'Squidiverse' 10 point Design Document

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'Squidiverse' 10 point Design Document

  1. 1. ‘Squidiverse’ - Web Based Platformer Target Audience: Teenagers – Whilst the game has a friendly and fun design and atmosphere that could appeal to anyone, the difficulty and frustration of the game probably pushes the target audience into Teenagers; so they can still appreciate the wacky fun, but will have more patience and endurance to harder sections of the game. Target Rating: PEGI 7 Contact Emails: smithyphox@gmail.com lawlietsmusic@gmail.com
  2. 2. Story: Squid’s father has been kidnapped by the villainous King Crab, leaving the young Squid helpless and alone. In order to rescue his father he must leave his home planet of Squidtopia for the first time and travel the universe. Squid must find clues scattered through the universe in secret by his father, to reveal the location of the next world in the quest, and, eventually the location of Squid’s father. King Crab has minions and hired goons all across the planets, all trying to halt Squid’s journey. Can Squid overcome the obstacles, monsters, and increasingly deadly environments, to save his lost father? Gameplay: In order to complete a level and move on to the next, the player must locate all the clues in the current level. These clues are hidden or obscured, with the players’ path to them blocked by some puzzle or obstacle that they must overcome. On the first world he must obtain a clue by throwing a rock at a button which activates a moving platform which he must use to get the clue. As well as environmental obstacles and puzzles there are enemies in the game. In order to destroy enemies he must throw rocks at them. Squid can also jump over the foes rather than take them on but they won’t get any points for this, and if Squid touches an enemy then he’ll lose a life. Once Squid has all his clues he may proceed to a spaceship at the end of the level which will take him to the next world.
  3. 3. Across the levels Squid does not change, no power-ups or items, however the environment will develop with each new world, each level becoming more and more hostile. This enforces the narrative journey of Squid, as his quest becomes more and more deadly the closer he gets to King Crab. The reward for the player is discovery, and mastery: discovering the new world and the new rules, and then mastering them. We want to make a game you need to play over and over, dieing a few times and experimenting, to be able to learn the ins and outs of a level, and fully master it. The reward the player gets is that feeling of achievement from collecting all the clues conquering a world… before being moved on to the next world, a new challenge to overcome. This also helps the player connect with Squid more. Squid has 3 lives in the level, and whilst Squid has lives left then when he dies he will re-spawn on the last checkpoint he crossed, with all the progress is saved, crabs destroyed and clues collected. However if the player dies without any lives, then the whole level resets. The lives and checkpoints are about just making the game a bit less difficult, whilst not loosing that addictive frustration quality that we want. There’s still enough negative reinforcement around the death to make players angry when it occurs and want to avoid it, and the life system only gives three chances before restarting the level. The first world is the water planet; in this planet Squid must avoid environmental hazards such as the water on planet, as Squid is allergic to water. On the second planet which is the chalk planet, there are “Crushers” which Squid must avoid so he does not get flattened. In the third world (not really a world, Squid’s spaceship explodes in space) he most avoid asteroids and broken pieces of his ship. In the final world he most avoid lava and fire at all costs.
  4. 4. Character: The cephalopodic main character, half hoodie wearing boy, and half tentacle creature: Squid is childish, energetic, and fun. He’s never had responsibility before so being faced with the challenge of rescuing his father from King Crab is quite daunting for him, though with so much to lose if he fails he overcomes his fears to rescue his Father. Squid is an offbeat and distorted character, which is expressed in his design, but will also show in his animation. He shouldn’t walk like normal characters; he should be doing something between a skip and a lurch. His jump should be strange, limbs bending and tentacles flailing. This oddball animation will bring across Squids character and make him endearing to the player. Controls: Squid has classic platformer movement, walking left and right, and jumping, and in addition to that he has the ability to throw rocks.
  5. 5. The controls are mapped this way for comfort, and ease of use. The right hand can sit comfortably on the keyboard with the first two fingers over O and P, and the thumb over the space bar, whilst the left hand first finger sits on Q. This way the right hand controls the movement of the character, while the left controls the extra action of throwing projectiles. So the player can comfortable rest their hands over the keyboard, without having to shift around finger position, or look for other keys mid-game. We did experiment with other keyboard mapping, and this configuration came out as the best. It may be initially confusing to players used to the WASD control system, they’ll eventually settle into due to its comfort and easy use. Although the game does require some mouse interaction; this is only when navigating menus, so there’s never a need to use the mouse whilst also using the keys, which would be awkward given that the key positioning requires both hands be used. This set up of using the keys for gameplay and the mouse for menus is needed for simple menu navigation, but also helps separate the two states of the game.
