After coming up with some game concepts, I’ve decided to create a game combining puzzle elements and food. I find games that involve serving food and customers (think Ramen Chain, Hot Dog Bush or Diner Dash) fun to play.
So far I’ve not come across a game that combines food serving with puzzle game elements. If you’ve played any, let me know in the comments.
For these game projects, I want to create lite versions that can potentially be developed into full-fledged games. Lite versions typically focus on the core gameplay experience with limited features to attract players to try out the full version.
I want to also consider making games that are mobile ready.
Typical food serving games have various customers approaching your food stall and requesting for a specific combination of ingredients to include in their meals. Success usually depends on getting the order in the right sequence and serving the customer within a period of time. So the core gameplay element depends on quick reflexes rather than a deliberate thought.
What if this sequencing mechanic and quick reflex element is replaced with a slower more deliberate puzzle element? Customers would request for ingredients or components and the player is given free reign to arrange it as they please.
That’s where the idea of the Bento comes in. According to Wikipedia, a bento is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento holds rice, fish or meat, with pickled or cooked vegetables, usually in a box-shaped container.
Each food item will be a different shape and size that must be arranged to fit within a bento box.
So here’s how the game would work.
- A customer walks in, and chooses a bento box. The box can be of any size and shape.
- The customer then decides what ingredients or components they want.
- The player needs to figure out how to arrange the food items to fit within the shape of the bento box.
Each food item would require a specific amount of space. The bento box itself would be divided into equal sized squares so each component can be placed neatly. The arrangement of the food components would work similar to the pieces in Tetris.
To keep to the 40-hour constraint, here are a list of features I’d like to implement:
- Single-player gameplay only
- 4 bento box shapes/sizes
- 6 different food component sizes (Tetris also has 6 different pieces). Food is unlimited.
- 3 customer types + 1 boss type customer. The boss customer will probably make a large or complex order that must be delivered within a specific time.
- High-scores, credits, help, and the main menu.
Here’s a rough plan for how the work will progress:
- Game design: Details for all game elements and components. I’ll start by coming up with exactly what I will include in the game.
- Basic gameplay elements: Create 6 food components and one bento box. You should be able to move food components to the bento box.
- Main gameplay elements: Snapping food components to squares in bento box. Add 3 more bento box shapes. Some food components can be rotated. Components must only fit within bento box.
- Customers: Each customer randomly chooses a bento box but has higher preference towards a specific shape. The orders placed must be able to fit the bento box chosen.
- Game screens: Main menu, help, credits, high scores.
- Polish: Graphics, balance gameplay, sounds and maybe music.
It sure seems like a lot of work to complete within 40 hours but let’s see how things go. To simplify the process of tracking time I’ll work on this project in 30-minute blocks with a total of 80 blocks of time.