Roughly three weeks later, Daughters of Pytheus is starting to take shape, and it’s time for an update! It’s admittedly taking a lot longer than I’d like it to, but I’m very happy with how it’s coming along, so I can’t complain, too much. The game is now looking a lot better, polish is being added very early on to ensure the final product is loaded with it, and things are really coming together. Verena is doing a fantastic job on the art, I’m slowly but surely working down my list of things to do on the programming end, and Mike Taylor has even surprised me with a new music composition that will be going into the game.
The game itself has taken on quite a few transformations thus far. The current game is rather far off from the original concept, but I believe that’s for the better. While the genres of puzzle, adventure, and action still exist, the mechanics of the game have changed greatly. Originally, the game was going to host a mechanic very similar to something I came across while playing Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, for the Nintendo DS. You would control 2 stone statues, and when one statue moved one way, so did the other. The object of this simple puzzle was to get both statues to a goal. The catch was, that each statue was located in a different area, and the movements of one statue effected the other. This called for careful planning to successfully reach the goal with both statues. I was then going to further spice up the mechanic by having the two goddess sisters you control have moods. When they were getting along, they would move in unison, when their moods were off, they would mirror image each other. While the mechanic was neat, and definitely possible, I realized it was going to be hard to properly relate this to players, the camera system would get odd, and it probably wasn’t as casual as what I was shooting for. With that in mind, I bailed on my original gameplay view, but kept the universe it was built upon and altered a few things to invent a new game.
Now that you know what the game was going to be, I think I’ll get to what it’s actually become. As I stated, the core mechanic of the game is definitely puzzle, but I feel that the adventure genre is either equal, or right behind with a close second. The puzzle side has a very close feel to that of what you’ll find in the flash game Two Rooms, and the exploration and other minor elements are somewhat like what you would find in an older Zelda game. You play as the two daughters of Pytheus, Athela and Celestia, and must navigate your way back to the throne room of the kingdom to face off against the evil wizard Ack. Ack has transformed the kingdom into a labyrinth of puzzles and traps, and only by having the two sisters work together can you make your way through the kingdom.
As I mentioned in the into post, Pytheus has turned the two daughters to stone, in order to protect them from Ack. As you can imagine, this makes traversing the kingdom rather difficult. The green flash I mentioned when Ack attacked, was actually Pytheus turning himself into a magical energy of sorts, that can embed itself into one physical object at a time. Using this magic, you can press SPACE to switch which daughter is currently embedded with the magic of Pytheus, and bring her to life, turning the other daughter back to stone. While one of the sisters is in a stone state, they’re completely invincible, and this will actually be used in some of the level design in a clever way. For instance, you may find yourself traveling down a long narrow corridor with something that shoots fireballs from far ahead. You can’t make the entire hall in one sprint, so you must move ahead, and turn to stone as the fireball approaches, with the second sister following close behind. Leaving a sister behind in a stone state will also be used for holding down pressure switches to open new pathways, as well as various other mechanics that are both in place, and being added as I further development.
Something neat, and somewhat unique to Daughters of Pytheus, is that each character gets their own health. The game uses a heart system for health, much like what you’re used to seeing in Zelda, as well as many others. Just like in Zelda, you can find giant hearts that expand your max health, however, only the character that collects these will gain the life addition. This means that it would be wise to take turns with who picks up what, or to develop a strategy where one sister is dominant and takes the lead. I wouldn’t recommend the latter though, there’s a decent chance that these sisters may get separated somewhere in the story
Overall, the game is going to be a puzzle filled adventure where you’re dodging lightning bolts, fireballs, endless pits, and all sorts of other objects. You’ll solve puzzles, read conversations between characters, and partake in a pretty neat story that’s filled with emotion. The scenery is beautiful, the music moving, and the amount of detail is pretty impressive. I’ll be sure to share some of the neat atmospheric additions I’m proud of in the next update, and let you know how everything is coming along.