Fixed up some maps, moved around some items...

Today was mostly cleanup. I fixed up some minor errors on some maps, and then I moved some of the items about. There are two kinds of items in the game- "debris" which is randomly placed about and can be picked up and used (but are not as strong as major items) and "major items" which affect the gameplay itself, and allows players to modify the world and setting in unique and interesting ways. Sometimes it's  creating platforms with an arrow, other times its making your own vines to climb on with the vine wand, or passing through painful murder areas with a ghost shield, or flying over to hidden spots with the wings, etc.

Anyway, so I'm trying to figure out the best "nudge" course of action for discovering the items. The items make the game easier, and give the player more freedoms and create unique advantages. But, one thing I've always wanted is the ability for the player to beat the game without them- the game becomes a lot harder (a lot) if you don't get these items, and a few places will be closed off for you, but if you want to do a speedrun and challenge yourself to only using one, two, or none of the special items, you can.

But I figure most players won't go this route, and I have to make sure there is a good flow to the discovery of items and how to use them. Originally I had the bow be the first major item you find, right there at the start. Since it's key to making platforms and other cool stuff, I thought it would be a good first item to find right away, right?

But then I realized the flow didn't quite work for the other items, and discovering them, and where you would travel and traverse. If you took this item and placed it a little more out of the way, a tad more hidden, it makes the game more nuances, more complex, and I think more enjoyable. It does make it slightly harder at the start, but I think this is worth it. And instead, I placed the lantern right there at the start, as well as making sure debris (like bones for throwing, etc) where around it so you wouldn't start the game unarmed.

I think the lamp makes a good first item, too, since some of the areas will be hard to see without it. This balances things out pretty well, I think, and the flow for a person just starting the game is more intuitive now. The flow is pretty important in an exploration heavy game like this, and leading the players into finding items at the right point are key. I will still leave in tons of alternatives, so that the players can find things on their own however they want, whenever they want, but I think establishing  a base flow to the world is a very good thing.

I also played Megaman 2 today, a game I hadn't played in ages, and realized I snurked a game mechanic idea from it without even thinking! I must've played it so much in my youth that it stuck around in my head, influencing me without even knowing it. When you pick up an item, it's charges appear right next to the item in a second bar, the same with bows showing the arrows right next to it. It's almost exactly like how MM2 holds weapon charges, and it's a fun thing I hadn't even realized I'd borrowed.

Now, unlike MM2 this game doesn't have an inventory system. That's part of the puzzle- I wanted players to weigh the risk and reward of what items to keep on them when exploring. You can drop an item on the map, and it will remember where it's at, so you can always return to it later and pick it up again when you need it. But this also, I think, has you constantly thinking, "okay, will the wings work better in this area, or will I need my bow and arrow?"

With each major item having their benefits and drawbacks. I also think this will help people remember areas they've already been, since dropping an item there will act like an anchor to the location in the player's mind. Oh, if I go this way I'll find my dropped wand. Etc, etc, and help the player build a mental map.

Now, since this is a four-six hour game (not speedrun), I think this works well. A longer game, and this might be annoying, or a bigger world, this might be annoying. But the size of the island and the length of the game makes the two items only (one for each hand) work, and a turns the entire setting and gameplay into a logic puzzle of sorts.

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