Summit as a game is a take on the classical 3D platformers that i together with my team created over a 4 week period. I designed and scripted the main mechanic and the boss battle. I was also responsible for managing our level design strategy, known as action blocking. In the game the players wits will be challenged in how they best use their rope gun to progress.
This game was created over a 4 week period as a exercise in creating a emergent experience for the player, giving players the tools to come up with their own solutions to obstacles. This was the second game project of my education at the vocational school of futuregames. My role this project was Gameplay Scripter and Game Designer
The goal when creating the gun was to give the player the tools to come up with their own solutions to problems. Giving the player a emergent experience and allow for experimentation. Giving the power to the player to create their own stories instead of relying on pre designed level solutions.
To create this I gave the player the power of manipulation in the form of a rope gun that can tether objects together. This opened up opportunities for the player to assess the entire world as a part of their toolbox on how to progress. To realize the potential of a stationary rock to serve as a bridge.
With the immense power that the player now possessed I needed to restrain it to create some actual challenge. To do that I introduced the process of shooting out the nodes that connected objects together to add a mechanical skill element. I also added range to the projectiles to prevent the player from being able to go to the top right away.
During playtesting I noticed that a lot of player wanted to ride on top of different objects being pulled by the gun, but the forces working from different directions made it so the objects would be hard to stand on, thus making it hard to stay on top of them when swinging about.
To ease this problem I made it so the cubes can not rotate more than the player is capable of holding on to.
At the top of the tower a boss is waiting for the player. When I designed this boss I wanted it to challenge all of the players abilities that they have gained throughout the level. I designed three different attacks that would each challenge the player in different ways, I also designed the boss to be harmed in a particular way.
For the attacks I created a ground pound that would have the player jump to clear it, I designed a rolling wall that travels across the floor that would have the player do a jump and a dash to clear it. And I designed a laser that would have the player run and use the slowdown effect of the dash to clear it.
Following the same design principle I followed when creating the attacks, I wanted the player to utilize a tool they already have when dealing damage to the boss. The player have to use their rope gun to drag the explosive jellyfish into the crystal on the chest of the boss.
A challenge arose, which was how to help the player understand how to deal damage to the boss.
To help the player figuring out how to defeat the boss I created a puzzle in the entrance to the boss. To enter the boss room you need to rid some crystals that are in the way. To do this you need to drag a jellyfish into them, which is the same way you damage the boss. When the player figures out how to destroy the crystals, they will enter the boss room with that in mind. There are also some guiding wall paintings.
Creating sort of tutorial without explicitly telling the player, giving them the satisfaction of figuring out the boss themselves.
If i were to create this boss again i would have created some sort of enrage that makes the boss attack faster when it reached a certain health threshold. This would further articulate the climax of the tower and the boss fight, as well as breaking up the gameplay mid fight to keep the player on their toes.
To create the different levels of the tower i pushed for a strategy called action blocking. A strategy where you create lots of barebones levels with only one puzzle on them and test them and keep the one you like, and continue to develop those.
We could this way also control the game time in some fashion. We ended up with four different levels that we felt stuck out the most during playtesting.
This strategy was used by respawn entertainment when creating Titanfall and can be found here
Overall i feel like the work on Summit was awesome, but it was not without fault. We heavily underestimated the amount of work set dressing actually was, which resulted in cut content. What i feel we should have done is, to set dress one level that we knew was going to be in the game early to get a grasp of the time frame of dressing a level, so we could then plan properly.
The idea of the rope gun i created, came from a course in prototyping i had before the project. During that course i created three different prototypes of mechanics, one of these was a 2D platformer with the rope mechanic. The prototype showed promise during testing. People enjoyed solving the obstacle course their own way despite the stock graphics
I pitched the idea to my team in the project and we agreed that it would serve as our main mechanic.
A sister and her brother debating how to progress, at Dreamhack inde game expo
After our project was done we applied for a student showcase at the Dreamhack inde game expo
We got picked by the team at dreamhack and were allowed to expo our game next to other awesome developers such as the guys behind Jump King
We meet so many people from around the world and everyone had their own idea of game development which was super cool to listen to