Lightning Water

A 2D side-scrolling, movement-based, Action-Adventure platformer for PC developed solo in 6 months using GameMaker Studio. Designed systems and gameplay outlined in design documents, created art assets in Adobe Illustrator and scripted the game in GML.

Overview

Lightning Water was my final project for my Game Art & Design program at the Art Institute of Vancouver. It was my first real game project I've ever made, and I learned a lot while developing it.

The main idea for Lightning Water was that it was a "movement-based metroidvania", where the action focused on player movement.

Development Time: 6 months

Team Size: Solo

Platforms: Windows PC
Tools Used: Game Maker Studio, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Audition

The design of the game

I designed the player mechanics around movement and focused on action that required it. Wall-jumping, triple-jumps, and staying in motion to keep your momentum were the main movement systems. Players could spend their charged-up momentum to strike forward as a lightning strike, killing any enemies they hit. 

Challenges were a large part of the game and was the way the player gained upgrades. Players would encounter a power shrine in a room and would need to either kill all the enemies or activate some switches in order to power it and get the upgrade. 

The game had went through a lot of iterations over development, especially when it came to the movement mechanics. Initially the player didn't have a "strike forward" attack, but rather an attack that shot a projectile and sent them backward. I realized later that this was actually against the design of the game, as I wanted players to stay in motion and not break it. 

Iteration and details of the mechanics

Development timeline

Before development began, and throughout development of the project, I kept a projected timeline of the project and how long it would take to develop the mechanics, content, and polish. The timeline was about 24 weeks in total, though only about 16 hours per week were invested in the development, as this project ran alongside other projects and classes. 

 

Problems were encountered along the way, most obviously being that I had too much work on my plate and did not have much content by the 3 month mark. Realizing this, I focused hard on developing content for the game over a 2 week period and managed to flesh out all of the levels and have it at a state ready to be polished. 

Achievement

By the end of development, I had polished the game as much as possible, giving it a tutorial, credited music, credited sound effects, and feedback systems. I had a game that was fun and challenging to play that achieved the design I had envisioned for it -- a movement based metroidvania. As my first real game, it is a great achievement. 

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© Cole Beernaerts "Ray-Flower" and associated aliases

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