A Dandelion Preservation

by

Dandelion Clocks by oatsy40

Dandelion Clocks by oatsy40 – license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en

Della almost blew the seeds off of a talking dandelion.

The flower said, “Don’t” and Della managed to keep most of the breath in, but a puff escaped her lips. Several of the dandelion’s parachute seeds swayed.

“I said don’t. Back off, meat-weed.”

She stood up and stumbled back. She kept her wide eyes on the little flower until she felt she was close enough to the back door of her house. Della turned around and ran inside.

She slammed the door and stamped into the living room, where her mother sat on the couch.

“Are you alright, honey?” her mother asked, looking up from a magazine about gardening.

Della looked at her mother with eyes as big as nickels. Two streams of tears sprinkled down her cheeks. Her mother got up and grabbed her, lifting her high, until their faces met.

“Baby. What’s the matter?”

Della tried to speak but her throat was tight.

“Did you get hurt?” Her mother held her out a few inches and looked her body up and down. Della shook her head, no.

“Did something scare you outside?”

She squeezed her eyes and nodded and sniffed.

“What was it, baby?”

Della’s throat released a stuttered word.

“F-Flower…”

More tears came. Her mother squeezed her tighter and nuzzled her nose against her red face.

“A flower scared you?”

Della felt her mother’s cheek flex against hers. Della pulled her head away and saw her mother trying to hide a smile. She drove her earthy brows together and looked her mother right in the eyes. Her mind tried to navigate the twists and dead ends of confusion.

I don’t know, mommy!

Della wept.

“Okay, Delly. I think it’s time for a nap.”

    That set her off and she wailed and kicked but was soon struggled into bed and blanketed. After much screaming and protesting, she slept. Her mother woke her when her father came home from work. She squealed when she saw him. He picked her up and kissed her. She rubbed her cheek on his scratchy chin. In her nap fit, and now her father’s presence, she had somehow forgotten about that talking dandelion.

***

    The next day rained. With her forehead pressed against the cold glass, she watched the downpour flood her family’s patchy, overgrown, toy-strewn backyard. Among the crabgrass, a slender green stem, now bent in a curly-q, caught her attention. At the end of the stem was a battered fuzzball, the dandelion’s head, drooping and hanging on. Della stared at it until she remembered. That thing is alive. It could talk. She saw other stems in the yard too, also curled in the smacking rain.

She went and found her mother.

    “Mommy, can I go outside?”

    “No, baby. It’s raining today.”

    “I know it’s raining, mom. I just really want to go outside.” Della was almost whining. “I can put on my rain boots.”

    “Sweetie, no.”

    Della forced out a lungful of breath. “You never let me go outside.”

    “Never, right,” her mother mumbled.

    Della cheered up later when a sun ray beamed through a window leaving a bright hot rectangle on the living room carpet.  Feathery dust could been seen then lazing around in the orange haze. Della’s mother got out the rags and cleaner and started wiping every surface in the house. Della began spinning and dancing in the living room. She climbed up on the couch and started jumping.

    “Stop. You’re spreading more dust. Can you see it, in the light?”

    “Uh, huh. Can I go outside then?”

    “Sure. Let’s put a sweater on you though.”

    Della, wearing sweater, socks, boots, and tights tromped out into the mud and the thigh high blades. She avoided the grassy spots and went straight for the dirt patches, hopping like a frog and splattering mud on her tights as she moved toward the back of the yard which bordered a forest. Covering the back edge was a patch of big beautiful dandelions, ripe for blowing. Della stopped her hopping, tilted back and peered down her nose at the white maned flowers. The one that had spoken to her was there, now dry except for the dewy stem. It didn’t look so curved and sleepy anymore.

    Della knew she would feel funny starting a conversation with a flower, so she waited and listened. Nothing happened for a while. All she heard were drips and chirps and road sounds, made far from their country house, being carried to her ears by the wind which kissed her hands and face.

