As video game technology and hardware has advanced, developers have been able to make their games far more visually complex, with new rendering techniques, more detailed 3D models, and higher display resolutions. While this increased visual fidelity is all well and good, a real designer doesn't need to rely on stunning visuals to make a good game.
For this latest Game Design Challenge, let's put that philosophy to the test. Rather than working with a high-definition display, with thousands of pixels to play with -- what if you had to make a game that worked within the confines of a 32x32 grid?
That's a very small canvas to work with when it comes to making a video game, but there are plenty of examples that already work within a similar framework. Look at Checkers, Chess, or even Connect Four -- they might not be video games per se, but they all demonstrate the types of experiences designers can make within a limited, grid-based play space.
Over in the digital realm, adventure game veteran Brian Moriarty (Beyond Zork, Loom) has implemented a similar idea in his game design course at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He even created his own grid-based game design engine, dubbed Perlenspiel. If you're looking for inspiration on how to make a game that works within a tiny grid, feel free to read more about Moriarty's engine on his website or on GameCareerGuide's sister site, Gamasutra.
Game Career Guide challenged its readers to create a game that plays within a 32x32 grid. What follows are the best and most original entries we received. Here are our top picks.
Michael Stephens, Ohio University Digital Media, SQUARE Defender(see page 2)
Artur Henrique da Costa Pinto, Game Designer at Ilusis, Sirtet(see page 3)
Rachel Brown, Ohio University Digital Media, The Weasel's Revenge (see page 4)
Mark Kakareka, Unemployed Game Designer, Mr. & Mrs. Woodbridge(see page 5)
John Wheeler, Ohio University, Tactics 32 (see page 6)