Jumping In

Happy September! I hope you’re used to my puns by now.

I’ll keep things short this week, since it’s still nice outside and I have a feeling that will change rather quickly as we continue our hurried stroll through the semester. We have seven weeks until IGF submission and we’re busy getting our features locked down. This means a lot of rapid iteration and a lot of playing around with some things. This is proving to be challenging because we really haven’t nailed down our mechanics yet, nor have we truthfully been able to explain what our game is. So we did what game devs do best…and had a meeting about it.


Brenton takes notes while the other yetis look concerned.

Our design meeting looked like this:

We sat down and asked ourselves, “What the heck does the player ability do? What do we want it to do?” We cleared our minds of everything we already knew about our game and pondered the question again and again. Did we want the premonition to trigger something, or only reveal things? Did we want it to be spammable or have limited use? After writing all the ideas down and taking notes, we began the process of scoping down – after all, we only have a few weeks to get the mechanic functional AND add polish. We wanted to set our goals low and attainable and get the features locked. Obviously we want to have as much content and awesome stuff in the game as possible, but starting small means starting with a solid foundation.

We only have one toy – the premonitions – and we want to show the player how many different ways they can play with that toy. It seems like a lot, but truthfully I believe we’re up to the challenge. Once we’d settled on a few basic rules for the premonition ability, the team immediately set to work with testing the new ideas and setting up new levels where we could showcase them. I’ll be honest, it’s like watching a bunch of busy bees work in beautiful concert, though as far as I know we don’t communicate via dance. The speed with which we’ve been able to build and rebuild since the beginning of the semester two weeks ago has been incredible. Here’s an example of our new forward launch tile:

So here’s what our game is, in a nutshell:  Premonition is a puzzle runner where the player uses a special ability to reveal the helpful and hazardous areas within the level. It’s the urgent running Temple Run meets Mario Kart’s booby traps, made possible by something similar to the detective node in Batman: Arkham Asylum.  What a mouthful! Don’t worry, we have a lovely mockup that Rachel helpfully put together for us.


Disco fever can lead to some amazing hallucinations.

The idea is that each of the different colored tiles does a different thing, with some being helpful and some being harmful. They can speed you up, slow you down, launch you into the air, and kill you – among other things. So now we have a new set of rules and we have to make sure they’re fun and we can build some levels that make use of them. On Tuesday, we’ll have a build review and see what’s going on with our new core design ideas. Will they fly or fall flat?

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