So I had this discussion with Kevin, my roommate. It's time to think about putting in the main gameplay vehicle, which is this sort of dungeon that you have to work your way through. The dungeon itself is all puzzles, integrated with the townspeople, or at least that's the general idea. You get through the dungeon and make your way into the castle. There is another dimension to it, but I don't want to give away any spoilers.
Right now there is a system in place for clothing. But clothing has no armour-related purpose, since combat in games is outmoded (hahah) -- well, since there is no combat in this game. So the question becomes, should I take the clothing system out, or build the game around it? Experience tells me, don't push a system that you've implemented if it doesn't make sense any more later on in development. But these things can also serve as an inspiration for gameplay, which is a good thing.
Clothing could work the obvious way, like, certain clothes impress certain NPCs, rubber boots to walk on electrified floors, etc. but then what's the point? We won't get anywhere with uninteresting and uninspired puzzles (once upon a time, these would have been cool, though). So it's more like, well, think about all the NON-conventional way that clothing affects you:
- Wearing women's clothes make you feel funny
- Glittery dress attracts fireflies
- What else? Camoflauge clothing lets you hide in bushes.
- Some items are too large to carry, and must be worn. This helps the puzzle dynamic.
I've sort of decided to go ahead with the clothing mechanic, but just keeping in mind what it is (a vehicle for various fun puzzles and humour) and what it isn't (protection for your body, a key-and-lock system).
As for the actual dungeon, this is justifyable because it gives the game very focused direction. The dungeon itself can be large and varied, and gives the player a sense of "what to do next" rather than just randomly explore the overworld. They always know that their task is to explore, the dungeon, the problems that arise in there are solvable by interacting with the townspeople. I think it's a solid system (partly since it involves two elements playing off each other) and the originality of it (or lack thereof) really comes down to implementation.