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Thanks everyone for sticking with us these first few months of development. Today I'd like to talk about how we're going to structure Toki Tori 2, and why we're super excited about this.

Update 17: Knowledge Unlocks!

Whenever I’m playing games that use the unlocking mechanism popularized by the Zelda series, I feel conflicted. I like being challenged in games, so when I walk around and see something outside my reach, I feel motivated to figure out how to get there.

The games using this mechanic usually end up giving you an item or upgrade a while later, allowing you to go back and reach it. My initial excitement disappears and I end up making mental notes about where I need to go whenever the game decides it is time to give me a new item. At this point I realize I’m still on a pre-determined route set out by the game’s designers.

In Toki Tori 2, players will have a similar initial experience, where they’ll follow the main path but get teased by an alternate route or a seemingly impossible to reach collectible. We expect the player’s first reaction is to move on, expecting they’ll be handed a tool to reach it at a later time.

But as they continue they’ll start to notice no tools are being handed out. Instead, we teach the player more about the creature that was standing next to the seemingly impossible to reach collectible. It turns out it was possible all along, and he could have figured it out himself by experimenting a bit more with the creature.

We call this the ‘knowledge unlock’. Absolutely everything we put into the game can be accessed straight away with just Toki Tori’s stomp and whistle moves and some brainpower from the player’s part. Toki Tori will still need to move from level to level through the game, but the route and difficulty will completely depend on the knowledge gathered by the player. The more curious the player becomes, the more the game will reward him for it.

By introducing them to the idea that everything is always possible in Toki Tori 2, we hope players will start asking themselves the more difficult questions. Questions that can always be answered by trying it out inside the game’s levels.

“Could I reach that collectible by capturing the Bubblefrog inside his own bubble?”

“What if I block the path to the bird’s nest? Will it still want to pick me up?”

Aside from being a great tool to reward player curiosity, knowledge unlocks can bring us a few great side-effects too. Second play-throughs won’t drag on at the beginning, because players don’t have to wait for the game world to open up, and curious players can be presented with the more difficult puzzles inside the same levels as more casual players.

Exposing the knowledge unlock system will be our main design goal for the Toki Tori 2 build that we’ll show at GDC in San Francisco next month. We think it’s a really unique way of structuring a puzzle game and we can’t wait to show it to you all.

 

Collin, Sunday February 5 2012

Epic!

Ruben, Monday February 6 2012, 19:16

Sounds like an awesome design idea. Count me in for rewarding curiosity! Can't wait to see this in action.

soad667, Monday February 6 2012, 19:28

Another great idea :)
So far it sounds the game's going to be great with awesome ideas like the mario style map, the chain of reactions possible between creatures and now this.
I just hope there will be a lot of levels in the game too, since it's almost spring :P
Anyway, keep up the good work.

Daan S, Monday February 6 2012, 20:38

Clever.

Stephen, Monday February 6 2012, 21:23

Sounds nice.
Just be careful that the initially unreacheable points seem unreachable enough, otherwise it can get pretty frustrating.

sudol, Tuesday February 7 2012, 0:45

Sounds fantastic, but now that I know there are no unlocks I might play the first level again and again before even going to the second one! O_o

I'm wondering how you have planned to implement a story in such a non-linear way to travel through the game world... ;)

G.Lecter, Tuesday February 7 2012, 2:56

@G Lecter

We'll still have control over how we arrange the levels, so that should not be a problem.

Collin, Tuesday February 7 2012, 10:54

Wow. It sounds like you're a development studio that's finally addressing the problem that has frustrated those of us that grew up playing games in the nineties. There's a reason why Zelda: A Link to the Past and Super Mario 64 were magical experiences while Zelda: Twilight Princess and Super Mario Sunshine fell flat despite its leaps and bounds in presentation and storytelling.

We want to cut loose and explore, not just be entertained. We want to tell our own stories, not just be pulled by the hand across a dotted line. Bravo, Two Tribes. This proves that someone in the industry has actually been listening and you have duly earned my respect.

But I'm confused by one thing.

The level progression. Are there going to be traditional levels, or just a series of rooms a la Metroid-likes? And if it's the former, are they going to be traversed in order with exploration confined only to the individual levels like Super Mario Bros., or will the player have a bit of control of progression with alternate exits and detours like Super Mario World?

sam_scribbler, Tuesday February 7 2012, 11:17

@Sam

Hessel did a post on this a while ago. You can read it here: http://twotribes.com/message/toki-tori-2-update-7/

Collin, Tuesday February 7 2012, 11:26

@Collin

Ah, thank you. Pardon my cluelessness. I must've missed that memo. :/

Anyway, as a hobbyist coder, myself, I don't know whether to be excited or jealous! It sounds really ambitious and I can't wait to see what comes of it. :D

sam_scribbler, Tuesday February 7 2012, 19:25

These updates are keeping the game alive.

Terry
Termite Treatment Costs

Terry, Tuesday February 7 2012, 22:03

Sounds good! I can see myself staring at every level forever now, though, trying to find alternative routes before concluding "I'm too stupid for this. I'll wait for the game to teach me". :)

Looking forward to it, though!

FrazerJC, Wednesday February 8 2012, 3:15

Hey, I was just thinking about this yesterday! Many games today insist on pushing their tutorials down your throat, but one of my favorite feelings in a game is slowly unravelling how the world works. I'm glad you're going in this direction.

Archagon, Wednesday February 8 2012, 7:39

It's great to know that there won't be any place that we can't access directly.

Akbalder, Wednesday February 8 2012, 11:03

 
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