  6. 6. At its core the game is a basic platformer, with Squid having to jump between platforms, avoid obstacles and enemies, and reach the levels end. There’s also a puzzle element, with Squid using his throwing rocks to manipulate the environment in order to reveal hidden clues, access different areas, or destroy enemies. Play is broken up into levels, represented as different planets in-game, with Squid only able to progress after completing the current level. Each level will be different then the last, and add a new feature that develops the gameplay. The main level set up is that of searching the area for a certain amount of items, but what your looking for, how many there is, and how you navigate the level changes with each level. Squid doesn’t change through the game, it’s the levels that change, with the play having to us the same core skills to work out new gameplay scenarios. The idea with world two is to introduce a lot more puzzle and interaction with the environment; with Chalk Pitari being an active construction site. The player will be able to throw rocks at scaffolding, collapsing it onto passing enemies, or creating pathways over chasms. The space wreck level changes even more, with the player controlling a Squid floating in space, no platforms to walk on. The environmental destruction from world 2 carries over, so the player can continue to use the skills they learned in past levels. World 3 also changes with the inclusion of a level long boss, and having to find parts to re-build the rocket, rather then clues.
  7. 7. The game takes place in a strange universe which blends aquatic and sci-fi design. Game play takes the player across 3 planets in this universe, as well as a level set in space, as Squid is ship wrecked. Squid uses a simplistic rocket to travel from world to world. Each planet represents a different element, First Water, then Rock, and finally Fire. The game world will be represented through a map, which is also a level select screen. Locked levels will be blacked out and mysterious, meaning the player doesn’t know what’s coming up: they have to discover the universe. Squidtopia (Water) Squids’ home planet: As the first level, this is designed to be the most simple, and also the introduction to the mechanics and workings of the game. Every skill the player needs to beat the game is taught in this first world: jumping, moving, and throwing rocks. Chalk Pitari (Rock) This planet is basically a giant chalk pit, and an active construction site. There will be cranes and diggers, and construction equipment out, that Squid will have to both avoid and use to solve puzzles. Ship Wreck (Space) On his way to the final planet Squids rocket explodes, stranding him in the middle of space. Squid must navigate space, avoiding debris and asteroids in order to re-assemble his ship. The boss in the level is Astro-Shark, who appears periodically throughout the level, stalking Squid in a ‘Jaws’-like fashion. Crabatoa (Fire) As the final level, this world has to be very dangerous and hostile: everything here wants to kill you. It’s a world of active volcanoes and lava streams, so any enemies here will be extremely tough, as they’ve evolved to survive this environment.
  8. 8. Menus: The visuals and audio work hand in hand to create the perfect feel when navigating the game. The interface is themed around the most prominent and memorable attribute of Squid; his head. So, many of the buttons have been made to be Squids head to further incorporate a connection between you and Squid. This can also help build up a brand image around the game, using Squids head as a symbol/logo Each screen has music playing to give it life; a lot of them carry on the same music from screen to screen, to create a feel of continuity. On the level select screen a view of each planet is seen and it’s easy to see what planet is which, for example the water planet is blue and looks like a ball of water, they’re also in chronological order from left to right (so the first world is on the far left, the last being on the far right). Some 8bit styled music plays at the level select scene, it has a space feel to it and suits the game well. While in game there is a button at the bottom right which once clicked will take you to the pause menu, where some slow tempo music plays, which also helps the player chill out before getting back into the game.
  9. 9. HUD: The HUD is designed to help the player chart their progress through the level, as well as give the player hints at what they’re supposed to do. The Clue Bar is on the left, prominent and first in the row, so upon a quick scan across the HUD row it’s the first thing you see. This is because it’s the most important part, and the one the player will want to glance at more often. It tells the player how many clues they need to find, and how many they have found. The dotted outlines show that it’s something empty, something that needs to be filled. By looking at this the player can easily see that there are three things that need to be found. The rectangle shape is also an indicator, as it matches the shape of in-game clue graphic. The player can see the connection between the clue, and this HUD element, and see that it’s the clues that must be collected. The score is tinted gold-ish yellow, which links it with the colorful stars that make the score go up. It also makes it seem worthy and important. The lives use the graphic of Squids head, re-enforcing that design which runs throughout the game, and also linking it to the Squid character. This link helps the player identify them as the Squids lives. Player Interface: To collect a clue the player simply has to make Squid run over it; there’s no button to press or animation to play. We decided not to have any collecting animation for a few reasons, firstly that it fits with the old-school game style and keeps the simple nature of the design, but also because we feel it would hold up the game to play an animation of Squid picking up the clue, disrupting the flow and energy of the game. The reason the player has no control over collecting the clue is because there’s no reason they wouldn’t want it, they need it to complete the game. The game isn’t about managing and inventory, being strategic about what you pick up or discard. You just need to collect 3 clues and get to the end. The simple collection system also makes it easy for the player to see the games goal, as when they touch a Clue it immediately disappears, and the clue bar up in the HUD changes, with the collected clue filling up a space. There’s also a high and twinkly sound that plays upon clue collection, something pleasant and up beat. This communicates to the play that they’ve done something right.
