"We are the sum total of our experiences, which is to say that we are burdened by our pasts..."—Morrnah Simeona
While I have some plans to prepare bigger post-mortem about how StukuPuku evolved into what it is now, I want to describe my latest inspiration that shaped this game. After reading book written by Peter Wohlleben - "Hidden Life of Trees", I found some connections between gameplay I wanted to achieve, and how forest is working.
The Hidden Life of Trees
To keep it short, trees can communicate not only by chemistry, but also using sound that spreads inside ground and trunks, or using electronic impulses sent by Mycelial Mat. What is more Mycelial Mat can be compared to the Internet of the Forest. All that sounds like great base for some kind of RTS game, yet I tried to implement some ideas in StukuPuku.
That is why we have Mother Trees as Players. Birds that sit on the Mother Tree can spot danger and send information to the Tree by knocking. Then tree spawns its protectors (Stuks).
Similar process takes place in the real forest, because trees uses all ways of communications to prepare defense ( for example, it creates fragrances that attract some birds, which eat vermin attacking it). The same goes for fruits, as they always have some purposes, like spreading seeds or bringing attention of other species.
In the end, since we wanted our game to be small, we had to simplify all that knowledge and let it just add some juice, instead of being main focus for design.