I watched a video on the GDC volt by Sid Meier, the founder of Civilizations and all-around OG game dev. The talk was great, but one area really stood out. He talked about Decisions in games and that made a lot of sense to investigate. Our game is about experience and discovery and similar games do have very limited choices. That is still the vision for Exo, but adding more things to do than “check out this cool world” makes sense. This document explores choice and what it means for our game. There is the basic mechanic of finding species, alien relics, and conducting surveys as well as DNA gathering and the Cuniform puzzle. This is an exploration beyond that core gameplay.

What factors are important for decision-making?

Decision Outcomes

  • Health – Jet Power – survival
  • Wealth – Precious metals and elements, DNA to scan, surveys, glyphs, and relics, undiscovered civilizations
  • Interest – cool places
  • Love – lifeforms you come to care about
  • Advancement – better tech – drone upgrades – speech abilities
  • Strategy – wait for the enemy to walk away to get something – trick the enemy to follow you

Decision factors

  • Directional choice – cave fork – towards landmark, towards the wilderness, through / not through the portal, follow the creature
  • Interaction choice activate – open door to the cave, enlarge the playable map, SFX animation, gather, a or b
  • Inventory choice use – read, craft, wear/use (weapon, armor, etc.),
  • Combat – fight / flight

Decision Predicates

  • Android can be harmed, killed (Health, Strategy)
  • There are cooler and less cool places (interest)
  • There are places with more science to do (Wealth)
  • Creatures have personalities (love)
  • There are more abilities and powers as the game progresses (advancement)
  • Things happen over time that you need to plan for (Strategy)
  • You can craft things that are useful
  • There are things that need crafting to accomplish


  • What is android death?
    • Beam to start
      • pros/cons – no anguish of losing character – rated G
    • Real robot death
      • pros/cons -Raises the stakes, feel more for the character
  • What kind of combat?
    • Drone tases enemies
    • The Player can shoot lasers
    • Environmental – The player can drop rocks on things, etc.
  • What kind of things would you craft?
    • Technology
      • Weapons
      • Keys
      • technology to open doors, reveal secrets, etc.
  • What makes for a creature having a personality
    • Follow player unless too far away
    • Run away from the player
    • Talk to player
    • Show the player things
      • children
      • areas of interest
  • What kind of abilities or powers could the android or drone get
    • Flight, higher, longer
    • AR HUD – see secrets, heatmaps
    • Learn languages
    • The drone could scan a wider area
    • The drone could get combat abilities
    • The drone could learn to communicate
    • The drone could get smarter
  • What kind of time-based events could lead to needing strategy
    • Enemies patrolling area
    • Negotiate with sentient creatures to get something
    • lure enemies to a place
    • Gather power for later use
  • What is the health and power relationship?
    • Android needs power to stay alive
    • Android needs power to fly
    • Android needs power to fight
    • Drone needs power survuve
    • Drone needs power to fight
  • How can you get Power?
    • Radioactive rocks
    • Alien technology
    • Solar
    • Geothermal


Simple implementation

  • A creature that follows you, leads you to a survey
  • Jet runs out, placing some glyphs too high without it, radioactive rocks, solar
  • Drone or player upgrade at end
    • Max power
    • Drone range upgraded

Intermediate implementation

  • Dangerous creatures that if you get too close you beam back to start
  • Gather elements to keep android and drone working properly
  • Send drone to stun enemies
  • Creatures can communicate

Advanced Implementation

  • Player shoots
  • Player dies
  • Player crafts technology for power
  • Drone needs power
  • The player needs power to survive, not just fly
  • Weapon upgrades
  • HUD advancements
  • The drone has cloning ability