Monday, 18 November 2013

Role Meets Alpha.

So it's been over two weeks since my last (game dev) blog post, and there's much to report.

Where I left off:

- Approaching Alpha
- Compromised level design implemented.
- Asset Designs

Approaching Alpha. 

We managed to hit our Alpha target which was great. I'm really happy with what we managed to get done, and with this in mind, I feel confident that we can deliver something we can stand by.

Promotional Composition
So the above image is something I put together quickly to demonstrate  the games' ethos in one image for reference/presentations etc. 

Below you can see a quick screen recording I took of our Alpha. As it is Alpha gameplay footage, the animations and assets in general are still to be refined. There's merely "Something" there for every asset we will have in beta. By beta the game will play and appear much stronger. Also a lot of the assets are slightly out of position, which may cause the footage to be slightly confusing first time round. 

Final Boat Asset.

Compromised Level Design Implemented.

I don't think I generally need to go into this part of the development, but I'll say a bit about it anyway because I love the theory behind it.

Below is the template of the level we had to quickly devise the other week. I'm no expert level designer, but I'm quite delighted at how it turned out. 

We decided to blend the game's tutorial into the beginning of the level. Because we've been going for the whole simplistic/expressive approach throughout, it made sense not to clutter the game with words and diagrams. Afterwards, the player is introduced to the cause and effect nature which is where we had originally hoped the level design would evolve around.

The Level Template I worked from.
Step One: "Tap the screen to begin". The player taps and straight away they're aware that this is your input.

Step Two: You are halted by a barrier in the form of a bolt. The player taps again - the moon rolls on, and the player recognises the ability to alter the environment, not the moon. In addition, there seems to be a lantern hovering just above this bolt. Hmm.

Step Three: The player again taps to be moved up the lift and is then thrown onto a pulley system by a windmill, and the cause and effect notion is first witnessed. The player sees an object propelled across the screen. If the player taps then two lanterns float up into the sky. If these are released at the correct times the player can take them out, gaining a score of 10 for each one. Ah, the lantern at the beginning makes sense now.

Step Four:  The ending to the level is something I really think turned our great (with regards to gameplay). At the moment the art for it really sucks, but bear with me - it's just alpha*.

So at the end of the level the moon is rolling along in the grass, and there appears to be nothing in sight.

And then you drop into a ditch.

This mechanism I feel is our biggest nod to Limbo. You re-spawn a short distance back, immediately. So the player knows they have to do something between this point and the ditch. So they tap again. They might tap straight away, at which point the spring comes to light, and it becomes clear how to get over the ditch.

And then you fly under the firework display into (currently) oblivion. There will be a layer of trees at this section and the player will be re-spawned at the same point as the ditch death.

You then need to tap again, and eventually the player figured out that you have to tap to spring the moon at the right time, to land in the firework display, to then tap again at the right time to set off the firework and tow the moon into the sky, thus completing the level as the moon transforms into the sun and turns the night into day. The players' score is then displayed.

I feel this final mechanism works well as a final challenge as it allows us to demonstrate the idea of time as a crucial skill element in the game, and in terms of difficulty is by far the most difficult task in our little level.


*For Alpha the quality of the art was no important. we merely need to be certain it could be programmed in to the game. The actual artwork can begin to be implemented now.

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