Since it was decided by The Powers that Be (a.k.a. Roman, our lead dev) that we would be switching from 3D to 2.5D, Lucas Correa, our incredible level designer/game designer has been working on identifying and salvaging usable mechanics of the previous 3D version and rethinking them for the new 2.5D camera perspective.
He’s mainly focused on considerations around the main structure of the levels, a hub system with four levels, as well as ruminating on different themes to each level as a way to generate more variety in gameplay.
He begins by sketching out some ideas on the flow of gameplay for the first level, creating it with simple geometry, to enable us to test the mechanics and see if everything will fit well together.
Right now, he is working on a prototype level that will enable the full team to test the game and implement mechanics. Later, this prototype can be polished and reused as a demo for playtesting purposes.
The main idea of this level is that the player character has to climb a huge tree that was formerly the squirrels’ fortress before it was taken over by the forces of evil. The tree is now inhabited by crystallized enemies that the player must defeat on her journey upward. We’re going to populate the tree with platforming puzzles, combat areas, and interactive obstacles that will fully utilize each of the characters’ special abilities.
Finally, at the top of the tree, *SPOILER ALERT* the player will engage in a boss battle (details still on the DL) in order to unlock one of the four locks to the final area.
We’re also working on testing the idea of a “camera on rails”, which Yiyi is working on and discusses in this blog post. The camera moves along a pivot point in the center of the tree so it is always focusing on the player character as she ascends the tree.
As we refine this new process, we’ll post new updates regarding the design of each of the four central levels + some sneak peeks 😉