I actually meant to post this last week, so as far as development news is concerned internally for us, this is a bit of old news, as we've moved on to the various special modes and puzzles for the Puzzle Mode. In the next couple weeks, though, two of our three programmers (the two actually working on Collapsus) are heading back to college, but fortunately with light enough class loads, they'll still be able to work on the game. This is what they finished up last week...
Firstly, the Timed Modes, in this case Timed Classic:
Well, as I believe was stated before, the basic play modes consist of four sub-modes: Timed Standard, Timed Classic, Freeplay Standard and Freeplay Classic. The difference between Standard and Classic is that Standard has powerups/special blocks and Classic (which is based off of my earlier prototype) only has the standard chromatic blocks. The difference between Timed and Freeplay is that in Timed, the progress bar goes up when matches are made and goes down when the player is idle; whereas in Freeplay, it just moves up in a linear fashion. We're really trying to take these core modes into fairly different directions from one another while at the same time they're recognizable as derivatives of one another. They sort of mirror each other while still being very different in terms of player strategy and the feeling the player gets while playing the game. Take Freeplay Classic, for instance: it's really calm and while there's still a chance for failure, it's nowhere near as stressful, so a player can just sort of veg and become immersed in the block-matching at a leisurely pace; whereas its polar opposite, Timed Standard is really manic and failure seems to be right around the corner. Now obviously, at lower levels of Timed Standard, there isn't a total looming sense of doom as there is a difficulty curve, but when you get into it, it becomes "click this, match that... faster, faster... oh no, I'm about to die!" It's really a more arcade experience, which is why we originally called this mode "Arcade". It's just more visceral. To be honest, though, my favorite mode would have to be Freeplay Standard because it feels like the most strategic permutation of the core modes, and that's really how I see them: as one mode wearing very different hats. Now it should be noted that like the block-spawning algorithm, the timer speed and the leveling parameters will be tweaked in playtesting because the block-spawning makes things way too easy and the timer moves way too fast.
The second video we have is just showing off what we've been working with the Options Menu and the Pause screen, which is far from done:
There's really not much to say other than where I got the idea for the Pause menu, because how the game is paused is one thing a lot of people notice when they first play the game. The slider for the Pause menu is really out of necessity as we didn't really have much room for a button, and the slider just somehow felt right. There will be many changes to the actual Options Menu itself, as there aren't going to be Themes anymore in this version, but we are planning to make a much larger game if this version is received well, that will not only have Themes but a lot more content as well. Not that this version isn't cram-packed with content, having four core gameplay modes, twenty-ish special modes and 200 puzzles, but we felt that having any more in this first iteration would not only be overwhelming for players, but would be a waste of time if people hate the game or even worse, never even see it (as often happens with not only mobile games from small developers, but just indie games in general, not to mention that this is our first “big” project of sorts).
We'll be posting more news as we get more content done, and hopefully not a week late like this. If you like what you see, don't forget to stop by our website (wraithgames.com), Facebook (/wraithgames) and Twitter (@wraithgames).