Balance is a game about the art of fish herding and ecosystem maintenance. It's a game where the 'enemy' is yourself, every action has a consequence and where helping one aspect could adversely affect another.
Balance was developed in a team of three. My main responsibility was the coding of the AI, the herbivores, predators and the plants.
We had a couple of challenges when trying to develop Balance, it needed to be playable by everyone and get across a message of sustainability. While we were developing Balance our core values that guided a lot of our design decisions were:
Strip the game down to essential elements, both aesthetically and mechanically.
Easy learning curve and intuitive controls.
No or low impact fail and win states.
Let the player discover and make their own rules of play.
Using the player as a storyteller, imagining their own context and story.
Relaxing game play.
Our goal with the sustainability theme was to try and not just shove it in your face that sustainability is a good thing. I feel as though we succeeded with this. Typically if you leave the game to run its course, without any interference, the ecosystem survives longer than the ecosystem of someone who is actively playing and interacting.
Within ecosystems it's important to have balance and variety within the ecosystem, another aspect of sustainability that is incorporated into Balance.
If you want to play Balance here is a link to try it out. To play Balance, you need to have flash installed and have a window of at least 1024x768 (iPad screen size).