A day of mapping, vertical jumping, and arrows as platforms

So, yeah, almost all of the work today was on a single map. It's a doozy of a map, right before you get to the boss in this area (The Garden of the Mushroom Duchess), and I wanted to make it a little bit of a challenge. Up until this point I was dropping in bits and pieces where you'll have to create platforms using your bow and arrow to get to certain items. I feel like that's training the player to get to this section, where there are a few places where that's necessary. 

And it's tricky to get these exactly right. If I make the cliff over a little too far, then you can't jump far enough to reach your makeshift arrow platform. If the player stands at a place that's too high or too low, they won't be able to hit that platform.  If the cliffside is jutting out in the wrong way, you'll land on the arrow you shot and not be able to jump to where you need to be. It takes a lot of work to get this precision down, and allowing the player to shoot arrows in a wide range of areas and still be able to make that jump. 

I think that's the trickiest bit of all- allowing for multiple possible areas of shooting the arrows and creating platforms/stairs for you to jump on. This kind of freedom is important in this game, I don't want players to play "guess what the developer wants me to do" at this point. It's not about that, it's about solving the puzzles in your own way and getting it done. I also had to test out variations with the flute that makes vines grow up to a certain point, and test to see if there as a way to do that, as well as the arrows (or even in conjunction with the arrows). Since the player can get any item at any point in the game (they just need to find it, basically), and get to a boss at any point in the game (they just need to find the boss, and figure out how to open the door), I need to make sure there are multiple ways to do the same thing.

Esp. since players can only carry two items on them at the same time. No switching items out on the fly, if you need a different item you need to go back to wherever you dropped it and pick it up again. I like this, though. I feel like it allows players to use whatever item they think are cool to get the job done. You will even see the final level the next screen over if you go left. Sure, you need to unlock the massive door to that level by killing four bosses (each boss's death unlocks a portion of the door), but there will also be a secondary way to go in. It will be obtuse and tricky, but clever players who want to do a speedrun of this can figure it out. It is possible, just requires a bit of thinking and skill to run right to the ending and fight the final boss right away.

I like games that are like that. The first Dragon Warrior, you see the ending right away, there it is- the final destination at the start of the game. But how do you get to it? That's the key.

Tomorrow I think will probably be a day of working on art. I need to create the door for the boss in this area, I need to design a few more enemies, and I have to add in some more ruins and statuary. 

So that's two areas I have complete now. The Rootworld Ruins and the Garden of the Mushroom Duchess. Basically, how this works I have each item in their own dungeon/area that you can get at any time (that will help with platforming and defeating bosses) and you can go to any boss at any time. And even though the items can open new paths to new areas, there are multiple ways of getting somewhere. I think I have just about four or five more areas to do, and so...I can easily see this game being ready for hardcore testing in about a month or two.

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