Turned out that writing ‘articles’ about problems in my own games was fun and seemed to get a positive response and actually really nice feedback, so let’s have ESA design problem huffery-puffery #2!
I just played around in the temple area to test some stuff (small dust particles as you walk in the aream yay!), and man is the area horrendous. I could really feel my disinterest in working on the game as I walked around there. I had planned for the area to be mainly about puzzles and traps, and there were those (especially the latter), but they were almost universally obtuse, unfun and often very player-unfriendly, designed mostly without thinking of how a player first seeing them might react. To list some of the horrible things:
- Insta-kill traps
- Another trap that deals 10 damage at a time where the player might have 15
- A puzzle with the only hint located on another room’s wall, said room being also hidden and the hint being partially blocked by tiles
- Two bosses being literally one room from each other
- A boss having insta-kill traps between it and the next save point, so that the player might instantly die after beating the boss but before saving
I felt really disappointed at myself. At the moment I feel that the only way to really approach this problem is to actually redo most of the temple. Redesigning the area shouldn’t be that difficult, considering that I know where the area starts and ends, and all the things that should be found within. Still, it might be quite a large undertaking, although it’d probably pay off very well.
I have some ideas on how this might be improved; it’d probably require redoing some of the enemies and most of the area itself, but all in all I think it could be worth it. I’ll probably finish the penultimate area first, though!
(To be honest, the temple tileset is also quite ugly.)