Devlog TeaPuzzle#3 New obstacles

Hello in the new video of TeaPuzzle devlogs series. Since the last episode, we added a few new mechanics - camera handlers, bridges, and dangerous spikes. Today, I will say a couple of words about each of these. Let’s get started!

Camera handlers

Lastly, I showed you a new mesh for the camera handler. I mentioned its goal is to allow the creation of bigger maps. Right now you can see one of the largest maps in the game so far. It’s using 5 cameras. Probably we will not increase the size of maps any further to keep the game as lightweight as possible - you know mobile end devices.

So players can change their viewpoint by clicking on camera handlers. We used a smooth transition between cameras, which is available in Unreal by default. I think it looks cool. As you can see each handler is a separate camera, so when you came back to the previous handler the rotation position stays as it was at the moment of switching to another one.

The sphere of an active camera is transiting to a brighter color. It is a detail because without it user also can see which camera is active, just by rotation, but I think is good to mark the currently active objects.

Bridges

To make the game a bit more challenging we introduced bridges. The mystery of these beauties is they are single-use only. So the player can use it to move only in one direction, then the bridge collapses and the path is not passable.

Additionally, we used bridges to bring more life to the map. Since we have a bridge let’s add a river under it. Adding water wasn’t simple but after a few tweaks, we are happy with the result. It breaks green color domination on the map in an elegant way.

It is also the first mechanic in the game that allows the player to lose. If a player will use bridges without thinking he might not have the possibility to reach the finish tower and finish the level.

Speaking of losing - the spikes.

Dangerous spikes

Spikes are new obstacles that require a little bit of timing skill from a user. They just slide out and in, in a loop so players have to cross it in a safe moment when they are hidden.

When a player finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, he just loses the game and has to replay the current level once again.

Actually, I’m surprised how much these simple spikes add dynamics to the gameplay, it’s a good refreshment because without it the game was becoming boring quite fast.

Right now I am considering adding advertisements to the game. The main reason for it is to learn the basics of ads API, and how it works in Unreal. So I set a level replays limit of 3. When the limit is reached the user will have to watch advertisements to get a new 3 points which will allow him to make the next replays. The number of available replays is represented by the 3 circles in the top right corner.

I’m not focused on earning anything from it, because the game is quite simple, and I think it will be easy to finish the game without seeing a single advertisement. This is why I don’t even try to caulk the replay mechanic, so to be honest users can easily bypass it.

So for now there are 3 ways to lose the game: The first - is being moved beyond the path by the box, which is an extremely rare situation. When it happens, and you try to move by clicking on any tower the pop-up will appear with information that a replay of the level is required. The second way is to use bridges in the wrong order, so you get lost on an island without a path to the rest of the map and finish tower, in that case, you have to recognize that situation yourself and manually restart the level by clicking replay icon in the top right corner. And the third is just to get caught by the spikes, which I was just talking about.

New sounds

Before I had only background chilling music, which was kinda ok, but I had a feeling something is missing. So I found free-to-use ambient sounds and added them to the game. Now during the gameplay, we can hear calming sounds of the birds and in levels with the river sound of running water. Now I also know how hard it is to find a good free sound that will be a good fit in your case. I am not super happy with all sounds that I used but most of them are good enough.

If I would have to say one thing which surprised me how much important it is in-game for player experience, it would be a sound. I think in the next project I will need to pay much more attention to music and sound effects.

Character

I also made a few changes in the character’s behavior. I added him a simple new animation which makes him a lot more alive. So now there are two basic animations: the first is just jumping in place once in a few seconds when the tea bag is not moving on the map, the second one is continuously jumping when a character is moving. For both, I add short sounds when the character touches the ground.

Additionally, I add a sound attenuation component so based on character and current camera location the steps sounds will be louder or quieter, the same mechanic I will add for bridges and spikes.

Summary

For now, I have ready 9 levels, and my nearest plans consider making 6 more. Then I want to focus on fixing a few suspended bugs, advertisement API, and checking how to add games to the play store. Next, I will consider making more levels and new mechanics.

Thanks for watching!


Tags: TeaPuzzle