Into the Titan Game Concepts

This page discusses game-design concepts used in the development of the game Into the Titan.


Mouse-Based Control Into the Titan is a self-paced, slow-moving adventure/puzzle game. It does not require "button-mashing" controls common to other genres such as platformers, and I wanted to ensure that the game's nature was reflected in its control system. Therefore the mouse-based control system was developed. The game's controls were designed to be fluid and intuitive: to walk, the player simply clicks, and the character begins to move through the world. To speed up, the mouse is moved forward, and to walk in reverse, the mouse is moved backward. To interact with objects, the right mouse button is clicked while the cursor is positioned above the object in question. This control system has allowed the game to distance itself from more typical realtime games such as first-person-shooters. The control system does owe a debt to the realtime adventure/puzzle game Uru, but it is different in some ways, and (I like to think) superior.

Non-Player Characters (NPCs) In The Voyage of the Golden Arm, NPC interaction was limited to one line of dialog per NPC in most cases. With Into the Titan, I was determined to push the extent of NPC interaction a bit further. I developed a "word-balloon" system in which a player could click on a NPC and receive the character's dialog in snippets, which are displayed above the NPC's head. The player can take as long as she wants to read the dialog. Unfortunately, as Into the Titan has few NPCs, this nifty system did not see much use. Maybe next time!

Tutorial In order to smooth out Titan's learning curve a bit, I implemented a useful tutorial which appears in the game's opening level. As the player interacts with the scene, the tutor introduces the game's features to help the player learn the basics of the game's interface.

Cutscenes Games are meant to be played, not watched. Therefore I have tried to cut down on the amount of time the player is forced to spend staring at the screen and not actually interacting with the game. To do this, I invented two different types of interactive cutscenes. The first is a rudimentary arcade-style minigame which plays as the game's "intro movie", inviting the player to steer the Golden Arm through a debris field. The second is the "interactive comic", an idea proposed to me by my brother. The comics allow the story to be told linearly while still giving the player something to do. The comics are rendered in 3D layers, and the player is given the ability to "shift" the view, creating a subtle depth effect. One panel is shown at a time: the player simply clicks to move forward to the next panel. Simple animations are also used for effect.