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Journal Part 6
February 11, 2017
Since the last video a lot of work was done. I was previously struggling to create interesting or varied platforming challenges because the camera was so zoomed in, there would be a lot of blind jumps otherwise. This was solved by zooming the camera out, but I also had to build on the level to accomodate the increased FOV, what couldn't be seen outside of the viewport could now be seen with a zoomed out camera.
The first new thing seen is the boar enemy type. While I was thinking about when and where the player would encounter other enemy types I came to the conclusion that the frog enemy was too advanced to be the first combat encounter. I wanted a much more simple enemy to exist along the way, the player then learns about bandages representing weak points and red representing danger before fighting the frog enemy type. The boar charges randomly in the direction it faces, but is defeated by jumping on it's head. This behaviour allows the player to learn that they must search for a weak point and find a way to target it, the player avoids standing horizontally for the most part.
The power-up idea I talked about in the last journal entry was something I thought I could also implement with the boar. Since the boar dashes it makes sense for the player to be given the ability to dash, just like the boar, the dash is the player's primary method of attack. Rather than have any boar give the powerup the player has to fight a larger version, as of right now the boar does not take multiple hits but I would like to implement this, it is a kind of mini-boss fight. I have yet to add in the double-jump power up but it will allow for more complex platforming challenges.
Speaking of platforming challenges, I wanted to take advantage of the now zoomed out perspective but struggled to come up with platforming challenges that I felt fit with my game. I decided to play the game LOVE, a reductive 2D platform game developed and self-published by Fred Wood.
The game was especially useful because it provided a very large variety of platforming challenges even though the player can only move and jump. I played LOVE while pausing every so often to write down and sketch the various jumping puzzles it had. Platforming ideas that I have implemented into my game from love are:
Both of these are relatively demanding in terms of what is asked of the player, so these were not placed at the early parts of the level. Instead I thought about how I could teach the player to jump, as well as teach them that the jump has variable height depending how long the button is pressed. To do this I placed the boar enemy type at the start, thinking about how Super Mario Bros (Nintendo) laid out's its initial level. I also then placed a ledge at a small height the player jumps up, followed by a much higher ledge, the player understands that to reach the higher ledge they must hold the button in for longer.
Small jump pads are used early on in my level, if the player misses a jump they are simply pushed back up and can try again. Following this if the player misses a jump, they fall into lava and instead start from a checkpoint, as the player progresses the level has become more hazardous and punishing.
I continued to tweak the combat also, each succesful hit is accompanied by camera shake, the enemy's sprite flickers, a sound plays and finally the enemy turns into a puff of smoke, leaving behind a gem and playing a satisfying pop sound. I am proud of how impactful the combat feels, especially with the frog enemy type.
Next I want to implement the double jump power-up, add some more platforming challenges/hazards, add some kind of boss encounter and polish up the visuals.