By Wesley Sappington
As you might know from our last blog post, (be sure to subscribe to our mailing list if you missed it!) we've finally figured out a big hole in Conundrum game design. Essentially, for a really long time, we had no idea how the player should be collecting resources in game.
Which is a big deal. Conundrum is a very resource-heavy game. After all, it's all about making things. The player builds their bases and defenses with the many components the game offers. (like turrets, computers, radars, lasers, etc.) The player gets those components by acquiring raw materials.
But where do the raw materials come from?
The answer - belts!
I don't mean the kind of belts you put on your pants. I mean conveyor belts, which carry convenient packages of supplies to the player.
The idea for Belts came about in a lore discussion - it's awesome when lore and game design connect!
I had been going over the idea of The Warehouse; the mysterious, dark, scary place underneath The Labyrinth. (As if The Labyrinth wasn't dark and spooky enough!) The Warehouse is mentioned by The Narrator throughout the game, as a warning to the player. Spoiler alert: the end of the game takes place down there.
Anyways, that's when Thomas Culhane (Fallen World's Traveler Programmer and Assistant Conundrum Programmer) came up with the idea to use The Warehouse as a place to get resources. After all, it's literally a "warehouse."
Belts carry supplies up from the dark abyss of The Warehouse into the light of The Labyrinth. (Clearly the designers of The Labyrinth were very fond of moving boxes around their facility for some reason!) The belts vary in length, but they all lead back into the darkness below.
The player can collect the supplies the belts are carrying using vacuums - more on that next time.
There are multiple different types of belts. Belts colored like copper (pictured above) carry packages of copper and iron. They're common on the outskirts of The Labyrinth, near the entry point and far from The Core. Gold belts carry, you guessed it, gold. They're found in the mid-section of the player's journey to The Core. (The player is trying to get to The Core of The Labyrinth) White belts carry the most potent resource in the game - steel - and are only found extremely close to The Core.
There are other resources in the game, not carried by belts. Fluids, like water and Nitric Acid are found in pipes. More on that in a future post, so keep your eyes peeled!
I'd like to take a moment to complement Eyesight Technologies' Conundrum artist, Sam Kliment, for his amazing work on these belts. They look awesome!
The belts were originally (as designed by myself) going to be 4x4 squares rather than elongated lines. The 4x4 squares would carry materials from left to right, with the middle two rows being where the items could be collected. But Sam came up with a much better idea - long belts that run all over The Labyrinth (and presumably underneath it) which looks much better!
Next time, I'll probably be talking about Vacuums - how players collect resources from the belts.
Stay safe, stay well, stay home!