The Devil is in the Details
Before we get into the savory goodness, there was an article written by @Mattpetronzio for Mashable.com yesterday, and I urge everyone to go take a look and help Matt look good for his boss. Not just because he featured us (which is great!) but because he featured a small project of passion and we think that’s cool.
So, today I’m going to talk about a few different topics, and I may meander a bit, but if I were to ask you write an essay to summarize this update (I won’t) the title could be: Game Details. We want to get some of the smaller details out that we have been overlooking and hopefully you’ll be able to finish reading this with a better understanding of what type of game EDGAR is going to be.
EDGAR will be similar to Cave Story, or other Metroidvanias, in that it will be very combat focused. Platforms and multiple levels will be present, allowing variation in the paths the player can take, but pixel perfect platforming is not the primary game mechanic as it is in a game like Super Meat Boy. Poe will be able to have two weapons equipped at a time and switch back and forth between them easily. It could be a ranged and a melee weapon, or two melee, or two ranged, its really up to the player. Whatever they choose, it should be the proper type for dealing with the Foes ahead.
Each Foe will have its own attack pattern. The easiest are bats and rats which just sort of hurry towards Poe and attack him up close. There are vagrants who throw beer bottles, which the player can either dodge or smash mid-air, and some tuberculosis victims that cough excessive amounts of blood as a sort of ranged, spray attack. The key to combat is to figure out the pattern and attack style of each Foe and create an appropriate strategy. This isn’t really anything new for sidescrollers, but we felt it was important to note that enemies do not get more difficult because they deal more damage to Poe, but because their attacks get more complex and harder to dodge, and because they require more hits to defeat. The same goes for bosses who have the most complicated patterns and the largest amount of health.
There are three types of loot in EDGAR: Randomized Stats, Predetermined Stats, and Specialty Items. Loot with randomized stats will be generated uniquely on every playthrough, and can be anything from an axe to a pocketwatch. The rarity of these items will be identified with descriptors so a “Wool Cap” is of a lower quality than a “Silk Cap” and therefore, a more common item. Predetermined Stats are the items that have been handcrafted by the devs. We may put a fire effect on it, or give it a random chance to refill all of the available Ink. While the stats on these items are not random, their placement will be, so hunting and scavenging will still be required. Last are Specialty Items. These are items given to Poe at set times throughout the story. These items do not need to be equipped, and immediately grant Poe a new or upgraded ability. Wall sliding and double jumping are examples of some game mechanics that will be added to the player’s arsenal as they progress. Players will be able to revisit previous levels with their new ability and reach previously inaccessible areas.
Each level in Poe’s quest will appear as another chapter in his journal. Included will be a summary of the plot so far and some drawings of key events. Within the chapters are parts, most often three of them. The parts are the checkpoints for the game. Dying in EDGAR will be slightly more serious than setting the player back just a minute or two, but not so serious that the player will have to re-run through the entire level. Once a chapter is completed the player will be able to open their book and replay the level. This could be to explore the level further, unlock achievements, or simply just generate new loot.
Speaking of achievements, we’ve decided to implement an achievement system were calling “accolades”. Just like achievements in other games, accolades are earned for performing random tasks. This does not mean you get an accolade for beating a level or watching a cutscene. Some accolades will be easily unlockable, like one might be “Set 10 hobos on fire” you know, stuff you are going to end up doing anyway, but others may be “Do not touch the ground for one minute”, or something you have to work for. Here’s the best part about the accolade system, are you ready? I think I’ll start a new paragraph for this.
Unlocking accolades will get you in game rewards! About time right? Each achievement you unlock will manifest itself as another accolade in your inventory. Collect enough accolades and you’ll be able to buy items that you can’t buy with coins alone. Casual or slightly less skilled players will be able to get their clumsy little hands on some of the items, but real creativity and skill will be necessary to get the top tiered items.
The last topic (for today) is puzzles. There a few different ways players will have to use their critical thinking skills to succeed. The most prominent ways will be through codes and ciphers. Poe was heavily into cryptography, and we want to carry that throughout the game. Clues and key plot points will be encoded throughout the levels and will require some effort from the player to figure out. This effort will be minimal for those just wanting to push through and get on to the next level (but who would want to do that anyway?) but there will be more layers to be discovered for those who choose to delve deeper. In addition to encryption, there will be other puzzling game mechanics involving switches, pitch black portions, timing, and even multiplayer requirements ala Little Big Planet.
I hope this post has been informative. It’s difficult to get an entire game’s worth of information out to you guys, but we’ll make an effort to get more of the small details out to you all on a daily basis. Of course, if you have any questions about EDGAR don’t hesitate to ask. Honestly, we love hearing from you guys.
Thanks for reading!
– Wrought Iron Games