    “If she’s here to make honey out of us I think I’ll poison her.”

    Della’s jaw dropped.

      “She’s not a bumble bee, Dot. She’s a little human. Didn’t you hear the footsteps? Speaking of which, you were the one who called attention to yourself yesterday, by talking to her,” another, sweeter, voice said.

      “Whatever will be, will be. She was about to rip me out and blow my precious babes away. I had to speak up! What would you have done, really?”

      “I would have done the same thing. I’m just saying, you can not blame the poor child.”

     Della just stood there staring.

      “Is she still there? I think I can hear her horrifying breath”, asked the mean one. Its leaves curled at the ends and it shivered.

      “Hello, dear. What is your name?” asked the sweet one.

    “Della… hello,” she said and gulped.

      A volley of squeaky hellos sprinkled from the dandelion patch. Della started moving backward, as she had done before.

    “You’re afraid, aren’t you?  Aw… there’s nothing to worry about. My name is Clar, and Dot, the one whom you met yesterday, is all talk.”

    “How… how can you talk?” Della asked.

    The flowers made some beeping noise, Della thought it might be laughter.

    “We have a lot of explaining to do, don’t we? How to say it? Hmm. You see, we don’t normally talk to humans. Most of them can not hear us, our voices are in a frequency range higher than your adults can hear and–” Clar talked so fast. Della had a hard time following her.

    “Free Quincy range?”

    “Yes, frequency range. Our voices are too high pitched for big people to hear. You can hear us because you’re a small, young, human, your ears haven’t lost their youthful abilities. Wonderful isn’t it?  Anyway, back to what I was saying. We know who you are but you don’t know who we are. At least, we’re not who you think we are, we’re not from here either, not natural anyway. Somethings are natur– well, hah, of course we’re natural. We aren’t artificial, you know? That is true, but we’re not…” the flower paused.

    The pause lingered.

    “You’re not just flowers, right? You’re some sort of, people?” Della’s face scrunched.

    “Ah, yes?” Clar sounded unsure.

    “What Clar is failing to explain to you,” said the one called Dot, ”is that we’re not originally from Earth, but we’re not aliens. We have just as much of a right to be here as you do.”

    Its voice started rising.

“We’ve lived here for over four thousand years and you people, just because you can’t hear us talk, you always slaughter us! Poison us, pick us, mow us, blow off our babies before they’re ready! We are not weeds! You are the w–”

    One of the dandelions near Dot thrust out a long spiked leaf and was twisting it around Dot’s stem. It tightened until there was a snap. When the spiked leaf let go, Dot’s stem was crushed in and bruised and she leaned over.

    “Whoa, Ren! What do you think you are doing?” asked Clar.

    Della imagined she could hear Dot wheezing although the flower made no sound.

    “She’ll be fine,” Ren said in a huskier, yet still feminine voice.

    “She’ll have a scar!”

    “For the rest of her short miserable life. Who cares? The babies are fine.” said Ren, waving two of her leaves.

    Then Ren, who was larger and less squeaky than the others, muttered the word “unfortunately”.

    “We just… shouldn’t display such violence to a little girl,” said Clar.

    “Clar, please. She’s a human.”

    “I understand that, but please, just stop wringing the necks of your kin.”

    “Now that I don’t have to listen to Dot anymore, I can.” Ren said in a lighter tone.

    Dot raised a short leaf and shook some gesture at Ren, Della suspected that it wasn’t a nice gesture, kind of like the one her daddy sometimes made while he was driving.

    “I am so sorry you had to see all that, Della. We’re really not bad people and Dot really will be fine. You see, we don’t feel pain because we don’t need it. We don’t live for very long and we have so many babies. It’s not hard for our species to survive. Every year, our babies, our seeds, blow away and we die, but our children carry a piece of us with of them. They take on our names. Is any of this making sense to you, sweetie?”

