The Carrot and the Stick [Part 2]

Marist Game Society had our Spring 2013 Game Expo! Students showed off their projects made during the semester or year. Carrot Island debuted Thomas Edison, our HTML5 game discussed a few weeks ago. We finally have a functional first level. While not entirely complete, its a good test to gain some feedback from players.

Read on to see more behind the project, our experience during game design, and play the actual game!

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Carrot Island is currently a 6 man team. We’re good college friends in various majors at Marist College. Originally, the idea came from a late night babble between friends that spiraled into a unique game idea. I wasn’t even apart of it at first but then was asked to get involved. We’ve made leaps in terms of progress and retooling of the original idea, and the project has come a very long way already.

Thomas Edison is a HTML5 platformer made in Construct 2. Edison has just invented the light bulb and Nikola Tesla is trying to get in his way. Due to Tesla’s reality warping and time travel, the plants and the ground of Menlo Park has transformed. Edison has to traverse the park and then warp across realities in order to get after Telsa.

0.6That is the gist of the backstory, at least for the first level. It hasn’t been implemented in the game just yet, but there is a grand vision behind it as you can see. So the first level of Menlo Park, which has received multiple art revisions and design changes, is nearly done. Visually it still needs some touch ups and the combat is a bit wonky. To the left, you can see our initial version of the game which featured some vector and pixel artwork. Since then, we’ve redone the entire level visually.

Its a work in progress and the team has been great. We’ve done a significant amount of work, and the mechanic functionality is all there so now its just a matter of content creation and tweaking than actual programming/messing-around with Construct 2. Our artist is fantastic too.

One of the major issues we came across was the background graphics. They looked great but Construct 2 was having trouble mapping it without weird graphical lines on everyone’s computer. Then there was another issue where our main character would slide when we used his main melee attack. It stemmed from the fact that we didn’t have a solid animation for it at first, and the fact that I had to come up with ways to track the attack input and cooldown so the player wouldn’t just spam attacks. It is a simple implementation in object oriented programming, but in Contruct 2 it was a bit different.
still02The solution came from implementing instance variables, just as you would in something like C#, but making an even that would compare a number which would decrease over time. But only decrease time after firing the attack. Again, easy idea and easy implementation in something like C# but its a little bit of a different way of achieving it in Construct 2. Another issue I came across was trying to save the player position after falling. This became an obvious solution after figuring out that even platforms can have their own variables, so the player’s position gets saved if they jump on a solid floor rather than a floating platform. The reason being is that a floating platform would leave a player prone to constantly falling and messing up. So the player’s position is saved when they touch the regular floor but not when the player is on floating platforms.

Lastly, the actual design of the level was interesting. We wanted to come up with a design that was simplistic, but not something that was so predictable to the player. It eases them into the speed and the physics behind the jumping and platforming, and then introduces the combat with static enemies and projectile ones. Then we wanted to introduce a split where the player can either move on by trying out some complicated jumping or take out enemies one by one without taking too much damage. The last touch for the prototype was a “puzzle” game where the player has to kill a plant in order to drop a block which would enable the player to reach the later half. That was something that was fun to work with because the physics were hilarious to play around with. We had a “nope.jpg” boulder just fly away when it hit the concrete. It was great and is really what makes designing and making games so enjoyable. Obviously you don’t want that in the final game, unless on purpose, but its just fun to see something go crazy and unexpected.

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There is more intended for the first level of Thomas Edison and particularly unique ones in terms of genre platforming. This was just our initial release to gain feedback. So if you would kindly, play our game and then give us some feedback about how you liked it or didn’t like it. What you would like to see more of or less of. Love or hate, let us know!!!!!! You can either comment here or email me at Anthony@lssclan.org !

We intend to work on this a lot over the summer and there will be a lot of testing. So provide good feedback and maybe we’ll include you on some of the final stuff for free! If you missed it, click here to play.

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