Some Potential Design Project Ideas

I just thought I would make a quick post and describe some design ideas I am considering working on, particularly for MFA projects that may come up. These are not all of my ideas, but I tend to have new ideas and remember other ideas quite randomly. This is just a list and short description of each. They are in no particular order (except the order given by headings). If you are interested in one project or another, or would like to see a different project, just leave a comment!

New Project Ideas

Pokémon Responsive Game Idea

This project responds to the problematic issues in the Pokémon series of games, notably the allusions to slavery and dogfighting, while tapping into the ideas of caring, puzzle-solving, and generative methods. In this game, the player befriends one or more creatures in order to solve problems in the world, maintaining a relationship with the creature, caring for it, and letting the creature grow. In particular, the creatures pay attention to the player and grow in response to the actions performed, allowing the player to tailor gameplay to their approach to the game. The original idea for the game would have the world somewhat generated, though this is less important than the world being able to be manipulated, either Minecraft or Golden Sun style.

The Epic of Sadko

This project is a parody of the epic RPG style of game, using the tropes of those games and undermining them with different framing. In particular, this game follows the story of a street performer who stumbles across a book and a prophecy is touted to send the player and Sadko on a journey. Along the way, the player meets and joins with other downtrodden or non-traditional characters who join the journey. Additionally, the group gains abilities from discarded relics and techniques and fights “battles” which are performances to convince people to give up money (which is largely useless). Using a tried story arc that follows a chosen one to destroy a book due to a prophecy, The Epic of Sadko seeks to challenge the assumptions found in many games of its kind.

The Beating of a Broken Heart

This interactive fiction project deals with telling a story about love torn apart by a medical condition through the guise of a scavenging game about making enough money to garner treatment for the next day. This game subverts conventions about interactive fiction by providing a very game-y premise, with hooks into larger themes. Players are free to play the game as it is, but might also poke around at the history of the place they are scavenging from, the delicate love story, or even the camaraderie and acceptance of other scavengers.

Assumed Identity

Interactive fiction short piece about a bellhop having to figure out who was murdered in one of the hotel rooms where you work. This game pays attention to player attention, and generates a backstory based on what the player deems important to examine.

ChoiceScript Game

This is a largely unformed project that was supposed to be a project about adapting Sleeping Beauty to a modern age, but might end up being something different. The only requirement is to use ChoiceScript and make something that supports the design philosophy for the engine. One possible idea is to make a game that follows short vignettes that lead to a final story idea dealing with being invisible in a social sense.

Written on the Skin

Started last Summer, this idea is for a game that takes a different approach to traditional MUDs, providing alternate paths for players who do not want to approach the game with combat, using authorship as a reward system, and suggesting that the game world moves on as time goes on. This game was inspired by the Job System (a somewhat common thing in Final Fantasy games), and the desire for an interrogative style of gameplay, focusing on discovery rather than achievement.


This is the game that cannot happen, but it bears mentioning. This project is an MMO project that turns the idea of a persistent world on its head, and instead uses tracking, agents and AI to create a game world where every action has an impact to change the world. More about this can be found here.

“Finished” Ideas that Need Work

The House at the End of Rosewood Street

This game features a neighborhood handyperson and the course of their life in a week, with a lot more going on beneath the surface. This game is largely done, but needs many more descriptions and details added in order for players to get a sense of what is really happening, more to do on each day to keep it interesting, though still routine-like, and drive home the horror that the game attempts to provide.

Trash: A Story of Uncertainty

This is a game about a grad student needing to meet deadlines, with obligations, technical issues and more getting in the way. The game is fairly concrete as it is, but some polish would help to bring this game from its jam state to a fully released game.

A Delicate Situation

In this game, the player takes control of a a character’s dialogue with two other characters during a very ambiguously defined delicate situation. As a jam game, many sacrifices were made to keep the complexity low and to finish on time, but much more should be done. In particular, the lines of text should be a bit more generative, or at least pay attention to more variables. Currently, the game tracks levels of relationship and tension between each character, and the dialogue is rather hand authored and deterministic.


This is a fantasy tabletop RPG system that attempts to solve some identified problems in these kinds of games by interrogating the way that characters are made, grow, and what players try to accomplish in fantasy games. This is in development, but will probably need more work when the first or second pass is finished.

My Childhood on the RS Anthony

This is a game that was designed using PGDI, my research/design tool for describing games and their players. It features a somewhat contrite plot about a child who has developed special powers, going through a narrative that suggests greater forces at play. This game needs a full redesign to be realized as a project, and so the game as a prototype is finished, but much more work needs to be done.


And that’s what I have right now. Again, feel free to comment about any of these, or ask about something I haven’t included!


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