Saturday, January 14, 2012

Raising Up Systems and Some Thoughts On Combat

Most of the current work on the game recently has been focused on raising up and implementing some of the more fundamental and abstract parts of the game's systems. This includes several important things to making the game work. First, I have added a time limit, which plays a role in the actual game design. Second, I have built a primitive, but good base, for player death. So, if the player jumps onto spikes, falls off the screen, or runs out of time, they will die and the room restarts. This game is not going to have a lives system. Instead, the penalty for death is a subtraction from the score, as for the score is the most important element of the game that the player must worry about. If this breaks the system in some way, I will need to experiment and see.

I have also added room transitions. The player can walk up to a doorway and enter it, leading to next room in the game. Thankfully, since the progression through the levels in this game is (mostly) linear I can use a rather simple room transition system that allows me to use really only one door object for most transitions.

Also added into the game code are nine other types jewels. Sound effect wise, I really like what I have down with the aural experience of collecting a crystal. For collecting every one the sound is same, except, based upon how many points the jewel delivers, the sound effect has a higher pitch. It can almost at times become musical in nature and is quite lovely. Somewhere in there are also clocks that provide the player with more time when collected.

I have been thinking about removing combat entirely from the game. It fits into the fiction I currently have comfortably if every enemy is portrayed as some wild beast. However, I am starting to doubt how much it adds to the gameplay, and how much it makes sense from the perspective of what it contributes to the rest of the systems. If a player can shoot enemies and kill them, they get points. This works. If the player is attacked by an enemy, one of two things could happen: the player is knocked back and has their score decreased or they are just killed and have to redo the room. However, I am currently feeling more interested in focusing on a more pure platforming feel for the overall gameplay where the whole environment is a large obstacle course. Combat is usually boring in 3D platformers and potentially great in 2D ones. This is why some of the best platformers are very heavily focused on environmental traversal, and either have no combat or a basic combat system that has little depth. I have a feeling that this game should be more about environmental challenges. In particular, I am thinking of Super Meat Boy and how it succeeds because it ignores combat entirely, and right now this approach is feeling right to me. But, it is a feeling, and feelings can't be trusted, regardless of the fact that they potentially can be more right than any amount of reason can ever be. I am going to move forward without combat as I create a 20 level prototype and really start to get a feel for where this game can go.

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