This week we took a step back and took a new approach to the game. While we have been consistently making progress, we got off track in terms of the design of the game. It was time to sit down and rethink our design and the things that make our game fun.
Last week, we completed a tutorial level for our game. Based on the feedback from our play testers, we learned very quickly that our approach was not adding much to the “fun” of our game.
The largest issue with our tutorial was that it had way too much text. The text also scrolled too quickly, so players who were actually interested in reading everything didn’t always get the chance. On top of that, the tutorial was loosely bounded, allowing the player to walk right past the tutorial if they want.
The problem with this was players would
- Walk right past the tutorial
- Not know how to play the game
- Not know what to do
- Not have fun
So we had to do a large redesign this past weekend. We decided on a few key things to drive our game forward in the coming weeks.
Our new approach is to abandon a linear kind of game play. Our game will start with a strict tutorial, which forces the player to demonstrate the capability of playing the game. This will be similar in structure to before, but will have less text and less mobility for the player. For example, we may limit any movement by the player until they can pick up an object and put it in a crate.
The tutorial will conclude with turning on the lighthouse, one of the four main objectives of the game. Upon completion of all four objectives, the player unlocks a gate to the mountain, ending the game. The difference here is that we are no longer forcing the order of completion of the events. The player will have all of their abilities from the start, and can complete the tasks in any order they see fit.
Our hope is that this will increase the ability for the player to explore. Our mechanics in the game are really fun to just play around with, but can be frustrating when you have to use them for a specific task. Allowing the player to be on their own and do things the way they want to will hopefully provide opportunity to play more with the mechanics and make the game more enjoyable.
Now that we have a solid foundation for our game, we are starting to get more and more into details which can all make a huge difference in the way the game plays. Next week I am planning on going in depth into one of the objectives I created this week. It required some clever thinking and the result is pretty awesome. Until then, happy Hacking!