Devlog #1 - Of grind rails, audio, and difficulty selection menus
I was keeping up a devlog on the itch.io forums for about a year and a half (!) for my precision platformer Mobility, but since itch.io now supports dedicated devlogs, I have opened a dedicated page to host it! I will likely keep both up to date, because my posts on the forums generally attract a lot of eyes (breaking 2000 views recently, thanks for everyone who stopped by to look at my silly thing!) Thanks, and enjoy last week's devlog post reposted below.
Tweaking grind rail physics
Multiple testers ran into this problem, so I tweaked it so it feels more natural to use. Once you landed on the grind rails, you could no longer steer yourself, but you could gain speed by crouching when going down, or jump of and gain air control. That appeared to be unintuitive for my testers, so now I'm allowing players to control their speed directly by pressing left and right. You still have less control compared to walking, but it's better.
Another thing is that the game allows players to jump for a short while after falling off a platform. I disabled that on grind rails, because it would allow players to do a special jump (long jump, backflip) shortly after falling off. However, it was a noticeable user experience flaw, so I fixed that as well. Now, jumping off the tip of a grind rail is significantly more satisfying.
Also, boosters now also work properly, allowing the player to achieve ridiculous speeds in some levels!
When thinking about making a trailer for Mobility, I was thinking of making the audio a bit more impressive. Thus, I added some extra sound effects! Now there's a little pop when you activate a platform, a sound effect that plays when you complete playing a level, and when a block vanishes in the highest difficulty of the game.
Now I'm not really sure whether the game has too much sound effects playing at the same time, overloading the soundscape. A tool I'm using to prevent sounds from getting too stale, is changing the pitch of the effect each time it plays. That works pretty well, but if I add any more sounds I need to find an extra way to prevent audio from getting annoying.
If you want an example, here's when an error with the sound with the default Windows 'Ding' sound played in various pitches instead of the intended sound effect.
New difficulty selection
I've redesigned the difficulty selection a few times in the development of the game, and now I had to do it again so I could include leaderboards.
If I really want to allow for a competitive experience, the leaderboards need to be presented as up-front as possible. In most highscore chasing games, you need to go into another menu to display the scores which I think makes it pretty hard for players to have a clear view of the scores.
Similarly, I think just displaying the top 10 scores doesn't show enough about what's happening on the leaderboards. I'd rather have a more complete overview, so I'm using the Fibonacci sequence to show ten score points from all across the top 100 to give a better impression of the entire leaderboard. I'm not yet sure whether this is comfy once I start integrating it with the GameJolt API, but I'm keeping it for now.
Previously, you selected your preferred difficulty before the level loaded. Now, you do it when you're already inside the level, to allow you to hover over the leaderboard and look at the replays in the list! It's a pretty neat feature that I might expand later to allow ghost races or something.
That's it for now! One last thing-- I updated the Mobility website to include a form where you can sign up to my release mailing! If you want to get an email when the game comes out, head over to http://mobility.auroriax.com
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