Wind-Up Cars

I actually had this idea in a dream, but after waking up, I still like it. Alternate name: “Wind Me Up”

The concept is a game based around simulated pull-back wind-up toys. You know, the ones where you wind the spring by pulling it backwards for a short distance, then let it go and it shoots forward. I visualized little cars, but in theory you could do other toys as well… So on the screen, you touch your car and drag it backwards, in the opposite direction to where you want it to go (I envision some haptic feedback in this). It might also show a projected path, like Angry Birds do. Lift your finger, and off it goes! More advanced would be to use multitouch to impart some (parabolic?) curve to the forward motion, by pressing a second finger alongside the one that’s holding the car.

My vision is that, in each level of the game, you’re trying to get your car to the exit of the playing field. The first level is probably just an empty playing field, but then it gets more interesting…

  • Most obvious is to just put in some barriers you need to navigate around. At the upper levels, these could essentially be mazes. And barriers could move.
  • A basic twist would be to add abstract targets to hit (or avoid) along the way; hit a blue star for extra points, hit a green star for a power-up (like putting a stronger spring in your car) – but avoid the red stars, they’ll slow you down.
  • More interesting might be something less abstract, like barrels instead of stars, where the barrels bounce out of the way when you hit them, in addition to imparting the color-coded effects from the stars. So maybe the red barrels are heavy, and when you hit them you dent your car, so it doesn’t roll as well? That doesn’t really make sense WRT to the arena walls, though, unless you get the same effect from hitting walls. And that breaks the toy metaphor.
  • Or maybe the red ones are full of sand – which spills – and that’s what slows you down? And the green barrels could be full of oil, and when you hit them, the oil slicks let you go further. Could also be free-standing oil slicks and sand traps, just as general-purpose obstacles.
  • Generally, there’s lots of scope for extending this into a real physics-based game. Like holes to avoid, or ramps you can jump off. Even portals?
  • Multiplayer… oh, yeah. In my original dream, it was turn-based, but I could definitely see it having simultaneous action instead. First player to get out wins, or you get bonus points for being first out. And obviously, you can run into the other cars, block their way, spill sand in front of them, etc. Could do multiplayer on the same device – especially a tablet – or remotely*.
  • My initial vision is purely top-down, but is there any reason you couldn’t add some perspective to it? Especially if different players were on different devices, they could have different POVs.

* Something I don’t hear much about is multiplayer mobile games where you’re on separate devices in the same room. You know, so you can trash-talk each other, gloat, and so on. Is that just a special case of network multiplayer?