Robert Hornbek

Game Development & Exploration

Garden Dreams: Is Now Kernips

Posted by rHornbek on December 24, 2009

As stated in the last article, I have been thinking greatly about the puzzle-simulator concept.  The first thing I did was smelt the concept down to its purest form, so really identify what the game is about and of course how it is played.  With the flower theme I was hitting some snags, the greatest being my question “Why?”  Why am I planting these flowers and why must I pluck them at a minimum of three of the same color.  Of course I know well enough that games do not have to make logical sense to be fun, look at Katamari Damacy for instance.

Point Made?

However, despite Katamari Damacy’s absurdity there is motivation!  You collect stuff creating a large enough body of mass to reform all of the lost stars, and I feel this ultimately colors the whole experience a lot more.  Enter Kernips, a little concept I had in the past that never really saw the light of day has breathed new life into not only the concept by my motivation to develop it!

Say hello to the Kernips!

Ok the image is a bit small, but I am proud of the pixel art.  With this fresh take on the concept I have not only establish a setting but also brought more meaning and motivation to the events of the game.  I have narrowed the game down to a simple statement that describes what the game is…

Plant, grow and cultivate your Kernips to reveal precious Gems.

Collect Gems to purchase supplies to further the growth of the Kernip Garden.

As far as I am concerned this is a pretty big leap from the original concept, without really creating a different game.  Of course this is the high concept, but we really need more details to describe how the game is played.  Below is a list of details that I have gathered from brainstorming.

  • The entire game can be played with the cursor and left-click!
  • The Kernip Garden is basically a 10 by 10 grid allowing for a maximum of 100 Kernips growing at a time.
  • Kernips have 6 stages of life.  Seeds, Sprouts, Buds, Full, Dry and Dead.
  • Full Kernips, if left unchecked, will begin to dry and unless taken care of or plucked they will perish.
  • Kernips must be plucked in a conjoined group of 3 or more and must all be the same color.  This is because no Kernip wants to leave the Garden alone, so make sure they do not go alone!
  • Plucked Kernips will reveal precious Gems hidden in the ground as they flee.  The more Kernips that are plucked at a time the more Gems will be revealed.
  • You can collect Gems by clicking on them in the Garden.
  • Gems can be spent to purchase items from the store, such as Seeds and Water.
  • Water can be placed on existing Kernips to grow them quicker or on dry Kernips to revive them.
  • While seeds of a random color will occasionally plant themselves in the garden, the user can purchase specific color Kernip seeds and plant them in the Garden wherever they would like.
  • The game ends when all the Kernips are dead and the user can no longer plant any more.

While there where a few other ideas mentioned in the precious article, I think the list above is much more concise and a little more complete.  Some of the ideas I want to venture sooner than later are…

  • Day and night cycles to represent rounds, or simply to measure time spent playing.
  • Seasonal effects on gameplay.
  • Additional supportive items that can be purchased from the Store.
  • The implementation of Fisles, the evil Kernips that cause trouble for them and the user.

Until then I will keep working on it and see what happens next!  If you have any feedback regarding the concept or anything else please comment.  This is an open forum so I would like to hear what you think.  Cheers!


2 Responses to “Garden Dreams: Is Now Kernips”

  1. Aaron said

    This sounds like it is developing into a really strong idea for a game!

    I look forward to hearing more about it!

  2. sajust said

    Kernips sounds like fun. This would be a great game for gamers who enjoy titles like Gardening Mama or Loco Roco. Simple, Fun, Cute, high spirited games.

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