Short Circuit – getting the buzz going

The first game George and I ever designed together was based on an idea I had about electronic circuits. We played a few variations on the original game, then literally and figuratively shelved it.

Now, years later and with a lot more game design experience under our belts, we are reworking it.

First of all, we simplified the options – there were three ways to play the original version, and they were all, at their core, about racing to complete a circuit with particular elements in it. So we took the core gameplay, and tested it – and it was already an excellent starting point. We had tested it a lot already, so this felt like a revision rather than a new game.

I migrated all the assets across into our new software, which meant redrawing all the symbols as vectors in Affinity Designer, creating spreadsheets for the tiles and goal cards, and then running a data merge via Affinity Publisher to create our initial print-and-play prototype.

The first major change I made was removing the checkpoints from the board, and shrinking it to 9×9. I kept the fast-forward and sabotage tiles, and reworked the remaining component symbols. The targets to achieve moved from the board onto new goal cards, and instead of having step up and step down requirements, I removed all of the directional tiles and associated rules, which dramatically reduced the component requirements, simplified the rules, and reduced playing time by about an hour, meaning it usually plays in about 20 minutes for 2 players.

I have also been teaching myself very basic animation with DaVinci Resolve. Here’s an absolutely epic example, and you are welcome in advance for that coolness…

This was my second day ever of using DaVinci Resolve, so I am pretty proud of it, even though it is also very bad.

Proof of Concept

What we really love about this game concept is that the circuits could potentially be tested – that would help a lot with scoring, too, if the different scoring tiles lit up differently, for example.

I used to dabble in circuit-building back when I sold electronics, so I still have boxes of equipment and partially-completed projects to play with. I ordered a conductive pen and wooden tiles to test the concept of running actual current through the tiles, and it worked!

Swipe to watch the video!

This protoype is definitely going to be fun to make!

The gameplay is pretty solid, and this first draft of the new conductive prototype confirms how it will work in principle.

I am shopping around for good MacGyver solutions to complete my proof of concept, and I need to calculate the circuitry requirements to allow for a range of LEDs. The resistance changes each time you add or remove one, so I am not sure if I can use them in my circuit. I could definitely use tiny incandescent light bulbs, but I don’t have any. I’m going to dig through my electronic components and build something, anyway!

Stay tuned for more updates…

Published by Drayer Ink

Artist, designer, ideas person

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