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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogs[PROJECT SLEEP] - Exploratory Platformer
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Author Topic: [PROJECT SLEEP] - Exploratory Platformer  (Read 1569 times)
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« on: January 11, 2017, 01:31:09 AM »

Who the heck are YOU?

I'm Dan Lower. Been doing game design on a hobbyist basis since...really early in my life, over half my life at this point. Goodness.

I'm relatively new/unknown to TIGSource, though I may have popped up on a few of your threads making comments on your devlogs or playtesting your games, and I'm looking forward to quite a few of them.

Probably the most famous game I've made is Ruin Diver III, findable at http://www.freeindiegam.es/2012/08/ruin-diver-iii-kkairos/, and as I understand it got there because of auntie pixelante and porpentine.


[Edit: I thought I couldn't figure out how to embed YT video. Turns out TIGSource just does it.)


So I started this project off a couple of years ago, made a decent sprite, then finally something motivated me to start it up again. I don't want to say a lot yet about the world I'm setting it in, except that it involves a character who dreams lucidly, and will some of my tangential learning will involve French and German folklore. Even the name I gave in the title is tentative at best, and I'm leaning towards something else ATM.

While I work I'm taking the opportunity to expand my horizons with non-procedural-content game design, as well as taking opportunities for tangential learning in the process of world-building. I have a few influences at the start, and I want to make sure that at least in general I have a notion of what I'm doing with the signs and symbols that find their way into this thing.

Two of my chief influences in terms of games were Knytt and Dark Souls. Knytt holds a much stronger atmospheric influence. Dark Souls holds influence more in terms of the way I want to handle lore and wanting combat to matter, though I'm not trying to make a Nifflas-like or Souls-like by any means!

Design decisions!

The last time I designed a platformer with more than 15 minutes of playtime, I didn't plan it well. Level design was almost malicious and the stamina mechanic was punishing. (I'm speaking of a game I'm not even mentioning here because I'm embarrassed.) Part of the issue was that I designed around the tools I gave the player, but I only had one beta tester besides me and the design was too "tight", not enough mercy given to the player. I'm also working in MegaZeux ATM, meaning that the default is not standard pixel-at-a-time movement.

To counteract this limitation, I decided to use two fixed-height jumps (two "tiles" and four "tiles" high) that would vary depending on how long the jump key was held. This means I'll only have to design around those two jump heights, and I won't be tempted to make players pull off ridiculous maneuvers.

I also really wanted to do something good with combat in this game, but I knew from a previous iteration that shielding isn't great in 2D. So rolling it is! There's only one enemy so far, which you can see in the video linked above, but there are more to come.

And I want the game to have good atmosphere. You can hear some of the music it already has in that video; probably there will be at least four to six other distinct songs in the game.

Lastly there will be a pretty minimalistic story that will be comprehensible without extra info, but the boons you find in your quest will have some more extensive descriptions.

I've learned from my mistakes a little bit and will be giving more mercy in general and a better difficulty curve, and hopefully reaching the right balance of atmosphere, platforming, puzzles and combat. Ideally there will be some commonality with those games where combat is well-executed enough to be a sort of puzzle. There are also multiple beta testers involved this time, to ensure playability at a not-the-creator skill level.


Some of these are earlier on but are pretty visually/mechanically faithful.

Hooray for levers. I hope to build some annoying and rewarding puzzles with these.

Earlier version of the starting screen.

Chilling in the first more "dangerous" area.

The latest area created.

(Earlier screen, but faithful to the roll!)

Textbox with its earlier-color, "in action."

General Progress!

I have the basics mapped out and save-files working. I have a number of map rooms basically complete (there are going to be about 70 overall and 6-7 of them are complete, but there's always more to do and as of this time, there's simply much more to do, and there's a good chance things will need refining, both individually and as a cohesive whole, and I don't just mean standard polish. So even when I'm 99% done I'm sure I'll have another 99% to go. I am hoping to have this done and ready for release by March 25th. One of my New Year's Resolutions is to branch out from MZX to a more professional development environment this year, and if I can get this version done it's likely I'll be doing it again with GMStudio or some-such.

Thanks for reading, or at least skimming through to the screenshots or watching the video. I hope you were entertained. Please feel free to message me, leave comments, questions, etc. I'll probably update this thing about once weekly just to give a notion of where it's at.

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« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2017, 06:11:15 AM »

I was actually just playing Knytt Stories this weekend, haha. Super excited to see this!

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« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2017, 03:17:23 PM »

I was actually just playing Knytt Stories this weekend, haha. Super excited to see this!
Excellent! I don't have any major updates right ATM, but wanted to say thanks for the kind words. Stay tuned!

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