It Begins

The End-of-Year Show’s closing means the opening of a new process: thesis! I’ve already started prototyping, and I expect that process to continue throughout the summer.

The latest concept–as yet nameless–is an abstract game loosely inspired by NBA Jam. Its rules fit easily on two pages, and you can play with the checkers set you probably have lying around. šŸ˜‰

Promoting Pawns



With the new Marvel movie just out, this is an especially propitious time to try out Embiggen. (Bonus points to those who get the reference.)

Embiggen is a game about being a protagonist. You are a character in a story. You have to face challenges that are tough, but not crushingly so, building up until you become strong enough to overcome your antagonist. Taking on overwhelming challenges will weaken you; so too will bullying opponents who aren’t at least your equal.

In game terms, you’ll play as one of two spheres, blue or yellow. Collecting red cubes that have a trail of your color causes you to grow. If you contact a sphere that doesn’t have such a trail, you’ll shrink. The game ends whenever the players come into contact; the larger player grows based on the size of the smaller, and that larger player wins.

You can get a high score simply by collecting as many red cubes as possible. To really scale up, though, you need to make your opponent gigantic as well. Every time you collect a red cube, it starts to rotate around you; not only can you use them for defense, you can also contact your opponent with them to increase your opponent’s scale. That way they’ll beĀ more valuable when you ultimately collect them.

Embiggen is very much a prototype, and it shows in weird behaviors. For example, it’s entirely possible to grow, suddenly be in contact with something that shrinks you, and immediately become smaller than you were at the get go! In addition, Unity is a bit touchy when it comes to controllers, and while there are some debug controls it’s not currently possible to play the game fully with them.

Nevertheless, Embiggen hasĀ led to some very interesting gameplay. I hope you’ll give it a try, and let me know what you think.

Embiggen is for Mac, and requires two PS4 controllers.