    Della was still a bit nervous. None of it really made any sense to her, of course. She had picked lots of dandelions and they had never shown that they could talk or think or move until now.

    “You’re giving her too much information at once. We all know that you’re the best talker, but do it slowly, Clar,” said Ren.

    “Why haven’t I ever heard you talk before?” said Della.

    Clar waited this time, before she spoke, but when she did she drew most words out longer than necessary.

    “It may be obvious, but we are not ordinary flowers. You don’t have to be alarmed, you probably haven’t killed any of us before,” said Clar with that beeping noise which Della now, just barely, recognized as laughter. The other flowers seemed to think it was funny too.

    “S-So, you just sit there until you have your babies?”

    “Basically. That’s why some of us use a lot of strong words. Talking, it’s all we do.”

    They all laughed. Della felt kinda bad for Dot, the others acted like they hated her.

    Clar continued. “We migrate. That means we, uh… travel all the time. Your yard seems like a nice place for us to stay for now, though.”

    Della looked around at the mud and towering weeds and spotty clumps of grass. The yard didn’t look nice for anything but a pig.

    “But our yard is so messy. I don’t like it. It’s not pretty at all.”

    “Pretty is… pretty, but we need safety. We need to know that your father isn’t going to mow us or poison us, like your neighbors did to our ancestors.”

    Della noticed Dot tugging on Ren with her short leaves.

    “Yeah, good point,” Ren said. “Dot doesn’t want you to tell your mom and dad about us. She’s right about that. Please don’t.”

    Della had no intention of ever telling her parents about any of this, considering her mother’s reaction the previous day. It wouldn’t mean much if she told them anyway. For one thing, they wouldn’t believe her. Also, her daddy never did any yard work. He wouldn’t find out on his own.

    Della heard the hum of rain on the wind and the dirt around her changed color from bright brown to grey as clouds hid the sun. The rain returned and Della heard her mother call her from inside the house.

    Clar told her to come back and visit any time. Della ran to the house, splashing more mud onto her tights. The dirty tights kept her mother mad enough so that she didn’t ask what Della had been doing out there and Della was glad for that.

    As the week continued, Della came to love her secret friends. She even loved keeping the secret. If her mother ever found out, which she wouldn’t, Della could just say that she had lied to protect the flowers. She didn’t like lying, but a good reason makes a lie permissible, she thought. “Permissible” was one of the big words Clar used. Della somehow managed to get Clar to explain what it meant.

    By the first day of the next week, each dandelion in the patch had a mane the size of a tennis ball. Their parachute seeds were almost an inch long and their stems were thicker than Della’s pinkie finger. She was amazed on the morning she found them that way, it had happened almost overnight.

    “You said you weren’t like normal dandelions and I knew you weren’t because you talked, but now I can see that you’re not like normal dandelions. It’s amazing, you’re so beautiful.”

    Della would have meant it as a compliment if she had said “I want to pick a bunch of you and bring them to my mother” but she thought twice about saying that.

    “You’re not your old mopey self today.” Dot let out a wretched whisper.

    “She’s happy and not bored for once and all you do is tell her she’s a mope?” said the biggest one, Ren.

    “You’ve been a decent girl this week haven’t you Della? You didn’t tell your mother about us did you? I know it’s true, you like having a secret, right?” asked Clar.

    Della was nodding. “I haven’t told, but you’re getting so big. They might see you soon.”

    “And if they do notice us, we were just discussing this, we don’t care. They haven’t done a single thing about the rest of this wonderfully hospitable, overgrown mess of a yard.”

    “I guess so.”

    Della sat down then, cross legged and listened to the flowers, as she did every day, talk about the history and biology of their ancestors. The one percent of it that she could comprehend reeled her, the flowers knew tons about their own past and tons about their own bodies. Sitting and listening to Clar fast-talk and Ren translate was the best part of Della’s days that week.

