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