10.3 - Junk and Rule Breaking

Idea for

October 15, 2010


After that we actually split up into two different groups and developed two ideas. The first was about manipulating and building stuff out of junk. The second idea was about breaking rules such as gameplay rules, rules of society and patterns/routines.


includes topics that expand on the theme

Rather than starting by brainstorming themes we actually started with an Essential Experience. Some of the suggestions were:
-Losing a loved one
-managing the controls of a complicated machine, like Steel Batallion
-launching an object (with a huge explosion), like warthogs in halo
-doing things “against the rules”
-the fun of falling
-making stuff out of junk
-exploring ruins+discovering the past
-the feeling of teaching others
-being absolutely helpless
-the joy of bodily functions, as felt when ripping a big one

but the ones we decided on were "Building stuff out of junk" and "the feeling of breaking rules, usually evoked by a reaction from the rule system you are breaking"

Junk: The team with this intial idea created a mind map of related concepts which was pretty much an exhaustive list of all the possible directions that the idea could be taken and elements that the game could contain.

Rules: This team was dealing with a more abstract design problem. They discussed different types of rules and how they could be broken. It was quite challenging to address this abstract concept in the context of a game design.


game genre with possible significant changes or important points


Rules: whatever genre Majora's Mask would be if the entire game took place in town.


individual gameplay mechanics and mechanics categorized by system


The rules being broken would be those of various in-game institutions, such as your job, your society, your personal life, etc.
Breaking these rules makes you lose "points," which are in-narrative elements of the institutions. Losing too many leads to a game over, so sometimes you need to break the rules without letting people know. However, the player can only progress along the critical path by breaking rules.

Time in the game is continuous, following a daily schedule, like Majora's Mask.
The player has a schedule they're expected to follow, those being their job. NPCs also have a daily schedule. Interfering with these schedules makes the player lose points.

Some examples of ways the player might "break the rules" include:
-Being in forbidden places.
-Messing up a production line. For example, drawing a moustache on a newspaper picture, and all the newspapers around town the next day have moustaches on them.
-Rearranging the letters on a sign into something funny.
-Invading someone's personal space, simply by getting too close.
-Not wearing pants.

The specifics of the mechanics proved hard to tie down. We decided the player could at least move freely and talk to people, and probably pick up objects and place them elsewhere. We're not sure if there are elements of action/performance, or what the core challenge of the game is.


narrative elements concerning plot, characters, world


The game takes place in an extremely stodgy, uptight town. The player should begin the game feeling stifled by the town's artificial rules and taboos, which need to be obeyed for "points." If the player obeys them for points, the game won't progress, so it's only by breaking the rules that the player really has fun. Thus, the player will begin to rebel, first losing their job, then becoming a social outcast. Near the end, they'll start breaking the rules of the game itself, leading to glitches and general mindfuckery.


includes GDC members who contributed to this idea and were present during the discussion


Additional Comments

After the meeting if you have any additional ideas or comments please keep them in this section

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