The Crossroads of the Aether
Hey guys, and ladies too of course. I'm part of a small independent game studio and we're working on a steampunk sky pirate themed game. I obviously can't say much about our game but I would like some opinions on past games that have been "steampunk" themed. If you don't know of any but would like to help please look at Bioshock Infinite, Dishonored, Fallout new vegas, resonance of fate, and fable three.
I'm wondering what the opinions of other steampunks are in terms of the level and intensity of steampunk theme in these games. Is there too much? not enough? is it too dieselpunk? I want this to be a satisfyingly steampunk game that people can't look at and say well that's not really steampunk. I don't want to just slap gears on it and color it all brown. So if you could share your opinions on steampunk within a game that would be fantastic.
If you review several of the other conversations here you'll see there are MANY different interpretations of steampunk. I don't think anyone is ever going to be able to satisfy every definition of steampunk and frankly I can't imagine why someone would try. Better to present YOUR version. I could go on about how Bioshock is dieselpunk, Fallout is post apoc and nothingpunk (or apocopunk!) but frankly that would just be my opinion. You would probably get more out of folks reacting to your version and presentation...and that means presenting your materials rather than spitballing other properties.
Remember- SOMEBODY is gonna say your version is wrong or not steampunky enough...it's the nature of the beast. Don't put your creative works in a cattle chute coming out of the gate- create what YOU think works first.
As usual, Major Girth has dropped the bomb on target as far as the generality of SP is concerned. From the way I read your Question, you are wanting to target that part of SP that does the whole airship/pirate thing. Target them...not the whole community -- You will still get a plethora of information that does not of neccessity agree.
...also...what kind of game is it? If it's a video/shooter you'll have different priorities than a tabletop rpg or a collectable card game. You cited video games but I don't want to assume that's what you are crafting. Game play is gonna effect styling priorities, story telling priorities etc.
Airship pirate game ooh! Maybe you should not just look at video games but books too! I imagine something with a patched up blue airsack. Maybe weapons such as gatling guns and steam pistols. Clockwork also works.Make it real! Airship blow up when set aflame so if your hit and you fire a gunpowder weapon your dead. You can board other ships with harpoons. I would make it some what free roam. Wander cities full of smoke stacks and steal from people. Then hijack HAB's or Airships.
I would start with an iPad app since they are relatively easier to make, are easily distributed, and have a wide market. It's a great start to getting information and feedback for a real game. You should try Crimson so you know what's already been done.
I think if you want a truly satisfying steampunk game you will need a certain level of customization, most likely either character or airship customization. Something that people will take pictures of and want to share with other people. For any sense of depth there will have to be some rpg elements, even if it's just some light comments in between levels. Generally I would say keep it simple, I think at this point for steampunk we would rather see well crafted style over intricate gameplay.