Being away from home this week I'm aiming for something small, so here's a couple rough game ideas I had to put aside, feel free to find inspiration in them:
Graygreen City (Strategy/Puzzle)
The player has to transform a polluted city into a greener one. The view is top-down, tile-based. The gameplay consists in spending slowly refilling money by replacing tiles from certain types into other types, the goal being to reinvent the way cities are organized in order to pollute less.
- Tile types: Road, Housing, Pavement, Offices, Shops, Parks.
- Pollution (increases with cars on roads, parks reduce it, you win if you get to zero)
- Productivity (increases with the time people spend at work, the higher the more money you get)
- Anger (increases when people take longer to reach work/market, lowers with time, you get fired/lose if maxed out)
- Car (moves fast on roads, cannot go to a tile occupied by another car)
- Pedestrian (moves slowly on the pavement, can overlap other pedestrians)
- Citizen AI: 1 housing tile = 1 citizen, attached to a random Office on the map (rerolled if deleted), and the nearest market to its home. Each citizen loops between "Home until 6am > Work until 12am > Home until 6pm > Shop until 12pm". Can either move as a car or a pedestrian, but will always use the car if it is faster than walking.
Comments : It might take a while to get right in terms of balancing. The AI should be fun to code but a bit long to complete. And yes, you can probably win by replacing everything with parks, maybe the city population at victory time is your final score?
The Path to Laughing with Salad (Walking sim or Text game)
This could work either as a walking simulator (made with RPG Maker for instance), or simply a simple interactive story. Something visual like a top down RPG view with some interactions would probably work best though.
The player goes through a typical day. The first day plays itself without any choices, the protagonist having certain habits. A certain event makes them suddenly willing to change their routine for the better good. Throughout the next day and onwards the player is faced with multiple difficult choices. What's better for the environment might have a negative impact in the short term (especially in terms of comfort), but turn out helpful in the long run:
- Going to work by car or bike: If you pick the bike, at first you arrive late and sweaty. You fix the first problem by setting the alarm clock earlier the next day, and the sweatiness by preparing a change of clothes. After a few days like this you get fit and don't even sweat anymore.
- Buying transformed or fresh foods: The food you cook yourself is terrible at first, but you get better (reading recipes in the evening can help). You also have to choose the quantities you buy, and will most probably fail with rotten leftovers or not enough food at first.
- Bring homemade food to work: Linked to the previous item. If you don't bring food, you'll have to choose between an expensive place or one whose packaging lead to a lot of waste.
- Turn the heat up at home or not: If you keep the heat low, you get annoyed by the cold but eventually get into the habit of wearing warmer clothes at home.
Various possible endings to that once the player has reached a green enough lifestyle. Maybe something to hint at an apparent uselessness of all the effort when there are industries nearby blasting waste at a different scale…