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W18 Enter the Monastery

June 6, 2017

EnterTheMonasteryIcon.png

Transport back in time to explore a long lost cathedral and its inhabitants, with the maps as the only clue… Enter the Monastery

Instructions

Left Click to Move

Right Click to Show Map

 

Play Online (Also Mobile Support)

 Screenshot from 2017-06-07 00:45:36.png

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Screenshot from 2017-06-07 00:47:59.png

Resources

Made in Construct 2

Sound effects are made in sfxr

Movement sound – laser by kafokafo

Music – Explore town by Trevor Lentz (Creative common by)

Start Screen Background – View from the Monastery of Sant ‘Onofrio in Rome by Rudolf von Alt 1835

Player portrait – by Gustav Klimt 1889

Floor Tile – seamless worn pavement texture from http://texturelib.com

Ground Tile – Seamless texture of smooth concrete from http://texturelib.com

Bible Verse – https://dailyverses.net/random-bible-verse, 1 Corinthians 13:2, Luke 8:16, John 17:15

Map – Plan of Saint Gall, Its a architectural plan from 900, because most building was designed as they wore built in the medieval period, little is know about the though process of these constructions. Except this plan which is the only survival architectural plan from that time period.

Post-Morten

The Idea – I got the idea to make this game when I played Castlevania lords of shadow 2. One of my favorite games are the none linear exploration games, and I have tried to make a couple of variants in the game a week format. The original problem is that its hard to make maps thats not to complex, because when new players play the game and get lost they give up.

The games that I have made with none linear / exploration themes, are:

262 moments, was the first game, and I tried to make a none linear path finding with time as a resource. You walk around in the maze and your goal is to collect the four runes with in five minutes, but there are some doors that block the way. To unlock them you neither collect around 50 coins depending on the door or enter it when you have less time left, like 50s. Theres no map in the game and each room have some kind of platform elements most of them are fairly easy, if you get killed you start in the same room near the last door you entered. I also tried to have points of interests as landmarks, so I used artworks by William Turner (1775-1851) as background art. The reason I did not want to use a map was because I wanted the level design do be simple / elegant enough to be played without a map, like Dark Souls. I also used arrows scattered in the level which point towards each of the runes.

I actually like the game, but I spent very little on the playtest and the map was to big. And the people that playtested it was not really up to it. Most people played the tutorial and got lost there (its like 6 rooms, 4 which loop into each other).

So I knew that there was to much going on in this game. One thing I planned then was to make a game without platforming elements, and just focusing on the movement and none linearity.

Awake on Crete is a variant of that game, no micro movement, and only one right way, main road and sub points, with dead ends. This game was pretty simple, but because of the lack of gameplay goals, it was more of a experience then ”a map navigation”.

Secret maze of KLEE was, a variant of Awake on Crete, but with the ball maze gameplay, no health system, just rolling around and picking up coins. It used a hub fork in the beginning leading to three different paths, all which ended with one rune. It was pretty simple but somehow some of the playtesters managed to get lost anyway, so I guess it could be clearer.

And know Enter the Monastery, the game have a more open and bigger map compared to secret maze of klee and awake on crete. But it uses a map which is visible from the beginning with clear goals. No micro challenges at all. So: all playtesters managed to complete the levels, it only took 5 minutes to complete. Some left the game before it was finished, but because the game was to monotone / boring. So, at least it was clear enough, but probably to stripped to be fun, but hey that was kind of the point of the prototype. One playtester enjoyed it especially because there was no enemies and skills required to play, kind of meditative, to walk around, but still wanted more things to find.

