Saturday, April 23, 2011

AD: Development of Puzzles II

WARNING: This blog post contains a fair few spoilers about the Final level and its rooms. If you don't want to Spoil them I suggest you don't read this blog post.

This is the second part of my 'Development of Puzzles' "series" I guess you could call it. The past blog post talked a bit about the rooms rFinalLevelC and rFinalLevelB, so that leaves rFinalLevelA and rFinalLevelD for this one to touch on!

I know it looks like the Final is another one of those levels were you do rooms in a set order, but the Final level is a bit different. Upon entering the Final level 'lobby' you can choose to go into either A, B or C right off the bat, which means all three of those have to be around the same 'difficulty'. They're not, though. As you saw from the previous post B and C are rather different from each other and aren't really classed (in my mind) as the same level of difficulty, but that doesn't phase me much.

That leaves D, the real 'last' level room of the game (excluding Bonus levels which are unlocked/can be completed at the very beginning [Arcade levels]), and A one of the three 'potential first' level rooms of the Final level.

Now this was a funny room to make. I was toying around thinking of making an Arcade-esque room to begin with, but then for some strange reason I wiped it clean and tried to make a room out of falling platforms (platforms that fall if you stand on them for a specific amount of time). This turned out to be quite the accident as I made a complete room and tested it out for the sake of wondering how it would be. To my surprise it was very difficult, mainly because it required the player to have confidence in where exactly they're jumping and the precision of their jumps, it's VERY easy to just jump not far enough or maybe too far and miss the platform, falling to your doom (well I guess not your doom, but whatever).

I was unsure of whether or not this room would fit well, but after examining it a bit more and it being something 'different' than a regular level room, I decided to stick with it and keep it. It'll prove to be a challenge to those who even slightly begin to think they're not going to make that next jump, because you'll begin tapping the left and right keys mid-jump to adjust where you land, and if you are under confident about where you're jumping too and you move the player too far to one side, restart! I tried to make the room based where it was the players fault for restarting (well it is, really).

It was also probably one of the quickest (if not the quickest) room to make as well, which is always a bonus!

After looking back on the level itself it does make heavy use of precise jumping so it could be called 'Arcade-esque' I suppose, but I prefer for it to be separate from any Arcade levels as they all include multiple obstacles (there are two in this Final level room). I did however find myself addicted to trying the room over and over again until I managed to beat it (I can beat it rather easily now). To tell you the truth it took me around 10 minutes to get the room right, so not too bad at all I think!

The final Final level room, and probably the most difficult out of all rooms in the entire game (which is what I hoped for). Essentially the room consists of two 'game portals', the door leading onto the last cutscene for the level (level completion), a Save Pad and the Exit Pad.

The two game portals will lead the player into two simple 'mini-games' both connected to each other somehow. The 'mini-games' are called Energon and Factorium respectively and do not need to be completed in any specific order.

This mini-game the player is a... Energy collector, blasting good energy (blue balls) with energy capture devices. Bad energy (red balls) cannot be captured and will damage the energy collected if come into contact with it. Of course the game ends when the player runs out of health.

The goal of this game is to beat the original high-score which was set (100 for this mini-game), and as time goes on, it gets progressively harder to capture energy without being hit by multiple bad energy. You'll really have to focus on shooting constantly up into the air and dodging the bad energy when they bounce of the wall below you.
There isn't much 'puzzle' to this room, it's really more reliant on skill (and maybe a tiny bit of luck). The Energon mini-game is probably the more difficult of the two (getting the right shots mean everything). I won't spill everything about this room as I think I want some left to be a 'surprise' I suppose.

Now this mini-game relies on concentration and reflexes. Essentially you have to press specific arrow keys at specific times. The arrow key is signaled by the direction of the arrow pointing on the crate, if it's left, press the left key, right, right key etcetera. The specific time is when the crate reaches the center of the conveyor belt (the screen will turn green signalling you can press the key now). The crate will stay in that spot for a certain amount of time depending how many crates you've 'completed' beforehand. Slowly they'll go to the middle faster and have a shorter time in which you can 'complete' them.

The game requires you to replay it a fair bit as you'll most likely stuff at least one up the first few tries, but if you do what I did, when I beat the mini-game I did a massive leap of joy in my room shouting out "I DID IT!" then I know it's good.
They're not 'fully' finished, but are working and fulfill their purpose, the only things left to do now is to polish them up (which I'll do once I pretty much complete the game).

These two mini-games I'm rather proud of making and hopefully that and all the cutscenes throughout the Final level (there's a few of them!) will make the level exactly how I envisioned it, an epic way to finish the game.

Well this just about wraps up the four rooms of the Final levels, hopefully now that it's done I can get onto the three main things that are left before I go on a polish spree - Bonus Levels, Cutscenes and Music Implementation. I might be throwing up a small Development of Puzzles III blog post outlining the Thought level puzzles, but we'll see what happens!


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