Over the past week I’ve been messing around with PuzzleScript, developing my own little game. And now, its finished! Check it out here: Escape The Dark. In this game you are a little green person trying to escape a cave. Push around rocks, and avoid pits, to reach the light at the end of the tunnel.
After the jump I’ll include a quick rundown of the development process.
While not my first experience with PuzzleScript, this was my first attempt at a full* project with the tool. In the past I’ve messed around with it to create sokoban puzzles, but when the time came to make a more fleshed out game I went with GameMaker Studio.
*That said, its still a very short game
For this one I wanted to change the goal from pushing boxes onto target squares, and simplify it to just placing your character on an exit. I’d keep in the box pushing aspect, but treat it more like obstacle than goal.
Beyond just rocks being in the way I needed another obstacle. I wanted to evoke a very lonely feeling with the game, so I didn’t want to add enemies. I also wanted it to be very static and still. For a stationary obstacle I decided on a pit. This was fairly difficult to depict with the limited graphics, so I hope it reads as a hole.This did let me add one of my favorite elements, placing rocks into pits to create more walk able floors. This would also lead to my favorite element later in the game.
For visuals I wanted it to be dark and kinda spooky, but my initial attempts were mostly just hard to look at. Towards the end of development I decided to switch up to ZX Spectrum, inspired look. This made the game much, much easier to look at, and to me conveys the theme better as well. PuzzleScript’s visuals are limited, but easy to modify. This shift didn’t take too long to find something satisfying.
At this point I’m pretty happy with the game, but I wanted to include an additional mechanic that would also convey a bit of fantasy themeing. While looking through example projects in the PuzzleScript editor, I really liked the Neko Puzzle, teleportation mechanic. By messing around with the code of that game, I was able to create a similar teleportation mechanic. The primary differences being that you can still move normally, and teleporting doesn’t destroy the target.
Lastly I wanted to integrate teleporters with my main mechanic of putting rocks in holes. I added another type of rock called crystal. When these are placed into holes they create a teleporter square instead of floor. This opened up a lot of interesting puzzle opportunities, which I don’t think I’ve fully explored yet. But, I got so excited by the few I created that I felt the need to get the game out sooner.
Overall I’m really happy with this game. Initially I figured it would just be a little lark, and nothing I’d be too excited about. But I’m really happy with the way all of the elements came together and think its really interesting. Because I feel like there are more possibilities to explore with the mechanics I may spend more time on creating an expanded sequel in the near future.
Please let me know if you’ve played the game and what you think of it.