In 2019 I joined forces with Monkeystack to bring my personal project Trailblazer to the next level. It has changed a lot since that time, going from a twitchy platform game to a cerebral puzzler about directing beams of living energy. In Trailblazer, these beams manifest both a power source and a message, and it is the player’s mission to discover which is which.
The three core components to Trailblazer’s puzzles;
A Signal drawn from a Pool, being projected by a Relay.
In Trailblazer, the Signal vfx are more than just a way to make the gameplay look cool – they are a fundamental part of the puzzle design. How they look, behave, and react to player input needed to be absolutely clear, snappy, and dynamic. More than that – they also had to run at sixty frames per second.
The greatest challenge this project faced was getting the Signal mechanic to be as dynamic as possible without tanking the framerate. It took a lot of experimentation, and I got close several times before hitting an insurmountable blocker, throwing it all out, and starting again with what I’d learned. It took a long time, and a lot of prototypes, but I am really proud of what I’ve achieved.
Of course, there’s nothing stopping this solution from having some kind of deal-breaker I’ve not foreseen either…
Time will tell!