12. Gameplay

This stage was one of the most important for our game experience. Indeed, it’s through intuitive and fun game mechanics that the player will enjoy playing the video game. It took us a while before to arrive to a final gameplay. Following the evolution of the concept, we tried to adapt the gameplay each time a major change was operated. It’s how we came up with strong and unique game mechanics based on tactile drawing offers by our controller, a smartphone.

The hardest thing by using a smartphone as a controller was the tactile aspect. Usually while playing video games, controllers are physical, and this physical aspect is really important in term of feedbacks for the player. He can truly feel what he is doing, like for instance when he is moving his joystick on the right under his thumb. With the smartphone we had a big challenge to resolve as there was no way to have physical feedbacks for the player (or almost none).

As we chose to have a TV screen to project the game, we were free to use all the space offers by the smartphone screen to control and interact with Wido and his world. That was a good point for us. We wanted the player to be focus on the TV screen, this is why we needed to create the most simple controller interface possible with the less buttons on it, to not force the player to look at it while playing.

The solution was to have a tactile joystick on the left side of the smartphone’s screen and the right side for all the actions. As we had many different actions going on for the player, it was imperative to find an easy way for him to execute them and remember them. It’s how we found that the best option was for the player to use 3 simple tactile drawings to do all these different actions :

  • tap to jump
  • draw a line to fight or make an interaction
  • draw a rune symbol to have magical power

And of course use the left side to make Wido run on the left / right, to squat or to stand up. For a while, and mostly at the beginning of the project, we didn’t know what was best for Wido, to always walk or to always run. Later, as our game was kind of an action type of game, it made more sense for Wido to always run when he was moving around.

Here the player can either jump up, or if he uses the joystick and tap at the same time it’ll permit him to do a big jump.

To have really dynamic and fun fight phases for the player, we chose to introduce combos to the basic attack. It permits the player to really go crazy and for Wido to provide more powerful sword strokes.

As said before, through the game the player will find or be rewarded with different defense equipments and weapons. Thanks to these magical objects, Wido’s defense and attack will be improved.

Regarding Wido’s life, we didn’t want to bother the player with health potions to find and take or something like that. Instead, we chose to have a simple life management. If Wido is injured, his life will go down. If Wido is constantly injured in a small period of time or severely injured, at some point he’ll die and the player will have to start over to the last save.

If Wido’s life is not at maximum, the player will have to move Wido in a safe place, or not be injured, to regenerate his life.

In the Norse mythology each runes have a different magical power. In the game, the player will be able to have 8 runes. Elfi is a magical creature who guide Wido through the game, she is the one who will transform when the player will draw a rune. She will be possessed by the magical property of the rune and will permit Wido to do extraordinary actions.

When the player will have no other choice to use the power of the runes to be able to progress through obstacles, enemies, etc. he will need to think to the one which is more appropriated for the current situation. A rune can be use many times by the player, but runes have a limited life duration. To use the magical property of the rune, the player will also need to draw it correctly.

Again, we decided to use Quick Time Event (QTE) to allow the player to have more diversity in the gameplay. These QTE are only present for special actions the player will need to do. For instance, do a forward roll to avoid an obstacle.

We all experienced video games where when you died you need to start over from the beginning of the game! Or when you needed to save your game yourself and if you forgot, well you were fucked. Yes, that sucks. To avoid this kind of frustrations we decided to have an automatical saving mode. It means that the player will have nothing to do, the game will be saved either before or after, or both, the player will go through an important game phase.

End of post 12 — Next post : 13. UML

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