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Do you have any ideas regarding letting the player know what exactlly killed him? (I mean duh of course it was the manikins, but where from?).
Like… When you get cought you literally get cought and can’t move and you HAVE to turn around and look at the manikin for “death” to happen. This might create some tense moments when player suddenly stops, whhile moving bacwards for example… “Did i hit the wall or am I dead already?” though might be a really really cool thing and not that hard to implement.
And after you look at manikin you can lock camera on it for a few seconds and show some “Alion Isolation like” animation of manakin grabbing you by the face or something like that (there could be multiple of them actually).
Regarding where you go after dying – IMO the closer to the “challenge room” you died in – the better. It was a little bit tedious to run up the stairs every time after the death (it happened to me a couple of times, bug maybe?). So every room should have a clear starting “spawn point” in mind where player can take a breathe after yet another death.
Leaving marks on the place you died last time sounds like a really great idea. As mentioned above it could be manakin of the character or something as cool =)
I really like your intension to keep everything psychodelic, so yeah, you probably should play out player’s death, like a death in a nightmare – feeling of swift impending doom that quickly “wakes you up” (ea. resets you to a spawn point).