This week, I finished the platforming concept art I started on two weeks ago. It actually ended up being far simpler and less time-consuming than I thought, mostly because I was able to re-use parts from the RPG concept.
Click "Read More" to see a few more concepts, and some in-progress art.
The process became a lot easier when I realized it's fine to just have a few layers that are clearly in front and behind one another. I was a bit worried about objects in the background being indistinguishable from the foreground, but putting a clear deviating line between the back and foreground (the dark shadows of the grass Viola stands on) actually made it quite clear. Anything that's on the grass is the movement plane: you will bump into these things, and you can jump on them. Everything behind that is background. I put a bit of extra grass on the foreground to break up the monotony of the rocks, as well as add an extra (fake) layer of depth to the scene.
I also added a character the player could talk to, but also making it clear that this is, ultimately, optional. You can simply jump to the second platform, then wall jump up to the highest row of platforms and continue onward.
I also made a version where the platforms are trees, with little holes for the player to squeeze through. It's not as clear, and putting multiple in a row is kind of boring, more so than floaty platforms. Looking at it now, a mixture of trees and floating platforms would obviously be best, at least for a 'forest' type level like this one.
Next week I'll work on a conversation mechanic: talking with NPC's is paramount for this kind of game, after all.