Project Spikes: 14/09/13 Update

Play it here!

This update has quite a few new features, so give the game a try –  any feedback is appreciated! Firstly, I added a few coloured skyboxes (a skybox is a textured cube that will appear really far in the distance in your game and surround the game world, like a background), with all of World 1’s levels having a light blue skybox.


This is much better than the really horrible basic blue skybox from before. I’ve also done a bit with the GUI, adding some crosshairs and a lives bar at the top with 5 icons representing one life each. If you collect the secret in the level, another icon will appear in the corner, but I will change this in the future.

spikes-7The crosshairs were added to help players sense the direction they’re facing; I will also be adding a shadow for the player to help in the future. One of the green rectangles turn red when you lose a life. I’ve been doing some optimisation of scripts and some modifying of the levels –  they should be more interesting now. One new addition is platforms that will trigger an event when stood on, for example standing on certain platforms will cause it to be influenced by gravity and will fall until it hits something. This may be used in the future as an obstacle for the player. Along with this I’ve added a button that will also trigger certain events when pressed, such as initiating the movement of platforms.


The playable version this time around has fewer levels than before, but they will be added back in later on. This is because I wanted to improve the levels I already had and thought it would be easier to start from scratch. Plus, every level now has a collectible secret in it. I will also be working on more game mechanics to add in future worlds. Also, if you didn’t click the link at the top, here it is again: play the game!

The Actual Actual Plan. Sorry For All The Vaporware!

Okay. I swear this time, I have a plan for real. I was dawdling about at home the other day and stumbled upon a video that explained why people sometimes have trouble completing projects (much like myself). One of the main reasons was over-ambition. I thought I’d be able to make a game full of unheard-of ideas, fantastic graphical displays and bug-free gameplay. However, I found myself at a dead end when small changes to one script started to completely ruin others, forcing me to pull back some changes and eventually, I decided to put my tower defense game on hold too, for a while. I’ve gone back to the drawing board, and found an idea that works: trying to make the most basic game I can, with a super-simple graphical scheme, focusing on the gameplay and trying to make the game more entertaining and much longer. So, now I’m working a new game where the objective is to get from the spawn point to a cube located somewhere in the level, and I will slowly start to add new gameplay elements and hazards as the player progresses. It has been codenamed “Project Spike” for now, as the first and only hazard so far is the spike.

spikes-1In fact, this is the first level. Just get to the goal, simple as that. The levels do increase in complexity, and so far I have included small platforms, some of which move, which means there are some minor jumping puzzles (don’t worry, they’ll get worse. Everyone loves jumping puzzles.), as well as spikes in the later levels. They are in no way challenging, but currently they teach the player simple game mechanics that will feature later on.

spikes-2This, in contrast, is level 7, where there are many spikes and more challenging jumps and moving panels. This method of level design is actually quite a lot of fun for me, as I can place more hazards and remove them at will to find the perfect balance of fun and challenge. I plan to have more worlds, which will each feature an important new mechanic, for example turrets (which I can take from my tower defense game) and some kind of pitfall or tripwire traps. The spikes take 10 health of the player each (so two spikes together will take 20 health), but the groups of 5 spikes are an insta-kill. The player has 100 health at the beginning (which I will show graphically at some point), and 5 lives. Falling off the level is also an insta-kill, and will respawn the player at the start of the level. Losing all of your lives will eventually cause a Game Over screen to appear.

spikes-3My favourite graphical part of the game so far is actually the advance cube; I simply made a .png of a swirly cube thing (it was originally going to be simply an outline, but my hand slipped and I messed it up, but it looked cool, and this was the result of a couple minutes’ work), made a material with the transparent/cutout/diffuse shader, and this fancy-looking cube is the result (well, it’s one cube in another actually).


In every level you’ll also be able to find a ‘Secret’, a collectible item that should be hard to find. It’s a re-coloured advance cube, and it looks rather attractive. It’s currently not actually able to be picked up, but the locations of them won’t change, so if you find some, great going! I’ve not yet put them in every level (at the time of writing, there are only actually two), but they will be in every level at some point.

Most importantly, I actually worked out how to make a Unity Web Player build of the game and host it through my Dropbox, so you can try it out right now hereCurrently, there really is not much to see, but I will be adding many more levels over the coming weeks, and perhaps I will actually get this project done!