Changing Gears

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The Castle, is finished. Well, at least for my part it’s done, more or less. Testing is currently ongoing and I’m sure I’ll receive an email in the next couple of days with either a giant list of broken things, parts that are confusing and parts that are stupid, requiring me to go back in at some point and make changes. The work is finished though. Minor changes to an already built thing are not the same as building an all new thing, and I like the level enough to not want to rip it down and start anew. Unlike the last level, I”ve gotten no part of that makes me think that I should crumple and toss it.
It plays nice. Parts are ruthlessly hard, but at the almost end of the game I can do that without regret. Leave off the proverbial kids gloves and throw on the ones with nickels in the knuckles. Enemies need sticking in, but it’s otherwise just dandy. Oh, and orange now.
So nows I gets to move on to the next level, The Tower. Going back to a previous idea, each stage is basically designed to create a new kind of gameplay experience to test the player. The Castle has traps, the Cliffs are scripted events and The Tower is designed around flexible geometries.
Let me explain that one so I can wrap my head around it. Basically, I want parts of it to move around, so the idea of the screen, the solution to it and the dangers inherit to it are the same thing. The example that comes to mind is of a wall that moves back and forth, with the exit at the top. I want to force the player to wall jump up the wall before the wall is able to crush them. Then I want to link those kinds of puzzles together.
Now, the question quickly became, why in Odin’s name would a renaissance era tower have anything even remotley resembling that kind of idiocy? So I put a clock into it, a big one. It’s a common game conceipt – having a tower have a clock in it, and like common game conceipts I love to turn them over and violate them in the bestest ways ever. So, the solution to escaping the clock, will be to destroy it. I’ve played through clocks before, with their spinning gears and there little chains, but I’ve never had the opportunity to outright destroy one before.
Of course, that brings me to the central problem that I face, the central problem that has kept the notebook page clear save for the “Tower” label at the top – I have to build puzzles that work not just forwards and backwards, but while they are failing.
However, there’s another issue altogether, the clock isn’t the entire level, it’s a part of a larger whole. As it stands, there’s 3 parts to Tower broken into 2 chapters. The first is the exterior and interior portions, in effect, a place to put all of the trap puzzles and platforming puzzles that were too damn hard to put into the Cliff or Castle levels. The problem I’m having is, how do I do more of the same, without it seeming like I’m doing exactly that? Or does forcing a player to suddenly change tactics and methods on the fly make the experience different? I really wish I knew the answers to these questions before I went in and used the hours up. Hours I find myself with fewer of with every passing, well, hour.
Methinks I need to get to work with a pencil and see what I can see.

– While I was doing some level finishing, I had an idea based on a hack. Previously, I found that I could do some stuff with image buffers and things like that, mostly for saving. Yesterday I figured out if I draw everything except the GUI onto an image, I can screw with that image. So I went in and worked out how to do a shaking effect, by drawing that image and randomly adding or subtracting a small amount to the X and/or Y position of where the screen is drawn. So now cave in and wall collapses can have wiggle to them. Wiggle that looks cool but doesn’t do a damn thing to the gameplay underneath. Wiggle I can live with happily. Oh, and I can toggle it, which is important. Although I have noticed that it makes some stuff a little harder, but I was testing it in the Castle Level, you know, with all those traps.
In any event, I think I could conceviably use this trick to do some creative shite with mask colors and overlay effects. Maybe transitions and stuff. Later anyway, I don’t have the time for either R or D right now.

– If you’ll direct your eyes over yonder => you’ll see that more stuff is now oranged and now blue. The blue stuff is things that need doing eventually, but not today. These are things that I can do after 11-1 if I want. Hours that I can use today for other stuff.
The other things are in the Art section. We have another posting by The Background Artist / Modeler with some stuff from the Warehouse level. He says it’s not quite done yet (to me and in the blog) but if he needed to the game could ship with that art in it, so that’s a quasi-done. I don’t want to mark it all orange and have it not be true, but it’s done enough I suppose to have some kind of coloring, so I put Preliminary Art next to them. If all the art is marked at Preliminary Art and orange, I’ll be a happy panda.