This week, I worked on some gameplay improvements for the platforming sections. Check the gif! Viola is now capable of performing a high jump, and an even higher jump. Walljumping also goes higher, and Viola has animations now!
If you want to know more, click 'Read more'!
Finally, another blogpost that's mostly design-oriented. What fun!
Originally, Viola was only capable of jumping and walljumping. Thanks to playtesting, I changed my mind and expanded Viola's capabilities. There were a few points specifically that I noticed during observation and feedback from players:
At this point, I could've just changed the level design: easier platforming, more emphasis on walljumps to get to high spaces in the level. But that would've been ignoring the key problem: regular jumping just isn't fun enough for the player.
High routes being favored may be a result of this: players have less fun jumping and feel less confident taking the low route, because they don't know whether they will be able to jump back up.
Anyway. Why is walljumping more fun than just jumping? Simple: walljumping is more complex (more inputs are required), and gives a better reward (higher jump with more distance). So, I needed my regular jump to gain a bit more complexity, with extra rewards.
Lots of platforming games solve this with a double jump: an extra jump performed in the air. However, in my opinion, a double jump doesn't actually add to the jumping mechanic. It's literally just another jump. I wanted something that actually changed the complexity of the jump itself, so I landed on the high jump from Mario 64 and New Super Mario Bros.
I've also added height to the walljump. The jumps now get the following heights:
Obviously, with these new mechanics I've changed up some of the level design. There's a bit more emphasis on lower routes, and platforms sometimes have more space between them, asking the player to use high jumps. There are also more tiny tunnels, encouraging the player to explore.
There's an interesting mechanic in the game right now that isn't necessary to complete the level, but is still... well, interesting. The high jump and triple jumps are activated by holding a boolean, which deactivate after landing and waiting for a certain amount of time. This means that as long as the player isn't grounded, these booleans don't deactivate.
Meaning the player can perform actions like:
There's one more unintentional mechanic I've decided to leave in: wall-climbing. By letting go of the jump button, the player starts to drop, which is intended. This also happens when walljumping, which gives the player the ability to change the distance of their walljump. However, if the player lets go as fast as possible, they immediately regain control of their air movement. This allows them to steer back to the wall, allowing them to repeat this maneuver to climb the wall.
It's unintended, but interesting. Celeste also allows this mechanic, although it doesn't tell the player about it, and doesn't require it to complete its levels. I could fix it, but I don't want to. I'll simply leave it in as another tool for a skilled player.
Lots of text this time! Next week I want to work on changing design stuff for RPG battles: letting the player use items, making guarding more impactful, making monsters drop loot, as well as changing the stats of all characters and monsters to make the battles more difficult.