I think the prototype worked well to isolate macro gameplay / big loop, but I released that there was more difference between Enter the Monastery and the other prototypes then what I initially was thinking. Mainly:

Visible Map – Enter the Monastery have a map which shows the level, its visible from the beginning of the game, and it shows the phttps://www.scirra.com/arcade/adventure-games/enter-the-monastery-18546layers position and the position of the goals. Most games don’t do this. In Castlevania SotN and the like, you don’t have the complete map from the beginning. Instead you explore and unfold the map while you are playing and finding out more of the structure. Most of the times you can buy map fragments which shows some parts of the map, not all of it. But it still clearly show where you have been and what parts are unexplored. Castlevania SotN don’t show any goals. In Super Metroid if you explore a map with something you can’t pick up the map notes a circles, which you can go back to later. Other games use pins which you can drop manually on the map to remind yourself of it later. In the Zelda games when you get the compass it kind of tells you where to go, but the map of the level is so abstract so you hardly get any information plus most of the Zelda dungeons are puzzle structure with one solution so you have to visit every room anyway.

The point is, most exploration games don’t give you the map, and don’t point out the goals[1]. And have no puzzle. Action games can have maps and goals, like (I’m having trouble to come up with examples, and google is no real help, probably need to make a list of this later), but in action games the designer really want the player to know where to go all the time and instead focus on overcoming the obstacles. So maybe I made a map for a action game instead of a exploration game?

None linear paths amplifies problems – Also, theres one thing I started to think about. Most of the times when I remember that I get lost in games with bigger maps, its mostly the puzzle thats unclear, not the map. For example an recently started to play Zelda a link between worlds for 3DS. Sin the beginning theres a map with X marks, exactly like in Enter the Monastery. In one point you get the destination in the Eastern Palace. But to get in there theres a puzzle which require you to get the bow to solve. Theres a sign that says ” Come by my show south of the castle”. So I walk around the map like crazy and never find the shop. Theres like two shops south of the castle but not the one which sells the bow. Some game faqs later and it turns out that the shop he talks about is Links house where Ravio opened his lending service, of course . The point is that I had issues understanding the puzzle, and walked all over the world looking for solutions. But if the game would have been linear there would just be the shop and the main parts, nowhere else to go. So my conclusion is that the big map is not the problem in it self but if any puzzle or something else would be cryptic or something similarly, the big map is going to amplify the issue.

The Designers Path – This is also reminds me of ”the designers path”, its kind of the idea of puzzles where the solution is not based on logic or something similar. You just try to find out what the designer planned, at it can create a lot of frustration. Instead of trying to figure out how the world behave you end up trying to figure out how the designer would think how to solve the puzzle. Example could be some old point and click adventures games, but a lot of adventure games tend to have some parts that are more cryptic. Designers path coupled with a big map can creates a lot of problems for the players. Solutions could be to have alternative routes, so if the player miss on they can still progress with the other. Or have the puzzles timed, and if it takes to much time, the opportunity is missed, and the game progress in another way. Or hint system, not just like Navi from Zelda ocarina of time. I kind of like the hint system from a link between worlds, you have to walk with the 3DS as a step meeter to collect coins which you give to ghosts that float around some puzzles. I’m not sure how relevant hints you really get, but I like the idea of taking a walk and fresh air, to solve a puzzle. In Machinarium you play a small shooter mini game to get the hint, and I remember how I would come up with the solution while I was playing the mini game, before I got to the actual hint. Getting out might have the same effect. Anyway, I’m not interested to make puzzle games, but its hard to make none linear games, without having the player get lost some time. But I don’t want it to result in getting stuck. Avoid getting stuck is the biggest concern in making none linear games.

Next version

Small Gameplay loop – Variants on Enter the Monastery need more small gameplay loops, or micro challenges, not to much but at least something more then the current game.

Environmental details – I would also like to add more details in the environment, thing you can find, like people in a RPG village talking, or some kind of hidden objects to collect, or quotes which I almost added more of. Or pictures of things instead of text, like in hyper light drifter.

Map variants – I think the map gives away to much information to early. Maybe having some areas grayed out in the beginning, or having the map smaller and making it zoom out the more you explore. Maybe you pointing out one goal from the beginning, and then require the player to talk to different people to get more goals on the map. And making the map more abstract, less details.

Multi-player would also be cool, and random generated locations, I actually planned to include that, before the game got on hold for like three weeks…

[1] …don’t give you the map, and don’t point out the goals. Metroid Fusion does this, but then the map change, so when you walk the straight line to the goal something is in the way, so you have to walk around and the map expand etc.

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