Magic Castle - The Immortal Caleb Child
 

You can also check out more information on my company site: Eight Ball Gaming

About the Project

Welcome to my project page for my Side-Scrolling Platformer Game-In-Development!

This is a game named Solius: The Magic Castle.  In the game you play as a knight inside a magic castle filled with monsters and demons.  Inside the castle there are magic doors that take you to all sorts of different places and environments.  As the player you must venture through the castle to defeat all the evil forces that have taken residence there, along the way collecting powerful items that will aid you in this endeavor.

I have been carefully studying several classic games to understand exactly what makes them fun.  Too many platformers built in 3D just did not properly establish the basic gameplay to match the quality found in the classic sprite-based games, and I intend to succeed where they have failed.

The game is being built using the awesome power of the Unity Engine, (though originally it was designed with UDK.)  I intend to release this game on Steam and GOG, and if it becomes successful enough I will have it ported to consoles and translated into other languages.

This project is my primary focus at this time, but it is worth noting that I had been working in tandem with developing a secondary project: ZC-351.  During the initial development, when I run into road blocks with developing Magic Castle I turned to ZC-351 and worked on it a little.  This method has actually proved very successful as I have often found solutions to my problems while working there.  Now that the game's code is laid out, however, development is focused entirely on Magic Castle.

Game Info

As I had stated, the game is a side-scrolling platformer.

Some of what I have been carefully studying as examples of what I want:

Progression

The player will progress through the castle in stages, opening up new areas with new rooms with new levels, eventually progressing far enough to open a new section of the castle.  Think along the lines of Super Mario 64.

The player will also be able to collect pieces of a magic set of armor.  These will grant the player new abilities such as being able to double-jump and giving the player increased attack strength.  It is quite likely that these will be needed to complete the game.  There are six pieces in all.

Gameplay and Combat

One of the major problems with most 3D rendered side-scrollers is that the basic control elements are centered around a 3D world.  For example, when a player walks forward they have acceleration and when they turn around there is an animation for them turning.  These things slow down the basic gameplay and were not found in classic sprite-based games.  Well, Mario has acceleration but this was actually used as part of the gameplay, since you needed to gain speed so you could run fast enough for certain moves.  But the games I am using for the basis of my gameplay did not use such elements, and I have carefully crafted by game's input and gameplay to match the nuances in controls that established many of the great classics.

Playing as a knight your weapon will be a sword, and the game is designed around such short-range combat.  However I have noticed that every game that plays as such will also include some form of ranged combat, although it comes with some sort of limitation, typically a limited quantity of ammunition.  So I will make likewise such an addition to this game, and give the player a selection of sub-weapons that can be used, as well as magic attacks.

Artistic Style

Another common problem with 3D rendered side-scrollers is tha tthe 3D environments clash with the 2D gameplay. Many times the envornments and perspective have an innefable effect on how we interprit the world, and I find that having actual planar worlds makes the gameplay better. So, the game will built with flat 2D characters on a 2D playing field, so as to best match the higher quality of gameplay. Nevertheless, the game is using a 3D engine so that 3D elements can be tastefully included where they do not detract fromt he gameplay. (Like the original Symphony of the Night.)

I was originally planning on using a hand-drawn art style with color-pencil coloring. However, early tests showed this to look like crap. At current I am avaluating two plans for an artistic style. One is to pursue an exact replica of SNES capabilities; a pixelated look built to the exact restrictions of a Super Nintendo game. The other is to adapt my original hand-drawn idea into a more painted or traditional look.

Development

Follow details of the game's development progress on the development log page, which lists regular updates to the project's progression.  Other particular issues, challenges, and milestones are described in this section.

Basic Gameplay

I've got the basic gameplay completed.  The player moves instantly with the player input, and moves at the same speed in the air as on the ground.  The player also falls quicker to match how the classic games control.

Special Terrain

A variety of special terrains can exist in the game that effect the player.
Rough Terrain:  This will slow the player down and hurt them if they land on it.  It is working.
Ice:  Classic ice behavior where it takes time to change your velocity.  Still under development.
Mud:  Quicksand-like behavior that causes the player to sink.  Still under development.
Hot Coals:  Stepping on these causes the player to run uncontrollably.  Still under development.
Water:  The player is too heavy to float or swim, but the can still move slowly and jump high.  It is working.

Combat Elements

The player can attack with a sword, as well as an assortment of sub-weapons.  (Sub-weapon system is still under development.)  At a certain point in the game the player will gain the ability to use magic spells as well.  The player can obtain a shield which will reduce damage when crouching, and even deflect some projectiles.

When the player is hurt, there is a "knock-back" system which knocks the player backwards.  The strength of the attack will effect how far back the player is knocked, ranging from not moving anywhere, to pushed back a little, to knocked into the air, to being thrown into the air and landing on his back.

Test versions, Betas, and Demos