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Idol Threat

Collect the 4 Golden Artifacts with your trusty grapple-hook!

  • Idol Threat was developed in Unity Engine by the four-person team Rad Connection at Niagara College over the period of 3 months. I served as Designer and Programmer.
  • It is a 2.5D platformer with four linear levels: An intro level and three branches from a central hub area.
  • The main movement mechanic is a grapplehook allowing the player to freely swing speedily around puzzles and obstacles.

In Idol Threat's project class we were given a base 2.5D platformer toolkit for Unity3D which gave us some basic movement mechanics and an approximate idea for world and player scales. Otherwise we were given full creative freedom as long as we maintained the game as a 2.5D platformer.

We wanted to experiment with more depthful movement mechanics since the initial kit was not enjoyable to play for any significant amounts of time; looking at games like Grow Home, Ori and the Blind Forest, or even Quake there tends to be more success in games where even the simplest gameplay experiences are innately engaging instead of just a press of a button to go left or right.

Our end result was a grapple hook mechanic that lets the player swing over level hazards, up and down perilous caverns and upside-down underwater as you fight your buoyancy and swing underneath tiki-themed booby traps.

  • If the theme of your game naturally would support angled level layout geometry (like caves) then assume if your end result doesn’t have angled geometry it will look kinda janky. Angled geometry also lets the level polishers experiment interestingly with the art assets for how possibly there could be something angled that the player has to maneuver around, as opposed to generic flat walls all around you.
  • Having different movement mechanics takes your game to a whole ‘nother level. When we saw all of the side scrollers being played side-by-side at the college’s Term End event, all the games with the same base movement mechanics essentially looked like the exact same game because every screen was moving at identical pace. If you had played any of the previous games you would have then already mastered (ie, probably gotten bored of) at least half of that game’s core mechanics - moving between the self-contained puzzles.
  • Having sound effects on everything feels good.
  • The ending being a spectacle is important even if the story is incredibly simple, it’s what your audience will digest last before giving their closing thoughts after all.