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Upcoming Platform Game: Suzy Cube

05-19-2017, 11:43 AM
Suzy Cube Update: May 19, 2017

Ahoy ahoy!
I spent the better part of my week re-working a couple of older levels as I march on towards getting the game ready for another round of testing.

The first level I had a look at was the World 2 boss level. This is the second time I give this level a good once over. It was simply too hard for what is only the game's second boss fight, so I eased up on it. I also made some changes to the Boss' attack sequence, mostly adding more idling time between attacks to give players more breathing room. And I gave the boss this new animation as well:

This "mugging" animation, as a friend calls it, is used to entice players to double jump onto the Boss' head. I hope it will do the trick!

The other level I spent some time reworking is Level 1-4. It really stood out as a big difficulty spike, especially so early in the game and I hope the changes I made will help.

Two of the more important changes I made pertain to the cannons used in the level. I made most of them fire less frequently, which should reduce the pressure on players, and I also made it so the (Suzy-seeking) rockets they fire can now collide with each other. This can seem like a rather trivial change, but in practice, it means that some rockets now explode against each other before ever reaching their target. This keeps the sense of tension and danger while being, in a practical sense, much safer.

I thought I'd also mention this tweak I made which has nothing to do with difficulty. You see the cubes of rock blocks in the screenshot above? These explode when hit by rockets and act as temporary cover for Suzy. I, initially, thought it would be fun to hide coins in all of them to reward players for steering rockets into them. In practice, though, this only served to hurt the level's pacing as players were rewarded for standing around waiting for rockets to blow up all the blocks. Remember, folks, as designers, we should never incentivize boring behaviour!

I've also been wanting to add exploding enemies to the game since forever but never really settled on a design. What I love about the visual design of the Bob'ombs from Super Mario is that it implies they are mechanical. This is important because it means that no living creature is committing suicide. I also didn't want to evoke images of suicide bombers, so having regular Skull enemies carrying bombs was definitely out of the question.

So, after many sketches, I decided to go with big ol' robot wrench hands on a bomb!

As you might expect, if Suzy gets too close, the Bomb Skull's fuse lights up and a chase ensues.

But, Suzy can bop her way out of it too, causing the Bomb Skull to, basically, turn into a bomb.


Finally, I've started work on Level 5-4, another forest level with a vertical penchant. Something about trees just says "climbing" to me, I guess!

Things are still very early on in this design so there's not much to show or talk about yet. I should have more for you on it next week.

Well, that's it for this update. See you next time.
05-19-2017, 11:45 AM
Originally Posted by polygonplay View Post
Love that rotating challenge next to the lavafall! Can't wait to play this!

How many levels in total you are planning to create?
I don't want to commit to anything and not come through, so all I will say for now is 5 Worlds, 5 Levels each.

05-19-2017, 01:03 PM
Understand Creating levels for a platformer is very time consuming. At least if you want to keep things fresh.

I love the new dragon animation!

Polygon Play
Developer of Lander Hero and Lander Hero: Training Mission
05-24-2017, 10:13 PM
That dragon looks awesome! And that animation looks great too!
05-26-2017, 09:50 AM
Suzy Cube Update: May 26, 2017

Level design was the name of the game this week. Not a flashy update but some good progress made nonetheless.

Work on Level 5-4 is nearly complete! The level itself is done but I'll be doing a coins and pickups pass this afternoon as well as refining the culling zones to optimize performance.

The level is split into three sections. Each section starts with a horizontal obstacle course followed by a vertically auto-scrolling climb around massive tree trunks. A teleporter at the top of each climb takes Suzy to the next section. Using teleporters this way was the easiest way to ensure checkpoints would play nice with the auto-scroll setups.

I also made a couple of small changes to Level 5-2. Nothing major, just "quality of life" stuff to polish the experience.

The level opens with Suzy gettings chased down snowy slopes by a big rolling snow boulder and there's a, sort of, cutscene to start the off the sequence. I finally decided that I should probably pause the game timer during this intro sequence. No sense in forcing players to lose seconds off their time.

I also addressed some awkwardness in this bonus star area of the level. The idea is that Suzy emerges from the archway up top and then is forced to slide down the ramps. If players fail to jump at the end of the third ramp, they will miss the star and be forcefully dumped into the exit teleporter. I had initially made the whole thing way too cramped which made the sliding go by too quickly and also caused Suzy to bump her head when jumping. All Awkward! So, I've opened up the area, and it feels much better now!

