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Stars over Half Moon Bay (Windows)

Stars over Half Moon Bay Windows Main game screen

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Description

Stars over Half Moon Bay is the second art game by Rod Humble, head of EA's Sims studio. It was first presented at the 2008 Game Developers Conference. As with his previous game The Marriage, no explanation is given about the goals or gameplay. A large part of the appeal is in discovering the experimental gameplay and the dissection of the mechanics below can be considered a spoiler.

Inspired by an evening drive home from work, the game is about looking up at the stars in the sky and making a pattern in your mind, but also about the creative process itself. This is reflected in the three phases a gameplay session consists of. In the first one, a dark blue sky is shown. The player controls a dark circle or moon with the mouse, trailed by a smaller, brighter one. A dark curved form slowly creeps up, "eating" the sky. The player moves the dark circle through the stars to form a trail. Diving down in the moving darkness leaves behind bright squares of different sizes, relative to the length of the trail.

When the screen is entirely black, the second phase starts. The darkness moves back down and during this instant the player is able to move up some of the squares covered in the black mass. When the screen is entirely clear again, moving the moon over a star will cause a cross-hair to appear, which can be used to connect different stars to form constellations. The third, creative phase, happens in-between the first two, the moment the player thinks over the creative process of how to form the constellation. These are shown by bright lines connecting the different stars, creating a form. Clicking right clears the lines to start over again.

After a while, the word "end" appears in the top hand right corner and the session can be finished. Past and completed constellations can then be seen in a horizontally-scrolling memories scenery, accessible from the main menu.

Screenshots

Stars over Half Moon Bay Windows Forming a V in the sky.
Stars over Half Moon Bay Windows Start of the game, the darkness slowly creeps up.
Stars over Half Moon Bay Windows Bright spots appear while hovering over them.
Stars over Half Moon Bay Windows Main game screen

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Sciere (245530) added Stars over Half Moon Bay (Windows) on Mar 01, 2008