Spelldown 2020

No, before you ask, No… I haven’t finished this game in whatever incarnation you last met it. And I hoped that 2020 would be the year that I would put this to bed; but apparently not, maybe 2021 is?

The last time I wrote about spelldown was when I was doing a round up of all my previous forays into word games and basically my love for them. Since I am here talking about yet another incarnation of the game, I’m sure you would’ve guessed that the last one did not see the light of day either.

SpellDown! Gameplay – May 21, 2017

I was working on smaller games and trying to finish them and that has been a struggle throughout my personal gamedev career and something I am still fighting with. It is very demoralizing and depressing to see all these ideas partly done and not out there in any form.

Spelldown 2020

I would not have gone back to this project if it wasn’t for someone telling me that the previous incarnation of this project was worth investigating again; especially the fast paced game and combat. It is weird how even one person having a bit of faith in your work can reignite what you’ve thought was done for.

SpellDown 2020 in its new incarnation, with mysterious ???

A lot of things remain the same, but a lot of things have changed. I reverted back to the crossword type of a setup because I’ve always thought it was a bit unique and I really wanted to figure out a way to have gameplay implications for how it is laid out. Now, the word gird itself is a dungeon that you crawl and explore by playing words. You can unlock tiles marked by the ??? by playing a word on them. Your goal is to explore, collect items, avoid monsters and find the exit. Each room will be procedurally generated, so now two runs will be the same.

If I find time, there will be a secondary set of mechanics that act as a minigame for when you encounter enemies. The enemy encounter mini game is sort of where I’ve hit a brick wall. Trying to design a minigame that does not stand out as a completely separate experience and has some connection to your actions/results in the main game is somewhat a struggle. I did paper prototype a tiny card game, now to see if that can work in the game!

From Flash, to JavaScript, to GameMaker Studio and now to Unity. It has been a learning experience to say the least 🙂 I think I may have found a home in Unity for now after all that jumping around. The only other thing that is probably positive is that I was able to perfect the level generation through all these iterations.

I hope the next time I write about Spelldown, it hopefully will be a drastically positive one. Till then, stay frosty!