Today we met together and planned out the five levels that we’d like to put together for our prototype. We’re looking to build a simple level “platform” in XNA, with the physics in use. While this will likely add to the initial set-up time, the hope is that as soon as we have the platform ready, we’ll be able to quickly implement new levels in a “rapid-fire” fashion.
To plan out our levels, we used the paper prototype that we created (using tacks, a tackboard, and a string) to simulate the puzzles that we’d like to use to teach the player the basic mechanics of the game. After due discussion and deliberation, these five levels are as follows:
1) PULLING MECHANICS – This level will focus simply on showing the player what will happen when she attaches the rope from the ZOMBIE to an object to be pulled. We’ll provide two attachments points, one on a movable gate, and one on a brick wall. Should the player choose the gate, and then press “Pull,” the Zombie will open the gate and be able to get to the people inside. Should the player choose the brick wall, however, the Zombie will pull, and rip his arms off, thus teaching the mechanic and showing the “consequence” for an incorrect choice.
2) REDIRECTING FORCE – Using a single pulley, the player will learn to re-route the rope so that he can pull in the correct direction. The idea here is for the humans to be huddling inside of a treehouse, and for the player to attach a pulley below it to pull the floor out from under them.
3) BASIC PULLEY SYSTEM – This level will be the first to introduce the mechanic of cutting the weight in half by utilizing a two-pulley system. The idea was to use a tree and a house, and to attach a moveable pulley on the house to create the system, which we simulated with our paper prototype. The Zombie will pull the roof off of the house, the walls will fall down, and the humans will flee.
4) MULTI-PULLEY SYSTEM – The goal for this level is to introduce the player to the concept of “the more pulleys, the less weight, but the more rope you’ll need.” Level 4 will introduce hazards behind the Zombie, which the player will have to take into consideration. This will add a new wrinkle into the puzzles, in that if the player’s pulley system is too complicated for the task at hand, her Zombie will be able to easily lift it, but the Zombie may fall off a cliff. (Other ideas included getting hit by a truck, landing in a fire, or other silly death animations.) The maxim here is basically “Give them enough rope to hang themselves with.”
5) COUNTER BALANCE – Teaching the mechanics of how elevators work, the goal here is to create a puzzle where the player will have to create a counter-balance. This will help to incorporate all of the skills that the player has learned so far, and will act as the “Final Level” of our prototype. Details will be forthcoming as we go forward.
All in all, we’re looking good and on-track.