Teaching myself from Prototypes.
After getting stuck in the with the prototyping stage of WILDBORN’s second level, I am starting to really realize the potential of the game’s current puzzle mechanics.
Testing has taken place in the plain new level, and I am starting to understand what makes WILDBORN fun. Moving the Tablets (WILDBORN’s key game mechanic) feel “satisfying” to players. The ability to shift huge heavy structures around to advance your progress is enjoyable, but reportedly loses a lot of that sensation when difficult challenges or surgical precision is required. Here I begin to understand what makes WILDBORN fun.
What really makes it fun?
I am starting to really understand what kind of game WILDBORN wants to be. And it isn’t a puzzle game. Players report their satisfaction from effortlessly leaping around a busy environment, and shifting huge stone structures with their minds. But they don’t reportedly enjoy traversal that challenges their reflexes, or puzzles that make them scratch their heads as much.
So what is the purpose of WILDBORN? My current impression is as follows: WILDBORN is not a game that is asking to challenge players and to encourage them to slow down and think about in game problems that need solutions. It’s a game that asks to give players effortless satisfaction, to put them in the shoes of the character; a springy, wise, and athletic creature that moves through the environment how we could never hope to.
During this project I really don’t want to harshly integrate my mechanics, I want to show players how good it feels to move through and observe my environments. Using mechanics to enable that, as opposed to creating problems that hinder the player’s desire to move forward.
What am I going to change?
For a start I’m glad I tested these things early on, because I have decided to add a new, but simple mechanic. A timed one. As well as reduce the surgical precision, timing, and problem solving required to progress.
A simple puzzle that a player activates, causing a timed event to occur, giving a player a window to complete a simple challenge.
This mechanic will push the player to do the things that WILDBORN does best; showing them how seamless movement is, and pushing them to use it to its full advantage. This is giving the player a reason to speed up and soar across the terrain, as opposed to slowing them down to think about what they need to do next.
This will still need testing, but I will try to integrate this with my level.