Finding the Fun - The Beginning

You'd think that after making RUNNER and Runner2, we'd already know exactly what to do to make Runner3 the powerful jab jab that it deserves to be.

We've been making frantic and fun sidescrolling auto-running games since before the genre even existed. We've got RUNNER, Runner2, all the retro levels in those games, and the addictive free-to-play Go! Go! CommanderVideo behind us.

So, slam dunk, right?

Well... as my incredibly handsome and pleasantly aromatic business partner Mike Roush pointed out in his most recent post, we're not content with just making a bigger/better sidescrolling auto-runner. We are plagued by always wanting to try something new. It's in our delicious essence. With the original BIT.TRIP series, each game was a distinct genre, with a wholly new gameplay style (except, arguably FLUX). And after Runner2, we went on to make Tharsis and Laserlife as well as several other smaller projects in our quest for new challenges. 

So for Mike and I, making sequels is somewhat problematic, which he talked about last week. 

And that's why we spent the first couple months of development prototyping a level that had the beginnings of each new feature we wanted to fart around with.

We started by playing a lot of Runner2 and drawing what we wanted our Runner3 prototype to be on a giant ream of paper in our war room.

Like any prototype, you find some things that work well, and others that are best left to the cutting room floor. 

Here's some of what we learned:

What tickled our funglands:

  • Changing CommanderVideo's speed
  • Interesting use of camera animations
  • Riding vehicles in frantic, short bursts
  • Runner2-style gameplay
  • Changing the music tempo
  • A few multiple paths

What gave us mind-herpes:

  • Drastic camera animations
  • Long over-the-shoulder gameplay sections
  • Long vehicle sections
  • Super long levels
  • Lots of multiple paths

By focusing on what we liked from the prototype, we've moved on to actually making the game. Hopefully the new sauce will be special enough and will keep the series as fresh as those ridiculous Garden Sausages we all know so well.

It's going to be a wild ride, and if you follow this devlog, you'll be along for a good part of it.