Play with inaccuracy

In this game design article, I present the creative process of the platformer "Fragments". This game was created during the Megajam 2018 on the theme "Reality is often inaccurate".
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A concept based on a perspectivist approach of reality

The game’s concept is based on a perspectivist approach of reality. In few words, everyone’s reality would be fragmented and incomplete, hence its inaccuracy if we only refer to only one perspective. To access the “true” reality, one would have to cross the perspectives. The classic illustration is that of a cube subjected to observation. If each face was associated with a color, it would be necessary to multiply the perspectives to be able to apprehend it in its entirety and thus to accede to its alleged reality.
I do not really adhere to this approach of reality because it neglects the perception bias but following this idea allowed me to explore an interesting game mechanics.

A 2D platform game that offers the player to alternate between two incomplete realities

The game is a 2D platformer that offers the player to alternate between two incomplete realities (A and B). Some platforms do not exist in reality A but appear in reality B and vice versa. The “true” reality is the one where platforms are apparent in both realities. Thus, if the player only took into account one reality, he would be faced with “inaccurate” informations.
In reality A (Left image), if the player continues to move left, he will fall into the void because in the reality B (Right image), as you can see, there is actually a hole.

It’s vicious but it was the idea of ​​my teammate and we were both committed to respect the theme.
This game mechanic invites the player to be cautious in his movements to retrieve the orb placed in the level and bring it to the portal to the next level.

Obstacles that modify the environment

To complicate his progress towards the seventh and last level, I created three types of obstacles in the form of clouds pouring rain on the player. At each collision with a raindrop, the player’s environment is changed for one second. The idea of ​​these obstacles was to bring into the game some characteristics of reality and to experience its inaccuracy.
Why clouds? Because it had to come from the sky and maybe because people who had a walk in the city on a rainy day in the cold with wet socks know how much a rainy cloud can change our perception of reality.

The rain of the first cloud alternates and imposes the reality of the player.
The rain of the second cloud changes the angle of the platforms randomly in a given range of angles. The idea was to illustrate the wobbly aspect that reality can adopt. The rain of the last cloud creates zooms on the player preventing him from seeing the reality as a whole.

Conclusion – Is it fun ?

Our appropriation of the theme “Reality is often inaccurate” gave birth to a platform / puzzle game based on the inaccuracy of informations given by the environment to the player. This game is more an experience that fits the theme than a game concept able to entertain the player for a long run. Indeed, this game mechanics is quite frustrating. Moreover, the art doesn’t help the player because it’s hard to see where the “safe” platforms are located. Maybe with tiles with precise delimentations, it would have been better. So the fun relies on the short experience to test a game mechanic that you won’t see in any other game because it’s too frustrating

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