Final Post





What Worked

  1. Fast-paced, random gameplay
  2. Checkpoints
  3. Controls (for some)
  4. Simple graphics
  5. Addictiveness

What Didn’t Work

  1. Power-ups/Power-downs
  2. Predetermined block formations
  3. Controls (for some)
  4. Random block falling (sometimes)

Biggest Challenges

  1. Mouse control
  2. Checkpoints
  3. Death feedback
  4. Movement tweaking

What We Learned

These things are hard:
  1. Good controls
  2. Good movement
  3. Pleasing everyone
These things are easy:
  1. Updates that make the game worse
  2. Adding useless features


Game Plan Recap

Our original goals was to create a game in which the player was escaping from the rising lava using quick movements and timely maneuvers to reach as high as possible. Overall, this goal was accomplished, creating a compelling play experience and achieving the game feel that we originally aimed for.

Discussion of Feature Set Targets


  • Jumping over blocks to avoid lava below

  • Scoring system to create addictive feel

  • Basic graphics

  • A power-up for jumping higher

We were able to accomplish all of our low-bar feature set targets. In particular the scoring system was very effective in creating the addictive feel that we wanted. In many of the play-tests, gamers would keep playing until someone was waiting for them because they wanted to beat the current high score so badly. One change that we made to the final build was removing power-ups. We fully implemented them in earlier renditions of the game, but ultimately decided that they did not contribute to the overall game feel and were more of a distraction than a high quality feature.


  • Block speed varies in challenging, but manageable way

  • High score leaderboard

  • Fancy animations for actions like jumping, wall jumping, lava death, squish death

  • Several power-ups for higher jumping, temporary invincibility, etc

  • Several power-downs for lower jumping, slower movement, etc

  • 5 second replay for how you died

  • Checkpoint block

As mentioned in the low-bar section, we implemented the power-ups, but ultimately removed them for the final build. The intelligence of block movements improved drastically throughout our different builds and when the checkpoint block was implemented, that helped alleviate the issue of blocks not stacking as fast as the lava. We eventually decided to vary the speed relative to how far the player had advanced above the lava. This helps keep the game challenging while allowing struggling players more opportunity to learn. We eventually decided that the high score leaderboard and 5 second replay were not necessary for the game.


  • Block size and spawn location vary in challenging, but manageable way

  • Local multiplayer to compete for score, survival time

  • Advanced models for player and blocks

  • Many power-ups, including one for controlling block positioning

As discussed earlier, we improved the block size and spawning over each iteration of the game. We did not implement the local multiplayer. We did add walls outside of the lava pool. This improved the sense of depth in the game and created a visual cue for showing the player how quickly the lava was rising. We also added some polish features that weren’t discussed in our original design document like sound effects/background music and a title screen.

Discussion of Playtesting Feedback

Feedback Notes

  • Use WASD

  • Checkpoints

  • Death animations

  • Improve polish

  • Give sense of height

  • Try to chain wall jumps

  • Tighten controls/feels too floaty

  • Mouse control of camera

  • Don’t click for camera

Many of the feedback items were features that were in our original design document, but had not yet been implemented. We eventually implemented all of these features. The feedback also helped us realize that some of our planned features weren’t actually necessary/desired, like replays or a scoring leaderboard. Our playtesting helped us discover the need for walls to help the player understand how quickly the lava was rising. We also realized the potential for a great game moment if we could make it easier for players to do double wall jumps as the blocks were falling. This led us to tightening down the controls and improving camera control. Several people requested control of the camera and the ability as strafe as this is more analogous to typical PC gaming. We were able to implement this feature, but then received complaints in later playtests when we required a mouse button hold for camera control. We fixed this issue in our final build.


What We Would Change

Since we already had a working version of the game before we wrote the design doc, it might have been smart to do some basic playtesting to ask for feature suggestions. Then we might not have wasted time with power-ups that didn’t contribute much to the game, and instead spent our time adding more valuable features like level variety or just improving the tightness of the controls. One complaint in playtesting that was never thoroughly addressed was an issue with perceiving depth. Perhaps if we’d had more time, we would have added a more complex character model or changed the camera angle to alleviate that issue. Overall, we were very satisfied with our process for developing the game and how the final product turned out.

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