Written by Samantha Pizzino
This Fall session of MonRiverGames saw many new prototypes as our students developed full teams to expand existing studio project game ideas, scope, and level of polish. Of these, one of the biggest readjustments was to Purple House. From a visual novel-like browser experience to a time-based, material management mobile game. Our team this Fall knew a lot of changes needed to be made if we were going to develop a concept of Purple House for mobile, and so, the semester started with a sweeping scraping of old ideas to make way for the new.
The gameplay loop we created started with the concept of a "day system," where the player would start for the day, work throughout, and turn-in for the night. This, along with the locations the player would visually get to see, would bolster the idea that you're an involved worker for your overseer. Another early decision was to keep the plants and recipes to make them, but to limit the player's resources. Not only would this extend game time for our concept, but would make discovering new plants more rewarding, as players would have to earn their materials.
In the spirit of getting the game's reward system to match the dauntingly high bar that mobile games strive for, we also reworked the story to have a more humorous identity, and have players earn story flavor text through playing. This also helped us pace out the story, so we could include the concept of multiple endings and make it feel earned. We're hoping that we can endear the player to the few characters we crafted to make them want to continue playing.
Examples of this includes emails that help player progression from the player's mysterious boss "Neila", journal entries describing each plant as the player creates them, and alerts from Wilbur (our market liason) on new store items.
Overall, our latest release of Purple House contains the core fantasy plant concept packaged inside a mobile skin with new art and a refreshing twist of the story. The original ideas for Purple House made for a great starting point when it came to crafting a mobile experience. We're hoping to get feedback and improve the game and assist us in creating future mobile experiences. If you would like to playtest our current build, you can do so on your Android device through Google Play, or on the TestFlight app for IOS.