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Our team of four has been working on this game for about 4 weeks now. The goal of this build was to be feature complete but not feature perfect. This article will clue you into the design and mechanical iterations we have made since last week as well as give you an introduction to our game.

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Main Premise of Game

Lights Out is an adventure style metroidvania. Larry the Lightbulb must traverse through the dark house defeating enemies and solving puzzles. Larry's goal is to get to the basement and restore the house generator. Will he make it??

Iterations

Iterations this week were based on player feedback as well as trying to make the game feature complete and finish the rest of the stage. Here I will discuss what we changed about the game and the motivation for doing so.

~~Feedback~~

Previously in the game the character had different actions to fire a teleport ball and fire a damaging lightning bolt. Based on player feedback we noticed the separate objects were confusing and many people wanted the ability to aim the damaging object. We decided to combine the ball and the lightning bolt so throwing the ball at a foe will also damage them.

Another major thing we added based on feedback was a damage flash for players and enemies. Now players will know when they have been damaged and when they have damaged enemies.

We also utilized the gear collectible better and got rid of a glitchy switch button at the same time. Doors no longer open by pressing a switch, but by acquiring the correct number of gears to open the door. This gives the gears more purpose and players now notice the door being opened more than when it was operated by a remote switch.

We also changed the player sounds so they were free assets. We also added more sound effects as well as an ambient rain sound to go with the thunder claps. This creates the correct mood for the game.

~~Feature Complete Additions~~

To make the rest of the stage we added a bathroom, kitchen, living room, and finally basement.

The bathroom acts as a safe area, only containing the second lamp checkpoint.

The kitchen contains three new items. Firstly a blender enemy that is programmed like a turret. When the player is in range it fires a stream of bullets. The bullets and the enemy can be destroyed/damaged by the ball of lightning. Second there are knife obstacles that fall from the ceiling. Players must time their movement so they do not get struck by the knife. Finally the kitchen features some crude water covering the floor. When in the water, players dim considerably and are no longer able to fire their projectile.

The living room contains a TV enemy that is slightly harder than the patrolling red robot enemies. The TV patrols, but if it 'sees' the player, it will rush at them. The TV also takes three hits to kill.

The player must collect three gears in these areas to progress to the basement

The basement is an enemy rush containing all the enemies seen in the game thus far. It then features a washing machine final boss. The final boss patrols, jumps, rushes, and spits projectiles. The boss also leaves behind puddles of water the player has to avoid in order to get hits in. The player must dodge/defeat the final boss to collect three gears and win the game.

The other iteration made for this build was a main menu for the beginning of the game.

~~Theme Additions~~

A lot of art was needed to create all these features within the theme of the game. Fortunately we have a hugely talented artist (and programmer) on our team. They created all of the backgrounds and sprites for the feature complete additions. She also made he player guidance look more integrated (also based on feedback).

She also added a running and jumping animation for the character as a lot of players said they wanted that during feedback.

Whats Next?

We hope to iterate on this game mostly through player feedback. Ideally the game is feature complete and we just need to tweak things based on what players say about the mechanics, level design, and enemies. Hopefully play testing will also expose bugs we can fix for the next iteration.

We are also hoping to significantly improve the polish and 'juice' of our game. Things like screen effects for teleportation and dying, more enemy animations, better water physics, and background music.


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