Blogs => Thomas' Blog => : kingthomas November 16, 2009, 10:07:51 PM

: Imagine Cup
: kingthomas November 16, 2009, 10:07:51 PM
This a thread about my Imagine Cup project. It is a simulation/RTS based in the future. I'll post some design docs soon and will be looking for some collaboration. Please feel free to comment.

The Imagine Cup is a competition sponsored by Microsoft for students. We are hoping to make a game that will be published as a result of winning this competition.

: Re: Imagine Cup
: kingthomas November 17, 2009, 01:12:32 PM
????? <- We don't have a name yet  :-\ any suggestions?
Concept Document
Austin Wade
Thomas King
Kevin King
Kami Madison
November 17, 2009
Concept Statement

In the distant future, a small colonizing unit stumbles upon a lovely green planet. The indigenous people seem very intelligent, yet they seem to not be technologically advanced, despite being surrounded by ruined, abandoned cities. Slowly, the governor of this small colony begins to find primitive video recording devices, chronicling the fall of the former inhabitants of this planet. It is revealed that this is Earth, the long abandoned home planet of humans. Humans left after a slew of problems, including environmental destruction and climate change, bring humans to the brink of extinction. The natives are actually humans that have changed into a more primitive, harmonized race.
Statement of Influence

The game mechanics are largely based on well-known RTS and simulation games, such as Stronghold 2 and WarCraft. Story is highly influenced by science-fiction works, including Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game.


In the not so distant future, people are forced to leave Earth in search of more hospitable planets, as our endless need for more resources, overcrowding, and many other problems have led to the destruction of our planet. Only a few stay be hind in an attempt to salvage the once lush homeland of mankind.

Humans as a whole slowly forget about Earth amidst the interstellar wars that plague humankind. One commander, a young Alexander Aldrin believes he knows how to end these wars once and for all. With a small fleet charged with the defense of a small solar system key the integrity of the entire nations safety, he recklessly attacks a neighboring nation. After this headstrong and imprudent move, the youngest admiral ever is demoted and assigned to the peaceful task of colonizing a newly discovered planet.

As he begins to colonize and explore the planet, he discovers a race of highly intelligent beings. These people however seem very primitive to now Captain Alexander Aldrin. He also discovers some cities, that while not advanced compared to his technology, seem far too advance for the creatures inhabiting the planet. It is slowly revealed that once some sort of beings lived here, but were forced to abandon this planet due to problems that they caused and a lack of global collaboration required to solve these problems. Eventually it is revealed that they were humans, and this is Earth.

Alexander Aldrin is not the only human attempting to recolonize Earth. Many other nations have found the long lost planet and are attempting to recolonize it as well. Once more Alexander finds himself in the middle of the war, but will his new insight be enough to change his ways or will he recklessly attack these other colonies as he had before? What he once thought of as a menial assignment will be the most important job of his career.

Player Motivation

The player takes on the role of Captain Alexander Aldrin, the governor of a small settlement on Earth. The challenges presented will increase in difficulty as the game progresses. We wish to encourage the player to continue playing to discover what has befallen the former inhabitants of this planet and ultimately decide how their character will respond to the other nations on this planet. Also, a multi-player versus mode may be added, challenging everyone to be the very best.
Unique Selling Position

This game will offer a new level of real time strategy, focusing largely on something neglected by many games of this genre, the home front. This game will initially be almost entirely focused on building a settlement, with very little physical conflict. Also, this takes a unique view of the future, on that can be very interesting and powerful.
Target Audience
We are targeting High School students and above. This game's mechanics may be a little tricky for younger people. Also, the message in the story may be lost on children. By targeting teenagers, we will be able to bring awareness of global issues to less biased, and still receptive audience that may be able to affect change in the near future.
This a real-time strategy/simulation game. It takes many of the city building ideas from a simulation or castle builder and combines that with the action and conflict of an RTS. This blend can lead to conflicts that are won or  lost not only by sheer numbers, but by strategy and cunning. The setting will make many already established techniques of battle obsolete, and encourage original thinking.
Expected Rating

