Ah, now we’ve got something to show off! Dave’s come through with the BobRossatron!
Mona Lisa’s core loop involves (1) Breaking into strongholds with stealth platforming to steal a painting (2) Making a realtime forgery of the painting you’re stealing, then (3) Hanging the forgery in place of the original with the hopes that it fools the guards long enough for you to get away. One of the keys to making this game work is the Forgery Engine, or as we like to call it, The BobRossatron.
The Forgery Engine as a game mechanic has been the hardest sell of this game, and that’s because when people think of painting as a game, all they can think of are painting sims and colouring apps. This isn’t what we’re building. We want a tool that feels like the player is brushing paint onto a canvas, and that paint is forming a picture much like the original, but it’s not a foregone conclusion. It can’t feel like you’re pressing play over and over on a paint animation, and the player should be allowed to draw a moustache on the portrait if he feels it deserves one. It should give you constant positive feedback for good strokes, and bad strokes should be laughable rather than frustrating.
Basically, we’re making Guitar Hero, but with paint. Hence, the BobRossatron was born.
If you’ve never seen Bob Ross, look him up [link]. He’s a mellowed out speed painter from 80s TV who paints amazing landscapes covered in happy little trees in 20 minutes or less. When you watch him work it’s like he goes splat splat splat with a brush and it’s like “holy crap, it’s a pine forest on the side of a mountain”. It must be so satisfying to paint like him.
So… we attempted to recreate that. If Bob Ross layered up your brush with paint and said
“Place this brush here, and paint to there,” by the end of the session you’d probably have painted something pretty spectacular. And, another Guitar Hero parallel, if you put down the tablet and picked up a real brush, you’d probably still suck at painting in real life.
And now, I’ve got a semiworking BobRossatron in my hands, and I can actually show people what I mean when I say “Guitar Hero Style Arcade Forgery”.