Untethered | GuildEd

Development Info

Role: Lead Level Designer

  • Team Size: 5
  • Genre: Side Scrolling Platformer
  • Engine: GuildEd
  • Development Time: 3 months

Game Info

  • Gravity shifting mechanic that allows players to run on floors or ceilings
  • 7 Levels of gameplay
  • Achievements
  • High Scores
  • Checkpoints

 

Game Summary

Untethered is a gravity-shifting, two-dimensional side-scrolling platform game that forces the player to think, literally, in new directions. Drehen, an engineer sent to the blacked out space station, Torque, is tasked to investigate the power outage and repair the station. He must look at problems in a unique way, due to the shifts in gravity, to solve the puzzles presented to him.

 

Contributions

  • Created multiple levels with gravity puzzles
  • Concepted game/mechanic
  • Assisted in creation of storyline
  • Assisted in game balance/user testing

Goals

  • Create a fun, unique, platformer
  • Make players think in new ways
  • Have fun while creating something we all enjoy playing

 


Level Design on Untethered

Untethered was a blast to work on, and was the first game I'd been a part of from scratch.  Creating a sidescrolling level was something very new to me, and made me draw from my gaming roots as I created jumping puzzles for it.  The unique thing about Untethered was the necessity to create jumping puzzles on -two- sides of the map: the floor and the ceiling.  I enjoyed drawing out these sometimes inverted jumping puzzles and fine tuning them felt amazing when they clicked.

After a few playtests, we noticed that players were using the gravity inversion mechanic to float through obstacles by rapidly pressing it and ensuring they never fell.  Instead of trying to dissuade the player from this tactic, we incorporated it into our mechanics and ended up making half of our levels feature it.  That was a fun lesson, and even our playtesters found it challenging and fun.

As an easter egg/joke, I put a series of numbers in a datalog in one of the earlier levels.  These numbers were from a fortune cookie that I had from lunch that day.  Almost every single playtester committed as many of those numbers to memory as possible before moving on.  I then learned that if an LD puts something in the map, it'd better be worth it.


Lessons Learned

  • Don't do the bare minimum, but also don't burn yourself out
  • If you put something specific in a map, it'd better be actually important
  • You don't necessarily have to corral your players if they find something new, you can use that and make your level more fun
  • Always be prepared to think outside of, or even underneath the box when looking for puzzles