Short and sweet. No flashy stuff like new enemies or anything, but it sure feels good to have another level design in the can! For next week, I'm getting to work on the only remaining main game level, Level 2-4! This will be a significant one as it will serve as the game's introduction to the Ground Pound power-up! See you all next week!
06-02-2017, 08:53 AM
Suzy Cube Update: June 2, 2017

I was busy with other things this week, so it's going to be a slim update. But there are still some nuggets in here.

Before I start on the update, proper, I wanted to get you up to speed on the status of the crash bug I discovered when upgrading to Unity 5.6. After many attempts to fix the problem on my end, I gave up and decided to bundle up a reproduction scene for the folks at Unity. No word on a fix yet, but they came back to me this week with confirmation that they were, indeed, able to reproduce the bug! This is great news as it's, of course, the first step toward issuing a fix. It seems the bug has something to do with OpenGL and does not show up on Metal compatible iOS devices.

Ok! On to some progress. I have not, unfortunately, completed the design on Level 2-4, but I have been making some progress.

The level will be rocky with tight climbing sections and lots of explosions!

The Ground Pound power-up is on the menu as this level will serve as its introduction. This means, plenty of Rock Skull enemies, bombs and metal switches to slam down onto.

Given the level's focus on the Ground Pound power-up, I also thought it would be high time to implement a feature I've had on my to-do list for a month or so now. That's right! Slamming the ground now causes secret, invisible, objects to momentarily reveal themselves!

To achieve this, I simply update a couple of parameters in a shared material when Suzy hits the ground causing it to flash. As all invisible objects share this same material, they all, simultaneously, become visible!

On a related note, I also went ahead and set up a functional invisible gift box.

Much like the invisible coins, moving through the invisible box reveals it, at which point it can be bopped to collect what's inside.

Well, that's it for this week's update. I'll catch you all on the next one.
06-02-2017, 09:52 AM
Cannot overstate how much I appreciate this thread, the clear love that's gone into this game, and how wonderful the final product looks like it will be!
06-16-2017, 02:09 PM
Suzy Cube Update: June 16, 2017

Sorry for the missing update last week, I was out of the country... Aaaand sorry for the late update today, I was busy playing through the game...

That's right! with the exception of bonus levels (which I don't want to talk about too much.. even you guys deserve a LITTLE surprise!), all regular main-line levels are in! Mind you, this does NOT mean they are all in a shippable state! Let's be clear on that! But it is a rather important milestone as, from now on, level design work will be about refinement and honing rather that starting from nothing.

So, as you might have guessed, I've completed work on Level 2-4! It introduces the Ground Pound power-up and includes lot's of things that go BOOM!

It's also a great place for bomb lobbing baddies!

I also spent a bit of time hashing out a "Suzy is behind stuff" solution with a designer friend of mine and he helped me bring my latest idea to life.

I've been trying different solutions to this problem since the start of the project and they've all had drawbacks, especially when it comes to translucency. Finally, I had the idea of using a dithering pattern instead of alpha blending. It's quite noticeable in the gif, but just looks semi-transparent on my iPod's retina display.

Mind you, it isn't the most optimized or technically fancy solution. I simply applied two materials to Suzy's mesh, one, drawn first, which is a solid colour, ignores depth information and is rendered using a dithering pattern, then the 'normal' shaded material, complete with Z read/write on top. By playing with material render queue values, I was also able to ensure the effect wouldn't show up on top of certain other objects like power-ups, enemies and particle effects.

Sorry again for missing last week and sorry this update wasn't meatier.. I'm sure E3 had nothing to do with it... ya...

Anywho, with all the levels now in place, next week will me more of an organizational one that anything, getting the game ready for a big round of testing! I'm not going to promise anything to those who've been chomping at the bit to test the game, but I do hope to have a build ready by next Friday. A lot of that will depend on how many bugs I decide really need to be fixed before testing can start. So, on that note, check back in next Friday! Ciao!
06-16-2017, 11:31 PM
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 10
Originally Posted by Louard View Post
getting the game ready for a big round of testing!
06-17-2017, 05:57 AM
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 957
Cool... as an original beta tester, I miss it being able to play this daily.
Even if I don't get to beta test again, I can't wait for the full release.