in its Soil state at the destination, the player can immediately grow a tree there.
Otherwise, the Fruit either disappears when the player leaves the Garden in question, or rots if the player uses their Action button to enter time lapse.
If the Fruit Target is not over water, it will remain where it fell. If the player presses their Action button again to advance time, it rapidly rots.
4.6.3 Fruit Dispersal by Animal
If there is a fruit-eating animal (a Frugivore) in an area with a Tree, and the player rides them, the animal will go to the fruit tree and eat fruit (which falls off the Tree during time lapse). It will then automatically travel to the nearest Tree tile without a tree, and cause a sapling to appear there.
Vines grow on the ground on Vine tiles. Additionally, a special vine covered tree (Vine Tree) will grow on a Tree tile.
Vines grow from a Vine Seedling.
When the player grows a Vine Seedling, it grows all the neighbouring Vine tiles into Vines if they were already in the Earth, Grass (2) or Flower states. Additionally, all the neighbouring Tree tiles that are in a Tree state go into a Vine Tree state. The vine growing time lapse effect will flow across the landscape, carpeting it in green vines.
Vines are the last stage of plant growth in any Garden.
4.7.2 Unlocking Vines
Vines will not be available to the player until much later in the game. The player will have to find the place in the world where the Vine Seedling is placed in order to acquire vines. After this point, they can begin growing vines across the entire world.
Unlike Grass, which spreads everywhere automatically, the player will have to ensure that the landscape is developed to at least the Earth state before they can begin spreading vines.
4.7.3 Free Move
The player can move freely over areas with Vines in them, just as they could with Grass. That is, the player can move forward (and backwards) without restriction provided they are inside the bounding area of a field of Vines.
The players rate of movement over Vines should by about 50% faster than over Grass.
4.8 Tile States
The following, therefore, is the complete collection of tile states. An X indicates the State is valid for that type of Tile:
The tile system must be extensible, as it is certain that additional types of tile will need to be added. In particular, each type of Animal has at least one type of tile associated with it.
5.1 Types of Animal
There are many different types of animals that could be used. However, certain categories are pre-defined:
- Enrichers like Earthworms, which turn Dirt into Earth/Soil.
- Pollinators like Butterflies, which create Flower Seedlings from Flowers.
- Grazers like Deer, which can create Grass Seedlings.
- Frugivores like Hedgehogs, which can create Saplings from Fruit.
- Landscapers like Beavers, which can alter the shape of the landscape.
Additionally, many animals act as 'rails' that the player can ride from one place to another, although not all animals are faster than travelling the normal way.
5.2 Animal Statues
In most Gardens, there will be an Animal Statue. This status indicates that a new animal species can be awoken (unlocked) there.
To awaken the animal, it is necessary to get all of the tiles of a particular type to their appropriate state.
The colour of the Animal Statues reflects the tile/plant that is involved in unlocking them:
|Governing Plant||Plant Colour||Statue Colour|
|Dandelions||Yellow, Green / WHite||Yellow|
|Mushrooms||Red (Fly Agaric)||Red|
|Trees||Green / Brown||Brown|
|Vines||Dark Green||Dark Green|
Each status is made of the same material, but 'painted' a different colour. Wood may be the best choice of material, but the artists can make a decision based upon their own aesthetic judgement.
5.3 Common Elements
Animals move when the player rides them.
Animals do not move freely. Rather, they are given a specified path. This path may include sections that go through normally blocked paths (for instance, across a river). In this event, if the animal reaches this point, then turns back on its path.
Some animal paths will be circular, and some will be straight lines.
Additionally, some animals move by Rubric rather than by Path. For instance, when the player rides a Butterfly, it travels to the nearest Flower or Flower Seedling at any given time.
5.3.2 Animal Tiles
Many maps will have specified Animal Tiles.
Each Animal Tile clones the appearance and behaviour of another type of tile, e.g. a Barren tile, or a Tree tile.
They have two states: Dormant and Active. All Animal Tiles begin in the Dormant state.
When an Animal Statue is awakened, the location of the Statue becomes an Animal tile for that animal in the Active state.
When an Animal enters a new Garden, if there is an Animal Tile in that Garden in the Dormant state, it switches (permanently) into the Active state.
When the player enters a Garden, there will be the appropriate Animal present at any Animal Tiles that are Active.
Earthworms are Enrichers.
Earthworm tiles have the following states: Earth, Grass (2).
They are controlled by a rubric.
When the player rides an Earthworm, it burrows underground (disappears) and then immediately burrows up again at the nearest Mushroom, Flower, Vine or Tree tile in a Dirt state in the direction the player is facing, changing it to an Earth tile.
If there are no Mushroom, Flower, Vine or Tree tiles in a Dirt state, it burrows up again at the nearest tile in the following order of precedence: Earth state, Grass (2) state, Grass (1) state, Dirt state.
