Devlog IV – Keys and Levers

Devlog IV – Keys and Levers

This past week we have been working on gameplay scripting through trigger objects. This will allow for more dynamic level designs with the ability for us to create simple puzzles, traps and events in game that break up the general gameplay. An example of this are gates are activated by proximity and can be locked open or shut by various conditions. On the fly we are able to create gates that only open once, lock behind the player, are activated by a switch or even when enemies in a room are killed. Gates can control the flow of a level as well as offer an opportunity for gameplay scripting to create unique and memorable situations. Invisible triggers are used in conjunction to design this functionality but the same kinds of interactions can also come from switches.

We have had the functionality of switches in the game for a while but only this week have we finalised them into a suitable aesthetic. Previously we toyed with buttons but the lever look better suits the Roman theme and also stands out visually as a gameplay object. A cool feature about this design is that they will snap to the ground or walls depending on how they were placed. Interestingly, these are also the most complex 3D objects in the game in terms of draw code due to the multiple parts and octagon ends!

In terms of gameplay, a point of difference in our game is that levers can be activated by weapons – meaning you can fire an arrow down a corridor to activate a switch.

Doors are similar to gates in terms of gating progress and either open when approached or require a key to open. In terms of visual communication, doors and their corresponding keys will always look the same (iron key for an iron door) to ensure that players immediately understand what they need to find. While these mechanics are fairly typical of a classic fps we are also aware that their overuse can become worn out. For this reason not all levels rely on these mechanics and their focus is to open up creative level designs where spaces can be recontextualised and reused. There are also secret push walls that can reveal hidden passages. Unlike other games, these are activated by proximity rather than a keypress as we don’t want to encourage the tedium of pressing A on every wall in the level.

These keys were modeled after various Roman key finds. Roman keys have a wide variety of shapes and sizes all because lock making was in its infancy. Roman locksmiths had not yet figured out what locks worked the best and which were harder to break into. The majority of historical examples don’t even look like keys! Here are the photographs our keys were modeled after:

We have also been developing a variety of levels in different styles to get a feel for the gameplay over longer sessions. These stages are turning out to be a lot of fun and should be something we talk about in future posts.

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