We’ve rapidly moved out of the pre-production phase (where JD has been working to develop a stable version of the game) and into rapid prototyping. We are now experimenting with arena setups, and seeing what mechanics work well to build designs.
All of the designs we create are driven by the core pillars mentioned earlier, but it’s hard to know how well something will work until we actually try it out: a case well illustrated by our recent experiments with hazards.
It seems like a simple concept: a hazard tile that causes death upon touching. Many games have instant death tiles, and it requires the player to maneuver in a more thought out way – randomly bashing keys will get you killed.
Trying it, however, revealed some problems. Namely, the death caused by a hazard tile is extremely anticlimactic. On further examination, the tile violates our “That was close” pillar. There is nothing close about hitting an instant death tile. When this death happens, the reaction is “Oh. Ok.” on the part of both players
Upon reevaluation, we changed the tile to a Quicksand tile. The tile is still a negative effect that players will try to avoid, but the consequence is much more forgiving. While the player is stuck, there’s inherent suspense about whether the other player will reach and kill him in time. While quicksand may often end up leading to death, the feel is quite different.