Project Blue

Pre-Alpha 1 Sprint

As a member of the level design pod, my objective is to help generate engaging environments that challenge the player to use the teleportation mechanic in unique ways. In addition to designing the shape of the terrain and environmental features, this also involves figuring out how to enhance the player's experience by combining enemy designs and level-specific mechanics.

Part way through this sprint, I started focusing on the design of the Oran Windmill Fort, an abandoned man-made structure in the upper part of the abyss full of old, inactive windmills built on wooden supports. I thought that using the windmills as a platforming element could be an interesting and unique feature to this zone. More specifically, Io can grab onto a windmill vane to get the windmill rotating. She can also jumpstart a windmill by using the slam mechanic, which she acquires in the crystal caves. Once a windmill is spinning, Io can use it to launch herself a distance before using her teleport mechanic to take her even further. Over the last week, I implemented the grab-and-rotate part of this environmental mechanic:

Io can grab a windmill to get it turning, and let go to get launched some distance.

Clearly, some things still need to be tweaked, such as the sensitivity of the launch velocity, the size of the windmills, the angular drag on the windmills, and the amount of torque Io can apply to the vanes. I also still have to set up the vanes so that Io can jump on them to weigh them down or use the slam mechanic. I was thinking of using the platform effector component for this, however the fact that the vanes rotate means what side is "up" will change over time.

In anticipation of using this mechanic in the windmill fort, I made some very rough sketches of a brief introductory zone in which the player can learn how to use the windmill launch mechanic, and an upward zone designed to test the player's mastery of this mechanic.

A very rough sketch of the introductory zone. Io will be forced to use the windmill launch mechanic to traverse spiky pits.
An equally rough sketch of the upward challenge level. There are ten windmills in total, and Io must activate all of them to continue.

The upward zone is vertically adjacent to a giant door (really a pair of walls) with ten indicator lights. This door remains closed until all windmills in the stage have been jumpstarted. For every windmill reactivated, a light on the door turns on. Once all windmills are reactivated and the door opens, a strong upward draft rises through from below the door and fills the upward windmill platforming stage, bringing obstructive floating enemies with it. The upward windmill platforming stage is thus transformed into a downward "low-gravity" obstacle avoidance stage as Io must float back down to the door to continue her descent. She then travels downward through the door whose walls are lined with hazards and repeatedly move closer together and further apart.

For the Pre-Alpha Final sprint, I'll be working on finalizing the windmill mechanic and implementing the introductory stage. If time allows and the mechanic proves interesting and worthwhile, I'll also implement the upward windmill platforming stage.