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About Otto's Odyssey - Gameplay, Part I

Posted on Thursday, August 30, 2012 | 1 Comment

Sadly, I did not get a call back for the job I mentioned last post.  I seriously hate the job market right now.  Sigh!  Anyway... I am sort of taking a break from working on the game at the moment while I try to find a job, but that doesn't mean I can't still update!  I figured this time around I would start talking about the ideas I have for the game up to this point.  If you'll recall, this game originally started as my capstone project for college.  I had to come up with all sorts of stuff for it, so that's what I'll be sharing with you today!


I am going to break this up into a few posts, since there's a lot to discuss.  I'll start by describing the gameplay elements I want to include in the game.  As you already know, the main inspiration for this game is Super Metroid -- truly a classic.  It makes me sad that you don't really see games from the SNES era around anymore, but it leaves the door open for independent developers to fill that emptiness.

As far as Otto's functionality is concerned, I want to include the following: walking, running, jumping, crouching, and shooting (including upward and downward 45° angles).  There are other functions I'd like to include based off item upgrades that I have not yet conceived.  I already have walking and jumping implemented.  Crouching isn't in yet and I'm not quite sure if it will make the cut, although it would be pretty easy to implement.  Shooting is definitely next on my list once I get the sloped tiles working correctly.  Running should be pretty easy to implement as well, but will only be enabled after obtaining the proper item upgrade.

While exploring the game, Otto will inevitably come across enemies.  Otto will be weak at the beginning of the game, perhaps even unarmed, because his original purpose was to observe and examine new planets and their possible inhabitants in order to determine habitability.  If Otto is hit by a projectile or comes into contact with an enemy, he will be injured and knocked back a little bit as well as be immune from damage for a brief period of time.  This is pretty common in SNES-era games.

Some enemy projectiles may have different effects, such as an immobilizing web.  If Otto hits an enemy with a projectile, the enemy will take damage and die if their health drops to zero or below.  They may or may not drop a health or ammo pickup.  Some creatures may be immune to Otto's initial weaponry and can only be defeated once he acquires the right type of weapon.  This may also hold true for doors and other progress-impeding devices.

I've got many ideas for upgrades that Otto may come across throughout the game.  For starters, I think it would be interesting if he could acquire force field that allows him to absorb projectiles and even deflect them if timed properly (think of the shield in Super Smash Bros. Melee).  The force field would only be active for a brief time and may take awhile to recharge in order to make it important to use wisely.

I am also considering implementing proximity mines, which would also damage Otto if the player strayed too close to it.  These would be useful against enemies that crawl along the ground towards the player.  Another weapon I am considering is the flamethrower, which obviously does flame damage.   The flamethrower would do extra damage to enemies susceptible to flame and also be able to melt or burn certain objects, such as wood, that may impede his path. 

I also had an idea for something like a stake gun, which would pass through most enemies and stick in the wall for a few seconds before disappearing.  The real advantage of this weapon would be the ability to shoot stakes into the wall and use them as a temporary platform.  If timed correctly, Otto could scale tall sections of the map in order to reach secret areas.

One of the coolest things about the Metroid series was the exploration aspect and the inclusion of secret areas.  I feel like the game industry has all but abandoned secret levels and secret areas and I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why.  Every gamer I have ever talked to loves secrets within games.  Otto's Odyssey will definitely include secret areas.  Most of these secrets will include puzzle-like elements to make it more of a challenge to reach the power-up within the secret.  The puzzles may test either your wits or your reaction speed.

Finally, the last thing I will mention this post is something I like to call a Fluffmole.  The fluffmole creature is a white, fluffy thing with large claws that allow it to burrow into the ground with ease.  Otto first encounters this creature during a routine planet research mission, but one of them ends up stowing away on his spaceship when he is responding to a distress signal.  Later on in the game, when Otto reunites with the creature, the player can use the fluffmole to explore certain areas of the map in which the fluffmole can dig.  These areas will be easily distinguishable from other sections of the map.

The fluffmole will also be able to squeeze through tight spaces that the player is not normally able to fit through.  By doing this, certain switches can be activated or power-ups can be obtained.  You must avoid damage while controlling the fluffmole or you will have to start from the beginning of that certain burrowing section.

Well, that will be it for today's post.  Hopefully this gives you a better idea of what I plan to do with this game.  As always, feel free to comment!

Thanks for reading!

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