The most recent update to the “Snow Game” was falling icicles. You can also shield yourself from icicles if you’re holding a gem. This interaction at first was meant to be a sort of “side reward” for the player so that there’d be a break in tension between grabbing a gem and putting it in your gem crate. But now I’m thinking, just how many interactions can I really fit in such a small game?
The core game loop is something like this: dig through snow -> grab a gem -> make your way back to the crate -> put the gem in the crate -> repeat until all gems are collected. While the player is digging through the snow and collecting gems, there should be obstacles. The icicles are one kind of obstacle, so there’s now a dodging aspect to the game, but I think there has to be more obstacles that not only interfere with the player, but also create interesting interactions.
One scrapped idea I had was making icicles create blocks of ice after hitting the ground. The idea was to make interesting formations possible after enough icicles fall, but the idea didn’t really fit well. First of all, it’s possible to get the player stuck in a place given the limited amont of snow you have to place back. You might see a tower of ice block your path and not have enough snow to climb your way over it. But mainly, given the tile-based nature of the game, the only structures really possible are just vertical columns of ice, which doesn’t seem that interesting.
The gem shielding idea is interesting because it gives a new function to gems, where previously they existed only to be collected. While currently you can keep blocking icicles an infinite number of times, there should be an incentive for the player to not do that, like maybe the gem cracks every hit, lowering how many points you get when you deposit it, or it could completely shatter after a single hit. Anyway, this mechanic introduces a new interaction, one between gems and icicles.
At this point in development, there are no enemies, so it might be a bit too early to question how many interactions I can fit when there aren’t that many elements to the game yet. The snow counter, especially, is basically just a number that goes up and down as you dig and place snow. Maybe once I add an enemy or two, more interesting interactions will be possible. For example, maybe you can throw snowballs, but in order to replenish snow there’s a snow enemy that leaves behind snow blocks if hit by an icicle. Or maybe there’s an enemy that’s attracted to the gems, so holding one will cause the enemy to chase you, but it can also be killed by an icicle and drop a gem itself.