    One night, Della was taking a bath and heard her mother and father talking.

    “I read all about them on the internet. If we don’t do anything about them we’ll just get more of them next year,” said her mother.

    “Did you find out how big they get?”

    “It said they’re supposed to be about a foot tall, and the flower part maybe an inch wide.”

    “But ours are like as big as your hand. Maybe we just have some mutant ones. I should enter them in a competition at the fair. I’d probably win, too.”

    They laughed. Then her father continued.

    “Okay, I’ll see if I can do something about them tomorrow. I’ll go to Ace and ask what kind of poison I should use.”

    Della started. Her bath water splashed.

    “I’m gonna go check on her,” said her mother. Della didn’t have time to compose a single word of her speech in defense of the dandelions before her mother rounded the corner and entered the bathroom.

“Hi honey, are you ready to get out yet?”

Della hoped her silence read as a ‘no’ or at least indecision enough to give her a moment. Finally, she decided to say the simplest thing she could think of.

“Mommy please don’t let daddy poison the white flowers.”

“Yeah? You like them, huh?”

Della nodded.

“But they’re weeds, baby. We can’t just let them grow. They’ll be covering our whole yard after the summer.”

“But the yard is already taken over by weeds!”

Della knew she had a good point, she saw it in the reaction on her mother’s face.

“They are… worse weeds. They blow their seeds everywhere.”

“But mommy, they’re so pretty.”

“They kind of are now but in a little while they’ll just be yucky stems and there will be white seeds all over the yard. Also, their leaves definitely aren’t pretty. They’re pointy and yucky like little saws.”

Della didn’t think much of her mother’s down-talking. She looked up at the ceiling and her mother left the bathroom. Then she heard her mother tell her father that she had rolled her eyes.

“How does she know how to do all this stuff? Rolling eyes, talking back, she’s 4,” her father wondered aloud.

“TV, I guess,” said her mother.

Tomorrow, Della thought, I have to tell them tomorrow, before daddy gets home from work.

Della forgot that the next day was Saturday.

She woke halfway and lay in her bed watching the strips of sunlight that cast through her blinds caravan across her wall diagonally. They had moved from the center of the wall, on her Precious Moments calendar, down to the floor next to her bookcase, as they had done every cloudless morning that she could remember, when the faint rumble of the garage door snapped her fully awake. Daddy is home?

Della jumped out of her bed and ran down the hall in her pajamas. It was true. She looked through a window in the door from the kitchen to the garage. Her father was removing a big jug of poison from the trunk of the car. The big picture on the front of the jug was of a fully bloomed dandelion.

Della pulled with all her tiny might on the sliding door to the backyard and hurt her elbow before she noticed that it was locked. She unlocked it and opened it and jogged into the backyard rubbing her arm.

The flower patch looked very different than it had a week ago. The ground could not be seen through the dandelions’ two foot long leaves. That night they had grown even more and some of their “heads” were almost as wide as Della’s.

As usual, the flowers heard her coming and spoke first.

“You sound exasperated, dear. What’s the matter?” Clar said.

“My daddy is going to cut you down and poison you!”

“I knew it! We should have followed an east wind!” said Dot, whose voice was sounding better. “My ancestor surely wanted us to go east. I’m sure, Clar, that it was your mother who insisted that we blow this way.”

Clar ignored her.

“Della, if what you say is true, there is something that we need to ask you. It’s a thing that we don’t ask often. As you know, we rarely speak to humans, and of those humans, we almost never ask to be curated. Della, what I mean is this, this thing that we have already discussed and deemed you suitable for, is that we would like you to interfere in our life cycle. We would like you to,” she paused, “we would like you to pick us.”

The words pushed Della back.

“But, you’ll die.”

“Yes Della, we will die, but we need you to move our babies to a safe place. Do you know of one?”

