Robert Tamayo


Making Obstacles for Balloon Ghost

I've taken a lot of inspiration for many of the obstacles in Balloon Ghost from other platform games I've played in the past. There's an interesting problem with building obstacles for Balloon Ghost, though.

The gameplay revolves around jumping and hitting a balloon across short levels. The challenge from a game design perspective comes from acknowledging the player's limited ability to control the balloon. While I could add many tricky obstacles, enemies, and challenges in a normal platformer, I can't do that here.

Things that are easy to do in other platformers, such as clearing a gap, become very tricky when the goal is to instead hit a balloon across the gap while also having Ghosty jump across. The player has to do 2 things at once. Making matters more difficult for the player is that both the player and the balloon are equally vulnerable to enemies. I'm debating whether there should be a health bar for Ghosty, but as things go right now, the balloon "dies" when it takes a single hit from an enemy or touches the ground once.

Because the levels are short, I don't need any checkpoints. But that doesn't mean that I can throw too many things at the player at once. I'm learning that focusing on 1 obstacle type per level is plenty. Beyond that, clearing gaps are the main "thing to do" of the game, as many levels include basic jumps in addition to the level's main obstacle.
Leave a Comment