When Hades rises up from the underworld, it’s on the player to save everyone’s vacation by defeating evil demons and sending Hades back to where he came from. Fortunately, even Hades was in holiday mood and lost some of his luggage, leaving powerful items for the player to find.
Godly features ranged combat by using a twin-stick mechanic for movement and aim. The player can pick up and exchange armor pieces and projectiles. Items feature various abilities which allow the player to customize their play style.
My main focus in this game project was on level design. Godly uses pre-designed tiles to generate each level, and I was the one who created these tiles. I also created the tutorial level and wrote the first version of the intro cinematic. In addition to this, I came up with the two personas that were used to base our gameplay decisions on, such as the level design and the different abilities for the armor pieces.
Level Design: The Tiles
In the beginning of the game project, the tiles looked like this.
I blocked out several tiles of varying sizes and mapped them together.
This way I could test for the ideal tile size, as the player should have enough room to walk around and fight without getting bored or lost.
Later, the tiles looked like this.
Using preliminary assets, I blocked out more and more tiles.
My goal was to make sure that the player always knew which way to go, even if they went off to explore every nook and cranny.
This is what the tiles looked like before I handed them over to the art team for set-dressing.
I tried to create small, charming gameplay moments which would fit the Greek city environment.
The pictured tile on the left is one tile I’m especially proud of. It has a unique look and offers enough space to fight enemies while also inhabiting a secret, explorable area with a hidden item chest.
Level Design: The Tutorial
Narrative Design: Opening Cinematic
This opener was written during an early stage of the game project and was meant to give my team an idea of how the intro and the start of the game could look like. At this point in time, we were still planning to have a co-op game with two siblings as the main characters, as well as melee combat. Hades was not yet included in the story either. The main story changed later but the gist of the original opener can still be seen in the opener and tutorial that made it into the finished game.
Opener (2D painted cutscene)
Morning, a Greek marketplace with a few shops and stalls, some people walking around
Our two characters (the Twins) strolling around the market
A few streets away: a portal suddenly opens, spirits come through, possess the people walking around and turn them into mythological creatures
Back at the marketplace: people are getting possessed and turned, the Twins watch in surprise and fear
when the spirits come towards them, the spirits stop and move away, for some reason the Twins are not affected
Several mythological creatures start moving towards the Twins, ready to attack
The player/s get/s control of the character/s
UI input: Choose a weapon and defeat the monsters
The player sees several simple weapons lying around (e.g.: a slingshot, a broom, …)
They can pick the weapons up and are free to try them out and exchange them
When the monsters are defeated: Go to the portal and find out where the monsters are coming from
The player has to fight their way to the portal, they then can step through the portal and will be transported to the next area
The portal closes behind them
Game Design: Personas
Tony, 19 years old
Is about to start his engineering studies
Enjoys playing video games and being good at them
When he starts a game, he beats it by using the most effective items to become stronger
Knows which item combination to use for killing specific types of enemies
Shares his game knowledge with his friends and teaches them how to get better
Doesn’t get discouraged by initial failure and sees it as a learning experience
Influence on gameplay:
Item-based game balancing
Monsters with different attacks and weaknesses
Levels get more difficult the further into the game the player progresses
Addie, 25 years old
Works full-time as a streamer
Loves games which let her explore and don’t force her in only one direction
Checks out the whole area in a game before moving on to the next to make sure she doesn’t miss anything
Wears items because she likes the look and isn’t not too concerned with stats
When she plays together with friends, it’s mostly for fun
Influence on gameplay:
Larger levels with hidden items