Pandora’s Run (2D Platformer • GameMaker)
Pandora’s Run is a 2D platformer set in Ancient Greece. The Roman Empire has invaded Greece, defeating her armies and enslaving her people. The story follows Alexandra, a Greek teenager living with her mother and brother as slaves to the Romans. The Greek slaves however, have a chance at winning their freedom through a race known as Pandora’s Run. But this race is not for the feint of heart. Occurring only every four years, contestants are put through treacherous courses pursued by the most dangerous creatures in Greek Mythology. From the Temple of the Minotaur, to the steps of Mount Olympus, Alexandra must survive till the end to win her family’s freedom. Fail to do so, and it is her life at stake. This is the Ancient World’s most dangerous race. This is Pandora’s Run.ForCMPS 80K: Foundations of Interactive Game Design RoleProgrammer • Artist • Designer Date04/2014-06/2014 EngineGameMaker Studio GraphicsPixelmator Team Size2
Pandora’s Run Gameplay and Design video, with commentary by me!
Our main character, Alexandra. I wanted to create a game with a female lead, showing how a young girl with all the heart and bravery in the world, could lay it all the line for the people she loves.
Alexandra Run Animation
Boxes are grouped into 4's starting from top 4 boxes on left, then top 4 boxes on right, all the way to the bottom. As a designer, artist, and storyteller, storyboarding was a tool I used to present a desired play-through of the game. Using primarily digitally drawn art, the storyboard presents the game flow from start menu, to a level completion, revealing: gameplay mechanics, level design, and story elements.
Here are some of the various obstacles in the game. Some obstacles when placed accordingly, can be very difficult to traverse. Some desired player movements I wanted to see were influenced by runner doing hurdles in track and field, as well as watching American NInja Warrior and how obstacles were placed for contestants to run and jump across.
Minotaur Character Bio
Level 1: Temple of the Minotaur. Our first level introduces us to the Minotaur. The level is only ground floor, with no accession. There are barricades to jump and fallen columns to navigate, all while being chased by the Minotaur. During playtesting, 90% of players were able to complete the level on the first go. This was desired since we only wanted to introduce the mechanics to player. Estimated playthrough is roughly 35-40 seconds.
Undead Trojan Character Bio
Level 2: Ruins of Troy. Our second level bring in an undead trojan. This level is much more difficult, as there are two levels to the game, a ground floor and top floor. The ground floor has obstacles tweaked to certain heights where the execution of a jump is less forgiving than the first level. The jump must be timed accurately to successful cross the obstacles or jump the column. The first half received a 40% pass rate on the first try, a 70% pass rate on the second try, and an 90% pass rate on the third try. Results that were desired into amping up the difficulty but not making it impossible. As for the second half, players are introduced to a new mechanic, wall-jumping. 95% of players die at the first wall-jump since it is their first time engaging in the mechanic and understanding the button execution. After the wall-jump it is smooth sailing with 95% of players reaching the end on the first try. Estimated playthrough is roughly 55-65 seconds.
Cyclops Character Bio
Level 3: Stairs of Mount Olympus. The third and final level, players are being chased by an enormous cyclops. What makes this level different than the rest is it’s massive scale, as players climb the stairs of Mount Olympus. If the players get caught at any moment, they must restart from the beginning of the level. From playtesting, the entirety of the level received a passing rate of 55%. At the 4th playthrough the passing rate jumps to 95%. Overall, this level tests the accuracy of mechanic execution, and the resolve of the player to keep playing till the end of the final level. The reason for a level that ascends as such relates to story-telling and giving the players a sense of reaching a finish line, and reaching the end. That at the top of the mountain they will have completed the game. It also adds to the unique background elements and their relation to the foreground when climbing the stairs. Estimated playthrough is roughly 70-80 seconds.
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