So I guess it’s been about a year since I started working on what became my first released solo project. This project started out as an attempt to make a slightly more user friendly mobile game that focused on contextual single touch input. At the time I was carrying a Windows Phone 7 and decided that XNA would be my weapon of choice for this particular solo quest. I quickly whipped up some tools to help with my productivity and it was time to test some theories in mobile gameplay.
So I see an opportunity to take the oh-so-popular running genre and put my own little spin on it. The genre, while it is definitely overused in it’s most basic form, has the potential to drive a great user experience. It has simple input that doesn’t need virtual buttons, and for mobile gaming that is a huge plus. The areas that I wanted to improve on is the interactivity, pick-up-and-playability, and add a sense of completion.
Trying to add interactivity in an action game with a single button is where the difficulty comes in. I wanted the game to be simple to play, to the point that literally anyone can pick it up and not need a tutorial. Which is why I just made jumping and level traversal the main focus of the experience. Jumping is contextual in the fact that you jump while running or while performing a wall slide. Jumping off of a wall also changes the direction that you are facing, allowing the player to change directions and traverse the level different ways.
To add another dynamic to the gameplay I introduced parts of the level that were tied to events. When the player would pass these “triggers” it would cause parts of the level to shift around, which would open new paths, sometimes even secret paths. The levels each had three keys scattered about, often on different traversal paths to add some replay value. Each new level requires the player to have a certain number of keys to unlock it, I thought it was only fitting.
Keep in mind that this little post is heavily condensed and I’d love to discuss game design theories and practices with anyone who will listen. This game was meant as a PROTOTYPE, it has bugs and isn’t as polished as it could be. I’m currently working, with one other person who is a very talented artist, on a more full-featured version of the game with updated gameplay and artistic flare. Please take the time to play this game and give me your thoughts.