Rude Bear Resurrection - Post Mortem
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.
So, Ludum Dare game jam finished a few days ago, and I made yet another entry into the Rude Bear saga – Rude Bear Resurrection.
As soon as I saw the theme “You Only Get One”, I immediately thought of One Chance and GlitchHiker. One Chance being the game you only get to play once, and GlitchHiker the world that decayed as its players failed at it until it broke.
I was really taken with the idea of a game that everyone influences in that way, so I decided to make a difficult teamworking platformer in which there can only be one winner. Once that person beats the last boss, the game is over.
I decided to focus my efforts on making a very large world, with difficult puzzles, a rewarding ending and narrative, a super powered final battle, and general good design.
As you progress through the castle, you activate switches. These switches activate for everyone in the world. They open up shortcuts that make the route easier. However, this can occasionally be a bad idea, as it benefits other people too. If you can do a section of the castle easily, there’s no point using the switch to help other people catch up with you.
These switches light up and give an easier route. This allows players who haven't been playing for long to still be able to reach the same point in the tower as players who've been playing a long time, so simply playing the most won't be enough to win. On top of this, corpses are left where you died, with a message. In this way, you can leave everyone else advice or amusing anecdotes to see in their game.
And then when other players mouse over your corpse they’ll see your comment:
This allows players to manipulate the game world even when they're not in it. They can lie to the other players, give bad advice to lower each other's chances, or if they're unable to complete a section they can leave a helpful comment that might help another person press the switch in that area.
Likewise, your corpse can be useful, pushing down buttons for instance. You can use them as stepping stones to traverse acid pools, and use them as meatshields and bridges from spikes. I placed spikes above buttons, for instance, so players can dedicate their corpses to the cause, allowing other players to be protected from the traps they govern.
This led to the problem that corpses would get in your way, so I implemented an annoying Navi-like fairy companion, who both explains how the game works to you in appropriate sections, and is able to burn away piles of corpses.
This is especially necessary in especially difficult areas, where you come across scenes like this:
Luckily this kind of problem was predicted in advance, but I didn't expect the mounds of corpses to be on the scale they are. I also capped the number of corpses loaded to the last 100, so there wouldn't be too much clutter.
The player response has been fantastic. I’ve already seen some hilarious things – corpses instructing people “Watch out, spikes on the left”, when they’re actually on the right leading to a huge pile of corpses, obscene rants (and also incredibly polite ones, “thats some real hogwash”, and just generally witty death messages, “The other corpses all suck, just fyi”, “Tell my wife I love her”, “There better be a princess”.
It’s really funny seeing the varied responses to each situation. For instance:
One response to being killed by your “friendly” companion:
The game is absolutely hilarious just to watch and play and see. There are a bunch of features I couldn’t implement in time, but otherwise I’m really happy with how it turned out for once. Even added narrative and a triple endboss.
Things I learnt:
- How to make giant spinning death lasers.
- Using #regions to tidy up my code.
- Good practises for showing the player how to play.
- Kludgey methods for repeating textures in Unity2D, having lights that change colour etc.
- A couple of things I didn’t know about how Rigidbody2Ds work regarding parenting and when you manipulate them through their transform instead of their velocity.
- Tracking player progress is super addictive, and fun, and great for figuring out which parts of your game could do with tweaking.
- Ingame messages are also a really fun, constructive, frustration free way of players giving feedback.
Things that could’ve realistically been improved within the timeframe:
- Tighter physics.
- Making it clearer which direction the switches should lead you to.
- SFX + Music (I had very little time to spend on it).
- Better polygon colliders on some of the spikes.
- The ability to fly around as a ghost after your death within a certain range of your body.
Hopefully this successfully tops Rude Bear Radio, and I hope you really enjoy Rude Bear Resurrection if you play it (and if it still exists)!
Ludum Dare entry post: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-28/?action=preview&uid=19499
Originally posted on my dev blog.