Final Design Doc – Team Squog

Posted by Courtney Smith on Tuesday Apr 13, 2010 Under Final Design Documentaion, Game Design

Team Squog: Hal Helms, Mikhail Lovell, Matt Remmele, Cary Chichester & Courtney Smith

Progress Regarding Game Mechanic

  • Our tether mechanic remains unchanged, however wall climbing and jumping was changed to simply touching a wall to climb (instead of holding towards it constantly) and pressing away from it to jump off (instead of holding towards it and then tapping away). A small bug was fixed that allowed players to float up indefinitely.

Concept Overview

  • The basic controls are shared on a single keyboard and players move around using WASD and arrow keys. This allows for basic movement and jumping.
  • Because characters are tethered, they cannot go too far from each other without the tether snapping them back. When the tether is about to pull them back together it glows red.
  • Characters can cling to walls, climb them, and perform wall jumps.
  • Characters can also anchor to the ground for added stability.
  • Characters can climb up the rope when it is steady.
  • Often, the rope is swinging, which can allow characters to access dangerous areas without putting their feet on the ground.
  • The goal is to gather all the collectables to open the next level.
  • There are hazards in the form of security guards and security lasers that will stun the characters and force them to restart the level.
  • Art style is pixel-ized characters, tiles and collectables with photo-realistic backgrounds.
  • The two characters are acrobats who have become thieves since their circus has shut down. They go about stealing valuables in order to fund the circus’s return.

Detailed Description of Gameplay (from player’s point of view)

  • Players are first greeted by a splash screen briefly describing the controls for each player.
  • After pressing start, players are taken to the tutorial level which takes place in the front hall of the museum and will help them learn the controls and mechanics possible to use during gameplay.
  • Upon completing the tutorial level by gathering the key, they’re presented with the level select screen (the museum’s lobby) from which they can choose Egyptian or Dinosaur level.
  • In order to beat a level, all collectables must be gathered, otherwise they won’t have enough money to save the circus.
  • Once one is chosen and beaten, players return to the level select to pick the second level.
  • Once all levels are completed, there is a small cut scene with the final treasure being shown after which the credits roll.

Interface: The basic interface and interaction paradigm of the game

  • The game is a 2D platformer game with two players that are controlled by four keys each
  • Upper left corner contains text with the amount of lives
  • Upper right corner contains images of the treasures in each exhibit, which light up when collected
  • When either player is stands in front of a map station, text will appear on screen instructing them to press the space key to view the map for that exhibit. Pressing space shows the map, and pressing space again closes it.

Features: A list and description of the basic features of the game

  • Cooperative platformer game for two players
  • Fun tether mechanic forces players to work together
  • Museum setting with exhibits for levels
  • Lots of valuable treasures to be stol- er, collected

Visual Design: Description of the visual design concept. If you want you can include reference images that you used. You should put all the final assets into this section.

  • The characters are pixel style to reinforce the feel of a platformer and to suit our particular preferences. They are colored dark blue and green so as not to stand out from the dark background too much but also so that the male and female are indistinguishable.
  • The only other character present is the security guard, who lazily glides back and forth on his segway.
  • For a unique and fun effect, everything that can be interacted with is in pixel stlye (including tiles and treasures, along with maps and such), while backgrounds are photos, adding in a bit of realism and element of play through juxtoposition.

Integration of Assets

  • Our game will feature 3 levels divided up into 4 or 5 rooms: a tutorial level that guides the players via posters through the basic game mechanics along with two regular levels that will test their abilities. The two normal levels will be dinosaur-themed and Egyptian-themed as it is a museum of ancient history.
  • In order to raise enough money to fund the return of the circus, the acrobats must steal all the precious items. Therefore, players must gather every collectible before moving on to the next room and/or level.
  • The museum has high security and protects its valuables with lasers, which stun and daze the thieves.
  • Levels house checkpoints, which allow you to restart the room you became dazed in.
  • A map and arrows will guide progress through the room.
  • In-game info is shown in the heads-up display including lives and number of collectibles gathered versus collectibles in the room.

Technical Aspects

  • Originally, we wanted to use the Citrus Engine but because they didn’t offer any student packages, we were forced to consider other options. When e-mailing them about our project, they even said that it would be nearly impossible to implement our game mechanic given time constraints imposed by the assignment.
  • Therefore, we switched to working with the Flash engine Flixel, using the Flash Develop IDE.
  • This allows us to run the game through browers.
  • After we built the game in Flixel, Citrus Engine decided they would allow students to use their engine for the project but we had already solidified the game mechanic and therefore ignored them.

Play Testing Feedback

  • Testers complained it was hard to tell the characters apart and suggested using equally saturated colors so that no one character stood out too much.
  • The animation needed smoothing in some spots.
  • Characters often spawned one on top of another, which testers found annoying.
  • The level offered no real sense of direction.
  • Players couldn’t see enough of the level at once and we didn’t clearly distinguish between drops and pits of “death”.
  • Controls were slightly awkward for climbing and wall jumping so we simplified it by decreasing the number of buttons that needed to be held to perform those actions.

Bringing it All Together

  • Cary is designing the tutorial level.
  • Mikhail is designing the dinosaur level.
  • Matt and Hal are implementing the level designs.
  • Hal is implementing level select and working as project manager.
  • Courtney is adding artwork for collectables.
  • Everyone will work together to implement the levels and artwork to bring together the final game.

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