New “Trials”

After cutting AR, we realized there was a hole in our game that we needed to fill. While having AR was too much, taking it out left us with most of a game but not a great game in its own right. One step we took to remedy this before IGF was make collecting the offerings more challenging and force the player to use the grid to get at the collectibles. After IGF, though, we realized we need to take this further. The answer to that problem is what I call the “New Trials,” though it took some work to get there.

After we hit our IGF deadline and partied sufficiently about that, we started talking next design steps as a team. Lots of ideas came up – surfing, fishing, sailing, foot races, and more, with a particular interest in hula. So much interest, in fact, that we were sitting around my computer as a team watching videos of Parrapa the Rapper. But thanksfully, our professor Jose jumped in right about that point and warned us about scope – a lesson you think we should’ve learned by now. So we returned to the drawing board.

Back when we had AR, we used it in sections we dubbed “God Trials,” where the gods would give Maui a challenge of some sort to gain their favor after making an offering. It didn’t take a lot of thinking once our heads were back on straight that the best way to fill that gap would be to make new trials using the stat grid, which I realized at that point is really our core mechanic and we needed to do a lot more to emphasize it. So I started drawing some simple ideas on a white board of puzzles that would require switching between two of the four stats to pass – for instance, four switches laid out in a square that you need to ground pound with strong enough to switch, but run between fast enough to pound them all before the first one pops back up. The solution here, then, is to switch to speed bonus, run, switch to ground pound bonus, pound, and repeat quick enough to get all the switches down before the first pops back up. The team really liked this and we quickly designed 4 that each use a different combination of stats. These are the “New Trials” and I feel like they’ll really add a lot to the game. I’m excited to see where it goes.

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