I sat down to write a promised post on the generative rhythm feature I’ve been working on, but realized I’ve been mentioning features of COZ without elaborating much on the game itself. If you’ve watched the Alpha Playground 1 video, or had the opportunity to play AP1 yourself, you’ll know that there are grappling hooks, energy beams, thrusting, and flashy lights. But there is more 🙂
At it’s heart, COZ really is a platformer, but one built around a simulation. Players will need to thrust and grapple their way around the world to reach objectives. Those objectives are going to vary from moment to moment, based on the behaviors of the player and of the world’s AI inhabitants.
CITS AND BUMMERS
Cits (short for “Citizens,” because 3 syllables is two too many) are peaceful and want only to work and dance. A Bummer’s only motivation, its reason to get out of bed in the morning (assuming they sleep.. they might not.. this isn’t a deep mythology I’m developing here) is its unwavering hatred of the Cits and their loathsome work and dancing.
Cits grow on trees. They incubate in their Cit Shells until someone properly equipped cracks their shell. They’ll always find work to do, unless they are feeling drained of happiness. They may find a nice spot to have a dance in, replenishing their joy. Bummers are birthed from the belly of massive airships, sent to Cit worlds to purge them of happiness. Bummers will drain the joy right out of any Cit they can find. They can also drain the supply of machinery that runs on happiness, as all machines on these worlds tend to.
Cits can’t defend themselves from attack, although they’ve got technology in their possession which can save them, if someone can manage to get it all working.
Coz was built by Cits to defend their homes during Bummer invasions. Coz’s Energy Thwappers (or “Whappers,” whichever is sillier, I haven’t decided) are powerful enough to destroy a bummer with a decisive swipe. His grapplers (or her grapplers, your call) can quickly whisk a Cit to safety. Permanent Bummer repulsion requires more than the odd rescue. Powerful Cit technologies, capable of destroying the Bummer-spawning airships, can be wielded by Coz, if he can managed to get them sufficiently charged. They run on happiness and love, of course. Coz will need to wire these devices to charging stations around the map. When wired up, Cits can go to work on at a charging station, working the joy out of themselves and into the devices. Coz will also have to connect these charging nodes to a number of power sources around the world.
And that’s the broad view of the game :-). All of the features I’ve described exist and are functional to one degree or another. I really want the player to have options when deciding how to tackle the game. There is some complexity beyond what I’ve laid out above, but many of those finer details are changing as I experiment with them. My first goal for the game was to nail down the grappling gameplay and make sure getting around was challenging and fun at once. My next goal, and what I’m starting to focus on, is to keep the player constantly engaged while still allowing them freedom to order their objectives as they see fit. As it stands, Coz has to harvest new Cits, rescue existing ones, wire up the map and assault Airships whenever the opportunity presents itself. There may be more challenges ahead for him, but that’s the life of Coz as it exists today.