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Climbing the Mountain

01-21-2013, 03:53 PM
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Chicago!
Posts: 160
Climbing the Mountain

Hey everyone!

I'm working on a new game, and I dunno if this is the way to go about it or not, but I'm going to be posting works in progress and hopefully you enjoy what I'm up to.

There's a part of me that worries about WIP ruining the magic of what I'm trying to create, showing you all the turning gears, but it's a risk I'm willing to try.

So, the base idea I'm working from is a one-button game where you try to ascend a mountain to reach the monastery at the top. It's a new challenge for me as it's going to be a randomly generated game. The goal is to choose the best paths to walk/climb such that you have the energy to reach all the way to the top.

If you haven't played my previous game, Dead End HD, well like that, I want this to be tough, hopefully forcing you to get better and smarter. But unlike Dead End, I want it to have more story content, more a feeling of a meaningful world.

So that's that, and to start off, here are some various images, firstly of some style sketches, and then some pictures of the path generation [very] in progress (the second one is totally broken, but looks awesome!).

Cheers, folks!

Last edited by randyo; 01-21-2013 at 03:59 PM.
01-21-2013, 09:00 PM
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Berlin, Germany
Posts: 1,669
reminds me of an free climbing game idea i had in the early ipad days.. where you control your arms separately with some sort of dual stick controls to strategically reach ledges.. and look around for them using tils to move your head ..

anyway.. the idea is interesting.. lets see how it turn out

good luck

04-11-2013, 02:08 AM
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Chicago!
Posts: 160
Random rambling musings on my random game! (These days I'm mostly making art for my friend's PC puzzle-platformer: http://indiestatik.com/2013/01/25/es...hots-and-info/ )

I have been having both a fun and excruciating time designing this game. It's about choosing the paths you take up a mountainside, do you stay on the main path and rest at villages that fully regenerate you, or do you venture off the main path, bypassing villages but getting a more powerful "energy" that's more rare.

By making this game about planning rather than doing (even though you are doing the movement as well), the challenge is generating a fun challenge about planning decisions. Decision-making is about awareness or lack thereof?

Should the game be about immediate challenges or should it be about long-term decisions? I want both. In Dead End it was always about surviving moment-to-moment, which I like, and that gets you a bit further in the long term. Dead End has increasingly fewer moments of safety. You have to play smart over and over until you get a respite.

Hmm, writing this out is useful.

The question is how explicitly do I present the correct path? Perhaps I've been so set on having right and wrong be more vague in the game that I'm missing the joy of reactionary planning.

I want this game to be about skill. Challenging yourself, taking risks. But a risk means you don't know how it will turn out... I don't want it chance-driven. Gah, it's amazing how hard it is to design something seemingly so simple! Hopefully I will find an answer to this design challenge.

04-16-2013, 06:31 PM
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Chicago!
Posts: 160
Update #2: Monk Ascending

Thank you guys! Whether you realize it or not, my decision to post on here last week was a god-send in helping me figure out design changes to my game.

I said that I couldn't tell if there was too much randomness to gameplay. Welp, typing it all out made me realize that the cool twisting paths you see in my previous post are totally unnecessary.

By building gameplay around random twisting paths I made the gameplay itself random and twisting rather than focused and understandable. There are no more paths that meander between diagonal and vertical and back to diagonal. The "branches" are straight vertical paths and the main path is only made of diagonals. Make as much of the game predictable as possible, and remove the randomness where possible.

I'm guessing it doesn't seem like much has changed in the last few images posted, but believe you me, the game's design is starting to feel crisp.

I may even add some initial rough art soon! Well, once I get the control scheme working more smoothly. Cheers!

06-19-2013, 02:25 PM
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Chicago!
Posts: 160
Yet some more progress as this game slowly takes shape! It's definitely not my top priority, but every week or two I'm refining the equations, simplifying the code, and adding the frameworks for art and messing around with things.

I think I'm going to try and have this game done by the IGF (Independent Games Festival) submission deadline, which is in October.

Anyhow, just want to say that I'm not dead yet, and incredibly curious how y'all will react to the game when I'm done with it.

10-10-2013, 02:39 AM
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Chicago!
Posts: 160
Tonight I had a little free time (from Escape Goat 2) and wanted to just start to flesh out the world for this game a little more. Just a little bit of my writing to get an atmosphere for this tale.


A people content, spread out along the hills, up climbing slowly into the mountains. They were not troubled by wars, only the challenge of living on the steppes, eking out day by day the comfort of their toil and the warmth of their hearths at night.

Low down on the mountain the politicians and merchants delegated and lived in pomp comfort. Their towers were tall, bridges leading them up and above the hustle and bustle of the commoners. There were gardens, manicured and formed into lush jungles that could hide the toil and activities that were necessary. They didnít like the disturbance of questions, they just threw opportunity into the face of any so curious about what lay above and beyond their crafted world.

Further up, the gardens gave way to groves and fields, rice and fruits and vegetables in well-tended rows. Things were taken care of, the simplicity of the folk and their homes belied the generations of learning and honing of their craft. They danced on summer nights, relishing in the break from the sun-up to sun-down life they endured. Girls became women, boys became men, they accepted the burdens laid upon their backs. They knew that nature was sometimes a cruel mother, but she would only take what she must, if they behaved. They lashed out occasionally, a single thread here and there crying to the heavens, but mostly they tended their soil, respecting its moods.

As the trees grew higher and wilder, the farms dissipated into hamlets and villages. Tucked gently into the rocky forests, surrounded by streams dashing upon the rocks, the people lived humbly, living with the land. They had their sons and their daughters, they taught them to respect what was around them, they told stories, they knew some of the wildness of the rocks and ridges and high spaces away from manís domain. They knew, and they lived on this edge. They were happy enough, and they endured the disturbances of the unknown.

Far above these little folk and their contented ramblings and goings on, there were only the rocks and the snows and the lonely beasts. The wind ruled, the singing voice of the heavens pouring down over those high ridges from an unknown other world. There was only the mountain, and what lay on the other side did not matter, only the trails up.

But there were those who sat atop the mountain and looked down, both from where they came from, and what lay beyond. They were no more content than those below, but they were, in fact content. They felt content, and resided in their temple, enjoying the wind that came up from the unknown and down from the heavens and knew no true origin. It just was.
10-10-2013, 06:05 AM
Game sounds very cool, definitely intrigued

Off topic: how are you playing Escape Goat 2? I don't believe it released yet
10-10-2013, 11:14 AM
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Chicago!
Posts: 160
I'm the artist on Escape Goat 2, I took a break from working on it last night. That's the main reason I've not gotten to work on my own games like this one.
10-10-2013, 11:22 AM
Originally Posted by randyo View Post
I'm the artist on Escape Goat 2, I took a break from working on it last night. That's the main reason I've not gotten to work on my own games like this one.
Awesome. Got Escape Goat 1 a week or two ago, preordered EG2 about ten minutes later. The new art style looks wonderful, can't wait for some more controlled chaos and shifting levels.
10-10-2013, 01:00 PM
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Chicago!
Posts: 160
Oh wow thank you! We're really excited about everyone's response. We were a bit delayed on the sequel because Ian (the main guy) has had to spend a few weeks getting EG1 onto Steam. But we're getting back hardcore into Escape Goat 2 and gonna be glad to finish it.