Design Blog 11: Insert Door Pun Here

Hi, Grant here again. As we get closer to our planned release date we’re all cracking down and getting as much done as possible. The design blog has been particularly quiet because we’ve been working on a bunch of improvements to the game such as new environment features, escape routes and items (some of which Adam has ALREADY SPOILED) and making our monsters more…eh…monster-y.

While I can’t talk too much about those at the moment I will talk briefly about our favourite subject here at JunkFish – Doors.

 

Incredible stuff

 

Why do we keep talking about doors? Well a lot of it comes from this excellent blog by Liz England of Insomniac, about how a good way to help people understand your role as a developer is to describe to them your part in getting something as everyday as a door into a game. It’s also great at conveying the challenges of the job, as it shows how something so commonplace can become incredibly complex when it comes to sticking it in a game. Needless to say that blog has been invaluable in helping us explain what we do to people at parties.

 

“-and at first we even tried to use the PLAYER normal! Ha ha ha!”

 

What I’m going to mention here is how we use doors to convey aspects of our monsters to the player. There are several types of doors in our game, some wooden, some metal,some lockable and the ways in which each monster interact with them indicates to the player some of their characteristics.

How they deal with a closed door that opens in towards them shows their intelligence, e.g. a smarter monster will open it properly while more animalistic ones will simply attempt to break it down after realising it can’t be pushed. The speed with which they do this displays their physical strength; a strong monster can break down a wooden door almost immediately, while the others would take a few seconds to demolish it.

This can be extended into a gameplay mechanic; for example if a player were to learn these behavioural differences they could use this knowledge to their advantage. If, say, they were on the run from a weaker monster they’d know locking the door behind them would buy them a few precious seconds to hide, whereas if they were running from the Brute it’d be a waste of time. Another example would be locking a monster behind a sturdy metal door unlocked via switch. A strong but dumb beast will spend some time breaking it down, while an intelligent hunter will just flick the switch.

That’s all I can really say at the moment, as I must now return to the reclusive Junkfish work hive.

Will there be more door blogs? Who knows. Who knows…

*Sound of typing*

Grant