Evolution of our game

As a training exercise for new staff, we often start them off by working on a game we are developing. The game is based on an 80’s classic called Roland in the Caves. The idea is that the player falls into a cave, and must escape by jumping on series of ledges, all whilst being hunted by a pterodactyl. This game was chosen because it’s a very simple concept with a tremendous amount of potential.

Screenshot of the original game

In previous blog posts you can read about how we made the player and bird movement. At this stage, it was only a proof of concept prototype to help give us an idea of some of the problems we might face, how the player should move, and get a feel of how much fun the game is to play.

Next we started to design a more realistic cave in Blender. Just for fun we added some bridges to see how that may improve game-play.

Our initial concept render of the cave with basic lighting.

From this model we’ve produced a render of the cave. There are ledges, and there is also a nice sense of depth which we feel was the intention of the original game. Just like the original, we hope to be hiding some very scary monsters in the background!

A view of the cave giving an example of depth

To add a Cornish element to the game, we’ve given Roland a miners helmet. The video below shows a very basic model of Roland moving around the cave with his headlamp illuminated. Our aim is to give him the ability to switch it off for when he wants to hide.

A short video showing Roland jumping onto ledges

Fundamentally the game is about Roland falling into a cave and having to escape. Here is a prototype of Roland falling into the cave.

Here we’ve modelled the cave entrance, and it looks good but it opens up a hole in the story that Roland falls into the cave already wearing a lit miners helmet.

It might make more sense if Roland were to find the miners helmet after falling into the cave!

Here is a short clip of Roland finally escaping the cave. At this point the level is completed and the player can progress onto the next level which of course, will be more challenging.

It highlights that we need to think about how to show Roland celebrating escaping the cave.

And finally a render of Roland running in the cave, with the bird in his sights, and about to attack!

An updated version of Roland running in the cave

In the next blog post we will be pulling it all together for the first version of a working game.