A great puzzle video game depends mostly on two things: mechanics and challenges. Mechanics aside, there's only so much in terms of challenge that a single mind (or small group) can come up with. Launching a puzzle game and retaining players after a while tends to be hard, because usually the players complete the available challenges much faster than we can create and release new ones. But hey, why don't we
let the players do the hard work for us allow players to use their own imagination to create new puzzles? After all, they're the ones that beat our levels faster that we do, and it also doesn't hurt to have some extra heads working into the matter, so why not? Plus, it adds a new layer of interaction between the players and the game where they can brag about how much of a puzzle-mastermind they are see the completion/fail statistics for the levels they've created as well as for the next level they're gonna try to beat.
With all that in mind, we've decided to build a platform-puzzle in which the main star is a cute little robot whose goal is to get to the teleporting portal at the end of each level. This robot, however, has some limitations against the hazards spread across the scenario, and he'll depend on your ability to control him in order to reach the power-ups that will allow him to withstand such hazards! Just be careful, because one false step could cost you the match!
What it does
This is a platform-puzzle game where you control a tiny robot across a scenario that's full of hazards. Also spread across the scenario are power-ups that allow him to survive. However, each power-up has its pros and cons - some might allow him to jump higher, but they won't protect him from the deadly lasers. Others will give him strength to push objects, but such strength it's of no use if you can't keep the tiny robot away from the water!
Also, in the Editor mode, you can create your own levels, giving those sharp brain-cells of yours the opportunity of giving back to someone else all of
those psycho thoughts that frustration you've suffered before finally beating that one semi-impossible level! Furthermore, you can see how well your level is faring according to the number of times the players manage to complete it versus the number of times they fail. Come test your brain and muscular (finger muscles, at least) skills on our game!
How we built it
The game (client-side) was build completely using Unity3D. We've sketched the features we wanted it to have, defined a few loose ideas and started coding and solidifying those ideas as we went. Server-side, our structure consisted of a Django server, with a PostgreSQL database, hosted on Heroku.
As for the art assets... Well, I'm not sure we could call them art assets, but we've done the best we could, given that none of us (two programmers) are actual artists, in the short timeframe that we had :)
Challenges we ran into
Have I mentioned that we're less than average artists? I knew I should've read that Betty Edwards book!
Creating art assets for this game was certainly a challenge for us. Also, creating an in-game editor is never an easy task, since we need to give players freedom, but not so much that they might break the game somehow.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Accomplishment #1 certainly is finishing the game on time. It was quite hard to implement everything we had planned in order to make the game complete in such a short period of time, but hey, that's the fun, right?! The Level Editor, as we've mentioned, is another great accomplishment. And finally, regarding the game-server integration, dealing with all the edge cases and possible failures of that communication was quite challenging as well.
What we learned
- Time constraints are awesome for getting things done, as long as you don't forget to sleep a couple of hours in the process!
- Django's relations between models can be quite mind-puzzling sometimes, even more than our game's levels!
- Creating a game with a built-in editor in 2 days is feasible!
What's next for Questbot
- We'd certainly love to find a real artist to join the project and provide some assets. That's probably one of our main priorities.
- Without the hackathon's time constraints, we're gonna look into what other security and performance measures can be taken in order to make things run even smoother.
- We plan on developing new features for the game, such as magnetic power-ups and an even more advanced editor, along with a rating system for the levels created by the players.
- Fixing issues on phones with really large resolutions
Since Devpost doesn't allow us to specify which link is which, here goes: