Pre Mortem: Let's Player Simulator
Updated 7 months ago
A possible lecture on embracing waking-calls and not getting stuck on concepts/projects that tend to lead nowhere
LP Sim was a game I worked on several years ago, in fact my first rather big game, that was supposed to somewhat simulate the life of a Let's Player as he starts out with barely any equipment nor viewers and by making him create videos, as well as managing, what type of genre he plays and how long each video would be, he would slowly gain more subscribers to unlock better equipment, licenses to certain games or perks.

The game would play in real time, so that the amount of actions like creating a video would depend on the energy you have for the current day. A further gimmick was that you lose some money every day and at the beginning would have to send your character to work for a predefined amount of hours in which you can't interact with him, so that you counteract the costs of living.

The whole look and aesthetic was voxel-based (all objects were created with MagicaVoxel). You start out with a room that can be interacted with and upgraded over time. By clicking on the wardrobe you could customize the look of the character and environment, you could water the plant by clicking on it to prevent it from drying out; clicking on the bed made the character go to sleep early on to regain energy and clicking on the PC opened the video manager.

As it was my first real game, I got pretty much stuck on how to design the managing aspect of the game and couldn't really make it a fun experience for the player. Because of this and because of dissatisfactory of how the game and its UI looked, I ultimately discontinued this project, as it wasn't even that much fun to work on anymore and took way too much time to progress in development. I kept stalling that core part of managing videos for lack of a clear concept for so long, that I kept adding stuff around it, that were neither necessary, nor helped progressing in the game and as time goes, frustration grows.

After around three years of developing next to the German equivalent of high-school, I called it quits and started pursuing a different game-idea. I guess the morale is to not get stuck on a problem for too long, as you tend to fall down a deep whole the longer you wait and it gets harder and harder to get out of it while trying to finish the project. In such a case, it should be better to start on a different project to get a clear head, and maybe revisit the abandoned project after more experience. Also don't start with any difficult genre as your first game, namely RPG, strategy and simulation games.

A few years later games like TuberSimulator and its copycats came out that were in a similar fashion, though even as a possible forerunner I probably wouldn't have succeeded in making this game worthwhile, mainly from the look and gameplay aspects.
As part of the unnecessary side-activity I did while waiting for inspiration to strike upon me, I started to design a few mini-games that you were optionally supposed to play while the main character was off to work or asleep. One of them got pretty close to completion, and as I will likely not continue working on them, I guess there would be no problem in showcasing their concepts in case someone wants to adapt from them:
A mini-game in which you tap repeatedly and successively on the left and right button to make the character jump up one stair. The main gimmick is, that you are not allowed to tap any slower than the time between your last two taps, otherwise it restarts. This means, that you are ideally supposed to keep the same rhythm going while also making sure not to get any slower, which ultimately results in the player having to go faster and faster until he slips up. The goal is to jump up as many stairs as possible. You can also not cheat the system by starting off very slowly, because you also fail if the gap between your last two taps has to be smaller than a second.

A tamagotchi-like grow-your-own-pet kind of game, in which you start out as a 3D pixel, care for it daily by feeding and washing it and depending on how much treatment it gets, it grows into different creatures, evolving into a more detailed version with every step in evolution. It would walk around in an interactive room and has more needs the bigger it gets.

3D Snake:
An adaption of the old-school snake game in which you push down pillars around the snake-head to make it move into that direction to navigate it towards the next cube to pick up, so that it grows bigger, until it touches its own tail.

Thanks for reading!
Generalist - Designer