Getting ready for 2nd public Playtest!

I'm currently wrapping up things to be ready for my 2nd public playtest event at GamePlay Space. I decided to share what have been going through my mind and the process I went through during November.

The Grand Block Odyssey is a puzzle game with story elements.

October

October was the first full month that we worked on the game. We were mixing puzzle mechanics along with combat mechanics. Puzzles include block pushing mechanic that had blocks sliding until they hit a wall.

There was also transition areas with combat encounters where enemies could be killed by throwing boxes at them.

Results from the playtest

People liked the experience overall. They liked the mix between puzzles and transitions. It doesn't require the player to think all the time, there's a little bit of slow down which is great.

People found the combat interesting and it really was not expected. However a lot of people pointed out that it didn't feel as polished as the puzzle mechanics. For good reasons, since I had put 90% of my effort on Puzzles, and 10% on combat.

In version one, puzzles had 2 type of blocks. Gold blocks could pushed an indefinite amount of times. Later in the level, Brown blocks were introduced. Each blocks had a number on top that indicated how many time the blocks could be pushed.

There was also a big disconnect between the environment and the enemies. It didn't really make any sense why we were fighting mummies while walking in a forest with happy music.

What we'll be validating

The initial goal with the game was to have a heavy story-telling element, which is something that was really absent from the first version of the game. So for the next version, more emphasis was put on story-telling and the overall atmosphere.

This also implies having more intricate and complex graphics. The playtest therefore is going to be used to test if people find it increasingly difficult to solve puzzles when the grid is not as obvious.

Another point to validate is whether people are interested in a mix of Puzzle and story telling element. Maybe people are just interested in solving puzzles and not as much about the story. I don't know for sure yet.

Also, combat encounters have been removed for now, as they didn't feel like they belonged in the environment for now. However, removing it actually brought me new ways to bring it back in a much more interesting way. It is possible I will bring it back in a further build in a slightly modified version.

My thoughts

I think the new game is much more interesting, however only playtest with other people will be able to confirm whether I'm right or not.

Follow the latest development on Twitter or see live development on Twitch as we go along.

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