Sorry for the wall of text/proto design doc, hopefully you'll find it at least mildly interesting.Endless/distant/destined peak Foreword
I have, for a couple of years now, been excited by the "new" way some indie platformers have been applying graphics. Games like Aquaria, Braid and many more have abandoned the rigid square tile graphics and have instead embraced big sprites, placed much more liberally to create something that is more akin to a painting than a rigorous, square-based level. I've looked at these games and thought to myself "hey, I WANT to do that, and I think I probably COULD do that!".
I've also been playing more and more procedurally generated, cruel games (1500+ deaths on spelunky comes to mind) and have strayed from thinking of AAA-titles as the be-all end-all way to make games. I feel I want to make something truly cruel, yet beautiful and... relaxing? Thus, Endless Peak.What is it?
Endless peak is (=would be), in a nutshell, a procedurally generated mountain climber platformer. The player is faced with a daunting task - reach the top of a magnificent mountain with only a few ropes, bolts and sunny demeanor to help him/her.
LOTS OF hilariously inaccessible areas!Look and feelGraphics
I want to make something that's visually appealing and seems fairly painterly done - a lot of color, cute animals and interesting details most everywhere. Set pieces would often be puzzles disguised as ruins, otherworldly rock formations or perhaps airplane cemeteries. The sky should more often than not be a wonderful shade of blue with birds flying in the horizon, clouds moving to and fro, gusts of dusty winds blowing gently in the mid/foreground. The character would probably be somewhat cartoony of course, to fit in with the surroundings.Sound
Think ambient - I want to capture the sense of wonderful 'loneliness' that can only be achieved when you're far away from everyone else on a mountain or in a forest.
perfect example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9kPIp4MtX0
sort of relevant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6NpliDiLTE&feature=relatedMechanics
Movement on plain surfaces would be similar/identical to the way most platformers deal with movement, namely running and jumping. When moving up against more vertical surfaces the player sticks to them, being able to move on them at the cost of *endurance* - working much the same way as... I think it's called the same... in the game "shadow of the colossus" - namely it's a bar that depletes when you climb (or swim), but is slowly replenished if resting.
You can use items - of which there are 3(4) distinct types:*ropes* *bolts* and *held*(and *upgrades*).
Ropes can be attached or detached to bolts and/or certain things in the environment. Climbing up ropes costs significantly less endurance than climbing on rock faces - and you're able to somewhat 'ninja rope' (a technique from the Worms franchise, where you rock the rope to create a pendulum movement).
Bolts can be attached or detached to most surfaces
Held items is a fairly broad category - held items can only be held one at a time. held items could include consumables, 'quest items' or simpler objects, enabling the player to interact more with the environment.
Upgrades could include *longer fall before lethal*, *endurance +*, *rope max+*, *bolts max+*, *higher jump*, *faster climb* etc.WORTH NOTING:
NPCs, checkpoints, weather (wind) affecting the character. Rockfalls?How would this work?
Well, one way to do it would be to use a rough polygonal surface to define a very, very big mountain using some cute algorithm. The polygon lines are then used to place sprites containing their own collision maps. At certain set intervals of altitudes points of interest are added - essentially premade set pieces, npcs, upgrades&items that hopefully is possible to access.
Hopefully this will cause things like 50 meter horizontal ceilings you have to traverse, strange rock formations up the wazoo and hillarious deaths due to failure to plan ahead.How would this work pt2: gameplay:
How to make all this actually be theoretically fun? Well, essentially the distances between resting spots should be much greater than what you can climb on rock faces, making retrieval of ropes and bolts, finding of new ones and appropriate sacrifices (assuming X amount of bolts/ropes stay placed in the environment on respawn) a big part of gameplay. Important things to get right include climbing, jumping whilst climbing and ninjaroping as these would be used a lot. I want to convey feel as much as I want to apply fun gameplay - making 2d climbing fun is a huge challenge and not one I feel I can tackle without something to play around with - if even then!This is of course only a silly little idea made by an artist, thus graphics and feel have come first, gameplay second and regard for programmer sanity wouldn't even be worth mentioning.
TL;DR: mountain climber roguelike.