Good artists borrow, great artists steal.
– Pablo Picasso
This is pretty much the defining quote for the turning point in Random Acts of Mining‘s development, and what saw it become the game it is shaping up to be now.
Already-established as a central theme to the development of this game is the concept of procedural content generation; so that every game presents a different experience for the player. There are many games that do this; it does indeed seem to be a favourite, a mainstay if you will, of smaller independent developers. And it’s a great way to enhance replay value, I’ve found.
Even though I’m the kind of person who prefers to explicitly design challenges for the player. But something happened. An Internet-friend released a game that inspired me, Seas of Scred.
Seas of Scred is actually part of a small-but-growing series by the developer ‘Noble Kale’ (a good Internet-friend of mine); and a sorta-sequel to the game of his that originally grabbed my attention, Quarries of Scred. Both games have a pace that delightfully mixes relaxation with frustration (somehow) and revolve around collecting thing and cashing them in. Content is procedurally-generated, and can use the date as a seed for a daily challenge where players can post their results on Twitter and compare with others.
And that really appeals to me, as an analogue to the old arcade experience of trying to beat the local champ’s highscore to put your own three-letter tag in its place on the table. Games have the possibility after all, of being highly-communal and bringing players together. I wanted that.
I made no secret of wanting to closely homage these two titles to Kale. I told him “dammit, I kinda wanna do something like these two mushed-together”, to which the response was basically “go for it”.
And so, I had a definite idea in my head. “Jetpacks in caves” was to be about that same kind of exploration > collection > cashing in cycle found in both Scred games. Except with my own personal auteurish ‘stamp’ on it. And so, I made my first mockup of this idea:
Patched together some stuff from old concepts, recoloured to conform to the Commodore 64 palette, to resemble the idea in my head. I had no name for it at this point, so I stuck it in a folder called ‘Alien Mines’ and uploaded to Twitter. People loved it, which surprised me. I think I sat on the idea for about two weeks to see if it appealed. It did, and I updated the mockup to something that ‘popped’ a bit more:
A little more content (upgrade icons, fuel canisters) can be seen here. This felt right, finally. This was going to be the game I’d make. And I have my friend Kale to thank for the direction.
Buy Seas of Scred: on itch.io