The Game Developer's Journal: Let's Play! [Pretend]: The Amoeba of Light - Part 2

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Let's Play! [Pretend]: The Amoeba of Light - Part 2

Last week, we left off with Amoenu completing a tricky challenge. But now that it's over with, let's keep going.
Welcome to "Let's Play! [Pretend] Part 2", where we walk through "The Amoeba of Light" as if we were actually playing it! (Thankfully I'll get some real gameplay up soon.)

You have just cleared that gap which seemed insurmountable. Now you see an open space a ways away. Suddenly, Amoenu sets up camp and you see him write in his journal: "It's been an eventful first day. Now I will rest." After Amoenu lies down, the screen fades out and the day ends.

This time you had no choice, but camping is a voluntary action used to save your location in the game. If Amoenu dies, you'll return to your last camp spot. 

The sun rises and we awake! As the screen fades in, you return to your adventure. I may include a day/night cycle (perhaps in a pro-release). We'll see. Touch the screen and move Amoenu onward. There's something coming in from the right of the screen. What is it?

It's a Euglena (prounounced you-GLEE-nuh), which is a little creature that can detect light with its red eyespot. In real life, these are photosynthetic, and in the game they are too...yet they can also eat things. But don't worry, they're harmless to you. Why don't you take that stick and swat at it. Now the euglena responded by moving away.  What you'll find in the game--if you're very observant--is that all the organisms you meet aren't out to get you; they're just going about their lives and following their instincts, just as they would in real life. In learning about these animals, you will become more able to avoid them, outsmart them, or exploit them as needed. Their behaviors won't be very complex with the game's first release.

Keep moving forward, and head down that tunnel. The scenery has changed a bit hasn't it? You're coming near a lake.

You can swim using the same controls used to move on land. Now you want to be cautious, because there are dangerous life forms down here.  In fact, a Vorticella is coming up right on your left. These vehement carnivores can swallow Amoenu is a single gulp, so stay far away from the mouth or else you'll be toast! 

I don't want you to forget about the Use Anything Environment. It's important to keep an eye out for objects you may need (and it's fun too!) Travelling around a bit, you spy a seaweed-like plant with dark bulbs attached. Tapping the bulb allows you to grab it. The "item" icon appears in the upper corner of your screen--notifying you that you have possession of something--but you decide to save the "bulb" for later. However, you can't open your backpack underwater. Once on land, you put the fruit away by tapping Amoenu, who promptly turns around and sets the food in his sack.

Now you can use it for later. That's the cool thing about Amoenu's backpack.  Let's open it up so you can see how it works. To do that, tap the image of the backpack in the lower-left corner of the screen. A new screen will appear that shows a close-up view of inside his pack. Select any object you like. (There are a few items in here because Amoenu's friends gave him tools for the trip). You tap the pick-axe to select it.  

Let's pause for a moment. 

Go ahead, double-tap the screen to pause. Good.

Obviously, we've only been dealing with our lead hero Amoenu. But the reality is, Wisenchyme tags along the whole way, so without further ado, let's plop him into the scene. Now we can move on.

Wisenchyme is a great asset to your journey, because he can do one very important thing. He can pick up or pull objects at your command, and also toss objects to positions you specify (by tapping on the screen after you tap him to get his attention). By extension, he can throw objects to you directly (if I decide to include that part). This adds a fun mechanic and a bunch of new ways to get around challenges. 

Travel up that big slope. Now we come to our final scenario: our first "boss," for lack of a better word. Suddenly, you drop into a pit. An ominous face pierces the ground beneath you, and out pops the body of an enormous, convulsing nematode!

Stop right there. You're instinct is to kill this thing, being that you're playing a videogame. I mean, that's what you always do in a game. But in "The Amoeba of Light," you have the option to just get away, and that may be a good idea. Let's say you choose the latter. Unfortunately, you can't go back the way you came because the hole caved in. Dodging the nematode's incessant blows, you get an idea: the creature keeps eating tunnels in the ground to enter the arena a different way. 

You jet through one of the tunnels while it slithers through another, and then...light! You made it out!

Unsurprisingly, you decide to camp.

God willing, I'll be here next week to expound the third and final part of Let's Play: "The Amoeba of Light." Thank you for reading.

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