Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Mechanics of Stretchy Dash - Part 3: Pickups

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.

I'm excited to talk about this post's topic - Pickups - since I'm very proud of the way they've turned out. First off, I should say that in runner games, pickups are commonplace. Often, there will be a generic "score" or "coin" pickup that is everywhere, as well as rare "powerup" pickups that do various flashy things. This is where I started, and then I added a few interesting features into the mix.

In Stretchy Dash, you're goal is to gather as many points as possible. The simplest way to do this is to run over "point orbs". Every point orb you pick up adds to your score. The amount of score you receive per orb scales with the game's current difficulty. Okay, sounds pretty standard. So where's the unique part?

There are a few interesting ways you can increase the amount of score you receive from a point orb. The most important modifier is your overall score multiplier. Picking up multiplier powerups adds to your multiplier bar at the top of the screen. Whenever this bar fills, your score multiplier increases and the bar resets.

A Multiplier Powerup

You'll also find shield powerups during play. Shield works similarly to multiplier in that you collect powerups to fill a bar. Once your shield bar is full, you receive a protective shield around you that protects you from one collision. You can have multiple shields up at once. While the shield bar takes awhile to fill, having a shield is very helpful for getting past those difficult obstacle groups.

A Shield Powerup

These mechanics for multiplier and shield reward you for consistently picking up powerups throughout the game. It's a slow build that feels good. As a designer it allowed me to place more powerups for you to pick up, which I think is more engaging than just finding a temporary boost once in awhile.

Next time, I'll finish up this set of posts by describing how I pushed the concept of pickups even further with Lane Boosts.

Thanks for reading!

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