Four Experiments

The Codemancer Team is currently engaged in a series of experiments with the basic mechanics of Codemancer.  Some are in progress, some are only planned, but I want to share them all with you to get some feedback and to let you know what we’ve been working on.


1. Move on the Beat

Figuring out the timing of a spell can be difficult, especially with each character having a different speed for movement and attacks.  I liked that large characters could move slower, but it came at the expense of player experience, so we’re going to try getting everything to move at the same pace and at the same time.  We’re also going to try to line it up with a background music track, so every entity will move on the beat.  There are some complications having to do with resolving collisions, but I think it will be an interesting experiment.


2) Levels with Variable Height

Your familiar will be able to leap a height of 1 unit, but no higher.

Your familiar will be able to leap a height of 1 unit, but no higher.


Since we’re not removing the ability to make levels that are mostly flat, I don’t see a downside to putting this in the game.


3) Reset the Level If the Goal isn’t Achieved

I resisted this for a long time because I don’t enjoy the experience of waiting for a lengthy program to play out — perhaps unsuccessfully.  On the other hand, without resetting the level, the code you’ve written for the previous step is potentially useless in the next one.  This is not very true to the learning goals of the game, and it creates additional problems like making it difficult to incentivize the writing of long programs.

I’m interested in trying to mitigate the potential boredom of watching your program play out, especially in cases where the early part of a spell may not have changed since the last time you cast it.  This will be an interesting experiment.


4) Diagetic Spellcasting

Diagetic simply means ‘within the fictional reality of the game (or movie, book, etc.).’  Right now, the player casts spells and the characters onscreen execute those spells, but there’s another concept which fascinates me — the idea that your character can cast additional spells on other characters as part of a spell.  This adds a new dimension to the game that we think is worth exploring.


We’re working on a lot of things, but these are experiments that may drastically affect gameplay — or we may decide that they don’t make sense and throw them away — or we may take something away from the experiment, but not the whole change.  SCIENCE!!


Excelsior, True Believers!


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