Thursday, November 3, 2016

Lovely Planet - Third Time's a Charm

Sequel, spinoff or spiritual successor, I don't really know. If I had the expertise to boil away all of the complexity involving player expectation with a single hard-hitting one-liner slogan, I'd be leading a marketing team in some far-away expensive country. Right now, I just know I'm sitting in my pyjamas with a speedrunning precision platformer on my lap that needs more levels.

I like rapid prototyping. I'd always choose writing code over attending long meetings, preparing slide decks or solving spreadsheets. Meetings never work too well for me. I've always somehow felt they are of little use when you are by yourself. If you can write code, it's a lot easier to just try things out during the initial phase of development. The only problem is that it awards you with too much freedom. If you don't experiment responsibly and work without a schedule, you'll look up later to realize something's not right. Quite often I find myself implementing a lot of small changes which snowball into a whole different game entirely. This happened again with a prototype I was working on earlier this year.




This game pilfers more elements from the original unlike Arcade, but it departs more boldly from the gameplay by removing the shooter aspect entirely. It doesn't remain a Lovely Planet game in its visual style alone; it borrows a lot of assets which are now framed differently to support the new gameplay. You can jump around in the world but the camera is pulled back to the third person. Little cute heads still fire purple bullets at you but instead of shooting back at them you jump to defeat them like in Mario. I think I'm stretching the definition of the "Lovely Planet" label to its limits with a third person platformer. Perhaps I ought to drop that name. We'll see about that later.

I like a good reveal with a few screenshots and a teaser trailer, but if I'm unable to deliver that surprise without sacrificing on transparency, then I think it'd be wiser to rethink this strategy. I'm hoping to share more about this game before it's out. Expect more action on this blog and my twitter later this year and early next. Those who are interested can learn more about the game and others don't have to wait around for an eventual announcement. That's a waste of time for everyone. As soon as the game is in a presentable state, I intend on sharing gifs, short gameplay videos and screenshots more frequently than I have in the past. Let's start off with one right now!




I'm extremely excited for it. There's other games on the backburner that I'm looking to try out soon. Part of me wants to experiment with other genres. This one here has kept my attention for some time now. It's had a rocky first few months but now I'm confident about where I'm taking this game. It's still relatively early in development and I hope to finish this sometime next year. We've come a long way. I have reason to believe this might just be the final chapter in the Lovely Planet saga - at least for a while now. And if this chapter is coming to a close, I'd reckon we go out in style.

What do you think?