Last night Monumental Failure passed a significant milestone -- all the levels that will be included in the initial release are now done! Well, sort of... I still have several passes of game play and graphical polish to do, but none the less, we're getting there! Today I'm going to discuss some ideas that initially didn't work, and the solutions I found to make those bad ideas good.
I was inspired by the design from this Mario Party 2 mini-game to challenge the player to stay on top of a cylinder. The constant shuffle and adjustment left and right should be an interesting challenge. Well, unfortunately for our physics driven game, once you started to tip a little bit, it wasn't long before you tipped a lot. Loss was too sudden. The solution? Conveyor belts, alternating between pushing you left and right meant you had to readjust, and if you got pushed all the way off, well, you probably saw it coming.
I had designed this crazy crane vehicle to be used in the Bayon Temple level, and for a long time it was one of the most confusing and glitchiest aspects of the game. At the start, the characters were physics objects standing within the vehicle. While it seems like physics objects would be in the spirit with the rest of the game, the result was that your character couldn't consistently press the buttons to make the vehicle go, and worse, they could get bounced right out of the vehicle. Oops! The solution was to simply make the characters part of the vehicle, rather than making them physics objects.
When building the pyramid, you will have to traverse some crumbly stone columns that tip over, that ultimately help you get to your destination. The initial prototype used some green cylinders to represent these tipping platforms. When Jess tested them out, she didn't realise they were tipping and attempted to hop from one to another, and it didn't work and she was frustrated by it. The solution here was to better visualise that something was happening. Green cylinders got replaced with craggy, wiggling rocks. Particle systems create dust when the tipping starts. Crumbling sounds play, ending with a good thud when the tipping is done. The behaviour was then obvious.
Those are just a few of the tweaks I've made up till now, and like I mentioned above, there's bound to be a few more. Given that the level design is inherently antagonistic to the player, it's important that the challenge is clearly communicated, and that failure clearly feels like a fault of the player. Simply put, I need to create a fair game.
Thanks for reading,