Game Design From Outer Space

You explore a dying world.



Global Game Jam 2013 theme was the sound of a heartbeat. Our team was at Genova site, and those 46 hours of work made of beer, cooperation, not working heating system, enthusiasm, discomfort, laughter, pizza, pesto and much more, resulted in the prototype of a game (made with Unity 3D and Modo) we named Anheuristic (*).

Right after the Jam kick off we started jotting down ideas, with only one rule: the first five ideas from each team member would have been immediately discarded. We knew those would have been the most common ideas, and we wanted to try something which could bring something emotional with it.

Then we started gathering ideas about the heart. And a path started to emerge: the heartbeat is something finite. What if the entire world you can visit was connected to a dying heart?

So, the game is about enjoying the last minutes of a dying world. You can explore this little space with the company of the beating heart at its center. There are sacred places you can interact with. If you do certain things, the world will appreciate them and its heartbeat will go faster for a brief period. Your emotions while discovering stuff in the world will reflect directly to the emotions of the world. You have only a limited time there, though.

The world is slowly dying, and the heartbeat will get slower and slower, until everything will fade to the void. So you have just that time to find a meaning in your very existence. Maybe there’s no meaning at all, since everything is bound to disappear. Can you give the world emotions? If so, how? Is there something sacred about making a world feel something? If you are part of the world, you know you’re about to die too, so, what will you do?


You can also find Anheuristic in the B*Sides 2010-2014 pack on Gumroad (pay what you want) along with other 16 games and extra stuff.

() *We found the name of the game during the last thirty minutes before the deadline. At first we thought of something pop: for the 7dfps jam 2012 we decided to name the prototype Vin Diesel in a Paper World so maybe someone else – as pop as Vin Diesel – could be our next testimonial. We named Jon Bon Jovi because, you know, we love to sing his songs on SingStar. But then we realized that this game was something more pretentious and less pop. We thought about a coma, an aneurysm, an heuristic. And boom. At the end, the name came up easily.