  10. 10. If the Player dies, Squid goes into a thrashing and collapsed position, and a nasty and grinding sound effect plays. Squid then re-spawns a split second later, either at the start of the level with everything reset, or at a checkpoint with their progress saved, depending on weather or not they crossed the checkpoint before dieing. We didn’t want to have a death or game over screen, or make the player go back to the menu, as this would break up the gameplay. Much of the fun and frustration of the game comes from being able to instantly try again. The fact that the game instantly drops the player game into the game helps make the game addictive; you’re right back in the game, ready to try again and defeat the level. If the player had to go through some menus and chose to play again, their enthusiasm could fade. There’s enough negative reinforcement from the sound effect, the animation, and the fact that you loose your progress, to make the player hate Squids death and want to avoid it. When the player reaches the rocket with all clues collected they have won the game. Squid gets in the rocket, which takes off, going up and off-screen whilst a victory tune replaces the level music. Rather then having a victory screen or simple going back to the Level Select screen, we want to create a satisfying ending within the level. The player is pleased to be able to finally move on and leave the level, so by creating a visual representation of that, seeing Squid actually taking off from the world, we can make something that’s very satisfying to the player. The colour red will symbolize rock interaction, meaning this object can be destroyed or affected by a rock. It’s basically a simple visual short hand that the player will learn, and so be able to identify interactive objects. The buttons are red, and the scaffolding in world 2 will have painted red stripes etc. Red was chosen because it stands out, and is different from our main colour scheme, so that nothing else in the game will have this colour. Red also has connotations of danger and urgency, so it urges the player notice the object and try and work out how to use it.
  11. 11. Mechanics: The main mechanic is the basic jump that the players will use to navigate the various platforms and surface in the levels. This is put to use through classic platformer obstacles courses, involving moving platforms and The second big mechanic is Squids’ ability to throw rocks. The rock isn’t only used as a weapon to destroy enemies but also used to affect the environment around the player; there are buttons that can only be activated by having a rock thrown at it, or breakable walls, broken by a rock being thrown at them. A breakdown of the first, very basic puzzle in the game, which introduces players to this mechanic: With these two mechanics we can use both fast paced platformer elements, like obstacle courses, and timing and judging jumps, as well as more puzzle based ones, activating buttons in the right sequence etc. By varying between these two mechanics throughout each level, we create more variety Power-Ups: We decided to keep power ups out of the game as we wanted to keep this aspect simple, we didn’t want to distort the character of Squid by giving him things like swords, or fire breath. By keeping power ups out of the game it really tests the players’ skill with the two core mechanics. This also feeds into the story, as the game is about a small helpless Squid traveling through a dangerous universe, he doesn’t change or get more powerful, but the world develops.
  12. 12. Bosses: King Crab The big bad of the game: Squids nemesis. The King won’t appear until the final level, when the player reaches his lair on ‘Crabatoa’. Defeating King Crab is a matter of using the volcanic environment to boil him in water, creating the perfect well-cooked crab dish. Astro-Shark The Astro-Shark appears throughout the ship wreck level, stalking the Squid through space, and appearing every so often until a final confrontation at the levels end, making the whole level sort of an extended boss battle. The enemies’ presence is felt through the whole level, as menacing music builds up, and a fin glides past in the corner of the screen. All this builds an atmosphere of tension for the player. Due to its size and strength, the Astro-Shark cannot be killed with Squids standard attack; instead the player must use the rock projectiles to detonate or collapse ship wreckage around the creature, or guide it into the path of a flying asteroid. Vampire Squid Created by King Crab, to be the ultimate foe for our hero, this is a dark, vampiric version of Squid. He has all the same moves as Squid, and has a pattern of every so often mirroring the players’ actions e.g. throwing a rock at the same time Squid does. The secret to defeating him is to use this pattern against him, whilst he’s mirroring you guiding him into a trap within the environment.
  13. 13. Enemies: Crabs The slandered enemy in the game, the Crabs are patrolling minions that pace one spot of a level. They’re easily defeated with rocks. Cosmic Fish The heat seeking missiles of the game, these jelly fish-like creatures float down and head straight for the player. Sand Sharks Introduced in the second world, Sand Sharks are tougher than Crabs, requiring to hits of the rock. These creatures bury themselves in the platforms, leaping out as the player approaches them.
  14. 14. Cutscenes: Cutscenes are used simply and sparingly, really just a few lines of text to set the player up with the story. The opening cutscene is simple, setting up the basic story and the aim of the game. Text on a stark white background creates a menacing effect, getting players excited and ready for the game The opening cutscene appears explaining the storyline to the player, this uses existing assets within the game and text along with it to narrate the storyline to the player, it explains how Squids father has been kidnapped and how you must find King Crab to save him, also it explains the concept of having to find clues throughout the worlds. We will have a scene at the end of each level which shows Squid blasting off in his rocket, then a scene is shown telling the player they have succeeded in defeating the world with an animation of Squid in a victory stance. Bonus Material: We’re planning on releasing extra levels for the game over time, between the first and last world, this will also brings new challenges and new game modes. With new game modes we plan on eventually incorporating the feature to play as Astro-Shark and fight the Squid. Features planned to be brought out for download: -A store to change Squid’s appearance -New Levels -New playable characters -Cooperative and multiplayer modes

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