Yours is a very big project... I mean, what are you planning to put in the game to keep the interest of the player up, and keep exploring?
Wow! That's a very good question, and gets right to the crux of what this game will be about. I don't think I could fully cover the subject here, it probably would need a topic of it's own, but I'll touch on couple of techniques to wet your appetite.
The cheapest trick I'll be using is compulsion. Now compulsion doesn't work on everyone but on those it does it is very effective. Compulsion is achieved by quantifying some aspect of the game. In my game I will show the player how much of the world they have explored and how much is still left to visit. Those with a compulsive nature will find it hard to leave the game with areas left unvisited.
My favourite technique is foreshadowing or enticement. This entails giving the player a glimpse of some aspect of the game that is yet to come, and thus hopefully motivating them to get to that point in the game. When used properly foreshadowing can be very powerful and very rewarding for the player.
One method I will not
be using is inducement, mainly because that technique doesn't really work on me personally. Inducement is that phenomenon in games where the player is drip fed rewards every step of the way. This usually manifests itself as the collectable, where there is always another coin just a little bit further on, and then another, and then another, etc. There is nothing wrong with this technique, and some might say compulsion is a worse method than this, but inducement just doesn't work on me as a player.
There are plenty of other things I'll be doing to keep the players interest levels high, but I'll save them for another day.09 Feb 2010:
Screen loading is in. Content is now completely separated from the engine and can be added externally at anytime, even whilst the game is running. This allows content to be added without any need to amend the main program. Screen transitions are up and running. The player leaves one screen and appears in the next at the right place. Added a bit of colour to the test area so that the new screen capture is a little less uninspiring.
The platforms are rendered in the background and the vines are in the foreground. The player is still only an orange rectangle. Also the game is running at x2 zoom. Zoom can be altered to preference by the player at anytime.