Tuesday Developer Diary – Silent Totems #3

Probably what one should call the main gameplay of Silent Totems will be the gathering of totem parts. The game design intention is to have a clear goal driven gameplay available.
With the game having many sidetracked puzzle ideas, which sometimes are selvserving or fulfill extra tasks, there is also the need for a central task where the puzzles will help to fulfill it extra well.

Totems? Wasn't that something the native americans had...

Totems? Wasn’t that something the native americans had…

Totem parts will be scattered all over the game, some only plainly requiring you to stumble upon – and collect them. While others will be hidden and require you to discover them. Some will be easy to pick up, others will struggle and make it hard for you to get them.

In february i talked about the relatives you can help throughout the world, you will want to do this – besides helping them rejoin with their families – in the hope to get further totem parts from them as a reward.
To motivate players more, we even have a storyline where a desaster is about to happen, initially told to the player by our totem maker – the “guy” you can see on the pictures.

Bring enough totem parts to him and he will errect a totem pole from the parts, hopefully preventing the disaster to happen. And while you’re at it – there is even a game achievment you can earn from fulfilling his wish of a extra high totem pole ;)

So the game tries to be two things at once: a strange gameworld, that has its own distinctive feel to it; but instead of a whole storydriven adventure the second “anchor” of the game will be the many rather small things the player can do. While some tasks being simpler, most will require the player to look carefully at clues and experiment with the possibilities.

Be careful, do not squash them! You will later need all those totem parts (c:

Ah. BTW: Have you ever considered a life on a totem-pole? Imagine a whole day, sitting ontop of someones head, while at the same time have someone else sit on your head. But its not about less space and much pressure, its also about the fact not being able to move at all. And now imagine this every day of a year, many years.

Dislike that? Well, i guess you can understand now how the fleeing parts in Silent Totems feel. In order to catch them you will have to come up with some really good ideas, or else you will never get recognised as a true talented totem catcher. You know: Gotta catch’em all! ;)

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.

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

  1. GhostLyrics

    sirleto, one question about the video: what makes the thing (totem part?) levitate? Is it the fact that the four-legged creature touched it or that you came close to it? I mean, I can see that after it has been initialized it reacts to the proximity of your character but does it have to connect with the already moving part before? I can’t seem to get that part from the video :/

  2. sirleto

    oh, it just flees from me (the player). as soon as you come close, it flies up … knowing that you can’t reach it there. its up to you to find out how to reach it anyway ;)


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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