Theme produce gameWe spent most of the day working on levels, I did end up having to bug hunt quite a bit. There are still loose edges in that regard, but few enough that the game can be waded through. Currently the dungeon consists of about 15 rooms, although many of them are fillers and don't have much in the way of puzzles. We have more rooms planned, but found out that designing the puzzles for a puzzle game is almost as hard as solving them :) Each room takes nearly an hour to really do well on, so we still have a lot of work ahead.
Here is one of the early rooms, before things get scary:
We are having a lot of fun playing the levels we are creating, although I do have some concerns:
- I'm not totally sure if we can ramp up the difficulty very much. It feels like we've plateaued, and anything else we try is just going to be a lot of repetitive busy work instead of an interesting puzzle to solve. On a similar but opposite note however...
- It's hard to tell what the difficulty actually is. A demo might help, but we don't want to give it away before the end of the compo. We may include a hint guide of sorts (maybe a snapshot of the winning state of each room?), just in case we mess things up. To us, the puzzles we are making are really easy (and we are playing each other's levels, so the levels themselves are fresh to us when we test), but innately knowing the mechanics is an advantage. We could try so hard to make it difficult enough that it ends up being much too hard.
- The controls are awkward. I think this is going to put a lot of people off and make them not really give the game enough of a chance. There are a few things that may help, such as fixing the gui so the actions displayed match a bit better with the context of the situation, and possibly combining some actions into the same command, but there's not a whole lot I could change. There are a lot of actions you can take in game. We will have a bit of a tutorial, hopefully that is enough.
- Oh, the bugs. Is there a possibility of removing all the bugs before this thing ends? I really doubt it. The bugs could end up making someone either have to restart the game if they screw something up, or just be so frustrating to work with in certain areas that it's just no fun. Most of the time the game is a blast, but when I get myself stuck because the interface lied to me, or something didn't work how it should, it gets frustrating.
All in all, even with the concerns, I think this is the funnest game we have put together. This also marks the first time we have actually built our game from the theme, instead of taking some game idea we had and trying to make it fit the theme. We would not have come up with this idea without the theme, and the game is that much more interesting through it's use of it. I have to say, I feel a lot better about that than trying to make some other game and go, "well, we'll stick this in it, to make it fit."