So I had this idea
Over on fedi earlier we were having a convo (as you do) and tossing around favorite game genre concepts and I had the BRILLIANT idea: what if you had a rhythm game, but the game was about growing and crossbreeding flowers? I mean it was a joke at first but then I realized omfg it is fucking brilliant and I want that game?!?! Making a rhythm game is extremely hard, though, so I figured, well, at least I can play around with ideas about how this game might work, if it ever existed.
So first, I came up with a framework for the basic gameplay mechanics. You plant seeds and grow them into flowers; the flowers can cross-pollinate; you collect the seeds; repeat from step 1. That's the basic flower-breeding part.
Then you get into the rhythm part. In order to grow a flower from a seed, you have to play through a song - the music and map for which is defined by the flower you're trying to grow, of course. The rating you get on the song directly correlates to how "good" the flower you grew is, and that influences what kind of crosses you can get with it. Crossing two S-rank flowers can potentially get you unique and/or supernatural flowers.
From there, we get into how exactly the genomes map to the songs you have to play through. I was chewing on that in the shower and came up with the perfect idea. The "genome" is broken into parts. The value for each part gets represented as a specific track and mapping for that track... mostly. For the first three parts, at least. Those are, I'm gonna loosely call the "melody", the "harmony", and the "percussion", even though they're probably not going to be specifically constrained to those musical elements. I dunno, Cal is the music one here, lol. But THEN there's the really CLEVER part I came up with. Your fourth genome variable, right? it's gonna define your structure.
So what you've got for those is, you have your different melody/harmony/percussion tracks and maps split up into phrases that can all segue into each other or from each other. Same number of phrases for each track/map. Then your structure-genome is a pattern of which phrases to play, in what order. But not JUST which phrase in the list-of-phrases-for-each-track - there's also which map to use for that phrase. So you could have a structure where it follows the melody-map on a repeated chorus but then has a differing mix of melody/harmony/percussion maps for each verse. That way you can define rules when you're making the phrases so you can make sure the pieces all sound good together no matter the genome sequence, but you also get a good variety of maps to play!
Ideally you would have the maps for the three tracks be built around different difficulties, too. It makes sense, too, if you've played rhythm games a bunch. Easy version maps are usually based on the percussion, right? And then the hard ones are based more around the melody. So you can have the "rarity" of your flowers be tied to the structure genome sequence, making them harder or easier.
And then as a capstone to the whole idea, you can have difficulty tiers of the unique flowers too. Each unique flower path would have its own actually uniquely composed song and maps. The first tier would have the easiest map, but you need two S-rank flowers to get a seed for the next tier - and then that tier has a harder map, and also needs two S-rank flowers to get to the next tier, and so on, through however many difficulty layers of the song you want to do.
Obviously the whole structure of the game doesn't lend itself to ideas like "difficulty levels" very well, but Kieran convinced me to try to figure something out, accessibility etc. etc. so I came up with.....
It's an item that will raise your flower by one rank above what you actually got. The idea is, you can set your game to give you a certain number of Musical Gro every time you successfully grow a plant. Default is zero, but you can change that at any point, probably choosing between zero, one, or two. You have to choose to use the Musical Gro before you start the track, and you can only use a maximum of 4. (That way, you can only ever get an S rank flower if you can play the track well enough to at least pass it.)
....anyway we'll probably never make this game because it'd be super fucking hard to do on our own, but BOY I wish we could!!