If there are no tiles in that direction, in burrows down in the current tile, and then back up again in the same place.
Butterflies are Pollinators.
Butterfly tiles have the following states: Grass (2), Flower.
They are controlled by a rubric.
When the player rides a Butterfly, the Butterfly moves to the nearest tile in a Flower state in the direction the player is facing. This flower then automatically produces new Flower Seedlings at all Flower and Vine tiles within 3 metres (except those that are already occupied by Flowers or Vines).
When riding a Butterfly, the player still grows Flowers (via time lapse effects), and therefore the player can, for instance, use a Butterfly to 'grow' along a chain of Flower tiles. However, Only Flower Seedlings within 1.5 metres of the Butterfly's position are grown while riding a Butterfly.
Bees are Pollinators.
Bee tiles have the following states: Tree (with Bee hive), Vine Tree (with Bee hive).
They follow a defined path.
When the player rides a Bee, every tile in a Flower state that is visited automatically produces new Flower Seedlings at all Flower and Vine tiles within 3 metres (except those that are already occupied by Flowers or Vines).
When riding a Bee, the player still grows Flowers (via time lapse effects). However, Only Flower Seedlings within 1.5 metres of the Bee's position are grown while riding a Bee.
Rabbits are Grazers.
Rabbit tiles have the following states: Grass (2)
They follow a defined path.
Rabbit paths may include Burrows. These are two linked points - the Rabbit enters the first Burrow, and emerges at the second Burrow. These may be in different Gardens, meaning that Rabbit paths may pass through ridges or other height-based barriers allowing the player to reach new areas.
When the player rides a Rabbit, every tile in a Dirt tile intersected goes into a Grass/Grass (1) state, and every Earth tile intersected goes into a Grass (2) state. Additionally, Dandelion tiles in a Dirt state go to a Patch state, and Tree tiles in a Soil state go into a Tree Patch state.
Deer are Grazers.
Deer tiles have the following states: Grass (2)
They follow a defined path. However, unlike other animals, Deer paths can pass through water - provided the depth of the water would not put the Deer's head below the level of the water. (If this happens, the Deer will turn back).
When the player rides a Deer, every tile in a Dirt tile intersected goes into a Grass/Grass (1) state, and every Earth tile intersected goes into a Grass (2) state. Additionally, Dandelion tiles in a Dirt state go to a Patch state, and Tree tiles in a Soil state go into a Tree Patch state.
Hedgehogs are Frugivores. (Technically, they are omnivorous, eating mostly worms and insects - but they do eat fruit).
Hedgehog tiles have the following states: Grass (2)
They follow a defined path.
When the player rides a Hedgehog, nothing happens unless the Hedgehog's path intersects with a Fruit Target.
While a Hedgehog is at a Fruit Target, it stops, a fruit drops and is eaten (in time lapse). From this point until the player ceases to ride the Hedgehog, the Hedgehog is "Armed".
When the player is riding an "Armed Hedgehog", every Tree tile that is in an Earth or Tree Patch state becomes a Sapling, which immediately time lapses into a Tree.
Beavers are Landscapers.
Beaver tiles have the following states: Lodge.
Beaver tiles are always in positions where they will be surrounded by water (this is left to the level designers to resolve).
Beavers follow defined paths. In essence, Beaver paths consist of a number of different Beaver tiles. Every time the player rides a Beaver, the current Dam (if any) collapses in time lapse, and the Beaver itself travels to its next Dam site, and builds a dam there in time lapse.
Any river segments which are 'downstream' of an active Dam are set 'Dammed' (see Save Data) and the polygonal water mesh is removed, allowing the player to grow plants on the exposed tiles (and effectively providing a path between two Gardens).
Note: when a Beaver moves to the next Beaver tile, the previous Beaver tile becomes Dormant. The Beaver will only be found at the Beaver tile position of the current Dam.
5.11 Summary of Animal Tile States
The following table summarises the states associated with the Animal Tiles described in this section:
|Tree with Beehive||-||-||X||-||-||-||-|
|Vine Tree with Beehive||-||-||X||-||-||-||-|
6. Save Data
In order to keep the save file compact, not all data about the progress of a particularly Garden is saved at the end of a Day. This section describes a possible rubric for saving player progress.
If the programming team think that a full progress save is viable by some means, they should advise the design team accordingly. The save file should be no more than 500Kb maximum, and ideally should be less than 200Kb.
6.2 Types of Data
There are two basic types of data saved:
- All Flags (1 bit) are set TRUE for a particular plant type if all tiles of the relevant type have been set in the corresponding state.
- State Bytes record the ID of specific plant states in the level. There is a limited availability of State Bytes for each type of Plant. The game should record the ID of each plant in order of precedence, and in the order in which they were activated, and any surplus will not be recorded.
