jesszhanggames.com Toronto Ontario Freelance Game Designer Narrative Designer

©2019 by Jessica S. Zhang

PIPER'S QUEST

Piper's Quest is a short 2D platformer created in 72 hours for Ludum Dare 43. 

Mechanic design

In order to save her animal friends, Piper might need to sacrifice a few of them…

Piper shoots vines out of one arm which latch to platforms, and uses physics based momentum to navigate the levels. She holds a gun in her other hand that shoots bullet projectiles that deal damage to enemies and can sever existing vines.

In the game's story, Piper's animal friends have been turned evil by a mad scientist. As a result, they are her enemies in the game, and each enemy has a different behaviour:

  • Frogs occasionally jump in random directions and spit projectiles in an arc. Frog projectiles can sever vines.

  • Piranhas swimming in their respective bodies of water and kill the player on collision

  • Caimans charge toward the player if they are within its detection radius

Due to time constraints, one animal was not implemented in time for the LD43 deadline:

  • Monkeys hang down from trees with their tails. They knock the player back if collided with. The monkey's tail acts the same way as a vine, and can be severed. This results in the monkey dropping down, typically into a pool of piranhas (ouch!).

The monkey's mechanics were designed to afford to the player the theme of LD43: "sacrifices must be made". Monkeys deal no damage to the player, but are meant to block the player's ability to progress through the level. As a result, the player is forced to harm their animal friend even though it is not hostile, contributing to the mechanics' ability to communicate LD43's theme.

Level design

This game's platforms were constructed using Unity's Sprite Shapes, allowing for geometry to contain curves and slopes. Though this provided our team with the possibility to create space for emergent physics-based gameplay, the character controller was not designed to account for the physics based implications of using them. As a result, the majority of the level does not take advantage of slopes and curves, as it caused the player's movement metrics to be unreliable, creating an inconsistent experience.