Design choices and a few gfycats for the grapple gun, climbing, and inventory systems for Jackie & The Crystal.

As always, be aware that everything is subject to change, and the below will not necessarily represent the final art/playstyle(s) of the game. Design is iterative by nature! Also, if you have any tips on what to improve/change about the way I’m doing Devlogs, please feel free to let me know! I’m probably most responsive on Twitter (@PixelSpice) or Reddit (/u/PixelSpice). Want to learn a bit more about  Jackie & the Crystal, check out Devlog 0 that explains a bit about the game.


Oh the joys of flying!

While not a unique concept, it’s not as straight forward as it may seem from a design perspective – just a few choices that needed to be made:

  • Will the character have momentum or fly a fixed path?
    • In short, yes. The choice (so far) was to use our character controller helper to control the characters momentum whenever an interruption to the fixed path is detected.
    • Batman’s grappling gun uses real physics, but we’re aiming for player responsiveness above else – the current plan is to remove or reduce current momentum when a new grapple is started.
  • Can the character disengage mid flight?
    • Yes, but they maintain momentum they had when they cancel the grapple.
  • Can the character grapple mid-flight?
    • Yes, and, minor spoilers, this is actually one of the core mechanics for the boss fight after you obtain both ranged items.
  • Does the grapple gun act as a weapon?
    • Not exactly. Unlike the hookshot from Zelda we weren’t planning on having the grappling gun act as a weapon per se. (Sorry – no stunning the enemies from afar!)
    • Instead, it will act more like the tool it is. Hit things, pull things, and bring them to you – just don’t expect damage out of it.
  • Can you grapple anything? How do you do the grapple check?
    • Grappling isn’t planned to be free-form “Spiderman 2” webslinging. It was like this before implementing the check for the appropriate collision tag. While it was fun it was too much freedom for an action/adventure game.
  • How early in the game does the player obtain the item?
    • That’s not set in stone as of yet, but it will likely be decently early on.

On a side note, at the start of the next gfycat you’ll see my obsessive roll-instead-of-walk habit. This was not an intentional part of the gif originally…

Rocks are really hard to look at.

I started working on Jackie & the Crystal back in January – a couple months before Zelda:Breath of the Wild (BotW) came out. The climbing in that game is amazing. Don’t expect that – but do check out BotW if you somehow have missed it – it’s a fantastic game. The player will have some freedom while climbing, but it will be limited to climbable surfaces:

One of the things that I enjoyed working on was figuring out a good way to allow for dynamic transitioning from one surface to another. , while keeping the character properly aligned. The climbing overall looks very Ocarina of Time, which was very much the goal: 

I still plan on adding some additional smoothing and inverse kinematics to assist with hand/foot placement later.

A short blurb on the Inventory:

There are a lot of things inspired by Ocarina of Time in this game/project, and the inventory style is one of them. The current plan is to have a limited number of items/equipment the player  obtains during the game, with some items being upgraded/changed during the game. A quick peak at how this works with the four currently implemented items:
(From top to bottom, 1H Sword, shield, grapple gun, crystal.)

Until next time!

I’ll try to keep devlogs shorter and more focused in the future – I kinda got carried away with topics in this one. The next one should be on AI and/or the crystal animation/interface as those are currently the current areas of focus


All gfycats were captured with OBS  and uploaded to our gfycat library.