In previous posts we have talked about certain design issues on a higher level. Such as the general world design or rules that our level design should apply. However I thought I would bring up a few examples of design issues that have come up during the development that are more specific and also explain the solution for them.
Terrance & Phillip
We wanted to show very clearly when the player character has grabbed an object while we also did not want to create a whole new set of graphics for moving while grabbing something. Thankfully our character design allow perfectly for that with the head being able grab onto objects separately from the body. Initially this was done for purely aesthetic reasons but with this in mind it was yet another reason for going ahead with that design.
Also related to grabbing is the speech-bubble used when standing next to an object that can be grabbed. Besides indicating that you can grab something, it is perhaps more importantly indicating when you can not. Specifically when the object is stuck in geometry (drawn in the front- or backworld).
I Don’t Wanna Die
For a while in the game you had to start a level over if the player character fell down a pit or “died” in some other manner. However since we decided that the game should be mainly about the puzzles and less about platforming challenges, we steered the design towards not having any fail-states. For example the player can fall down a pit but will be instantly re-spawned at a nearby location (without resetting the puzzle) and enemies only push away the player rather than killing him. In general when there is a need to reset the player we try to follow this philosophy but applied in ways that suit a specific puzzle.
Black & White Colors
The fact that the “backworld” of each level is in black and white was very much the result of an iterative process and a design choice rather than an aesthetic one. We tried for quite some time to have color in both worlds in different setups, but it turned out to be a big issue of contrast. That affected the game as you weren’t always sure which world you had drawn to. The black and white option turned out to be the best for game-play, but in the end I think that it also turned out to be more interesting as it gives artistic variety.
Now I’m MAD!
When the player gets stuck in geometry when drawing between the two worlds we wanted to indicate that somehow, in more ways than the lack of movement. We fairly quickly came up with an easy solution; a facial expression. We started out with cross-eyes and ended up with angry eyes!
This is a few examples of issues that have come up, we might return to this topic again as we show more from the game.