This week, I have been pretty happy with my productivity on the game. I actually did a couple of development streams for the first time in like 6 months at least.
So, what exactly have I been up to this week?
One of the items on the tasklist for the game ever since I started thinking about doing the art myself was to try to do a full concept piece, in order to get some kind of idea of what an area in the game might look like in the style I’ve been working in. After all, doodles are nice but they don’t really look like a game.
So, the piece that I decided to do is intended to be a take on the starting are of the game, which is a floating island.
Obviously this is super WIP, and I wouldn’t necessarily expect the final version of this area to look anything like this, or the final art to resemble this beyond the broad strokes. But overall, I’m pretty happy with the way it came out.
The main subject of my streams where I was working on the game was the issue that stymied me so badly for the past six months, which is the issue of how the player is going to interact with the panels in the game.
Since I didn’t have a particularly great idea of how to proceed, I just went ahead with what seemed like a good idea and implemented a point-and-click interface. This means that the player can walk around, but also use the mouse to click panels and toggle them off and on.
The interaction of just clicking and toggling the tiles feels pretty good, but it unfortunately ends up creating a bit of a separate issue. Explaining exactly what the issue is will take a bit of doing, but I’ll try.
As I explained in one of the early posts on this blog, the toggling type panels are not the only type of puzzle in the game. There are also another kind of puzzle in which the player is constrained to draw a line by illuminating tiles one at a time next to each other. In the game, this manifests as the player walking across the panel.
The issue comes that I’m not sure what sort of symbology to use with these “snake” puzzles, because when the player is clicking on these squares with the mouse in order to toggle some panels, when they see another identical square, they want to click it. I could perhaps solve this issue by having all the tiles on the snake panels be the “broken square” type that you see pictured here. This is nice because they appear to still be tiles, but they don’t feed into the square symbology so much that the player will assume they can click them.
However, this is still not a full solution to the problem, because I am already using that symbol to represent tiles that the player cannot start from when they are walking around on the panel. In fact, I came up with this idea in the first post on this devlog.
So, I’m not really sure what I can do for these panels that won’t really conflict and will not really seem ugly or in-obvious. I did some tests on the stream of a few possibilities, but none of them really made me happy. I have even considered simply raising the starting tile, but that runs into other issues, in that I then have to ask the player to press a button when they step on each raised tile, or else they cannot start at a tile in the middle of a panel if all of the tiles on the panel are startable.
So, the solution that I’m currently entertaining as of the time of writing this post, is to simply abandon the point-and-click interface, and have the player always walking on all of the panels in the game. This is naturally a consistent interface, but is a choice that I had been avoiding, primarily for aesthetic reasons, because it implies the constraint of always having the panels in the game be on the floor.
However, I may be able to accept that constraint. Either way, I’m not sure what the “right” answer is, I am just trying to do something that has the lightest contrivance.
(There is still another issue with this particular approach that has to do with some of the types of puzzles in the game, but I believe that I have a tenable solution for those as well. I can’t really go into the nature of those puzzles though because it would be spoilers. Perhaps you will be able to catch it on one of my streams, though.)