We are not entirely familiar with the ESRB rating system, but we expect that this will be rated E or T. There will be a significant amount of violence, but likely little gore, as the action will be view from some distance. Also, cut scenes from the end of Earth may be viewed as graphic and could contribute to a higher rating. Either rating would allow for distribution to our target audience.
Platform and Hardware Requirements
We are using Microsoft's XNA framework. For graphics we will likely use a combination of Maya, 3D Studio Max, DeleD, and Blender. Sound will be created using Fruity Loops.
Hardware/ Game Requirements:
Pentium 4 Processor
3 Ghz
1 GB of RAM
Windows XP, Vista, 7
X-Box 360
X-Box 360 controller

Team Goal
Our team Stable Element Games consists of Thomas King, Austin Wade, Kami Madison, and Kevin King. The goal of our game is to not only entertain the player with action-packed and mind-boggling challenges, but to also bring awareness to many problems that plague our society.
Kami- Project manager, Programmer, Artist- ???
Thomas- Programmer- Create a game that is commercial viable and can kick-start our young, budding company.
Kevin- Sound Engineer- ???
Austin ???

Please make some comments, we would love to hear from some other people so we can make a better game.

: Re: Imagine Cup
: Richard Marks November 18, 2009, 03:51:21 PM
You are not likely to get an E rating, that is if you even manage to get a product that the ESRB would even pay attention to.

A rating of "T" would be your best bet for a rating if you do happen to develop a game that warrants applying for a rating from the ESRB.

Your story sounds cool.
The "unique selling point" is something that I definitely want to see elaborated on.
Gotta say, it sounds like it would make a good game.
I wish you all the best in this endeavor. 8)

: Re: Imagine Cup
: oenone November 20, 2009, 10:30:47 AM
I'm not sure what you mean by "a unique view of the future". If you meant Mankind-Rediscovers-Primitivised-Earth, I have to disappoint you - there are plenty of Science Fiction Stories about that topic.

Anyway, your game sounds nice, please continue to develop :)

: Re: Imagine Cup
: kingthomas November 20, 2009, 12:17:17 PM
I realize that is not completely unique, but I needed to put something, lol. We will hopefully be able to finish it, but we are currently working on a simpler fallback project now, in case we don't have time to finish this one.

: Re: Imagine Cup
: kingthomas November 28, 2009, 08:33:28 PM
So we have been informed that the game must be classified as "E" according the the ESRB rating system, so our idea has to be scrapped. We are looking into doing something with aliens or something, to avoid human on human combat, lowering the rating. I'll post our new idea once we decide what we are going to do.

: Re: Imagine Cup
: kingthomas November 29, 2009, 05:04:54 PM
So it looks like our team is splitting up for a little. Some of us will be making a small puzzle game to enter this year, and the rest will be working on next years project. This way we can enter this year and have a very good entry next year.

: Re: Imagine Cup
: kingthomas December 01, 2009, 01:44:34 AM
I got some art done today for our recycling game. Here are a few examples.

Cola Can:

Water Bottle:

: Re: Imagine Cup
: kingthomas December 02, 2009, 01:11:56 AM
Here is a screen shot of what I've done in 2 days.


Getting pretty far, pretty cool.

Here is a link to the installer for anyone on Windows (maybe only Vista)

: Re: Imagine Cup
: kingthomas January 08, 2010, 04:46:17 PM
Alright, after a team member change and lots of debate, we have finally come up with a decent story line that could easily remain "E" rated and is interesting. It is based on Wall-E, sort of. You play as a robot on the abandoned Earth, that has been too heavily polluted and depleted to sustain life. Basically, there are no people, so that way if there is any violence, it could still be rated as "E".

Also, we decided that the game play pretty much has to be a puzzle game, but we wanted something more interesting than like Tetris, something more like Portal. We are thinking about working with a destructible environment and explosives. Like you have to take down a building and clean it up using a certain number of explosives.

None of this is 100% agreed upon by the team, but this is what I am lobbying for, so it probably will be what we do.

: Re: Imagine Cup
: kingthomas January 14, 2010, 01:53:12 AM
I've decided to wait until next year to enter this competition. We have quickly run out of time. We are going to practice developing in our group a little more so that we will be able to complete it on time next year.

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