Della knew that if you kept walking out of her backyard, into the forest, kept walking, left the trees, you’d be in a big abandoned wheat field that always had weeds which nobody ever mowed. The sun and rain touched it, the dirt was soft and the wind blew easily through it. She could take the flowers there.

“I know a very safe place.”

“That’s it then. You have been, and will be, a good friend to us and our children. You are a good girl.”

“But, no. I don’t want to do that to you, Clar, Ren, Dot, all the rest of you. I’ll just tell my daddy that you’re like people and he’ll stop.”

“Della, it’s okay,” Clar said. “I am pleading. Do you remember what I told you the first day we met? We don’t feel pain. We want you to do a strange thing, I know. A hard thing, but for us it’s a normal thing. Della, please pick us if you want us to live.”

Della turned around, steadied her gaze at the back door and began walking. Behind her, all the dirty bruised flowers with the claw leaves shrieked at her like tiny gargoyles.

Della walked into the house, out of the flower’s sounds of desperation, intending to ignore their screaming and to forget the thorniness she was beginning to feel in her conscience. She walked through the hallway, glanced into her parents’ bedroom and looked at her sleeping mother’s face. She lifted her gaze to a set of photos above the bed. Della, her mother and her father, blessed, smiling, were embracing in the pictures. Something held her eyes there. Held them to stare at the loving family which she could call her own.

Then she turned back and ran again for the back door. She stopped in the garage first to hoist up a big plastic bucket which she could have knelt in and been nearly hidden.

Outside she just ran for the flowers. Most of them stopped their crying, a kind of tinkling noise.

“Della?” It was Clar who whispered.

“It’s me, yeah.”

“Are you going to take us, or not?” said a frantic one.

“Yes, I will. What do you need me to do?”

Clar told her.

“Grab as many of us as you can, not by our tips but by a low place on our stems, pull us out and take us to the safe place.”

“And then just blow the seeds around?”

“Yes. We’re trusting you to do that. When our babies grow, introduce yourself. Ask them which ones are Clardens, my daughters, tell them about me. Sweet girl, don’t be afraid. They only require a little sun, soil and water, or course wind to travel on,” said Clar.

Crying, the thing that caused misunderstandings and required naps to get over, was something Della hated, but it was what she did then. Love too, she thought, they need love.

Della brought the bucket closer.

“Are you ready?” she said.

“No, no. We have things to pack, friends to call, hotel arrangements to make — of course we’re ready!” said Dot.

“Yes, keep making fun of her Dot, maybe she’ll leave you behind,” said Ren. “Please Del, will you consider leaving Dot behind?”

    Della couldn’t hold her smile in, so she laughed out loud and a few salty happy tears fell into her mouth. She knelt down by Dot first.

    “Okay Dot, you’re first then.”

    Della wrapped her fingers around and pulled hard on the bottom of Dot’s stem. It snapped and she placed it in the bottom of the bucket and Dot never made another sound. Other flowers now, were making their crying noise. Clar kept saying Thank you. Thank you. Della kept pulling her friends from the ground like a mother taming her baby’s delicate hair, with caresses and cooing when she bucketed them. The confusion and strangeness of the situation still hung with her as her hands kept moving.

    Then she came to Clar last.

    “Goodbye, Clar.”

    “Goodbye, Della.”

    Then she pulled and set down and stood and carried the bucket and disappeared into the forest. Her father came along and found the stumps. He wondered if Della was responsible and sprayed the severed weeds with his poison.

    In the new home, the field past the forest, Della held each flower’s white mane up in front of her lips and blew.

Arbor’s Rocky Start

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Arbor’s development began in January 2013. I had just finished my second and third games in November and December, Push/Pull Factory for the 2012 GitHub Game-Off and Tobetl for the TIGSource Advent Calendar. I was excited about having actually finished two games. It was a big accomplishment for me. It’s a year later and I still look at those two months as being the most productive time of my life.

