Download O-R-B Pre-Alpha 0.1 Concepts Demo from Itch.io:

 

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First and foremost, thank you for taking the time to download the concept demo. While I still have a massive amount of work to do to get O-R-B to the point where I am happy to release a proper alpha, time has come to give some parts of what I currently have in place a test run in the wild. Given that the concept demo does not contain all help queues, tutorials and assists, and will most certainly contain a lot of unknowns, bugs and quirks - this document serves the purpose to cover those gaps. Furthermore it will hopefully provide more insight into each mechanic and element that is available in the game.

If you have any issues, suggestions or comments about the demo mail me on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please include your machine specs and a screenshot of the issue at hand.

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Now that the disclaimer has been laid down, let's not waste any more time!

"Orb... Once the biggest and brightest star in the sky is now just a mere glimmer of what he used to be. Orb is in danger of becoming a black hole for eternity, however he has one last chance at survival.
Legend has it that in a galaxy not too far away lies a dormant power shrine. Anyone or anything brave enough to venture into the center of the shrine will activate it and be rewarded with eternal light.
Orb's journey begins here.."

Controls

 

Orb Controls  Keyboard Keyboard Alt Gamepad Gamepad Alt
Up Up Arrow W D Pad Up Left Analog Up
Down Down Arrow S D Pad Down Left Analog Down
Left Left Arrow A D Pad Left Left Analog Left
Right Right Arrow D D Pad Right Left Analog Right
Pulse Space - A (Xbox)  
Sprint Shift - Right Trigger -
Rotate Right E - Right Bumper -
Rotate Left Q - Left Bumper -
Camera Track T - Right Analog Press -
Harpoon (Not implemented) - - -  -
Translocate Beacon Drop F F Left Analog Press -
Hint System CTRL - Right Trigger -
Restart R - Select -
Pause ESC - Start -
         
Camera Controls        
Camera Track T - Right Analog Press  
Pan Camera Up NUM PAD 8 - Right Analog Up -
Pan Camera Down NUM PAD 2 - Right Analog Down -
Pan Camera Left NUM PAD 4 - Right Analog Left -
Pan Camera Right NUM PAD 6 - Right Analog Right -
         

 

Core game mechanics 

Orb consists of 3 core mechanics:

1. Push Blocks

At its heart O-R-B is a push block puzzle game. The game requires you to push different types of blocks around to help you create a path to the goal. Each block in Orb performs a different action when used in conjunction with a "killzone" (water, lava, acid or void). As a rule, Orb may only move one block around at a time - if the block you are pushing stacks up against another block, you will not be able to push them both. Since the mechanic is to push and not pull, I will be providing an "undo" puzzle element (The Harpoon) which will essentially allow you to pull the block away from the offending location. Interested? Read more about this in upcoming puzzle elements. 

2. Colour

Simply reaching the goal may not be enough to complete a level. Orb makes use of colour as one of its mechanics: When Orb spawns, Orb will be white - Orb will then be allowed to shoot white pulses (if the pulses ability has been unlocked), use white teleports and enter white jump gates. However there are more colours to Orb - Blue, Green, Yellow, Purple and Red. One of the basic rules is that for you to use a red puzzle element, Orb would also need to be red. If Orb wanted to shoot a green pulse, Orb would need to be green - and if you have not guessed - for Orb to use a yellow jump gate (goal) - Orb has to be yellow.

How do we change the colour of Orb? Simply by picking up the desired coloured orb in the level - if it is available that is. There are also different electric gates in Orb - each will only allow a pulse with the same colour to pass through. For example, a red pulse will travel through a red gate, whereas if you shot a white pulse at the same red gate - it will be blocked.

3. Rotation

The third puzzle mechanic that can be found in O-R-B is that of rotation. More specifically: View Rotation, Island Rotation and Block Rotation.

View Rotation

When unlocked, Orb will have the ability to rotate the view at any given time using Q / left bumper to rotate Left, and E / right bumper to rotate right. Rotating the view affects certain puzzle elements - water can change to lava, lava into acid or water, or even no killzone at all - thus allowing Orb safe travels. There are also two other special blocks in Orb which behave completely differently. They are the Iron Block and the Feather Block. The Iron Block will fall to the bottom of the view while the Feather Block will float up toward the view - these two blocks cannot be moved by Orb.

