With the release of the first BETA, the question is beginning to be asked: Is this suitable for the sixth YoYoGames Competition, as so far it doesn't seem to fit the theme. This is actually very true. The game-play aspects of the game have nothing to do with the theme at all (apart from some small exploration areas in the world HUB). However, the part in which the theme of the competition is truly prominent is the story-side of the game.
Throughout the game, the player is shown the foreground story, this is the story which is considered to be the "main plot". Everything the player needs to know about the game is shown to them.
However, the background story for not only Dareo (the main protagonist), but the world around him are only found and revealed to the player if the player chooses to find them. With the ability to choose comes the discovery aspect, because not only can the player discover some awful truths about the world around Dareo, but the hidden link between the back and foreground stories.
As mentioned in one of my first blog posts, the background story isn't revealed to the player unless he/she finds "scrolls" jammed in secret places around the World HUB (the player discovers the back-story, whilst exploring to find it). The order in which you find them however is where the linking aspect comes in. After finding all (there are six written at current) of them, the player can go to their Pause Menu and choose "Secrets". In this small menu, they will be able to read the scrolls that they've found during their explorations in the World HUB.
For those who love a good interesting story, then the back-story is where the action takes place, because the player can possibly determine what lies at the end of the tunnel before even reaching the end.
This was one of the key ideas which I wanted to introduce with this game, the ability to play through a world of unknowing exploration, completing seemingly easy levels which have a purpose to them.
As for the levels however, the four "Arcade" levels are seemingly "retro"-like in game-play. This is true, and it was implemented because I wanted to give it a feeling similar to "well, this is going to be all-too similar". However, once players reach the "Quality" levels, they'll soon realise the purpose of them.
Giving a rather large spoiler, one of the "Quality" levels is called "Persistence", and as its name suggests, it'll test the player's patience and persistence throughout the level. This is tested by making the level rather lengthy and boring, giving the feeling of a person forcing themselves to work to achieve a goal. This is just an example of how the Quality levels test people.
Of course I still need to make the game fun in 90% of its aspects of else I'd have no one playing it, but I'm going to persist with the Persistence Quality layout for now, hoping it'll serve its purpose.
Well, on that note, I best mention how the second level is going. The second level - earth is almost complete, with only a few touches left to be addressed. But I'll let the screenshots speak for themselves:
Can it be.. Falling spikes?!
That could potentially be very painful...
This leaves the third and fourth level to do predominantly in the second BETA, including some new Menu features and the Introduction to the game. At most it will take 2-4 days for these Menu fixes and the Game Introduction, with another 2-6 days for the second, third and fourth level completions with working cutscenes. So the planned date (13th July) seems like it may be pushed back to at most the 15-18th July. With the second BETA however, 90% of menu fixes are done, with only those which appear with the third, fourth and fifth BETA's requiring to be completed.
I also hope to get the four Arcade levels, two Quality levels (persistence unlikely) and the two Bonus levels done before the 1st of August, leaving the persistence and last level for August. In August I also plan to implement the secrets menu into the fifth BETA (this means they'll also be available for those testers).
I'll more likely drag this out in the next Progress Report which will be coming out within the next two weeks, so until then, it's back to work for me!
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.