Active Sketch 04 - Pillars

Critiqued and analyzed on the Critical-Gaming Network blog! :D

Finally, an actually fun prototype!

It's a test of some movement controls for a one-button flying game. Tap to flap your wings, hold to dive.

I've been working with the artist brontosaurus off and on for several months now to create a game, and this latest attempt seems like our most promising project yet. It started with a bit of concept art, a simple landscape of pillars - Pixel Skylines 01. Then I tried to imagine what sort of game, what sort of characters and actions might be fun in such a landscape. Obviously, the typical platformer approach would not make sense. But maybe if you could fly...

So I made this prototype, and yes, flying is fun. See for yourself.

It helps that there's a flock of tiny fliers to keep you company. They give you something to do - something to attack or run away from.

In response to some prompting from brontosaurus, I've also released some experimental versions that allow you to turn in midair, either automatically or by double-tapping. And I've gotten some useful feedback about each of these.

But I think I'll stick with the simple original. This is the one that has gotten the most unanimously positive response, and I have found it to be much more accessible to non-gamers in my own informal playtests.

And I like the feel. It's like a soaring eagle.

So the next question is, how do we elaborate this into a full game? Maybe even something for the upcoming GAMMA IV one-button game competition?

This is where our organic process should be able to take off. In the past, brontosaurus and I made the mistake of trying to start creating cool things before we had a solid foundation of fun actions to build on. But now we have our fun actions.

I can see even this simple prototype turning into a game just by adding a score multiplier system and a time limit. But I would hate to waste its potential on something as trivial as that. I want to create a bigger game, with vast landscapes to explore and creatures to interact with - some dangerous, some friendly, some food.

I think the way to go, then, is to continue building a playground for this one-button flying creature, this eagle. I remember reading that this is how Super Mario 64 was built - first with a playground that made full use of Mario's abilities and acrobatics, and only then expanded into a world of castles and mountains and bosses and missions and such.

Well, we shall see where this takes us.

a cloud dragon...


KirbyKid said...

Yo, I'm KirbyKid from the Critical-Gaming blog.

How's the game coming along? I played it and have some feedback if you want it.

axcho said...

Hi KirbyKid! Right now I'm actually working on a different game, which I'll be releasing later this month.

But I will resume development on the one-button flying game soon, and I would very much like to hear your feedback on it.

You could post it here if it's convenient. Thanks. :)

Jordan Magnuson said...

This looks like its got some nice potential.