Cosmic Bang (1 of 5)
This 5-part-series will highlight some of our development processes while creating our incremental shooter, CosmoTap.
As one of the pioneering teams for our foray into mobile territory, we decided our first little gem should be an incremental game. Taking into account the project will be run during a transitional phase within our company environment, the size of an incremental genre is more manageable. Secondly, with a small project like CosmoTap on our hands, the theme can also be a fresh departure from the traditional medieval high-fantasy that our artists are used to. A fresh little escape, so, to space it was!
In my mind an Incremental game has always been a genre, some people define these as Idle Games as well, but personally I categorize Idle Games as a sub-genre of incremental games. For example, an idle game such as Adventure Capitalist is a low-interaction incremental game, whereas Clicker Heroes is high-interaction incremental game. Tap Titans is also high-interaction but with limited idle elements (gold you gain from being idle, heroes helping you attack), you get the idea.
"It’s only when you make Progression the dominant core of your game, that it crosses the line and delves into the realms of Incremental."
The concept of Progression lies smack-bang in the middle of the Incremental genre. Progression is primal and exists in ALL games, incremental or not. It’s only when you make Progression the dominant core of your game, that it crosses the line and delves into the realms of Incremental. This is where most detractors of this genre hold their grudge, in the grind. “Skinner box!” One camp of designers shouted, “Grind-fest!” The other group retorted. Sure, often there are no grandiose stories, elegant AI scripting or much in mesmerizing game system in incremental games. But as a designer previously swimming in the sea of unwieldy MMORPG systems, Incremental Games are ZEN! In fact, I’d encourage all designers to design or attempt an incremental game at least once, even as an exercise.
CosmoTap helped our team focus, stripping away most of the bells & whistles of complex games. Similar to preliminary art classes doing continuous line drawings, or composition exercises with basic shapes. The design process is minimalistic, and most of your design challenges come at you in one dimension. This genre defined our development approach and in the coming parts of this post I wish to shed light on some of the development challenges, failures and successes we had on this journey- To Incrementals and Beyond!