Son of a Sun is a single-player puzzle game that combines a turn-based mechanic and elements of continuous gameplay in a single experience. The player assumes the role of the Sun and moves around to manipulate the shadows. The objective is to help the sun's son sneak away without being seen, the only problem is - he's too (photo)sensitive
Son of a Sun was born out of a 2-day game jam as part of a game mechanics module at NID Bengaluru. The theme provided was "Sun". Our team brainstormed different ideas around concepts related to the sun - photosynthesis, eclipses, shadows, and sun as a source of life. 'Shadows' came out as something the team wanted to pursue more.
The path to shadow avoidance was inevitable from there, but we decided to switch player agency from someone avoiding the shadows to someone controlling the shadows to help someone avoid the shadows - Son of a Sun was born.
The gameplay combines elements from turn-based games and continuous movement. The player is allowed to move the sun left and right in steps (using arrow keys). The anticipation and planning of turn-based games are brought out by how the son (in blue) is controlled. As the Sun, players can only give an "okay to move" command by pressing space, they do not have any control over the blue body's movement. The constantly moving platforms convey the real-time-ness of the situation to the player, exposure to sunlight means death, while moving or standing.
The game works on three mechanics
Movement of the light source (sun) to manipulate shadows
The son's step based movement
The light will kill the son
The playable prototype is accessible at this link - Play Son of a Sun
Player testing was done with game design students during the module as well as with the general public during dFrost, NID Bengaluru's design fest. However, we did not formalize this process, player feedback was mainly sought in-person during or after their play sessions.
#1 The initial version of the prototype had a 'clone' showing the next position of the son. However players felt that the grid on the floor was enough reference to plan their moves and the clone only added more confusion - it was too many guides
#2 Players were confused about the death condition since the transition to the end screen was instantaneous. The addition of a "pause" mechanic on death that showed the player caught in their tracks and subsequently melting in the sun addressed this concern
#3 We added an easier level design upfront to introduce the player to the game mechanics
Since this started off as an assignment this semester, we've had limited time to build this to its full potential. In the near future, the team aims to
Develop art assets
Craft more levels with varied obstacles of varying difficulties