Warped Times is 2D platformer adventure combining the worlds of sci-fi and fantasy. Born in a dystopian world, you will discover the secrets of the magic stone which provides life and death to whole civilizations. Experience the fight between good and evil in two parallel worlds that blend time and space itself.
On your journey you will visit many different environments with unique colorful levels, but you will also face their dark variants from a different timeline, where you will search for lost pieces of the magic stone. Your adventure will be accompanied by various puzzle minigames, boss levels and hidden challenges.
The game is inspired by our old game series Warped Times, which includes four games we released in 2009 - 2015. However, the new Warped Times offers a whole new story, graphic style and concept. We can't estimate the release date yet, but we'll be happy to share any progress in development.
Recently, I finished designing the village, which has been the most difficult and complex level in the game so far. As I tried to write a short post about it, I realized how interesting the village's development was, and I felt I could write much more about it. So, I wanted to share this personal goal with you and create a more specific devlog about the process of designing this particular part of the game :)
The village itself will be one of the most crucial scenes in the game. After traveling from the dystopian dimension, it will serve as the main safe haven for the player, and it will also be the central focus of the game's storyline. For these reasons, I wanted to invest more time in its design to make it unique, as players will revisit it several times, and it has the potential to become an iconic part of the game.
I must admit that it proved to be a more challenging task than I expected. Prior to designing the village, I had worked on the dimensional portals, which was also quite challenging because I wanted something slightly different from existing creations. So, I gathered many inspirations and combined them, ultimately opting for a triangle shape. It's not as commonly used, and when decorated with specific symbols from the Warped Times universe and animated, it looks fine.
Portal in dystopian dimension
Approaching the design of the village, I followed a similar path. I spent many hours searching for interesting pictures of various fantasy villages. However, unlike the portals, which can be designed more abstractly, I discovered that many villages look very similar. I was determined to create something distinctive and unique to the Warped Times world, but it was difficult as I don't consider myself much of a designer or concept artist; I just do my best to make things look good.
Collecting the inspirations
In the end, drawing inspiration from the original Warped Times proved to be very helpful. I kept simple vector shapes from the old games in mind and tried to combine them with other inspirations. After several attempts, I achieved a design whose architecture is quite specific to the game.
Original village design
Since I wanted the village to have a little more depth in its levels (allowing the entire village to fit on one screen, making movement for the player easier and more interesting), I decided to create the individual houses in 3D. Additionally, the bridges have already been converted into 3D, making the decision straightforward.
Experimenting with the right textures and colors took some time, and the 3D model itself is currently the most advanced in the whole game. Nevertheless, I am pleased with the result as it blends well with the scene. It's possible that there is a slight contrast with the 2D characters in the village, but that holds true for the entire game. Designing more complicated characters would have been very challenging, and personally, I believe the simpler characters fit well within the game.
Final remake of village
In the village, I used almost every skill that I have learned from working on Warped Times thus far. Besides combining all nature environments in the background layers, the village contains dynamic water, grass movement, material shaders for computing depth in every sprite, and many more effects. The most challenging part was creating the waterfall. Since the whole level is already the most expensive scene in the game (I am hoping for big optimization), I could only use a small number of particles for the waterfall. Fortunately, I managed to generate a complex waterfall in an empty Unity project, and it works well. Combining this rendered animation with a small selection of other in-game particle effects saved a lot of performance, and it still looks good.
Now, the biggest challenge will be bringing life to the village and using it as a connection between the intro and the first environment. I already have some characters and player's movement finished for the village, but the whole story is still waiting to be told.
Before concluding the talk about the village, I feel it's essential to mention that I invested all my energy into preparing another build for Game Access, where I met new players and gathered valuable feedback. I unfortunately took for now the longest break from Warped Times.
Warped Times at Game Access 2023
Nevertheless, I am finally beginning to implement ideas from this feedback and slowly working on new features. For example, the dynamic lava based on the water script is already finished, which allows me to create a few levels inspired by the original game. But I will keep some demonstration for one of the finished level :) Thank you for the reading and following! More interesting content will be coming soon!
Third developer diary about changes during the last months, new completed environments and technical experiments
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