Hi there! You've probably reached this page from the Freeplay website in search of the elusive 'Up Down Ready' which took Best Design in this year's awards.

UPDATE: Hello! If you've arrived here from StumbleUpon, why not go play the game now on Kongregate! With high scores and EVERYTHING.

The versions of the game that were on this page were hosted on Dropbox. Since the recent spike in traffic, Dropbox has cut off access to my public folder. I will hopefully be migrating this stuff across to an actual server, but the version on Kongregate is the official release.

I'm Delia, the Sword Lady half of Sword Lady and the Viking. You can find my teammate over here. We are third year students in the Games Design course at Griffith University, and Up Down Ready (previously known as Horse) is our first semester project from this year, made using Adam Atomic's free Flixel library.

We entered it in the Freeplay Awards for a lark, and were incredibly surprised and excited to make it to the finals and take away an award. We hope you enjoy playing the game as much as we enjoyed making it!

- Delia

Monday, March 8, 2010

Game Concept 2 - Chiaroscuro

Working Title: Chiaroscuro

Genre: Puzzle/adventure

Platform: Unity Web/PC

Third-person, 3D

Core concept/s:
  • the darkness is safe - be afraid of the light
  • the game takes place in a constructed environment (a series of caverns, chambers, hallways etc - possible a castle or an underground network of passageways. Think Prince of Persia: Sands of Time plus Ico plus a twisty maze of passages all alike)
  • Environment should feel abandoned/ancient (stone walls and floor - partially ruined?)

  • level design is linear or ocassionally branching without being an actual maze - the player should not get lost, turned around, or returned to the beginning
  • the base state of the environment is pitch-black and unlit

  • the player must navigate obstacles from one end of the level to the other
  • ideally, there is an overarching loose narrative and a series of levels that the player can navigate sequentially (pretty standard stuff)
  • the player character shows up as a bright figure in the darkness, but casts no light
  • the character is able to draw the darkness into him/herself and expel it again at will, giving the player control over the illumination of the environment
  • the game is a mostly-linear movement puzzle - the player must successfully navigate the environment by carefully controlling the levels of light and darkness

I envision the character control scheme to be similar to that of Sands of Time - much less jumping and less need for precision from the player, but the pacing of the character's climbing and walking could be similar.
  • there are monsters/enemies lurking about - in the darkness, they cannot hurt the character, but the stronger the light is, the more dangerous they are

Sort of like the inverse of the shadow creatures in Ico - kind of fey and strange and wispy, but formed of bright light instead of darkness.
  • when the character is hurt by a monster, they either lose health (standard health/lives system) or are returned to a previous checkpoint
  • in order to navigate the environment, the player may be forced to draw in all the darkness, bright illuminating the space, as some environmental elements will only be fully corporeal in full light
  • conversely, some objects will only by fully corporeal in darkness (bridges, ledges etc)
  • some obstacles/path blockages will only disappear in darkness; some only in light
Other mechanics:
  • There are a few possible ways to handle the monsters - either the character has no offensive capabilities and is forced to run from them (survival), or the character can destroy them, but either there is a limit to the number of times they can do so, or the monsters quickly regenerate after being destroyed
  • the overall game should not have a time limit, but will be elements that require quick thinking (the old breakable ledge trick and variations)
  • elements that are corporeal in different light levels will be shown as translucent when not solid
  • the light levels needed to solidify any single element will be shown by the colour of the element (eg you draw the darkness away from a translucent black bridge and note its position, then walk across it in the dark)
  • the light levels required should not be overly precise (three to four key light levels from dark to light)

Obstacles/game elements:
  • elements that drain the darkness out of the character back into the world
  • elements that block the character from expelling darkness
  • elements that reverse the dark-absorbing effect
  • elements that only allow the character to go between extremes (full light or full dark)
  • sources of light outside of the characters control (eg moonlight)
  • sources of light that the character has limited control over (eg. drawing darkness from and illuminating the far end of a corridor to cover a torch beside the character

  • no tunes - semi-musical ambient sound
  • sound feedback for the game is important, since so much of it can potentially take place in darkness
  • character footsteps (or whatever noise the character makes, if not humanoid) can change according to surface, to give clues about where the character is standing - the floor may have a different sound at the edge of an abyss to warn the player
  • there is a warning sound when there are monsters/enemies around - so that the player knows what to expect if s/he draws in the darkness

Other visual elements:
  • The enemies/monsters should be bright and beautiful, but somehow slightly wrong and threatening (thematically, similar to the Weeping Angels in the Dr Who episode 'Blink')

  • The character does not need to be humanoid
Although clearly the initial sketchy design I have of the character is heavily influenced by Yorda from Ico - she doesn't cast light, but seems to be self-illuminated and shows up brightly in the game's darker environments.

Potential problems/other issues of interest:
  • this does require a sense of some kind of story, even if only a very loose or simple one, to tie it together
  • the story may or may not necessarily need to be fully presented to the player
  • the visual ideas for the environment are not totally clear at this point - this requires a good deal more thought and design
  • again, because the levels cannot be generated and there is probably a story, this is not necessarily a game that could be 'finished' in the project time available - possibly a condensed or simplified short game could be completed instead
  • control scheme needs to be clarified - how does the player control the darkness (mouse wheel scrolling, perhaps?)
  • it's difficult to say how hard this system would be to code

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