"Crates and Barrels" was the result of several brainstorming sessions between myself and fellow co-workers around March-June 2007. The game was to be an action-puzzle game which centered around a central game mechanic involving rotation and gravity. A level is defined as one square area which holds several "blocks", which may either be fixed or "loose". The loose blocks fall downward, and the user is able to rotate the level so that any of the four sides are the bottom edge. The user must then navigate through the maze of solid and shifting loose blocks to a marked goal.
After three months of brainstorming and trying to wrap our heads around the mind-boggling concept we had dared to move ahead with, our lead level designer Alex presented a prototype level which was conceptually solid. In this prototype the user was able to rotate the level by stepping on switches that were attached to certain blocks. Using Flash 8, (ActionScript 2.0) I was able to implement the level with simple geometric shapes as placeholder art.
You are a light blue square. Your goal is to get to the magenta square. The dark grey squares represent "fixed" blocks", while the light grey squares are "loose" blocks that will move toward the bottom of the screen. The colored triangles are switches that the player can step on. When you move over a switch, the color of that switch will become the bottom edge of the board, and the board will rotate. The player and any loose blocks may fall from this new position. The layout of the blocks will change as the player progresses, and as a result, you may find yourself in a situation you can't get out of, so plan ahead!
(click the Flash app to begin, and make sure your "Num Lock" is on)
From the starting position, you can only make one move. Climb up and left with '7'. After that, you could move left again, but you'll fall and get stuck. Instead, climb up and right with '9'. The rest... you'll have to figure out! ;)