LD October Challenge 2013: Day 9

Woohoo! I think I have the physics just about where I want them: nice and “crispy”! The only thing I might change eventually is the wall jump, as it feels a little unnatural at times. However, I don’t feel its going to hinder the progression of my game design as it stands right now.

I also decided I need to take some time to really consider how I wanted to flex this game’s “fun” muscles before I dove too far in. I have a great concept, but as far as execution went, I hadn’t thought too specifically about how to make it a well-oiled machine as opposed to a cluster of gimmick-stages. So I fell back on some of my personal musings about the construction of games, particularly this writing: http://wp.me/p3AkJt-4V

So where were do my priorities lie? As a ninja-based, action platformer, surely this was going to fall somewhat on the instinctive side of things: a healthy dose of speed with some nice variation to keep the player on their feet. But I was also struck more profoundly about the side-effect of my reset power: the ability to directly undo your progress. In most games, progress is undone as the result of stuff like a lost life or failed objective… mistakes by the player. But not this game; the player has direct control over the ability to undo (some) progress. And as I said before, the mischief here is that such a thing can be for better or for worse.

So what does this mean for the design of the game? Obviously, I’ve been working on the fluidity and speed, as I want the game to feel crisp to control. Pacing will be important to some of the potential chaos that can ensue. Beyond that, I think the utilization of some simple switch-ups and traps will keep the player guessing at times. My suspicion is that the player might start to lean on the reset power as a panic button when needed. A simple trap might spring that puts the player in an urgent situation. Do you mash the reset button in your haste? Careful, you may have to backtrack and redo a certain section of the level to get back that lost progress. I want to utilize little things that can subtly punish the player.

So, in summary:

  • Capitalize on speed for a more urgent pace
  • Throw little but meaningful wrenches into the mix
  • Challenge the player’s ability to maintain progress without punishing them too heavily

Part of it is about making the “reset” power complement the frenetic nature of the action platformer. Give the player their speed and control, then let the subtle change-ups and reset power keep them alert and mess with their head a little. Haha… I like where this is going!

Posted in LD October Challenge 2013

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