g.R0b0 is a 2D level-based puzzle game targeting mobile, which is being built in Unity. In it, you play as a cute, little robot who’s only goal in is to reach an end gate to access a terminal. However, your path is blocked by a myriad of hazards – spikes, lasers, and even the vacuum of space. Luckily, your body is equipped with the ability to change the direction of gravity, but it requires a tiny bit of charge for each shift gained through friction and contact with surfaces. In other words, you can only change gravity when you’re on the ground and not while in midair. At the terminal, you upload your programming to a new body elsewhere (the next level). Then, your old body explodes as you no longer need it and you certainly don’t want any unwanted program loading into that body. If you die to a hazard, not only do you not reach the terminal to upload yourself, you don’t explode. You just break into several pieces. Where’s the fun in that?
The game is heavily inspired by a game I made in college, Gravity. Gravity is a 2D puzzle platformer that was created using Flash in a group in 2 weeks. As such, the art was kept entirely abstract. We focused on the mechanics, the physics, and for my part in particular, the level design. Check out a video of the gameplay of Gravity here.
Both of these games are inspired from two particular games that I cherish: Portal and Braid. Portal is a wonderful, snarky, yet dark 3D first person shooter puzzle game focusing on the idea of wormholes, or portals. The player solves puzzles by creating two points connected to one another, forming a dimensional hole in which you can walk, fall, and move objects through. Braid is a 2D puzzle platformer with an incredible artistic aesthetic and truly mind boggling mechanics. Braid focuses around the ability to manipulate time and solve puzzles that way. That includes going forward, backward, and even parallel in time. With g.R0b0, I want to capture the same degree of mind boggling puzzles as these two games, but in the mobile space. I also want to use a different mechanic, in this case, gravity, from the core mechanics of these two games.
The game mechanics of g.R0b0 are very simple in terms of its base. There are only two actions a player can do. The first is change the direction of gravity to go towards the left, right, top, and bottom of the screen. The second is to move the character perpendicular to the direction of gravity (player can move left-right if gravity is up or down and vice-versa). The goal of the game is simple. Get to the end gate of the level without dying. Dying resets the level. That’s all there is to it. The real challenges will come from various hazards and obstacles, how the player can interact with them, and the requirement to constantly view things from a differing perspectives. It’s not the camera that rotates when gravity changes, it’s everything else on the screen. To quote Ender’s Game, “The enemy’s gate is always down,” is not true in this game. In other words, gravity will not always be downwards, and therein lies the challenge to view things from varying perspectives.
As a disclaimer, note that some of the current art you’ll see is temporary, not owned by me, and will not appear in the final product. Some of it is owned by me and my two partners as we created it, yet some of it is filler for testing purposes and not part of the final product, and all of it is always subject to change, as is everything I will be sharing.
Going forward in my blog, I will be diving into the mechanics and level design of g.R0b0 to explain how they work and the design choices I’m making when creating them. As they are works in progress, they may change after any post I make without me updating it on the blog. There are also bound to be flaws in the design that I might have missed due to this being a work in progress.
You can check out my April Milestone of g.R0b0, here, on my portfolio. Feel free to peruse the other projects I’ve worked on as well. Thank you, and I hope you look forward to reading more about designing g.R0b0.