The Lost Champions
The Lost Champions is a puzzle adventure game, where you take control of three heroes that have specific abilities and must work together to reach the end of the level. It was used as a teaching implement to give students a chance to study and design puzzle based levels. It was inspired by both Captain Toad's Treasure Tracker and The Lost Vikings.
Creator, Designer and Programmer
Scott Morin, VFS students, Bitgem
- Programmed three playerable characters with unique abilities
- Designed, prototyped and implemented 20 level ingredients
- Designed, prototyped and implemented multi state AI including sensing, pathing, combat and patroling
- Taught students on what makes an interesting puzzle
- Assets by the lovely people at Bitgem
The crux of a puzzle game is what level ingredients the player can interact with. I wanted to give my students a lot of choice and possibility when designing their maps, so I tried to create a slew of classic level ingredients commonly seen in 3D puzzle games.
Before diving into the ingredients, it's important to understand the player's abilities. Each champion can move and only use one ability. The knight can attack, the druid can jump, and the wizard can create a vertical or horrizontal shield. It's important to understand how they play before talking about what the ingredients do.I didn't want the focus for the students to be all technical based, so I made the scripting as lightweight as possible so they could focus on the puzzle implement, rather on worrying about how to open a door. All of the ingredients have events and functions that the students can use to implement a puzzle. It's very modular so that level designers can mix and match ingredients to create interesting combinations. For example, holding down a pressure plate can cause an arrow turret to start firing, or it might be used to keep a door open. Evens were also created for enemy deaths, so that they could spawn things like potions and coins from slain enemies.
A lot of ingredients were either based around a single character's ability, or meant to be used to encourage cooperation between the champions. For example, an arrow turret shooting down a narrow corridor might be deadly to the druid and knight, but the wizard can block the arrows while moving and clear the way for the other two. Since the druid is the only one that can jump, maybe a pressure plate is on a platform that only she can reach, so she can let the knight through a door that leads to a blockade of destructible boxes, which only he can destroy.
For more information on the class where this project was taught in, please see the Level Design 4 section of the Vancouver Film School page.
Technical design, and creation of ingredients that level designers can place is one of my favourite responsibilities. I prefer taking as much as a system approach as possible. For example, the orb will switch between two states when damaged. Primarly you'd think that the knight would be the only one to trigger this, but since it's based of any damage, level designers can implement interesting combinations - like luring an enemy attack to trigger the orb, or move an arrow turret so that it's in it's line of fire.
While working on the project, I made a total of twenty ingredients. You can see them pictured above:
- Arrow turret
- Fires out an arrow that deals damage to whatever it first hits
- Can be set to auto fire, single fire, or custom created unique firing patterns
- Attached to moving objects to create a moving/rotating turret
- Can be opened and closed via triggering of other actors (i.e. enemy death, pressure plate down, orb state switched)
- Can be lit on fire
- Destructible Crate
- Bouncy Mushroom
- Health potion
- Crumbling platform
- Moving platform
- Rotating platform
- Pressure plate
- Deadly water
- Ghoul enemy
- Patrol paths