Devlog 2021-03-21

  • Made a liftable block
  • Changed my mind about how some things should be implemented
  • Fixed liftable to fit the new way
  • Angrily stared at some docs and my todo list, a lot

Lifting Blocks

To go along with pushing and pulling things, you can also now lift them, and then put them down.

The “liftable” entities play a quick lifting movement animation, which will eventually be accompanied by an animation from the character, and have the player character lift up their arms, but that’s for later. When the character puts the pot down, it triggers floor switches just like a pushable block.

Changing My Mind

Pretty much immediately after getting liftable entities working, I realized that I wanted to implement them in a different way that is more flexible. There was something more pressing to work on, and they worked! So I decided to move on.

But then, once I actually confronted the next thing to work on (see below), I decided to switch back to it and see how well the different implementation worked, and whether it was a lot of work. If it worked out, then I’d probably want to make the same change for pullable/pushables. And it did work out! I haven’t made the change to pullable/pushable blocks yet, but I will. I decided I needed to stop putting off the bigger decisions I needed to make.


So far I’ve been implementing a lot of stuff that I’d already decided on, or seemed obvious to me – things like how equipment would work, or just basic navigating around a map. I’m starting to run out of the obvious things, and a big core part of the design that I’ve been been putting off is now an impediment to getting more done.

Black Mountain is intended to be the first in a series of games. As such, I’m building as much as I can with an eye toward re-use in the future. I am not making myself build everything I might ever want in Geas, but I am trying to at least work in that direction. Part of what I want is to have a world that’s a little more reactive than your average jRPG; rather than just invisible monsters, things that wait around to have a button clicked at them, and the ability to script some cutscenes, I want the world to have a bit of logic and physics to how the player interacts with it.

This is what’s been driving my attempts to let you maneuver gaps and cliffs naturally, pick things up, push things around, etc. Some of the things I’ve got planned for the bigger picture I have intentionally put off for this game, which is fine, I can fill them in later.

What I need to actually figure out, though, is whether there are items and skills that the player has that they use out “on the field”. Think of tools like the hookshot or the hammer in Zelda; they can be used as weapons, certainly, but they add specific and meaningful ways to traverse and manipulate the world. I don’t have a clear vision for how I want this part to work; either what tools and skills I want available to the player outside of combat, how different characters and equipment play into it, or even whether I even want to deal with them at all. Once I decide that, I can probably figure out a reasonable stripped down version for Black Mountain, but without a strong guiding idea I’ve been floundering a bit trying to figure out how to begin figuring it out.

After a few days, I am making slow progress on the decision, so I’m not completely stuck at least. I’m currently mapping out the choices I have to make, what options I could choose, and working out the implications of said choices. What I decide will end up tightly intertwined with building maps, combats, and the general minute-to-minute tension of the game, so I want to at least come up with something that feels right on paper, even if it has to change later.