Gameplay changes for Paint It Jack

The original Paint It Jack prototype involved completing an objective whilst dodging the cleaners. Beyond having a couple of different objective types, there was no variety in the game.

One thing that I’m keen to improve with Paint It Jack is to have a greater variety in the gameplay with multiple types of cleaners, objectives and also pick up items.

The different cleaners will ultimately behave the same way, wandering around the level soaking up your paint. Unlike before they won’t harm the player and instead just slow down your progress. The different cleaners will have different speeds and capacities so one type will trundle along, soaking up loads of your paint on paths and objectives whilst another will move around quickly but won’t completely clean the path. One difference to the prototype (I think) is that they will have their own capacity so once they’ve soaked up a load of paint, they will need a rest.

Perhaps in a later release I might introduce more clever and complex cleaners. A new AI character that hurts the player would be an interesting addition too! That will have to wait until my unannounced game is complete though.

My current progress includes only one objective type where the player has to paint special parts of the path. I’m very keen to expand on this with levels involving picking up items, triggering switches etc and potentially being more specific on which objective needs to be certain colours. We’ll see whether that makes it into the initial release though.

One thing that I’m definitely doing is adding pickup items. Currently I have a few items planned:

  • Paint Bomb: Deploy this and it will explode after 5 seconds, leaving a paint pickup for you. However if the cleaners hit it before it explodes it depletes their paint capacity, possibly killing them.
  • Helper Brush: Sends a brush flying forward that paints the path & objectives, disappearing when it runs out of paint.
  • Speed Up: Pretty self explanatory. This would have an immediate effect then wear out.
  • Maximum Capacity Up: Increases your maximum capacity. Still unsure about whether I’ll make it permanent or a temporary effect.
  • Glue: A trap that you can place which will stop the cleaners moving for a set period.
  • Paint Mine: Still unsure on this but it would be a trap that works very much like the Paint Bomb but without the timer.
  • Paint Bucket: Another that I’m unsure on whether to include it but you can use this to fill up on paint without having to go to a blob. It would be handy as you could fill up before painting an objective.
  • Paint Spawner: Not a pickup but a button that you can hit which spawns a blob of paint in the level. It would have a recharge timer to prevent the player using it over and over.

Not all of these will be included in the initial release but I hope at least half of them will. It should add some nice variety to the game!

On top of these there will also be an option to dump your current paint. Why you might ask? Well to slow down cleaners. If you have one coming and want to stop it from soaking your objective, dump your paint in its path and it will be out of action for a short while.

The one thing missing from the above design is risk. There’s no way that you can “lose”. To address this I am planning a second mode. Rather than changing the main mode, which I want to be relatively relaxing, chilled and accessible to kids, there will be a “challenge” mode that has a time limit as you try to paint the room as quickly as possible – of course with cleaners trying to stop you! My grand plan for this is for it to unlock new characters or customisation as you progress, plus potentially including online high scores (depending on whether downloads are in the region of 10 or 1000). There would also be characters that introduce the challenges, one per “tier” of difficulty. However I doubt I’ll get this done for the initial release.

I’ll maybe talk a little bit more about each of the gameplay features in due course, but hopefully that gives an idea of how I’m hoping that the game will have a little bit of complexity to it.

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