Probe It!

A Game Proposal by Norman Papernick
norm AT

Checkpoint 1

Checkpoint 3

Device creation and exploration.
The Game
Probe It! is divided into two related subgames. The first is probe design and customization. The player is given a simple mobile space probe as a base. They are given a fixed amount of money to spend on parts that could be added to the probe. There might also be a weight limit which can be ignored for the sake of fun. They will be given an lab like space and a park like environment to test the device and become familiar with how it runs.

In the second half, the probe is launched into space. Perhaps it lands on the Moon, or a comet, or Venus, or Io or somewhere else that is cool. Then they go around taking pictures of neat things that happen to be in the location.

The target audience will initially be children between the ages of 8 to 13. The goal of the game is to encourage interest in science and exploration. This means the language of the game must be simple to understand. The controls must be very easy and self explanitory.

Technical Features
Will Have
  • Probe Creation Engine.
    The player must be able to select a part from a list of options and add it to the probe. If it is an upgrade to an existing part, the old one should return to the list. If it is in conflict with an existing part, the user should be told and the part not added. Each part of the probe should be upgradable with at least one "better" feature. Things to add: locomotion, power, camera,
  • Probe Driving Controls.
    The player should be able to move the probe on command. The player should also be able to take a picture of the current scene. Any special features that were added during creation that require activation (arms, flare launchers, bait wiggler) should be accessible from a control panel that retracts when not in use.
  • Terrain
    One test terrain and one exploratory terrain. There must be enough artwork in the exploratory terrian to keep the user busy for five (5) minutes. Perhaps an estimate of one piece per 30 seconds.
  • Photo Browser
    On completion of the mission, the player can browse through the picture collection and see what they captured on film.
Want to Have
  • Bits to be Added to the Probe
    Select from different kinds of locomotion (wheels, legs, treads, wings, balloons), sensors (visable, ir, cool-o-vision), appendages. The probe should interact properly with any terrian that it meets.
  • Random Content Generation
    Take a set of simple models that can be combined in various ways. Add a set of interchangable textures for those models. Mix with a set of "behaviours" such as Timid, Curious and Agressive. Put the into the field of view of the probe.
Might Have
  • Automatic Terrain Building
    Have the exploratory terrain built on the fly.
  • Reconfiguration
    Allow the probe to change shape or configuration while exploring to overcome obstecles.
  • Probe Jr.
    Semi-autonomous simple probes that are under high level control by the player. The player can select from simple behaviours for them and monitor the results.
  • Time limits
    The player will have a limited amount of time to complete the probe before the launch window expires.
  • Competition
    The Other Guy is also working on a probe. Get there before him and take more pictures!
  • Trophey Hunt
    Have the probe take more than pictures. I'm not confident about this one.