When I first began the project, I wanted the Levels to have a scoring system, with the player being able to score the most by completing the Level the fastest. This I was going to incorporate with some pick-ups. However, not too long after I began planning this, I felt that it didn't feel "right" within the game, with the game's story and overall setting sort of contradicting this.
But, because there were reasons for completing Levels, I decided to change this system into a "time-based" system. Where the player completes the Level, their time will be recorded. With the recorded time being displayed at the end of the Level in a "Level Complete" screen. However, I quickly noticed players have nothing to get a "best time" for, apart from themselves, so this is where I began to tweak it a bit more.
When players complete a Level, for instance Level One, their time will be recorded and compared to the Best Time (Best Time begins at 9999 seconds, but this isn't displayed to the player), and once they complete the Level for the first time, their time will be set to the Best Time (I doubt the player will go AFK leaving the game running without pause for over 150 minutes, but if need be I can always force the game to auto-shut down if the timer reaches 150 minutes because the player is obviously not playing the Level, or to go back to the World HUB). However, the thing is, for each level there is a specific time stored, where if the player reaches the time specified, they will receive a "different" congratulations screen which is shown below:
Regular Congratulations Screen
Special Congratulations Screen
As you can see in the above, the Regular Congratulations Screen is shown if a player completes (in this case Level One) in more than 35 seconds, with the Special Congratulations Screen being shown if the player completes the Level in 35 seconds or less (of course new Best Times can be added without reaching the specific "Special Congratulations Screen" Time.
Also of course I don't plan on giving the player no reward for "Perfecting" these Levels, as I'm planning to have it as a REQUIREMENT, to enter Bonus Levels, having for an example, Bonus Level One requiring the Perfection of three Levels to be able to enter. (These "Bonus Levels" will be part of the Main Storyline as well, so make sure you get a few Perfections!)
In addition to the Level End screen however, I also wanted to have a Level Start screen, instead of the player just hopping straight from the World HUB into a Level. These screens are pretty simple and short, and enable the player to prep in real life before the play the Level.
Level Begin Screen
This should also give the polished feeling I was hoping for towards the Levels (currently these screens only apply to the four Arcade Levels).
In addition to all of the above I've also been working on the first cutscene to be implemented in the game (the introductory area cutscenes haven't been made yet). I'm very happy towards how the cutscene has turned out so far, and I hope to keep a higher standard of cutscenes throughout the game.
Powerful?.. I think so.
Throughout the cutscenes you will also notice those black bars on the top and bottom of the screen. No this isn't me attempting to go wide-screen, but it shows the players the cutscene isn't skip-able. With the more cutscenes I implement, I only want the crucial ones to be shown to the player without them being able to skip it, scenes which are of less importance in the game can be skipped. However I want to make it so the player don't skip any scenes, because if they love watching them they won't need to skip them.
Well, that's the end of the read for now. With the Level System and Cutscenes nearing completion, the BETA is coming closer and closer!
NOTE: All sprites of the game "Approaching Dawn" in this blog and blog post(s) are © of Andrew Wickens 2010. Permission is NOT used to use any of these sprites except by emailing myself and by posting true ownership of the picture(s) towards myself.