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2009-11-21

ScreenBurn at SXSW 2010 Game Design Competition

I've submitted Causality and Time Chess to the ScreenBurn at SXSW 2010 Game Design Competition.

I submitted these descriptions, which were each limited to 200 words:

Causality

You play as one of a group of four teenagers that get thrown back one generation into their past. They learn various details about their parents' past and after various other involuntary jumps backwards in time discover how all their families were connected and why the present became what it is.

They will encounter various chances to “correct” the present by changing the past. However, this runs the chance of creating an erasing paradox which erases you or your friends. So, sometimes you have to stop your friends from changing the past no matter what the consequences become in the “present”.

There's also a being called the "Temporal Mechanic" who's responsible for everyone's leaps back in time, as well as forcing you to replay the first half of the game again as an OLDER you to fix what you screwed up the first time around.

In your second iteration you run the chance of creating an interfering paradox, so to avoid this you must act unbeknownst to the game's recording of your first iteration. This shifts the gameplay from one of exploration and experimentation in your first iteration to one of stealth and non-interference in the second.

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Time Chess

Imagine a 6-turn cycle of turns in regular chess. These six "phases" represent times of day. There are three different types of phases:
  • Day = During Black's daytime turn, Black can only see Black pieces (day blindness)
  • Twilight = Both players can see all pieces
  • Night = During White's nighttime turn, White can only see White pieces (night blindness)
There are two turns, one black and one white, in each type. The arrangement is such that each player once a round has no idea what their opponent's last move was.

Time Chess plays just like regular chess but with a few exceptions:
  1. Any move made in a player's "blind" turn is reversed (forfeited) if the move is blocked. There are only two types of blocked moves:
    • Blocked by king
    • Blocked pawn
  2. When coming out of a player's blind turn (that is, after the player's move has been declared), any move by the blind player that is interrupted because it captured something on the way instead moves the now capturing piece to the spot where the interrupting capture occurred.
  3. A player can "unknowingly but legally" put himself into check during his "blind" turn.
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