Monochrome Heights Devlog #9 – Feature Freeze?

I’m making an indie, pixel art, challenging 2D platformer, Monochrome Heights.

I’m in the process of wrapping up a round of playtesting the game that has generally gone well. I went into the playtest thinking I had a feature freeze for the main gameplay portion of the game, however this week I decided to add in a few new elements. I am committed to avoiding scope creep, but a couple of ideas have been eating away at me for weeks if not months. While I feel like the game is already well packed with various types of platforms and hazards that players interact with, or avoid as the case may be, I broke down and spent some time this week adding in a few new additional items.

My initial plan for the week was to move forward with building additional levels, creating the systems that will be the building blocks for the story beats, and polishing, well, everything. However I spent the last couple of days getting a couple of new features up and running. And ultimately I feel good about that decision. 

For some reason, over the last month or so, when I’ve been falling asleep at night, or taking a shower, or driving, a vision of a swinging pendulum keeps coming to mind. It’s not a unique idea, of course, as many platformers and video games have them, but it was an early idea in the design process that I decided not to pursue. Ultimately I gave in this week, and let the idea have its moment. So there are now pendulums in the game. 

A GIF of Happy the Robot standing near a swinging pendulum. IMAGE CREDIT: One Frog Games.

I’d also been thinking about making variants of the sentries. The sentries are robotic hazards in the game that slide back and forth across platforms, patrolling and providing a dangerous obstacle. I thought perhaps there could be upside down ones that patrol the bottom of platforms, or even better, flying ones. That thought has also been nagging me. So I did it. 

A GIF of Happy the Robot standing near a flying sentry. IMAGE CREDIT: One Frog Games.

It only took one day to get these mechanics and some passable art together for them, and another couple days to get them in better shape, and I’m glad I decided to do it. I’ll have to spend a bit more time on them, but I don’t expect it will take too much longer, and I now feel like I have more than enough mechanics, such that I could even cut one or two, which feels like the place I want to be in.

So now I can get back to work on what I originally planned on doing this week: getting the dialogue system, code,  and animations all together for the story segments. Which I’m also pretty excited about, and can’t wait to share more about soon.

If you’re interested in following along in more detail, sign up for the Monochrome Heights mailing list here. You’ll get exclusive access to early demos and additional short updates. Until next time. Thanks for reading! 

Share any thoughts on the game in the comments below or come find me on the Boss Rush Discord.

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