I really can't claim to be a good game designer yet. My primary goal really was to get this engine into other people's hands, and the only reason I am building a game is because I can't build a business off an engine alone, and I need to dogfood the engine to ensure necessary features. :)
In Minecraft, there are source blocks and normal water blocks. Water spreads from source blocks towards the lowest point in the area and loses one level (from 7) each step. If you put water source blocks close together, new ones spawn between them. Water just "evaporates" after a few blocks: If you dig up from a cave with flat ground into an ocean, water will spill to the ground and flow 7 blocks. But that makes it easier to handle for players.
Dwarf Fortress on the other hand has infinite water sources that also have pressure, so hitting a water source with a tunnel will fill your fortress up to the level of the source block, because the water spreads infinitely and also can go up bends. FUN! (Especially if you hit one with high pressure = producing a lot of water. First thing you notice is that the frame rate drops to slide show speed, a few frames later there's water everywhere)
If you block it off, it remains. (vs in Minecraft plugging all source blocks makes water disappear)
This is a more realistic approach, especially if the speed at which the sources produce water is limited and they are only used at the map edges to simulate inflow. Or one could look into finite element modelling and other fluid simulation techniques and try to adapt them for game usage.
Sounds like Castle Storm .
I remember seeing the lack of design as an issue back in the initial trailer. My main suggestion for completing a design now is: spend an hour or two each day trying to kill the design on paper. As in - the only unknowns left should be tuning and balancing. Everything else - assets, systems, ui - should get a paper spec, and then be turned into tasks. This process makes for faster iteration than doing it on the computer since you can mix visual ideas with text. It lets you make bolder decisions up front and see the size of the game properly.
As soon as I saw it, I had a great idea for a game. It's pretty simple too... Imagine a sort of hybrid of Angry Birds and Defender of the Crown (https://youtu.be/Af0vFi4sSzw?t=272). Where you have to build up your castle and then knock down your opponents.
You already have pretty good walls, rocks, brickwork, etc. So you could use that for the construction phase. Then you'd need to add a variety of weapons; Ballistas, Trebuchets, Cannon, etc. Each one would destroy a few blocks in a certain pattern. Maybe you can unlock/upgrade weapons as you proceed. You'd also need some kind of physics to detect when blocks are unsupported and allow them to fall & destroy themselves.
I'm envisioning a simple single player mode where you take it in turns defending and attacking castles and then an MP mode where 2 or more players can defend and attack each other. You'd need some kind of replication system to report which blocks are created or destroyed during the game, but that shouldn't be too hard for you.
Let me know if you like my idea.
I love games where the mechanics of the engine are part of the gameplay. When I saw your little video of 'what happens if you apply the ripple effect to land?' I immediately thought of how fun that would be in a fantasy wizard fight. Great cartoon violence potential! I've really enjoyed reading your updates on this project, because of your excellent writing as well as your technological achievements.
ISTM you have a great platform here that would be suitable for a wide variety of gameplay styles, which will attract other creative people to your project to help. Can't wait to see where this goes!
It plays to the strengths of the engine: explosions and terrain deformation are key, and huge draw distance is not needed the way they placed the camera (likely needed back in the N64 days).
The only problem is that there is a good deal of content production and balancing that goes into such a game - I want to build a "simple as possible" game in the short term.