I been playing with a hand-me-down iPad lately and, perhaps it's just the Apple creativity rubbing off on me, but I'm feeling somewhat productive again.
The 8K Cartridge Classic mostly has me thinking how cool it will be when I'm making a game not so restricted. Perhaps that's one of the subtler goals of the contest, to make you realize how cool it is you can do even bigger things, on top of the more obvious goals of getting people to familiarize themselves with libraries and code efficiently.
Another thing I've been thinking about lately are the fundamental elements of game design. It's one thing to say, "I'm going to make a [genre] game" but it's quite another to look at the games of those genre and wonder to yourself why they work and more importantly can they be done better.
A major example that I've worked through quite a bit with the idea of roleplaying game statistics. We've largely inherited the idea of hitpoints and core attribute trackers such as strength and dexterity from Dungeons and Dragons. I've been thinking of ways to get rid of those statistics entirely.
After all, roleplaying games that are solely about accumulation (e.g. making stat points go higher) tend to get boring the moment the playe realizes making numbers go up without any real context is pointless. The greater thing that a roleplaying game needs to be able to do is tell a story, and each statistic the player keeps track of should be elements of that story.
What I'm thinking is that the character will accumulate a series of states that determine some basic, constantly in flux physical attributes. Mental attributes (such as "intelligence") are replaced wholly with skills, and the only physical attribute influence on that comes down to a character's sanity and/or focus. The physical attributes are multipliers on the effectiveness of the character's application of their skills in all the skill tests in the game.
The concept of an "attack" is rethought. There's no hitpoints, instead there's just a basic overall health measure of the character which is adjusted by the various states currently affecting the character. Characters die from being of too poor of health due to having endured too many negative states to overcome. This would only be one kind of attack, the kind that depletes health, other negative states may go after a character's coordination, focus/sanity, or strength.
This is just one way we could rebuild the concept of a role-playing game from the ground up, and is interesting food for thought.
Unfortunately, the level of sophistication involved in this system is a bit much for the Cartridge Challenge II, as developing all these states that the characters can be inflicted with would undoubtedly eat up a ton of code space. So I'll just do something simple for that, maybe a Xybot-like game will work if I restrict the projectiles to 90 degree angles.
I wonder if I can bridge the gap between a Roguelike, MUD, and space-empire development game like X3? I'd probably completely annihilate BYOND's obj/mob limit in short order trying, but it'd be a fun prototype.