Wonderland Game
THE MIDNIGHT POST * February 2008
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Features That Weren't

When we first started work on Wonderland Adventures, the idea was very much that “the sky was the limit.” If a feature idea seemed fun, it went into the original design list. However, not every idea made it into the final product. Features were cancelled for one of three reasons: either they didn’t fit the rest of the game well enough, or they weren’t fun enough, or we simply didn’t have time to implement the feature without altering the planned release date too much.

We’ll finish off our “Making Of” by having a look at some of the ideas that did not make it into Wonderland Adventures (of course, some of these designs might be re-visited in future games).

Expanded Wondertown

This one simply did not make it for time reasons: Wondertown is definitely a large place with lots of things to do - the Arcade Games, the Fort, the Market, etc. The original design, however, called for a town at least twice the size, including

* A Park and a Zoo: We’ve included a picture of the park prototype. The Zoo would have included information on critters, including some possible foreshadowing for future games (such as posing the question “Where did all the Kaboom!s go?”)

* The Wonderland Museum: We thought it might be fun to collect different Gemstones or Busterflies and bring them to the Museum - completing a collection would earn additional Stars. This was also to be the home of the Wonderland Gallery, which instead migrated into the Midnight Post.

* Peegue’s Puzzle Place: Peegue was to have a little shop in Wondertown. Here players could attempt to solve a variety of non-Wonderland related puzzles for extra star credit. Originally we called for the player community to submit puzzle ideas, but the lack of responses was part of our reason to abandon this idea.

Character Quests

Speaking of Peegue, you would certainly have noted that Stinky and the gang didn’t make an appearance in the game (other than as selectable player characters). We struggled with this idea for a long time. One design idea called for all four to appear in the game with special quests (such as Peegue’s Puzzle Place, above). If the player selected one of the four characters to play with, that character’s quests would be removed or replaced in-game with another one. For example, if you played as Stinky, you could meet Peegue and complete Peegue's puzzles. If you played as Peegue, Peegue's shop would not exist in the game - instead you would be able to meet Stinky and complete a set of Stinky-related adventures.

Another early idea allowed for the player character to own a house in Wonderland. Extra gold coins could be used to buy flowers and furniture, and players could show off their home and garden designs on the online community. That idea, while fun in theory, didn’t mesh at all with the rest of the game and seemed to be more of a game concept of its own (think Animal Crossing set in Wonderland).

Flexible Object Characteristics

When we first designed the logic engine, we kept absolutely every object characteristic adjustable: its look, its movement patterns, the way it reacted with other elements, etc. We even toyed with the idea of allowing the user (via the editor) to create their own elements by adjusting existing objects.

This system, unfortunately, turned out to be overly complicated and almost entirely unnecessary, as most of these exotic combinations really didn’t add much to the enjoyment of the game. In the end, we (wisely) decided that it would be better to pick specific gameplay elements and adjust and balance them as much as possible, rather than creating a mass of potentially unbalanced elements that did not add much to the game’s existing repertoire.

Click on the video link to view demonstrations of two such adjustable characteristics that ended up on the cutting room floor for the final Wonderland Adventures game.

That’s All, Folks

We hope you enjoyed our little behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Wonderland Adventures. This game certainly turned out to be our most ambitious project to date, but we think (and hope you agree) that the end result is a fun new adventure in the world of Wonderland.

Happy adventuring!

Oh, and by the way: the blue flower really is good for nothing. If it was a herring, it would be red, not blue. :)

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