As the Stacktus team gets further along in our prototype development. With more features, mechanics, art, and levels taking shape, it helps to step back and look at the overall game, the big picture, and the experience we have built.
How do we organize all these parts, from tiny sprites to massive scripts? And how do we make sure that these decisions mean something?
As with most things, logic is a solid start. Whatever logic we apply has to come from somewhere so our first step is building a narrative for our world. In Stacktus you inhabit a dessert world, where cacti and watermelons are the major commodities. So common are they that they grow pretty much anywhere.
That little narrative bit (not exactly our game, but fairly close) informs how we design scenery: slippery spots should be watermelon juice. Justify mechanics: Ballons and creates drop Cacti because you are in a port that ships cacti. And informs our narrative progression: the players begin in a desert valley, near the ocean, and progress up the nearby mountain range.
This story does not matter overtly to the player, but it gives us as developers and designers a way to build or world so that the player is immersed, and can flow from one battle to the next without wondering ‘why do the tanks shoot cacti for wheels’.