Razorlocks Update – Introducing Doublelocks and Race Mode!
Welp…time sure flies doesn’t it? Approximately 16 months after the previous update I finally have something new to share for Razorlocks.
First up, a new race challenge mode, initiated by talking to a character you encounter and partaking in a race through a series of checkpoints. The first character you get to race against is Doublelocks! She has TWO braids instead of one and will be unlockable in the game, probably by beating it. For the sake of avoiding scope creep, her moveset is identical to Razorlocks aside from being able to grapple and spin at the same time. Hopefully she’s a good sport if you beat her…
Races support multiple opponents and are planned to be this game’s version of bosses/minibosses. Racing generally fits the gameplay much better than combat and I plan to redesign the current enemies to be more akin to “level obstacles.” Currently the enemies just crop up from the ground and move straight towards you and are easily knocked off the map and I think more traditional platformer enemies would make the levels feel more lively and interesting (as in, moving on a preset path and visible from the start).
The new race mode is playable in the latest (and hopefully last) pre-alpha build. The hub and a previously shown level (the one with the rolling cubes) are now available to play as well, but all of the levels currently made (except the hub) will be scrapped because I think they are too basic and lack a sense of having a theme. I’ve had a lot of time to think about the world of the game and I want to build levels that actually feel like locations: places with a purpose and a few characters here and there. Of course these levels will still be pretty small, maybe slightly bigger than the current ones. There’s a good chance once I start building these levels it will hit me that I’m biting off more than I can chew…again. I would like this game to come out before 2030 after all.
In general I want the new levels to be less linear, say where your helicopter (hence the helipads in the hub level) lands in the starting spot and you can run around and hit points of interest. These could be 2 or 3 checkpoints you have to hit in any order for the basic level completion requirement. As you make your way through these checkpoints you can run into maybe 2 or 3 characters that can engage you in a side activity like a race or delivery type mission. Basically things that encourage you to use your abilities in interesting ways and interact with things. The game just needs more stuff you can hit with your blades or dash into, even something as simple as a switch that rotates a platform. Or maybe a physical object you have to hit to move to a certain location.
Most side activities will boil down to “race this person” or “collect these things” or “take this thing over here” as is the case in most 3D platformers, but hopefully I can add some amusing story window dressing to give it more meaning. Earlier in the development of the game I thought it would just be a “pure gameplay” kind of experience where you just run and jump on platforms floating in a void and maybe do some time trials. Adding some kind of world building and interactions with characters should make the experience more memorable and pleasant even if it’s superficial.
Within each level I want to have 1 or 2 hidden sublevels which will be more like the ones currently in the pre-alpha build: just basic platforming-focused linear levels without any fluff. Think like the level structure in Super Mario Odyssey with the cap doors leading to isolated challenge levels away from the main kingdoms. These sublevels will be very basic visually in order to be practical for me to build. I think 20 main levels is a good number to shoot for, but realistically the game will probably end up with 10 or so. 10 non-linear levels each with 2 linear sublevels and 2 or 3 side activities seems doable over the course of a few years…maybe. This will likely be a short game.
I want both the main and sub levels to support time trials, and I’m still keeping ease of speedrunning in mind so conversations will be skippable and RNG will be minimal. The non-linearity could make things interesting in that regard.
If I can be clever with how levels are constructed and design the core gameplay elements to be scalable I think I can pull this off. A lot of the work I’ve done on the conversation and race modes lends itself to easily adding more of these scenarios. The art style is kept simple enough that adding new characters isn’t too much work either.
Sharing is Caring
I’ve really got to get better about actually sharing the stuff I’ve been working on. My big mistake over the past year has been wanting to show off everything in a big reveal instead of as things are developed. For instance, Doublelocks was playable in the game in January last year, fully modeled and rigged and hooked up to particles, animations, etc. (she still needs her own animation clips though). The race mode was functional in June and the conversation mode was working in August. Since then I’ve been doing general polishing and bug fixes.
I’ve also been fiddling with music for the game over the past few years. Even though the songs are unfinished I’ve decided to release a video with just over 20 minutes of work-in-progress tracks, pretty much all written in the past 1.5 years since I keep improving and the older stuff is mediocre. Of course I don’t have any levels to match these tracks so some might get thrown out, but we’ll see.
The long term plan for launching this game is to create a polished demo for Steam with two full levels and the hub at the quality expected of the final game. Then from there I’ll gain feedback and continue building the rest of the game while accumulating wish lists. There may even be a small soft-launch period through early access for the sake of testing and bug fixing since there’s only so much testing I can do alone. Or maybe I could do early access sooner since this game is taking so long to make, but I would prefer not to.
Last and least, to improve gameplay fluidity, diving can now be canceled by spinning or grappling. There is also a new setting for automatic camera rotation which may be useful for players using controllers (more parameters will be available later). I plan to experiment with adding some kind of aiming reticle for the grapple as well (maybe hold the button to show it, then release to launch).
That was quite a dump of info, but more frequent updates would create more digestible blog posts. If you have read this far, thanks and I hope you enjoy the game when it finally releases.