Game a Week: Week 31



In the spirit of branching out to features in Unity that I don’t use all that often, I decided that I wanted to create a game dealing with joints and hinges.  In addition to this over-arching goal, I was incredibly in the mood for the type of game that is frustrating yet master-able (is that a word? It is now) with enough practice.

I decided on a game about traversing from point A to point B through an area where everything kills you….using only grappling hooks.

What went right

I definitely made a difficult game – I’ve only seen a few people get through the whole thing, and it generally takes them a looooong time. This is what I was setting out to achieve and I think I did it quite well. You, the player, are faced with a seemingly easy task , yet it’s frustratingly difficult to execute.  I also implemented a quick restart system to help amplify the “Just ONE more time” feeling that tends be the driver of these types of games.

As hinge joints were the crux of this week’s game’s mechanic, I became quite familiar with the basics of how they work and can now add this to my bag of Unity knowledge.

What went wrong

For how much I used hinge joints in this game, there’s one part that I couldn’t quite figure out. In this game, I allow the player to use two grappling hooks to swing around (much like a monkey would with both of its arms). However, the way that I have it set up and the way that Unity’s physics engine works, the two grappling hooks will sometimes create a tension with one another which causes the grappling hooks to feel like they’re attached to sticks instead of ropes.  I played around with the settings and tried to understand how to fix this, but to no avail.  If anyone out there has any suggestions, please please send them my way (I’m just super curious at this point).

I also didn’t have enough time to play around with more intuitive controls. As it is now, the color of the grappling hook depends on which key you use to release it – this causes a lot of confusion in the situations where the rope further to the left, uses the keyboard key further to the right. In addition, I’ve seen a lot of people struggle with having to aim and click with the mouse to fire the grappling hook(s).  If I had had more time, I would have play-tested alternate control schemes. These types of issues make the game difficult, but in an incredibly frustrating way.

What I learned

Hinge joints!

Also, I’ve re-learned (yet again) just how bad I am at art – I  don’t seem to have an eye for user interface and/or colors. I have continually tried each week to improve my skills at choosing colors and creating more intuitive user interfaces, but even after all of this time, it’s definitely something I still struggle with.

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