The Dandelion Bytes record the ID of the first ten (say) Dandelions grown in the Garden. If the player returns, and not all Dandelion tiles have been turned into Dandelions, these ten Dandelions will still be grown.
6.3 Data Liability
The following All Flags are required:
- All Grass 1: TRUE if all the Grass in a Garden has been grown. Every time the player returns, all tiles (except Barren tiles) will be at the Grass or Grass (1) state at the very least.
- All Grass 2: as above, but for Grass (2).
- All Dandelion: TRUE if all the Dandelions in a Garden has been grown. Every time the player returns, all Dandelion tiles will have Dandelions on them.
- All Earth: TRUE if all possible tiles with a Dirt state have ever been upgraded to Earth or Soil. Every time the player returns, all relevant tiles will start in the Earth or Soil state.
- All Flowers: TRUE if all the Flowers in a Garden has been grown. Every time the player returns, all Flower tiles (and, when appropriate, Vine tiles) will have Flowers on them.
- All Trees: TRUE if all the Trees in a Garden has been grown. Every time the player returns, all Tree tiles will have Trees on them.
- All Vines: TRUE if all the Vines in a Garden has been grown. Every time the player returns, all Vine tiles will have Vines on them, and all Tree tiles which have a Tree upon them will have a Vine Tree instead.
Additionally, the following flags can also set:
- Mushrooms: TRUE if any of the Mushroom tiles in a Garden has been grown into Mushrooms. Every time the player returns, all Mushroom tiles will start with Mushrooms on them.
- Dammed: TRUE if the river flowing along the edge of the Garden is dammed upstream i.e. the tiles under the river are exposed. No Garden can have more than one river, and rivers always run along the boundary edges of Gardens.
- Animals: Flags amounting to no more than 10 BYTES, reflecting the animals allowed in that Garden. Each bit reflects whether the relevant Animal Tiles will be Active or not, therefore 80 different types of Animal are allowed for in total. (This should be considerably in excess of the number actually needed).
Total liability for Flags: 6 Bytes per Garden.
6.3.2 State Bytes
The following allocations of State Bytes are suggested for each Garden:
|State||Number of IDs to Store||Bytes Needed|
It is assumed the ID of the plant in question will be its x and y co-ordinates in the Garden. Therefore, values of up to 100 in two dimensions are needed, ergo 2 Bytes per ID.
If possible, Flower tiles in a Flower state should have their IDs saved before the IDs of any Vine tiles that are in a Flower state. Similarly, Grass tiles in a Grass state should have their IDs saved before the IDs of any Flower, Tree or Vine tiles in a Grass (1) state.
6.3.4 Estimated Total Data Liability
Approximately 200K per save file.
7. Target Audience
7.1 Evangelist Clusters
Evangelist clusters represent sections of the audience for the game with the potential and intent to spread knowledge of the game to a wider audience. The evangelist clusters for the game would be:
- H3 Wanderers (looking for a unique experience): a "Hardcore" gaming cluster (based on self-assessment and number of games purchased), this cluster is mixed gender and samples many different games over the course of each year. Their interest in novelty and artistry should aid in reaching them with this product. About 20% of Specialist Press reviewers fall into this cluster - these should be targeted by the game's PR drive.
- H2 Managers (looking for systems & puzzles): Dynamic systems appeal to this cluster. The original yet intuitive mechanics of Eden will appeal to players preferring this play style. Although there are many H2 type players in the specialist press they are unlikely evangelists, as they tend mostly to review strategy games.
7.2 Target Clusters
Target clusters are the wider audience being targeted. The target clusters for the game would be:
- C3 Wanderers: related to the H3, these have similar game habits to the H3's but play fewer games each year. They are attracted to novelty, and will buy into the game if it is recommended to them. If word-of-mouth for the game is significant, this cluster can drive game sales to levels above typical budget products.
- C4 Participant: a mass market cluster drawn to emotional involvement in games, either via multiplayer scenarios, stories or emotional connections. Eden provides a sandbox playground for such players which should appeal. However, there is no known, cost-effective way to market to this cluster - they must be recommended the game by word of mouth. The size of this cluster (which was responsible for the market success of The Sims) is significant enough that even a small capture rate will result in large unit sales.
7.3 Market Vector
The planned market vector for this game therefore consists of the following:
Orange squares represent sales primarily from hardcore gamers, whilst blue squares represent sales to a mass market audience.
Transition from H2 to C3 (dotted arrow) is most likely be a male H2 showing the game to friends, and therefore uptake from these vectors will be lower Conversely, transitions from H3 to C3 or C4 are more likely to be a friend making a recommendation for purchase, and therefore should help drive sales. Similarly, the arrow from C3 to C4 is likely to be a recommendation for purchase.
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