Game Design of Coyote210
Once we removed all the violent aspects of gameplay from the Unreal Tournament engine, we weren't left with much. Without the gratuitous violence, the gameplay in Unreal Tournament is surprisingly similar to a classic acquisition-style game. The player can move; the player can pick stuff up; the player can solve simple puzzles.
We decided to base Coyote210 on the Cochiti Pueblo myth Coyote Spills The Stars. The player must venture through various lands to gather the spilt stars.
The game is built on a single level for Unreal Tournament with several sub-areas:
The main room. The Atrium functions as the starting place for the player, as well as a safe area and a gateway to the other sub-areas of the level. The Atrium contains four portals to the different sub-areas of the level.
The basic concept for the Atrium is a field containing a crossroads at night. Each of the four paths lead to a different sub-area. A campfire glows in the center of the crossroads, providing a point of orientation for the player. The constellations in the night sky guide her on her journey (vehicle for telling the story to the player).
The portals are in the shape of dreamcatchers and located at the end most point of each path.
Cave Sub-Area (East of Campfire) - White Stars
A cavernous underground sub-area with bears, snakes, bats, stalagmites, pottery and other household items.
The sounds in the cave sub-area are: bears, snakes, and dripping water.
Forest Sub-Area (West of Campfire) – Yellow Stars
A wooded sub-area with grass, trees, rocks, bushes, a waterfall, and assorted forest animals.
The sounds in the forest sub-area are: birds, animals, and the waterfall.
Underwater Sub-Area (North of Campfire) – Red Stars
This sub-area takes place entirely underwater. There are reefs, fish, whales, kelp, oysters, and turtles.
The sounds underwater are bubbles, water, and whales.
Flight Sub-Area (South of Campfire) – Blue Stars
This sub-area deals with low gravity. There are mountains, tall trees, birds, nests, eggs, feathers, and goats.
The sounds in the flight area are wind rushing around mountaintops and running water.
The play begins with an introduction cutscene.
Each of the sub-areas (other than the Atrium) contain stars – items the player must gather to complete the sub-area. The stars are fall from the sky at the start of the game. Eventually this can be programmed in a random pattern to provide replay ability. In order to win the game, all stars in each of the sub-areas must be gathered. A player “gathers” a star by walking over it (much like picking up a weapon in Unreal Tournament).
Once a player has picked up at least 1 star, a HUD display tells her her current star count (e.g. 5 out of 10 blue stars).
There will be 10 stars in each area, for a total of 40 stars. (At a later date, we may decide to add “secret stars” which would function as a type of power up.)
The sub-areas must have enough complexity to hold a player’s interest, but not so much complexity that the player feels frustrated.
In each sub-area, the player may leave any time through the entry/exit portal and pick up where she left off. If a player exits a sub-area, she is taken back to the Atrium.
Once a player has gathered all stars in a sub-area, a cutscene is triggered showing the stars flying up into the sky and telling about a Native American myth for the constellation that relates to that world.
Once all stars are gathered, the player views a victory cutscene of the stars returning to the sky.