Prototype Project – Circles

Here is a link to the project files: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1oS5l5jW_BivqCpJw4zOT_P3gHVqEJgNn

I have been asked to create a white-boxed prototype for a platformer game. The stimulus was the theme of ‘circles’.

I began by quickly sketching out possible actions, motions and interactions related to the theme. Doing this helps me visualise some possibilities whilst I think on what mechanics I could design for a game.

IMG_20190816_120614.jpg

A couple ideas stood out to me as somewhat interesting so I began working on them in Unity. Usually, I would prototype a variety of things, continually rethinking from the beginning to build different ideas, but due to the time limit of a single week I decided to just work on a couple things to see how they went.

I always think the best games are those that use a simple mechanic in interesting ways, making use of its full potential. I wanted to create a simple movement system that could be used in a variety of ways and in different scenarios and puzzles. I came up with a little system in which the player expands their circular character to three times their original size to launch them away from the ground or walls. The basics challenge in the game would be movement as players can only roll, expand and shrink. This means every challenge would be about careful management of momentum and timing. I think this could be a good fit for both a longer more traditional console platformer as well as short trial and error, challenge based levels for an app-style game.

Once the basic movement was in place the I started working on some basic challenges to place in the prototype level. I’d got some basic stuff at this point like making longer and higher jumps by shrinking in the air and some environmental stuff like tunnels and air currents that require being small or large.

I also had the idea that a circular spinning level would be a cool setting for a platformer so I quickly programmed a circular gravitational pull and tested the movement in a circular level. I didn’t quite know the maths for plotting out the points of an edge collider in a circle so I had a look around on forums and found this piece of code which I used as a reference when creating mine. (https://answers.unity.com/questions/612222/inverted-2d-circle-collider.html) I’m currently not sure whether or not this would actually be an appealing aspect of a game. It makes judging distances and movement feel a little off so I think I would need to do a lot of adjustments to the movement and level designs to make sure it felt right for the player. I am leaving it out of the main prototype for now anyway and everything in the main prototype was programmed by me.

I added some really placeholder assets that I made very quickly to get across a bit more of a playful vibe. I also added some googly eyes to the player to make it look cute. Also, the circle needed some sort of feature as a reference for the player to be able to see the rolling speed.

famitracker

I made a little bit of music in Famitracker and added some sound effects that I made using bfxr to give the game a bit of audio feedback and atmosphere.

I am quite pleased with the basic game feel but I feel if I were to take this project further it would need a lot of fine tuning to make sure the physics were consistent and reliable. Additionally, I would need to spend time to develop interesting scenarios and inventive uses for the basic mechanic to ensure it doesn’t get old for the duration of the playtime.

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