Life after NESDev Compo 2020/21
It’s be a little over a month since Witch n’ Wiz was submitted to the NESDev compo, and work hasn’t slowed down since!
The build submitted for the compo was just a small slice of what I hope to deliver in the final game, so now might be a good time to show how the game has changed since the end of the competition.
All the art in the NESDev build was done by Kenneth and Zoltan (Zolionline). Since then, I’ve started searching for additional artists to help balance the workload a bit.
The first new artist to join the team is Daniel (Alp). Here you can check out the work in progress visuals for the “cabin” area of the game. This appears in both a pristine condition version, and later in an “abandoned” version. This reason for this change is part of the setup for the story of the game, so I won’t spoil it for you.
The cabin is actually an extension of an existing tileset from Haller: The Forest. The forest was completed in time for the compo, but there wasn’t space/time for it in that build. It will be part of the opening prologue of the game though.
Kenneth has started working on additional tilesets for the game. The current plan is that each time a new mechanic is introduced to the player, a new area of the castle will unlock, and with it a matching tileset.
Here you can see the work in progress versions of the Sewers/Dungeon and the Clocktower. Comparing these to the original grey Castle theme from the NESDEV compo build, it is clear this will inject some much-needed variety into the game.
The NESDEV compo build has, 3 different puzzle mechanics introduced throughout the game:
- Basic “Sokoban”-like mechanics w/Enemies (the foundation of the game).
- Mirror Clone (control 2 characters at the same time).
- Witch + Wiz (control 2 characters, but 1 at a time).
For the final game, my goal is to increase this from 3 to 10 mechanics. A core philosophy is to never combine mechanics (so you will not, for instance, control a Mirror Clone and the Wizard in the same level).
Since the end of the compo, I have added 4 additional puzzle mechanics, some of which you saw a little preview of in the initial post of this thread:
Lock & Key
This introduces the concept of “carrying” a key to a locked door to open it and exit the room. The key can be thrown up one block and gets knocked out of your hands if you try to carry it through a tight tunnel.
The player obtains a magic artifact that allows them to reverse gravity! When activated, all objects will float to the ceiling. While there the player can move around freely. Pressing A again will reverse gravity back to normal.
A bit of a mainstay of the NES era, when the player walks off the edge of the screen, they will be instantly teleported to the opposite side of the level.
In these rooms, the player can press A to flip the room around its center axis, allowing them to reach previously inaccessible areas. It also causes any unsecured objects to fall.
That brings us up to 7 unique puzzle mechanics in the game, with 3 more to go. I am a little tapped for ideas, so we’ll see if I make it to 10 in the end.
All the new art needs to be chopped up and brought into game, and there is still a lot more art that needs to be created.
The new gameplay mechanics have been prototyped in game, but each will need 10 or so puzzles designed for them. I may wait a little while before I start designing levels though. If you are interested in designing levels, please send me a DM. I really don’t enjoy it!
A big piece that needs to be done is flushing out the story portions of the game. My goal is to avoid non-interactive cutscenes, and instead do all storytelling during gameplay. I’ve never really attempted something like this, and definitely never in a NES game, so it’s going to be a bit of a challenge. I have started to prototype some ways it might work, but it’s still a fairly unknown problem space at this point.
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