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A Bark in the Dark

Project 5, Year 1

About

A Bark in the Dark was our fifth group project developed in the first year at The Game Assembly. It's an adventure game based on Zelda: A Link to the Past. We put a lot of focus on exploration, puzzle solving and combat feeling. This is our third game developed in the in-house 2D engine called Tga2D.

My Contribution

Gameplay

My biggest focus during this project has been on gameplay. I dabbled in pretty much everything, but I did have some major areas. My biggest tasks were:

  • Player

  • Puzzle elements

  • Object interactions, i.e. opening chests, throwing objects, reflecting damaging attacks, etc.

  • Dialogue system

  • World map, with undiscovered areas

  • Xbox controller support

  • Game juice

Puzzles

We wanted the game to revolve around puzzle solving much like Zelda: A Link to the Past, so we took some inspiration from that game, especially with the fire basin and red/blue toggle orbs. We originally didn't have a puzzle around burning things with your fire arrow, but after playing around with the idea and testing it out, we, as a team came to the conclusion that it's something we must include. I implemented these elements into the game.

The orbs can be toggled by either throwing an object on it or hitting it with your crossbow/sword. If the player stands ontop of a hole where spikes will appear, they'll take damage and get pushed back.

Burnable objects

Some puzzles required you to obtain a crossbow upgrade which allows you to charge up your ranged attack with a flaming bolt.

Toggle crystals

Hitting a crystal toggles it to a different color, allowing you to pass certain areas.

Fire brazier

Shooting a bolt through a fire brazier sets it on fire, giving it all properties a charged up fire crossbow attack would have, without having unlocked the upgrade yet.

Player

The player is something I wanted to try my hands on in this sort of project. Originally we had a complete cut & paste design from Zelda: A Link to the Past, with a combat style similar to that of Link, where he could swing his sword, and had a charge-up attack if he held it for a few seconds. After playing around with it we came to the conclusion that it just wasn't fun enough, it felt clunky and a bit slow-paced. I tested around with a 3-hit combo that ended in the swing-around attack as its third hit.

Playing around with it further, and then adding an on-hit freeze frame, animation cancelling, particle effects, etc., gave the combat a really nice feeling.

Combo attack

Attacking 3 times quickly in a sequence causes the player to deal higher damage in a swing around them.

Cutting down object

Some objects are able to be cut down with the sword, and they have a chance to contain a treasure.

Dialogue & World Map

Since we had a had a high focus on exploration, and as the world became bigger, we needed a measure to counter the fact the player will probably get lost. So we added a dialogue system, where the player could interact with NPCs and signs placed around the world. In addition to this, we also added a world map that have "points of interests" mapped on it, and as you explore the world, you discover more of the map, uncovering all areas in the end.

Dialogue system

A dialogue system, that reads data from a .json-file. It has a typewriter effect just like old school games.

World map

A world map where you "discover" areas as you enter them. The map is pinned with points of interests to help the player not get lost.

Particle Editor

For my previous game project (Inner Peace) I started developing a particle editor, which I brought with me into this project and kept working on. It saved a lot of time and work on creating particles for the game.

Team: Gofika Games

Programmers

Graphical Artists

Level Design

Animators

Music (External)

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