NDH pre-release devlog #5

This week (two weeks) I made a number of small QOL changes and did some more comprehensive UI work. I also spent a lot of time thinking about level design. Which is good because that's literally why I made this game.
Mostly I'm just kinda... still making stuff. Not much is new... just a lot of... iteration.  Sorry it's not very exciting (only one picture!).

New Stuff:
Pause menu with hint UI!

I knew from the start that I didn't want to have any text in this game so I had to be clever about how I was going to teach players how to do stuff (and had to think long and hard about how much I wanted them to be told and how much they should learn themselves etc. etc.). I tossed around the idea of a tutorial level (as mentioned in previous logs) but after some prototyping I decided it felt really wrong and dissonant from the rest of the world I had made. I thought for a little longer and then decided that actually, the thing I wanted players to know was not how to play, but which buttons were actually used in play! Even on a controller I only use a fraction of the possible inputs, and on a keyboard the fraction is much smaller. I didn't really want people to be mashing around trying to find correlation between buttons too much (especially on keyboard), but I also didn't want people to get lost or only find half the inputs. So I came up with this:

(you can also access this menu from the pause screen in-game)

As you can see this screen doesn't communicate what the buttons do exactly, but it does establish a relationship between some of the keys and also indicates that some keys do the same thing!
Anyway I thought this was clever but even with the small amount of playtesting I've done I've already encountered people who will just never open this menu or open it and immediately close it again without trying any of the keys out so idk man game design is hard.

I'm hoping this will help tho, and I'm not convinced that I really want to change it up that much [to make it clearer], especially because of the philosophy with which I am making this project.

Well obviously I changed the title screen and added the little pause menu, but apart from that I made some changes to some of the lifeguard scripts I have running on the player character; previously if the character fell off the map the game would reset, but that felt too much like dying and was really frustrating if you'd worked to get to somewhere really obscure and then you make one small mistake and have to start all over again, and that's not what I'm about. So now my lifeguard script tracks the player position and whether they're grounded or using a teleport orb etc., and assesses whether or not they can be considered "safe," and logs their coordinates if they are. This way if you fall off the map you just end up back at the last "safe spot" with only a minimal loss of time and effort.

I also made a couple of tweaks to the level design and added a couple more little buddies to meet but I won't show those because secrets.

Coming Soon/Thoughts:
I still don't know if I like the opening level or if I should scrap it altogether and start again oh no.
I still have to make a bus or train or tram or something because the level doesn't like... transition into anything yet, once players reach bus stops. idk. I'm sure it'll be fine. I gotta get this to a level where people can play and be like "oh yeah that's uh, that's the end of the demo right there" etc.

Oh no music and sound and stuff too I gotta do that oh no I only have a week left before I kinda have to submit this oh no oh no stress HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH


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Thanks for the post. I noticed it's really hard to read the text on this page. Maybe it's my computer, but you might want to consider using a font that has a thicker weight.


Oh no! You are right! Now that I see this on a regular resolution screen it is indeed much harder to see. I'll look around for another font. Thanks!