Sometime in late January, as I was just beginning a new job at a web development company, I got the urge to work on an idea I had come up with back in November. I wish I could remember where the idea for a tree game came from. What I do remember is that I had the basic concept figured out in about 5 minutes. I had drawn a quick mockup and wrote rules all over it. I rediscovered that mockup in January.

I thought, for a little while, that I’d be able to use Arbor for the February 1 Game A Month Challenge. Looking back on that now it seems so silly. I was going to invent brand new game mechanics and do all kinds of programming I’d never done before in 1 month? Yeah, right!

Anyway, some months went by and I spent some time learning PHP to get settled into my new job. In the summer, I finally started working on Arbor.

Hidden deep in some Bit Bucket server is a pre-pre-pre-alpha version of Arbor written in Haxe 2.something and NME (both of which are now very out of date). It was basically just a Game class and a Branch class and all it did was draw 1 little twig sticking out of the bottom of the screen. It was a start, at least. Arbor’s development had picked up a little bit of momentum.

That momentum didn’t last though. Business and trouble popped up at work and I had to focus on that for a few months. It was a omen for things to come. In the beginning of August I was laid off. It felt terrible, of course, but I can look at it now as a huge blessing for my family. That job wasn’t paying enough for us to keep our house so I was going to have to quit eventually anyway.

That period between jobs marked a phase in Arbor’s development which turned out to be misguided. I’m glad I took the path I did though. I learned more about what I could accomplish and I learned about the limitations of the graphics framework I was trying to use.

Here’s what happened.

In September, I scrapped the NME code, installed Haxe 3 and OpenFL (NME had morphed into OpenFL during my time away from the project) and also a wonderful framework meant specifically for games, HaxeFlixel. As you can probably guess, it’s a Haxe version of the ActionScript library called Flixel.

Haxe Flixel has some great features which can really ease the process of 2D game programming. Unfortunately, at the time, I didn’t realize that it was the complete wrong choice for my game. HaxeFlixel is great at moving lots of bitmap sprites around on the screen and animating them. It is not great at drawing procedural graphics, which is what Arbor is all about. I made the first interactive Arbor prototype in HaxeFlixel. As soon as I dragged that first branch up out of the ground, I knew I’d made a mistake.

First of all, the branches looked truly awful. They looked badly aliased at the default zoom level. When I zoomed in they looked even chunkier. When I zoomed out, HaxeFlixel did it’s best to approximate what the lines should look like at a smaller scale, but that just isn’t what it’s made for. They ended up all deformed and jerky.

The next problem is that as soon as I drew more than, say, 5 branches on the screen, the game slowed to a crawl on my laptop. Now, my laptop isn’t the greatest, but it should be able to handle this simple thing with black and white graphics. The slowness was clearly my fault. Problem was, there wasn’t much room for me to optimize, seeing as there wasn’t much code yet, and it was only going to get more complex, graphically.

I was pretty disheartened at first. The next few days were spent in a kind of half-excited, half-frustrated daze as I considered my options.

What I ended up doing was throwing all the HaxeFlixel code away and going with pure OpenFL. Arbor is now much prettier and faster with its current anti-aliased bitmap rendering scheme. I’m pretty happy with it, and it has opened up a new set of options for me regarding the over-all look of the game.

And, of course, I’ll be keeping HaxeFlixel and all of its goodies in mind for the next (sprite based) game.

Anodyne

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Anodyne is an pixelly Zelda-like for Linux, Android, Windows, iOS and Mac, which presents a compelling world and decent gameplay but falls into some typical bad RPG storytelling traps. This review is for the Android version, so if there are any differences between versions I won’t be mentioning them.

The first thing that happens in the game is straight out of RPG 101 class. You wake up, walk down a hallway, then some nutty wizard/elder, tells you the world is depending on you to rescue it. YAWN…

One of the things I like the most about Anodyne is the on-screen controller. In portrait mode it takes up about a third of the screen. It has a D-pad, an X button, a C button, and an Enter button. The enter button seems like a hold over from the PC versions, which makes the game feel a little bit like it’s running in an emulator. It doesn’t effect the game in any negative way, but sometimes emulated games run poorly. I think it would be better if Anodyne on Android tried to avoid that emulated feeling.

