Friday, March 25, 2011

Leap of Faith Looking Back: Part 1

It's almost as if there are two versions of this game. You see friends, for a long time during the development of this game, there was a totally different engine being used. This engine was controversial, frustrating, yet at the same time hard to get rid of.

First, let me tell you about how this game's idea came about. As you might know by now, my favorite game is Jak and Daxter. In the final level, there is a puzzle-like platforming thing that you use to get around. You jump on a blue tile, all the blue tiles go away. Same thing for all the other colors. I loved that.

So that's the first gimmick of The Fall Game. It's that dynamic of Jak and Daxter. Originally, that was supposed to be the main gameplay of the game. When I was brainstorming the game, I imagined the jumping to be something different, something based on another game.

This game is called Core Dase. You hop around, up and down, up and down. You never stop. I love that engine! But when I posted a team request on the Stencyl forums, things changed. Epic428 (the programmer of Leap of Faith) correctly hypothesized that using this kind of jumping engine would make the game too easy.

Way too easy. So he came up with a new idea- how about you can't walk? What if you just pressed down the jump key (with variable jumping) and that was how you moved?

Here are the pros and cons of this jumping system:
• Landing a jump is rewarding
• Finishing a level is EXTREMELY rewarding.
• On the easier levels, hopping around can be a lot of fun.

• Landing a jump is sometimes frustrating
• Dying is at times EXTREMELY frustrating.
• On the harder levels, especially ones with lots of spikes, it can get pretty ridiculously annoying (and that's bad.)
• It got a lot of complaints.

So the cons outweighed the pros. It was time for a change. Epic went back to the drawing board, and after a while came up with a new idea.

What if we gave the player complete control over the character? So that's what the current control scheme is. This of course has its own problems (and benefits).

• Player has total control over character.
• It's easy to play!
• It's still addicting, even though it's easier.

• It's too easy.
• The jumping can sometimes feel a little stiff or weird.
• People complained that it wasn't challenging enough, and one person even said they thought the game was insultingly simplistic.

One was too easy, one was too hard. That's life. We're still trying to find the happy medium, and I think we're on to something (and you'll see it in the sequel!)

Thanks for reading.

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