Over the past year that O-R-B has been in development, it has undergone many, many changes - as I am sure all games in development do.
Up until now all those changes have been around the core game mechanics and back end tools to assist level creation and the likes. After a few rounds of Q&A over the O-R-B Pre-Alpha Concept demo, I managed to settle on a final set of puzzle elements, core mechanics, story line, game progression and a big one - the look and feel.
As Orb attempts to escape the black hole that is devouring his home, he faces a perilous journey within an alternate dimension called the Puzzleverse.
It is here that he will find the 12 fractured pieces of the galaxy that, when united, will form a safe haven he can once again call home.
The Puzzleverse consists of 12 constellations. In each constellation Orb will come across at least three of these 5 special items:
A galaxy fragment - upon collecting a galaxy fragment, Orb will unlock a new wormhole between the current constellation and a new constellation.
Collecting 12 galaxy fragments means that you can gain access to the final wormhole challenge and attempt to enter the center of the Puzzleverse.
A unique Puzzleverse ability - upon collecting this item, Orb will unlock an ability for use in the Puzzleverse.
A unique Wormhole challenge ability - upon collecting this item, Orb will unlock an ability for use in a Wormhole challenge.
A health increase - applies to Orb's health in both the Puzzleverse as well as the Wormhole challenges.
A shield increase - applies to Orb's shields in both the Puzzleverse as well as the Wormhole challenges.
The Wormhole Challenges
Traveling from one constellation to another requires you to complete a wormhole challenge. These wormhole challenges increase in difficulty as Orb progresses through the Puzzleverse.
Orb will also be faced with unique challenges that can only be beaten by having collected the unique ability required.
The look and feel
Much work has been done on the underlying game mechanics and supporting tools - however Orb was always lacking a strong presence in theme and art direction. Over the last month or so I have dedicated all my time into solidifying the art direction and the look and feel of Orb when in the Puzzleverse.
For me to go into all the details, the decisions I faced and how I finally settled on this look and feel will be left for a future article.
For now, and for maximum impact you can take a look at the before and after shots of each of the demo levels:
Demo Level Pulses: Before - After
Demo Level Welcome: Before - After (couldn't find a fuller shot for before)
Demo Level Clockwork: Before - After
Work in progress Aries 01 - Before and After
So now that you've seen the stills, take a look at a short little video showing the playthrough of Pulses:
I truly hope that a few of you out there find the new look of O-R-B as awesome as I do!
And as always - open for comments and suggestions!