CornflowerBlue talked about the work on Lightspeed Lina, described its high-speed platforming gameplay, and shared the challenges of being a solo developer.
Hello! I go by CornflowerBlue online. I got into game development as a hobby about a decade ago with "Game Maker". I decided to get into it because I grew to love games as a kid and wanted to show people some of my own ideas, be it a totally original concept or a spin on an older concept. The skills I have are self-taught, with loads of trial and error along the way. Most of my projects up until now have been smaller jam games, which you'll find me posting about from time to time as they come up.
Challenges of Being a Solo Developer
Creating games on your own comes with a lot of challenges. Outside of the usual technical hurdles, I think probably the most significant challenge is picking the right project for multiple reasons. Finding the right balance between a project you can finish, one you want to finish, and one that is still compelling to players can be very tricky. Learning to think more like a producer from time to time is another really important skill to have for that reason because you can really reevaluate and emphasize the strongest points of your project. Often, this process will result in a better game even if you come to the conclusion that something must be cut.
The idea for Lightspeed Lina came from my desire to see the ways in which a high-speed character and the more traditional, open 3D platformer structure would interact. That being said, I think the clearest influences for this game would be Sonic Adventure and Super Mario Odyssey for sure. I decided to go with a 3D platformer since the genre has always been one of my favorites.
Lightspeed Lina takes place on a chain of islands, each with its own climate and atmosphere. The game itself runs in Unity, and my workflow involves Blender, ZBrush, and the Substance 3D package. The game's art direction is actually inspired by a lot of older 2D platformers. I feel like the transition to 3D raised a desire for developers to create more grounded spaces that are easier to navigate, but I also like the often really weird tilesets that you used to see in 2D platformers. My plan is to combine those approaches, I think that'd be really fun!
Of course, most of the terrain in the game is still grayboxed. I'm hoping you'll be able to see what I'm going for even in this state!
The most important mechanic of the game is how the player interacts with sloped surfaces. Going downhill will speed you up and going uphill will slow you down. The lead character has wheels in their boots which can be used to skate on walls and change how physics impacts the player's movement. If you land on an extreme slope, your vertical speed will be rotated to the direction of the surface, which makes taking on ramps super fun!
So far, I'm enjoying how many ways there are to clear a section, mostly depending on how fast the player is moving. A lot of the interactable objects like swings and launchers also behave differently depending on speed as well, and each of the explorable worlds will have its own set which adds its own flavor and things to consider when getting around.
The player can also find power-ups and equip items hidden around the map which change the player's properties in small but significant ways. Power-ups also change how the player thinks about platforming and combat and will become more available as the game opens up. Collectibles can be used to purchase these as well as an array of fun cosmetics items.
At the moment, promotion has mainly been through showing progress on Twitter. Twitter not only gets eyes on the project but is also a very valuable source of feedback! Lightspeed Lina can be understood fairly easily through short clips, which is definitely a benefit of the platform. Twitter has thankfully allowed me to easily connect with awesome developers and my target audience.
My plans for the game this year especially are to speed up development a bit and complete my vertical slice. People can definitely expect a wide array of enemies, bosses, interactable objects, levels, level types, new power-ups, and characters in the time to come. At the moment, you can keep up with the game on my Twitter.
Thanks for having me!