If you played ecotone you may notice that the gameplay twist used in the game was more complex as you reach the second or last world. If that seems like a very natural choice, it is in fact the outcome of my learning of stencyl. The first levels used very simple “gimmick” that could be programmed even with basic knowledges.
One of these level that shows perfectly this “basic gimmick” is the “wind level”. I just added an horizontal gravity to the game and “voilà”. It was a 30sec work (a bit more to find the idea however). But how to make the level “interesting” ?
Let see how it work!
At first you begin the level in a safe place. The fx effect, the sound and the assets give you a direct feedback to what is happening.
Then you move, and the game ask you to jump so you see right away what are the effect of the wind on your avatar. You may die here but it is on purpose very early on the level.
As the player complete the first platform jumps, he can notice one of the “orbs” he need to get. At first this orb wasn’t here, the last orb was just at the end of the level and the upper part of the level wasn’t playable.
Then the level asks for a quick reflex as an enemy is pushed by the wind directly on the avatar.
After that “quick reflex” the level asks for more time, anticipation, and precise move in order to get the orb and pick up the soul under the fly. This is a false danger, the player feels that it is close to the fly and that there is a huge risk to get killed. Actually there is very little chance to get hit by the fly here, but it gives the impression of a close call.
During the playtest we saw that the level was too short, and the mask wasn’t really hard to get, so we had to make some changes..
Now, the player get a choice: get the “mask” on the challenging path, or go up to continue the level. Indeed there is a platform going up, and another orb inviting to visit this part of the level.
Once the second orb taken, the player arrives in front of a huge gap and should remember the first orb he saw at the very beginning. If that part allow to get a much longer level, it is also interesting because we use the wind in two ways instead of going only in one direction. We also use the bouncing platform in a funny way showing that if you jump on them from a really high place, you will bounce as high.
Finally the last orb if not very hard to reach once the gap has been reached. But a last trap may got you… Indeed, if the avatar run a bit too fast toward the orb, his speed combined with the wind will get the avatar ending at the very beginning of the level… In the best case…