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< prototype 3 >

This prototype experimented with using freeform teleportation
as a mechanic to quickly speed through levels.

Each part of the prototype's design was made to best accommodate this goal.

Since this prototype doesn't have an inherent gameplay loop,
the breakdown will begin straight away.

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The idea of this project was to give the player a superpower (teleportation),
and expand out the mechanic as cleanly as possible.

Often in games, the mechanic of "free" teleportation is hard to capture.

The main methods are typically:

  1. Aiming at a point in the distance, pressing an input and teleporting there.
    (usually costing a resource or going on a cooldown)

  2. Placing a "beacon" object down somewhere and teleporting to that object.

However, true teleportation would simply be the ability to think of a location on a map and transport there instantaneously. How do you convey that in a game though?

It's not always intuitive for a first or third person character to pull out a map of an entire area and select a spot - but even still, the game must have a reason for that to even be part of the gameplay.

It's a powerful ability, one that needs a lot of careful planning and restrictions in place.


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Top-Down Camera

What I came up with here was simple: Setting the camera from top-down allows full view of the surroundings, thus you can see all directions around your character to teleport to.

I then experimented with a few different methods of teleportation from here:


Select Location with Mouse
This method works well, it lets you choose anywhere to teleport to as fast as you can move and click the mouse. However, this works better if the map is intended to be zoomed out and totally visible.
It also requires a bit of dexterity handling both mouse and player movement in tandem.

Since the teleportation I'm aiming for is about speed and quick thinking, this didn't suffice. 


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Control Stick Radius
Now using a controller, we can move with one stick and choose a teleportation location with the other. Additionally, we can control just how far we teleport to with the stick - pressing harder or softer to pinpoint where you'd like to go within the radius.

This works well, it allows you to quickly point in a direction and warp there. However, the fine-tuning of the stick to only teleport a short distance proved difficult when moving quickly.


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Invisible Set Distance
Still using a controller for swift movement, you press the stick in the direction you wish to teleport to, and press the input. You can no longer teleport to a chosen specific point, but it is fast and effortless.

Despite losing precision, you gain speed - which is what I'm after in a project built around letting you really run wild with this ability.

This is the chosen method.
Due to it, some additional features came forth to help compliment it

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Hidden Assists

Since the teleport is a fixed distance, it needs to account for scenarios where the player may be pointing in the direction of a wall. They'll likely not notice this, but if they would teleport inside a wall they'll instead teleport to the closest side - favoring the farther side, even if its technically farther or shorter than the "fixed" distance.

If this were not the case, frustrating moments would arise where you'd have to stand at precise points to teleport onto thin walkways. 


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Teleport Pads

In order to teleport greater distances with precision, I've introduced teleport pads that function akin to "grapple" points. Simply hold the lock on button, any points visible on the screen will illuminate to show they can be selected. Then, the control stick can be tilted in the direction of the desired pad which will change the lock-on and camera, and press the teleport input.

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To really add to the speed of this game, the player can now trigger stacking bursts of speed through teleporting back to back. This combo can get you going real fast and harder to control, but with the right-timed teleports you can control your direction quite well.

"Roller-skates" were also added. By holding down their input, they emerge out of your boots and increase your movement speed significantly, but stopping causes you to skid and slow down for a moment.

Combing the skates with frequent teleports and you can move across the map extremely quickly.

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This project was great practice in building out a core gameplay mechanic and letting it tell you what it needs as iterations go on. 

Instant-teleportation was an idea I wanted to blend with speed and intense moments. The end result "game" I wanted to visualize here was a frantic "race" set in various levels where you'd need to collect as many collectibles as possible while reaching the goal under a set time limit.

Very possible with the current mechanics, but things didn't feel right. Speed coming from spamming your teleport make your movements choppy and a little clunky to maneuver. And, fundamentally teleportation is about instantly arriving at an end destination anyhow. This all felt like sprinting with extra steps.

Attempting this concept again, it really feels like a free-teleport mechanic would do supremely well in a slower, more deliberate top-down puzzle or stealth type game. Setting up zones where teleportation doesn't work, having to go back and forth between two sections at once, quickly teleporting to "safe" areas, all feel much more harmonious compliments to the mechanic than speed enhancements.

The art of choosing where you teleport to should be a core component.

It is still fun to quickly teleport around though!


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