Philosophy and the Weight of Things (Dragging)

I have made an effort in this game to keep the player grounded in some version of reality. There are no magical portals from one world to another. There are no inscrutable enchanted gizmos with arbitrary stats. No macguffins. Hopefully, there will be a minimum of red/blue/yellow "keycards" and tiresome 4-digit passcodes. There is no 5-page inventory menu with scads of items to throw at a puzzle. You can only hold one item at a time, and you know what you are carrying because it's in front of your face. Heavy items take slightly longer to pick up, and won't fit in a hole too small. Interactable objects in the world don't make themselves known with a little sparkle. There is no way-finding.

There is just a small white world whose deeper secrets require getting comfortable with the rules and geography of the  place. It is my hope that doing things in this way will accomplish a few goals. 

  1. Immersion in Self. Keep the player centered in their on-screen avatar... as much as possible, don't interrupt the stream of consciousness with tutorials, menus, or cinematics. Make the player feel like they are really here. 
  2. Immersion in Place. As much as possible, make the world feel like a real place, with consistent physical rules. A place you could visit.
  3. Intuition. Enable the player to solve puzzles intuitively, with a minimum of explanation. As a basic example, a "Glowing Orb of Landarra" needs a blurb of lore and special instructions how to get to its special glowing Landarrian receptacle. A "key" doesn't need this. You just look for the keyhole to stick it in. 
  4. Emergence. Puzzles emerge from the rules and physical space of the world. If you can only carry one item and you drop the item you're carrying when you go up a ladder, how to get that item up to the next landing becomes a puzzle. A much more pertinent puzzle than say, sliding picture tiles around or entering a password on a console sticking out of the ground. 
  5. Surprise. If the rest of the world is grounded, you can truly surprise the player when something fantastical DOES happen.

Now to a specific new feature, which seems kind of silly to write a devlog about, but which simultaneously fits all of these goals. As mentioned, you can only carry one item at a time. You have an item in your hands and you try to pick up a new one, you drop the item in your hands. Items have physical reality outside of your hands too: you can step on them or they can block your way. The bigger the item, the longer you have to hold down on it to pick up, and the slower it will move into your hands. This will, I hope, create a greater sense of immersion and weight. Now there is a class of item so big that you have to drag it on the floor. The item retains its physical presence even in your possession and it slows you down as long as you are dragging it. It lags behind you, rolling over pebbles as you move, rather than floating in front of you like a normal item. The new feature is DRAGGING of WEIGHTY ITEMS, and once I figure out all the ways it is different from merely carrying an item, it will hopefully yield some interesting new puzzles. It does work mechanically though...


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I can't wait for this game!