When you put your finger on the D-pad and move around, the pad “rocks” in the direction you are pressing. Also, a white glow appears under your finger. It’s a nice effect, and combined with the “aiming-dot” that appears in front of Young when he walk, you almost get the sense that you are actually using a physical controller.

There was a great moment near the beginning where you walk under a highway bridge and the screen gets very dark. I walked to the middle of the screen and I saw a dim figure coming up behind me. I moved around a little and the figure disappeared. I applaud the game for giving me the creeps in such a small amount of pixels. That is quite a feat. I’m sure it was mostly due to a lot of the game being slightly off kilter. I love those kind of unexpected moments.

Unfortunately, this off kilter feeling does not last. The game turns into a really fiddly puzzle.  You have to place dust in front of flying energy balls to stop them from hitting you. It’s not interesting at all. I beat the first boss and quit. There was no sense of  progression after that.

I’d like to say I played through the game, but at this point it feels like it would be a waste of my time. I’m sure there are much better Zelda-likes out there. Don’t be fooled by the interesting concept art and title, I would not recommend Anodyne.

Pick up my short story “Negative One Contact”

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I finally bit the proverbial popsicle and self-published a book.

Negative One Contact by Gage Herrmann, Cover

Negative One Contact by Gage Herrmann, Cover

Here’s the description to get your mouth watering:

A thrilling new sci-fi short story about a lone gas station attendant on the edge of the galaxy. She wakes in the middle of the night to find that a mysterious visitor has arrived. But, is humanity ready for this visitor’s secret?

Buy from Smashwords and use coupon code VE98M to download it for free!

Buy from Amazon to give me your money so I can afford a celebratory 6 pack of rootbeer!

Planning a Prototype

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I found this nice article about prototyping: http://gamesfromwithin.com/prototyping-youre-probably-doing-it-wrong

I think I’ll start this Arbor game by making a prototype. I’ll just try to make one branch with a leaf that you can click and drag. You draw a curvy line while you’re dragging. After you release the drag, the branch will grow to the shape of your line.

That bit is the only part of the design that seems difficult. If I can get that done, the rest won’t be too much of a challenge, besides making it look nice, of course. That’s always the most frustrating part.

Game Designing: Arbor

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It has to do with trees.

Sorry for the blurrified picture. I don’t have a scanner handy.

In case you cant read it, the important text says:

Branches:

  • Collect nutrients
  • Use a lot of water
  • Use little nutrients

 

Roots:

  • Collect water
  • Use a lot of nutrients
  • Use little water.

 

The main goal in the game is to grow a tree.

On a micro level, you grow the roots and branches by pulling on leaves (on the branches) or little nubbins (on the roots). The longer a branch is, the more nutrients it collects, and the more water it uses. The longer a root is, the more water it collects, and the more nutrients it uses.

There are two ways to lose:

  1. The tree runs out of either nutrients or water. Go too long without nutrients or water and the tree dies.
  2. The tree falls over. Does a tree falling make a sound if no one is there too hear it? If you put too many branches or roots on one side, you’ll find out.

 

You have a score that is based solely on how big the tree is. Just try to grow the biggest tree you can. You win by getting a high score and then bragging about it on a social network of your choice ;)

The game will be very slow paced, but hopefully still challenging.  I imagine it being kind of like Eufloria.

You can grow the tree any way you like. Make it tall, make it wide, make it gnarled and twisty, make it look like a Squirtle, whatever. Once you have something cool, you can take a nice picture of it and share it.

I might make something bad happen if you have more nutrient or water than your tree can handle, not sure yet. I kind of like how simple it is now.