November 2 2009
POV Design Document
POV – A Flash-based game based on perspectives
I. Game Overview.
POV is a platformer game where the player controls a small, oddly-shaped alien that wanders around the level gathering information on the human population. To do this, it sucks out a person's eye in a fairly comical manner and is able to perceive new obstacles and objects.
2D levels that scroll vertically and horizontally.
The ability to change the level by using other people's eyes.
A unique and/or stylish art style that changes with the eyes.
Puzzle-solving using different perspectives.
Look and feel
Whimsical and organic, subject mostly to the perspective of the eyeball in use at the time to a great degree.
Number of levels – At least 1.
Number of settings – 2, apartment complex and basement
Number of Non-playable characters – 3, whom the main character takes eyes from.
Number of eyeballs – 3
II. Gameplay and mechanics
Gameplay progression – the player starts out with no eyeball (or a very simple one) that is unused to the light, colors and appearance of Earth, therefore making everything seem grey and dull. After finding people's eyes to take and use, the world takes on different colors and appearances, allowing the character to progress through the level in areas which were previously inaccessible.
Puzzle structure – platforms, eyes and areas will be inaccessible normally, unless a certain eye is used in a particular way. For instance, the eye from a gardener will allow the player to see a vertical vine that allows him/her to climb and reach that area. Some areas may diverge to allow different eyes to be used, as perhaps the architect's eye may reveal an underground passage while the artist's eye may allow the player to hop up on squiggly clouds to progress.
Objectives – For now, the objective is to explore the levels by finding the different eyes, and find an 'exit' point at the end of the level.
Movement - The player will walk along the ground with the left and right arrow keys, with the ability to climb by using the up arrow key. Jumping is debated.
Objects – eyeballs. These will be found and taken from NPCs whom the player encounters, whom will likely have curious or harmless reactions at first upon seeing the main character. A comical action to steal a person's eyeball is in the works.
Actions – The player can switch between different eyes to view the world differently, talk to NPCs and then steal their eyes, climb and navigate through different areas so far.
Screen Movement Flow (To be determined)
Replay value – the game may have branching paths that allows the player to take a different route to achieve the same goal, reach the same area. By replaying, the player can explore other options that were previously missed.
Story and setting
Story and Narrative – To be fleshed out more later, but the basic concept is that the main character is an alien that has arrived on Earth to observe the species dwelling here and learn more about them. As their species possesses only one eye, they assume that human beings only need one as well as they steal them and assimilate the memory, perception into their own.
Game world – starts around an apartment complex where the character finds first human contact, and promptly begins 'intelligence gathering'. Bleary and dull at first, the character soon finds that humans perceive the world in astonishing variety compared to themselves.
A basement level is being debated that is attached to the apartment building, optional and accessible only by certain means.
Main character – a first time scout for the alien race described above, it has yet to contact other sentient species and is fairly ignorant on how to treat the natives. Other scouts gather information by communicating with native species, but he has found another way to get that data more clearly, faster. Indifferent rather than malicious about stealing eyes, very curious.
NPCs – an artist, architect and gardener, all of whom have varying personalities and perspectives. The artist may be highly curious of the main character by his appearance, the architect might try to become Earth's ambassador to the alien race, and the gardener might be very friendly, unassuming at first, or be too focused on his garden to worry. Needless to say, they all react differently, but fairly perturbed at having an eye stolen (though not painfully, more comically)
IV. Interface (TBD)
The interface will be completely reliant on the keyboard. The directional arrows will control the movement of the alien, allowing the user to move LEFT, RIGHT, and UP (jump). To steal a characters eye, walk up to the character and press SHIFT. Either SHIFT key should work so the user can pick if its easier to keep one hand on the arrows and the other on the SHIFT, or if they prefer to
use one hand. The bottom of the screen will have a dock showing all the eyes the alien has collected. To scroll through the eyes, press Z to move right, and X to move left.
V. Technical (TBD)
A. Object-oriented ‘level’ design — The entire game world will be broken up into so-called “blocks” very similarly to the way other “Metroidvania” games do it. Each block will have a background associated with it for each different eye. Anything within each block that can be interacted with (this includes walking on, climbing up, etc. Anything that will collide with the player) will not be defaulted into the background, but rather indicated via an XML file. Each interactive item will be a symbol who’s location will determined by an XML file. In addition, there will be a separate XML file listing each item/symbol type which will detail which eye it can be seen with and how the player can interact with it. Basically, anything the player interacts with will be treated like an object.
B. Other details
1. The player character will have animations for standing still, walking, climbing, and jumping (if included). The animations are all neutral in that they do not depict the character moving across space so that this is still determined by the player.
2. There will be global Boolean flags for indicating when a player has possession of each eye.
3. The game’s interaction has been limited to keyboard-only for both ease of use and to make the programming task easier.
4. The object-oriented level design method is used so that the code should be able to execute with as little information about game state and player location as possible. The idea is to make everything as context-free as possible. Also, the use of XML files for object and block details should also allow for designers without programming knowledge the ability to change the game world without having to touch the code. The only context-sensitive parts of the code should be concerning the points in the game when the player acquires a new eyeball.
VII. Game Art (TBD)
No Eyeball (or default alien’s eyeball) – When viewed through the default eyeball, the background is shown in a black and white monochromatic format. The other aspects of the level, from the items to the platforms will all be in this style.
Architect’s eyeball – As the main character picks up other eyeballs, the level elements change to reflect this new style. In the architect’s perspective, the background is reminiscent of an architectural blueprint with rigid, neat lines and blue coloring.
Gardener’s eyeball – The gardener’s perspective is bright, painterly, soft and thriving. The background will be saturated in color and filled with flora. The platforms and other level aspects will also be displayed as such.
Child’s eyeball – The child views things as bright and uncorrupted. The elements in the background will be textured as a crayon drawing and have elements such as toys and crayons. The coloring will change to reflect a messy, coloring-out-of-the-lines aesthetic.
Main Character – the main character will be whimsical and brightly colored, with a constant style throughout the game despite having other eyeballs equipped. He will have a set number of animation cycles, including running, jumping, climbing, and taking of eyeballs.
NPCs – The NPCs will include an artist, a gardener, and a child. They will keep their same appearances despite the main character equipping different eyeballs, and will be drawn in the same style as the backdrop of the Default Eyeball. They will be brightly colored like the main character. The gardener is an elderly woman, the architect is a middle-aged man, and the child is grade school aged.
Eyes and other objects of interaction
Eyeballs – The eyeballs will each have a different color and style and will not change. The architect’s eyeball will be in the style of a blueprint, the gardener’s in an impressionistic painting, and the child’s in crayon drawing.
Platforms – The platforms will also change depending on the eyeball equipped. The equipped eyeball will determine the type of platform, the placement, and the appearance. Certain structures and buildings will be visible with the architect’s eye, flora will be visible with the gardener’s eye, and crayon drawings and toys will appear with the child’s eye.
Weekly meetings to discuss progress, checkpoints to be finished by this time. Weekly e-mails are sent out to remind members of tasks and checkpoint dates.