Tuesday Developer Diary – Silent Totems #2

Encouraged so many times by Krystian, I’m once again trying to establish a “once a week” post of mine. So this is the second part of a (more or less) flavour + ideas + game design describing developer diary, which I am writing on my upcoming Android game “Silent Totems”.
Currently I see it more fit to write down the “softer” game design intentions. But if you expect technical details, wait for the post mortem / making of (i will probably also write one for Princess Nuriko).

This time the dev diary is about two of our gameplay mechanics.

Strange encounters of a third kind?

Strange encounters of a third kind?

WARNING: Spoiler(s) ahead. Basically all my dev diary texts contain some spoilers (and will in the future). So if you want to get the full “i don’t even know one bit of the game” puzzling experience, don’t read this developer diary :) Or forget about it ASAP.

So the game is about puzzles. But its intentionally not about grid based board-game like maze solving (this time not, next game will be again, i promise). It’s also not about classical adventure-style combine inventory items.

Instead its about easy things that are as strange as possible without loosing “normal” players with “normal” brains. So one of the mechanics is about remembering and visually recognising shapes.

Silent Totems world was once inhabited by nice “people”, doing their daily business. Until evil came by and they had to fight it. Of course the good people won and evil was banished, but as usually there was a price to pay: Many of the peoples family members got turned into stone and as if that wouldn’t be bad enough where shattered in the world. So even with the right magic to bring back the missing relatives to life, still they need to be found.

Talking, finding, walking, bringing.

Can you see the difference?

Thus you will meet the folks of Silent Totems who will ask you to find their relatives (A), and when you bring the pieces to them (B), they will be able to bring their loved ones to life and give you pieces theyself found of others (C). Which you then can once again pick up (D) and combine with further shapes (E).

And to make the game interesting, it does not have only a handful of predesigned levels with few characters, but instead there is a huge amount of interestingly shaped creature characters that will sometimes make you smile and sometimes cringe. (Well, their names should make you giggle, at least it lets us smirk all the time).

Another gameplay mechanic i want to introduce is: Water. It can be somewhere as a lake, flow somewhere down the hill, be split into multiple puddles and re-merge into a sea. Basically it will help you solve some puzzles you can’t otherwise solve (i don’t want to spoil this here), but it will also deny you some pickups. Because you float on water, but some heavy pickups won’t; which makes them un-pickup-able for you.

Splish, splash. Look what i did mommy!

Enter: the Drinker. A quite large and quite thirsty fish of the order of rhinogradentia. Of course you get thirsty, jumping on your nose through a land without enough water for you to swim. Nevertheless the Drinker is a helpful animal. Just ask for its help and it will not only suck in water puddles and lakes until its tummy gets full, but also spit the water out where ever you want it to be.

Mainly this helps picking up things from the bottom of lakes, because no lake left means you can easily walk there in order to pick them up. But beware: The game will also feature lava puddles. And of course Drinkers can’t drink anything, or can they?

Feel free to rant and comment and criticise in the comments!
Have fun until next week!
*handing over microphone to krystian*

Daniel Renkel

Daniel 'sirleto' Renkel is a true indie game developer (at heart ;) and a part time simulation engineer (space- & aircrafts). He's studied computer science at the university of Darmstadt, Germany and has a background of 8 years as game developer (assistant projectmanager, game designer, associate producer and technical artist). He worked on a whole number of PC and console games including the Aquanox series. Visit ludocrazy.com for more information about this current android mobile phone games.

3 responses to “Tuesday Developer Diary – Silent Totems #2”

  1. Krystian Majewski

    Holy crap. The visuals are quite stunning. You said you had the inspiration from some processing demos? Can you still find them?

  2. GhostLyrics

    Sounds very interesting. Is this going to be a mobile plattform game again?
    Before I forget: The drinker’s movement is really cute :)

  3. sirleto

    @ghostlyrics: oh, forgot to mention! yes this is again for android platform. everything from me in 2011 will be ;)

    @kryst: no, for some reason i can’t find it online. basically it shoudl still be ont yanns page but the page has something quite chaotic to it, so no surprise that i can’t find it ;) it REALLY just isnt inspiration i got there, i ported the code. so it looks quite like the first screenshot from the dev dairy #1 :-)

    ps: ich warte noch auf eine mail von dir. ich habe heute nacht sogar davon geträumt!


The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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