Our rule of thumb when it comes to a level’s platforming mechanics is that it should have exactly three. More, and we risk having too many elements to control at once and not using them effectively, while using up all the good ones in our early level designs. Less, and a level gets boring fast.
That in mind, here’s the scribbled list of potential ice world mechanics:
-short-range teleporters (the paired port is always visible)
-water sections with bubble-man-like spiked ceilings
-rocket-dashing sled platforms, that shoot off when a player (or enemy!) jumps on them
-falling block sections — blocks fall from the ceiling and will damage players if they hit, but can be used as platforms otherwise
-rolling snowball hazard sections
-falling icicle chains/geysers, where the player either has to bait them out or outrace them
-teleporter scrambles — like the short-range ports, but with an element of randomness, and more than 2 in a “pair”
-flash freezes — rooms with hotcubes or similar that you can stand near/behind to prevent periodic freezes that happen, damaging you and preventing action for a second or two
-slippery platforms — it’s an ice level after all
This is most of that original list. We like to come up with 10-15 mechanics and then cull it to 3, deciding the others are either better used elsewhere or not good enough to use at all. Out of these, we’ve chosen the short-range teleporters, the flash freeze sections, and the slippery platforms as our three “platforming” mechanics in iceworld. As for the others:
-water sections are likely to be their own tropical/underwater themed level (likely to be the last of the original six)
-windy sections and falling blocks will be left to the Stonetemple Skycity of Eridu, whose big themes are earth and air
-snowball hazards and icicles aren’t really platforming elements, so we can include those in as obstacles anyway
-the sled thing sounds pretty awkward, so we’re skipping it for now
Echoes is a roguelike, so we can’t guarantee that levels will introduce these mechanics smoothly. Sometimes you’re just gonna get multiples thrown at you at once, and the idea is that you’re maybe supposed to get roughed up a little the first time you come across a mechanic. We’re deliberately eschewing the “hold your player’s hand the first time they see something new” design principle. Let’s see how it pays off.
In the next week or two, we’ll have some good protoscreens of the mechanics in action! And some more fancy screens. See you then!