Design Challenge: One Button Control

So I noticed this design challenge over at Gamasutra and I wanted to try it! The criteria was to create a game with a single button input - then write it up in a doc of up to 500 words and 3 images.

Just this week I started watching Star Trek: The Next Generation for the first time, so this idea is clearly based on that. ;)

Title: Prime Directive


You are a starship captain who explores the universe, seeking to discover, experience and catalogue the unknown! Learning about alien races is your highest priority, but you must follow one strict rule: learn as much as possible, but do not interfere in their culture or development.

To accomplish this, you must use all possible clues to interpret their values and act in a way which does not offend them – but be careful, you also must also be mindful of the values of your crew.


On each planet, you encounter a new alien race. There is a brief introductory scene in which you learn a bit about them before they interact with you. You then will face multiple scenarios – in each, you have 2 seconds to press the ‘action button’ to execute a predetermined action.

The time it takes you to press the button, or not press it at all, determines the reactions of the host species, as well as the crew. If you should displease all of your alien hosts, or all of your crew, you fail the mission. If you can keep a balance between the two, you have succeeded, and may count the alien race among your allies.


2 scales are represented at all times – one for the crew, and one for the alien host. The timing of you action can fall into ‘fast’ (within the 1st second), ‘slow’ (within the 2nd second) or not at all. Each ‘+’ and ‘–‘ adds or subtracts a point from the corresponding scale. When the bar drops to zero, you have lost support from that group. A follow up scene will explain the results of your action.


Thunderions of Burning Rock Alpha Tau

- Introductory Visual: A violent, war-loving race. Furs, and heads adorn the hallway. A warrior loses at arm wrestling and is violently dragged out of the hall. The leader is flanked by giant, snarling dog-like things; he pats one on the head.

- Example Scenario: You are invited to dinner! Before dinner, you are given a kitten. Kill it?

o Fast: Aliens ++, Crew -- “Displays of strength are always valued!”

o Slow: Aliens -, Crew -- “Indecision is a sign of weakness on this planet!”

o Don’t: Aliens --, Crew ++ “You have insulted your hosts! Take what you are offered!”

Largeriants of Ikki-Centre V

- Introductory Visual: They are giant ants!

- Example Scenario: You meet the queen. She looms over you, expectantly. Make eye contact?

o Fast: Aliens --, Crew +

o Slow: Aliens -, Crew --

o Don’t: Aliens ++, Crew --

Whispits of Hadentia

- Introductory Visuals: Ghost like, slow floaty species. Very dark room, which is lavishly decorated.

- Example Scenario: It’s dark in here. Turn on the light?

o Fast: Aliens --, Crew ++

o Slow: Aliens -, Crew +

o Don’t do it: Aliens +, Crew -

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