Experimental gameplay project – 4

(Next post: Experimental Gameplay Project 5), previous post: Experimental Gameplay Project 3)

Again I had some great fun developing on my game. This time I spent 10 hours developing and making some new artwork.
It’s getting close to becoming a real game now.So what is in it now?

  • More particles (snow!)
  • Levels (although only 1 semi-interesting level and 9 dummy levels at the moment)
  • Collectibles. Find sunflowers and snowflakes
  • userinterface showing ‘summers left’, ‘sunflowers found’, ‘snowflakes found’ and the timer
  • Working ‘exit’ in the levels
  • Instructions in menu
  • Level select in menu
  • ‘escape’ -> back to menu

Time spent doing this: 10 hours

Play it here (to play, click on the game to give it focus):

Development

Because this is the first time I’m using Flixel, I had some new stuff to learn again. This time I had to find out how to design my game for several levels and being able to restart levels, go to next level, go to a specific level from the menu, etc. So all about states.

In the end I will release the source code of this project along with my design choices and the solutions to problems I encountered during development. I hope this will help others who are starting out building games.

Make it fun!

Now that I have a working framework, all my game elements, states etc, and used more than half of my hours, it is time to make the game more fun.
So, I have to design levels that are exciting and challenging. The key elements of the gameplay are limited amount of seasons changes and the goal to minimize the amount of time to finish the level.
With that in mind, what makes a level fun and challenging?
First of all, a level needs places that are only accessible during winter or summer, so a player has to use season changes, which are limited -> puzzle factor
A level needs several ways to solve it, so a player can try to find faster way to beat the level -> minimize time used
Levels must not be frustrating, although the later levels may be very challenging: tight spaces, quick actions, precise timing -> skills

So level design is a challenge!

What’s the story?

Now that I have a prototype working, gameplay mechanics, some (amateur) artwork, it is also time to think about the context of the game.
Who is this guy? Why is he looking for snowflakes and sunflowers? Why can he change seasons? Why only a limited amount of changes?
What’s with the timer?
What are those monsters?
Ofcourse, with this gameplay and the levels I’m making, the story is probably very ridiculous, but I think creating some context in the game, makes the game more interesting.

And it’s a good excuse to make some cutscenes. If I only had the time…

Anyway, I haven’t thought of a story at all yet, so I have no idea there will be one.

Up next

To do:

  • Feedback to player when all collectibles are found
  • Timer score at the end of the level
  • Keeping track of scores (highscores maybe?)
  • Sounds
  • Interesting levels
  • Story

Time left: 35 – 10 = 25 hours

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