Grave Danger: Development Insights by Cody Anderson

11 January 2017 by Cody

Hey I'm Cody and I am one of the developers that worked on Grave Danger, I was primarily involved in level design in the development process.

Check out my site here.

Anyways, upward and onward! These are some of my thoughts on how the game ended up being what it is today.

The levels in Grave Danger changed as the art style and feeling of the game evolved, I went in knowing that we wanted a puzzle game, but also with some action thrown in here and there. The biggest struggle was to combine these elements when you have three characters on screen. How do I keep it actiony without being unfair to the unattended characters?

We addressed this issue by making death not a huge punishment with grave sites and by how enemies spawned. Once you reach a grave you can die and respawn within a few seconds, or in a relatively timely manner. This made death a little less scary allowing for more experimentation. This also allowed the player to explore the area in ghost form, before respawning, without the threat of hazards getting in the way. Scouting out the surrounding area became part of the strategy, showing you where enemies may be hiding and revealing where puzzle elements were located.

Through trial and error, we refined how enemies spawned, making it more appropriate for the type of gameplay we wanted. For example enemies will not spawn if a character is within a reasonable range. Using this you could clear out and area, then leave one or more of your characters there knowing they were safe for the time being. I feel the game became something really special because of the combination of the action and puzzle elements.

One more note on the enemies, with the exception of "Little Guy", our in studio name for a jumping robot enemy, the enemies are not very aggressive. They are dangerous and give more difficulty to the game, but making them less aggressive allows the player to get all characters away without being overwhelmed. This is necessary when having three characters all controlled by one person on the screen.

I will be posting more thoughts on the game and some behind the scenes content for Grave Danger in upcoming blog posts so stay tuned! Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter and if you have any questions or feedback feel free to leave a comment below.

You, yes you. Have a great day.


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