I Aten’t Dead

Wow, is it really March already? I told some people I’d have a build for them to play by the end of November. Yikes.

Anyway, just a quick comment to clarify that no, I’m not dead, and neither is Wordsmith. What actually happened is that I got stuck.

The design I used for the demo clearly can’t sustain itself across a longer game: there are only 26 letters in the alphabet, and by the end of the demo I’ve already given the player about 23 of them. If the game is about solving puzzles to acquire new letters, and using them to solve more puzzles… then by the end of the demo, the game is almost over. How do I make a longer-form game around the Wordsmith concept?

So I’ve spent a few months now trying to answer that question. The obvious answer seemed to be a Minecraft-style survival mode: try to survive monster attacks by collecting letters and making weapons.

This idea did not work. The problem is, Wordsmith is inherently a very tough game; it takes time to think of good words to make, and even then the process of harvesting the letters isn’t trivial. When you add the additional pressure of coming under attack and needing to create something quickly, “tough” turns into “impossible”. It’s like adding a time limit to a puzzle in an adventure game.

As the creator of the game, naturally I know which weapons and pets are supposed to be good for fighting which enemies – but even I was getting stuck when a new enemy showed up. It was just too hard to be playable.

I think I have a new plan, though. I’ve been playing Spelunky a lot recently, and although that structure can’t be adopted wholesale, I think maybe there’s something there I can use. Will think about it, and write more soon.

1 Comment

  1. Doomsday One says:

    I am very very glad that you’re not dead <3

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