Game Idea: Donut Drop

Mar 1


This is an idea I’ve been thinking about for a while. I was really excited about making a flash game for the PSP last summer when I was working on Sunken Treasure. I could never get Sunken Treasure optimized enough to run at an acceptable speed on the PSP though. I realized that a puzzle game would be much more suited to the PSP’s slow speed. Something slower-paced, with minimal animation should work fine without showing any of the speed limitations. I also really wanted to take advantage of having the game running on a handheld device. I like that you can rotate the screen in your hands, either to create a tall narrow screen, or to look at things from a different angle.

I read somewhere that in one of the old Castlevania games, once you beat the last boss in the castle, the whole castle flipped upside down and you played the second half of the game on the ceiling, creating a whole new set of obstacles. I thought this could be particularly cool for a handheld, because you could actually physically flip the screen and play that way for a while, then flip it back to normal.

Gameplay sketch
I came up the idea of making block-pushing style puzzle game. In this game you play as a baker who needs to push these giant donuts into coffee cups (or bakery boxes?) of the same color. There would be platforms and obstacles to navigate. Pressing one of the PSPs buttons would flip the gravity in the world, causing the baker and the donuts to fall up to the ceiling. At this point you would physically flip your PSP over, push the donuts around on the ceiling, align them over the cups, and flip the screen back to make them fall into the right places. The obstacles would be arranged to create puzzles so that you have to do things in a certain order to avoid getting the donut or baker stuck in certain places.

PSP flipping diagram
The main shortcoming of this game is that the PSP has no tilt-sensing ability. The user has to trigger the software flip by pressing a button, rather than simply flipping the device and having the software react. I thought this was an acceptable compromise.

Then, in January Apple demoed the iPhone with all its flip-sensing, software-reacting glory. Now instead of an innovative gameplay idea, my game feels more like a cheap knock-off of the iPhone. I still think it’s a good idea for a game, but I’m not sure if I’ll pursue it. Maybe I can make it for the iPhone…

Baker sketches
Sketch of the baker character with oversized donut.