Fall Faster

Fall Faster is a 2D platformer that pulls lots of inspiration from the Spelunky series. Dive into a procedurally generated dungeon and make your way to the secret lab below. When you reach the lab you can steal the artifact that the scientists protect, but when you do, you'll have to race back to the top of the dungeon while bubbling lava chases you.

The focus of this project was to explore procedurally generated levels for an infinitely replayable rogue-like.

This game was developed with just one other person who was focused on the design aspects of a game that fits into this category. It was created in Unity and was only in development for one school semester.

There were no artists on this team so we kept the graphical style to extremely simple shapes and colors.

Procedural Level Generation

Procedural content is becoming more and more valuable as games evolve into more complicated states. Applications range from simple concepts like generating a procedural model of a tree all the way to real-time generation of procedural worlds. The content that is generated saves work hours for designers and artists by allowing them to set parameters that produce the results that they desire. If the designer can use a tool to create a level that otherwise they would have created by hand then the tool was successful. This success exists in a range and, by trading designer work computation work, we can effectively lower the self-similarity of the output as much as is desired.

Fall Faster is intended to be quite difficult and require many tries to complete. When the player dies, they start again at the top and the levels are regenerated so it is a unique climb each time the player begins a run. As you can imagine, if the player is going to have to restart many times, then they will see many procedural levels created. This makes it very important that the levels feel novel each time as it is the main focus of the player’s attention.

Procedural Method

Spelunky, and more recently Spelunky 2, are hardcore platformers with procedural levels that inspired much of the mechanics of our project. Both games make use of a tiling procedural generation wherein there are several hand-crafted pieces that are strung together to make each level. This method has the benefit of being very modular. When new tiles are added to the pool of possible pieces, they need only to conform to the same openings (top, bottom, left and/or right) that the other tiles in the pool do. This adds work for the designer as each tile needs to be handcrafted. As a result, much more interesting platforming challenges can be created and ensure that they will be completable.

After lots of input from my teammate, we were able to craft three distinct zones that each had their own challenges and hazards to overcome. The goal with each level was to make traversing it feel distinct from the other levels.