Project Update #6: Other game mechanics

Long time without making an update! Well, it is just normal, as the project updates finally cached up with the content that we currently have in game, so this is no longer about showing off what we already have, and more about showing the progress we are making, which of course, takes a lot of time!

Today, I want to focus in simply showing off a few interesting mechanics which you will encounter inside the rooms of Zoel’s Amazing Castle. Some of this mechanics were previously shown in gifs for the social networks and for Screenshot Saturday, but today we will go into detail explaining them.

Let’s begin!

Portals

Portals are a platforming mechanic that transport you instantly to somewhere else inside the same room. Portals are color coded, so the player can estimate where he will appear, and all the momentum and inertia carried by the player will be conserved when using them, making it possible to create some interesting platforming challenges that will bend your mind.

This mechanic is obviously based off the Portal franchise, of which we are big fans, but since the whole game is not based around that, you can’t really create portals, just use the ones that are already in place.

Apart from the traditional portals, there is also two variations. First of all, there is the one way portal, which will transport us somewhere and then disappear, not letting us come back using the portal again. This mechanic could be used to generate maze like rooms, based around portals. There is also the horizontal portal, which will be always attached to a wall, and will teleport you to the other side of the room, changing only your X coordinate while maintaining your Y coordinate. The horizontal portals are not that different from the normal ones mechanically, but they give the player the freedom to choose their height, which could lead to some interesting situations, while providing some variety.

Reverse gravity

The reverse gravity field are a simple concept, but provide a very interesting game play mechanic. Simply put, anything inside the reverse gravity field will “fall” upwards, including the player, items and non flying enemies.

This mechanic, while simple in concept, can lead to mind bending room design, in which you will have to think twice on how to solve a platforming challenge.

Wind Blowers

Wind Blowers were created not so long ago, and they were designed to solve an specific problem: There wasn’t much variety for the vertical movement, always resorting to the same big set of stairs, or to the same pieces of platforming challenge. Repeating this content in several rooms was no fun, but given the mechanics that we had, we didn’t have much options really. Taking this into account a new form of traveling upward was designed, to be very different, fast paced and fun.

The mechanic was based off the bounce pads in the 2D Sonic games, which provided exactly what we needed, and from then, we just adjusted it to fit our theme, as a magic circle that shoots a burst of wind when it makes contact with the player.

Bells

Bells are an important component for puzzle rooms. Their behavior is simple, hit the bell with any attack, and it will emit a sound. Bells of different colors will emit different sounds. Taking this simple mechanic, we have integrated it into the game’s puzzles in two different ways.

  • As a simple button, meaning that you can only ring each bell once, and you need to ring all the bells in the room to solve the puzzle. This puzzle rooms in the past were made using small red buttons on the floor, but they were hard to see, and some players missed them. Taking this into account, the red buttons were changed to much larger, impossible to miss bells, serving the same function as the buttons.
  • As a part of a song based puzzle. Some rooms will provide you with a song puzzle, in which there are a set of different bells in a room, which will play a little song for the player. The player will then have to replicate this song using his memory. This puzzle is based on the game “Simon”, using the freedom of being able to choose as many musical notes as we need in order to build little tunes with the mechanic.

Tile Puzzles

Tile puzzles are other mechanic used for puzzle rooms in Zoel’s Amazing Castle. They are simply color coded tiles on the ground that change when the player steps on them. They can change between green, blue, and red color, or any subset of them, and the specifics of how they function change between puzzles.

Sometimes, the user is expected to set all the tiles to an specific color, other times, he is expected to set certain colors to certain tiles, and finally, sometimes the player is just expected to find an order in which this tiles should be activated. More variations of this mechanic will surely appear in future content.

Auto-Scroller Room

The final mechanic showcased today will be the Auto-Scroller room. I had the desire to integrate some form of auto scrolling segments into Zoel’s Amazing Castle, since I am a big fan of classic 2D platformers. This segments come in the form of auto scroller trap rooms, in which when the player enters certain rooms, they will be trapped inside it, with only a suspicious button on sight. If they dare to press it, they will activate a special trap prepared by Zoel. The room will be transformed into a cloudy sky, and everything will begin to move. The player must then solve the platforming challenge presented to them while avoid falling. If they do fall, the room will revert to it’s normal state, making the player start from the beginning.

However, if the player manages to avoid falling for a while, the auto scroller will reach it’s end, reverting the room back to normal and unlocking the doors. This rooms provide a change of pace, and an interesting variation over regular platforming challenges, found in normal rooms.

 

Well, that is all that I have on display today. Thank you for reading until the end, and I hope I am able to deliver some exciting new content soon enough.

Bye!

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