It's the return of an old favorite!

The porcupine was always my favorite enemy in the original Toki Tori. Truth be told, all the enemies were basically identical in behavior, but the porcupine was still my favorite. I guess I’m just a sucker for spikes!

Last week I spent a Sunday morning redesigning the old geezer for Toki Tori 2 and I wanted to share the process with you. I took some pictures, dotted down some notes and below is how it all went down.

The cast for today’s session: Random chicken, Toki Tori and Porcupine.

With me things tend to bounce around in my mind before I start putting it down on paper. This helps me get a feeling for what it is we need in the game and filter out some of the - always present - crappy ideas. I started writing these down as if I was speaking through the porcupine itself.

He’s a nice guy, really!

Each of the creatures in Toki Tori 2 needs to behave in a fun and logical way. To achieve this, we give each of them a simplified personality based on a specific character trait. This way our players can predict their behavior to a certain extend. For the Bubblefrog this is blind enthusiasm, for the porcupine I settled on easily scared. This gives it a nice contrast with his spiky exterior and made some decisions, such as his movement, much easier.

As an inside joke I also thought it would be cool to have him be afraid of Toki Tori, since he’s been shot and frozen by him dozens of times in the original game. When he sees Toki Tori up close, he’ll back away until he can’t see Toki Tori anymore.

Nice but spiky!

I thought it may be cool to have him be available in a two states, one with spikes, resembling the old one, and one without which shows his true personality.

Normally, the porcupine just walks around. He’s afraid of almost anything that moves and has a fear of heights. You could say he’s totally useless to Toki Tori.

That’s where the two states come into play. When he’s pushed too far (read: Toki Tori scares him with his stomp move) he’ll go berserk, show his spikes and start running forward, killing others and cutting stealth grass in the process. He doesn’t mean to hurt anyone - he’s a nice guy, really! - but he just wants to get away as soon as possible. When he hits a wall, he’ll create a small vibration and come to his senses.

I think the puzzle potential for the Porcupine is pretty great. Sometimes you don’t want stealth grass or you need to get rid of an annoying creature and you can just send in the Porcupine! But at the same time you should keep Toki Tori and other useful creatures safe from the spikes.

Click for a closer look at the end result.

Collin, Monday January 30 2012

Porcupine isn't quite the villain we thought he was, was he? I like the idea of having him be afraid of Toki, and the running away mechanic sounds really interesting.

Mataata, Saturday February 4 2012, 19:49

Ha Ha! I always thought Porcupine was nuts :) I'm looking forward to see him with his new friendly personality.

Mr. Blinky, Saturday February 4 2012, 19:53

Will birds pick up the porcupine when he's spiky?

Ruben, Saturday February 4 2012, 19:54

@ Ruben

The bird will not touch anything spiky no! You can use this to make sure the porcupine gets across without being carried. Just stomp behind him and watch him go!

Collin Ginkel, Saturday February 4 2012, 20:02

Thanks for the post, Collin. It's nice to see the insight into everything! :)
I like the sort of "friendly"/scared side of him, too. Could provide some pretty neat puzzles.

[However, is it bad that I immediate thought was "Red Pencil for a Big nasty baddy!"? :P]

FrazerJC, Saturday February 4 2012, 20:43

Okay cool - now go force your entire team to listen to "I Feel Better" by Gotye, thats my good luck to you awesome folks.

Ruben, Saturday February 4 2012, 21:15

I think it would be neet if the porcupine had two modes. One where the quills are down but if you scare it then the quills go up. You could use the porcupine to protect you from other enemies.

Let's say you can walk by the porcupines and they don't do anything until scared. So you could use them to your advantage or they could be used against you.

CanuckEh, Saturday February 4 2012, 22:41

Have you read the artikel canuckeh? ;)

Collin, Saturday February 4 2012, 23:17

Collin, great minds think a like.... You found me out, I read the comments first :-)
After reading the article I do like you'r idea because the porcupine would be afraid. I would.

CanuckEh, Sunday February 5 2012, 0:56

I really love the idea of 'two modes' for the porcupine. :D I noticed he seems to be 2 blocks high with the spikes, and only 1 without in the sketch. That could make for some really interesting puzzles, such as trying to manuever him through smaller spaces without frightening him (but you've probably already thought of that xD). So many possibilities with this new behavior! Really awesome!

Angel.9 Rakou Cobra, Sunday February 5 2012, 4:30

Lookin' awesome! Great that the characters will respond differently to different stimuli. Please, also produce some Toki Tori plushies! And the coconut.... er porcupine. Not interested in t-shirts but definitely would want to collect figurines and plushies, if available.

coconut, Sunday February 5 2012, 5:38

But wait a sec, how on earth are players going to know that the porcupines act differently than before? If they've played the original - surely they'd expect them to just run around. I'm interested to know how you guys are going to teach players how elements work, and how the characters are different from Toki Tori 2.

Ruben (again), Sunday February 5 2012, 8:47

Good questions Ruben. We are going to be creating a lot of situations where you learn by accidental side effects. We set the scene for you to perform an action you've performed before and then you notice a side effect happening at the same time. This increases your knowledge of the action you performed and hopefully makes you wonder what else is possible.

As for the porcupine, he will look different and most of the time wont have spikes, so my guess is this will not confuse people too much.

Collin, Sunday February 5 2012, 11:58

That is the saddest coconut i have ever seen!

Tech Support

Jake, Monday February 6 2012, 23:19

I have to ask since maybe I'm reading it wrong, but does that say revised pussy under his second state?

Jonathon, Monday February 13 2012, 11:59

I think it says "Recluse/Pussy", or something along those lines to indicate his "My spikes are in, I'm harming nobody today!" state.
Only the mighty God Collin will know!

FrazerJC, Monday February 13 2012, 12:18

RELAXED! It says Relaxed / Pussy :)

Collin, Monday February 13 2012, 12:27

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