Friday, August 12, 2016

The Mechanics of Stretchy Dash - Part 2: Obstacles

If you're interested in how I developed the basic concept of Stretchy Dash, check out my post about it's prototype.

In this post I'll continue describing the mechanics of Stretchy Dash, my upcoming mobile runner game.

Let's continue with a mechanic that comes standard in the runner genre, Obstacles. Obstacles exist to encourage movement and to give you something to avoid. Colliding with one will cause you to lose the round, although there is a way around this that I'll explain later. As the game goes on and difficulty increases, you'll cross paths with more and more complex and scary obstacles.

When you think about a runner game, obstacles are a given. So, I wanted to make sure that my obstacles were unique in look and feel. I decided to continue with the theme of combining basic shapes and simple materials to create more complex objects. My obstacles have a red color to designate danger, and are often spiky to differentiate them from other objects in the scene.

The first obstacle I created was the "barrel" type - the only type present in the prototype. Barrels are unique in that they extend slightly beyond their lane, intruding into adjacent lanes. Even if you're not in the barrel's lane, if you're in an adjacent lane you'll still be wide enough to collide with it. This encourages stretching vertically to make yourself skinny and avoid the barrel.

The barrels are interesting, but are quite static. By the time you reached a barrel on the path, you already had plenty of time to know how to avoid it. I wanted to create moving obstacles that would keep the player guessing as they approached. The "roller" and "spiky ball" obstacles move around, so it's more difficult to guess the position they'll be in when you cross paths with them. To keep things fair, they do move in a predictable pattern, so skilled players may be able to guess they're intersection point sooner.

Besides gathering more than one point orb at one time, there were no obstacles that encouraged stretching horizontally. To encourage this, I created a "low wall" obstacle and changed horizontal stretching to make you shorter as well as wider.

Now that I had some individual obstacles, I was able to combine them together into preset groups that would spawn in game. Some groups are more difficult to avoid than others, and some are more rare than others. As difficulty increases, you'll start to see more and more complex groups of these basic obstacle types.

At the time of writing this post, I'm still trying to come up with a new obstacle that will encourage vertical stretching. Right now, only barrels accomplish this. Otherwise, vertical stretching only helps to dodge the occasional spike ball that came a bit closer than you thought it would. Once I come up with a solution, I'll be sure to let you know.

Next time, I'd like to describe the unique way pickups are used in Stretchy Dash.

Thanks for reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment