I’ve been stuck under grading mountain for the last couple of weeks, but I have finally emerged and am once again working on gamifying my dissertation.
This week, I want to show you the third environment that I will be sending players through on their journey to figure out the memetic zombie virus: Games Corp Tower.*
After the player escapes from the Troll’s Nest, they will emerge at the headquarters of the game development company that sponsored the convention where the whole mess started. They will enter a reception area, where a frightened secretary will tell the party that, despite what the trolls might have told them, the game developers are not the source of the plague. In fact, many of them are now victims of it themselves! She reveals that the lead developer has been fighting the virus, but he is now trapped up on the top floor of the building. Unfortunately, the secretary’s key card only gives her access to the lower floors. Thus, the player is forced to fight their way up, floor by floor, acquiring key cards that grant them access to ever higher levels of the tower until they can reach the top.
Setting up this series of barriers to require the player to climb floor by floor was more difficult than I expected! First, I had to make it so the elevator would offer the player a choice as to which floor they wanted to go to. Depending on their choice, the game would then run a check to see if the player had the appropriate key card in their inventory. If they did, then they were free to go on their way. If they did not, they were refused and told they did not have the correct clearance. They are then “punished” with an electric shock that will knock off a few of their health points.
Luckily for the player, I have it set up so that the various water coolers on the middle floors have restorative powers.
As you can see, these floors are also populated by some undead monsters. This is because I am happy to report that the battle system is finally starting to shape up for this game! I can already tell that this will be the portion of the game that I will require the most help to balance. I hope that some of you out there reading this will volunteer to be Alpha play testers once the game is ready! I will be looking for feedback from both experienced gamers and newbies. My goal is to make a battle system that isn’t overly simplistic and trivial but that is welcoming to new gamers and not overly punishing of mistakes. We shall see how I do. In the meantime, I only have one more environment to design, the virtual realm in which the final boss Meme resides, and then it will be play testing time!
*Name purposefully generic for now, but as always I’m open to suggestions down in the comments!