Wednesday, August 4, 2010


The biggest challenge with this project has been trying to create an in-game context for the sequence breaking. I'm not talking about the narrative back-story-- to recap, the protagonist is a "breaker" famed for finding creative solutions to what would otherwise be dangerous and time-consuming covert military situations-- but about motivating the player to break a given sequence. Remember, I don't want to punish the player for not exploiting loopholes by denying them access to the rest of the game (the way I did with Ultrageist).

I think, however, I've found that solution, and like so many things in the last few days, it came with the game's new aesthetic. When I had intended to take a more realistic approach to the game's graphics (and physics), I had tried to encourage sequence breaking through lots of support character dialogue and cut-scenes; break the sequence, I was saying, and you'll find out what really happened in the Colonies. But this approach wasn't particularly compelling.

The support dialogue and mystery story elements seem out of place in the spare, simple world of Seq.Breaker as it exists currently. That's when I started playing with the idea of some kind of silent rival; what if the rival swooped in (in classic villain fashion) and stole whatever you were after once you had done all the hard work for him? And what if you didn't do the hard work-- what if you, well, broke the sequence? He wouldn't be able to do his swooping. And if the player failed to break the sequence, maybe the scene with the rival could impart some kind of information, some hint or clue, as to how they might approach it when trying the mission again.

This all came together in my head in about the time it likely takes you to read this sentence, and the end result is the Ninja:
My hope is that when that smug, smarmy Ninja shows up and steals the macguffin, you'll want to show him; given the opportunity to either retry the mission or move on to the next, you might be more inclined to retry. Giving the player a villain that can only be thwarted by breaking the sequence, I think, proves a better motivator than having people yakking your ear off about how creative you are or watching the protagonist moping about in her room.

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