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Game Design Breakdown
Crafting Puzzle-Building Systems: Forging Enigmatic Adventures
Core Loop
Before delving into the topic of puzzles, I'd like to dissect some of the fundamental aspects of Tetragon. The core loop of Tetragon involves identifying the portal that leads to the next level, maneuvering towers, and rotating the world to access this portal. In certain levels, the portal may be concealed, adding an extra layer of challenge by requiring players to solve the mystery of its location.
Tower System
Towers are the fundamental elements in the world of Tetragon. Each edge of this squared world is composed of thirteen towers, totaling fifty-two per level. The primary characteristic of a tower is that it has a minimum and maximum limit of movement. Not all towers are movable, and there are multiple types of them:
  • Basic Tower: All other types extend from this, you can move this tower up and down inside its limits. 
  • Inverse Tower: Two sister towers; when you move one, the other moves in the opposite direction.
  • Timer Towers: After a few seconds, the tower falls to its minimum position.
  • Tick Towers: The tower descends step by step to its minimum position right after you release it.
  • Loose Tower: This tower reacts to the force of gravity in the world.
  • Trigger Tower: You can control the tower using another device on the screen.
  • Elevator Tower: The tower moves upward when you are positioned over it.
World Rotation System
The world-turning mechanic is at the core of the Tetragon game. It took multiple iterations to determine when and how this rotation would occur. Ultimately, the decision was made that the world would turn when the player reaches a specific spot known as the Rotation Totem. The rotation being triggered by interacting with an object is what gave Tetragon its puzzle aspect. As a level designer, my job was to strategically place the rotation tokens in positions where players would need to carefully consider how to reach each totem before reaching the portal. Naturally, not all totems are the same, and a few of them are positioned to challenge and deceive the player.
Character Controls
One of the most significant design decisions at the outset of this project was selecting the appropriate controls. Many people assume that Tetragon was initially developed for consoles and PC in mind, but that isn't accurate. The game was actually designed with a mobile-first approach. However, due to my appreciation for premium content and the challenges associated with selling premium games in the mobile market at that time, I aimed to create controls that could be seamlessly adapted for consoles and PC.
System Design
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