Island Rotation

Orb will come across Island Rotators in the game. When in the center of the rotation island, you can use the same keys that you use to rotate the view (Q/E or Left Bumper / Right Bumper) - only this time the island will rotate, and not the entire view.

Block Rotation

Orb will also come across Block Rotators on his journey. Unlike the Island Rotator, the Block Rotator only rotates blocks that are on top of it. To use a block rotator, Orb needs to activate it. This can be done by finding the corresponding pressure panel and stepping on it. The block on top of the rotator will rotate 90 degrees then stop. This element is very handy to have around when pulse deflectors are around.

Hint System

Orb has the ability to view power lines. It can do so in two ways.
Automatically: When a panel is activated - You will see the power traveling from the panel to the target(s). Only once the circuit is complete, will the affected element turn on or off. You will also notice that if the panel affects, for instance, a green electric gate, then the power line will be green. If the panel affects a grate, the power line will be brownish in colour.

Activated: Through Orb's journey, you will pick up "x-ray vision" tokens. These tokens will carry over from level to level, and may be replenished should you happen to come across one.
If Orb has an x-ray vision token available to it, you can activate it using CTRL or Game pad Left Trigger. This will dim out Orb's current vision, and not only will it highlight all puzzle elements, but will also show you the power circuit for each panel or switch.

And finally, for a look inside how I intend on doing the game progression, please read the "Plans in the pipeline for the level manager" section.

Game Elements

Note: The second image in each row is the corresponding Hint image. Not all elements will receive a hint (N/A), and not all elements have a hint yet (TBD).

      Puzzle Element  Description   In Demo
  Orb This is Orb.   Yes
  Spawn Point Orb will spawn here at level start    Yes
  Jump Gates Orb must reach the level's Jump Gate    Yes
  Checkpoints Orb can save its progress on the level here    Yes
   Pressure Panel Provides power to connected elements when stepped on. Switches off when pressure is lifted.   Yes
   Timed Pressure Panel

Provides power to connected elements when stepped on. Will remain on for a predetermined amount of time when pressure is lifted.

 

Yes

  Teleports Orb can use this to travel to another area in the level.    Yes
  Pushers (Conveyor belts) Orb can use this to transport itself, or other blocks.    Yes
  Wooden Block  Orb can push it around. Orb can shoot it, and it will float in water.   Yes
  Stone Block  Orb can push it around. Orb can shoot it, and it will cover lava.   Yes
  Breakable Stone Block Orb can push it around. Orb can shoot it - a limited amount of times, and it will cover lava.   Yes
  Ice Block  Orb can push it around. Orb will destroy it if pulsed. Will turn lava into water.    No
  Lava Block  Orb may not push it around. Orb will have to use pulses to push it. Will turn water into lava.    No
  Orb Catcher  Orb may push it around. Orb can shoot it. Will trap an enemy in its path.    No
  TNT Block  Orb may push it around. Orb can shoot it - but it will explode.    Yes
  Iron Block Orb may not interact with this element. Will respond to view changes.    No
  Feather Block  Orb may not interact with this element. Will respond to view changes.   No
  Block Blocker   Will prevent any block from passing through. Will allow Orb to cross.   No
  Void, Lava, Water and Acid Killzones Will kill Orb.    Yes
  Switch Allows you to switch connected elements on or off.    No
  Grate  Will cover a killzone when on.    Yes
  Electric Gates  Will destroy Orb and blocks when on.    Yes
  Orb collectables Will change Orb's colour.    Yes
  X-Ray tokens  Will allow Orb to view the hints and power circuit once when activated.     Yes
  Sequenced Panels  Switches on or off at a given time interval    No
  Enemy Turret  Fixed enemy. Fires pulses at a predetermined rate.    Yes
  Purple Enemy (Scout) Moving enemy. Short range vision. Will shoot in one direction only.    No
  Green Enemy (Guard) Fixed enemy.  Behaves as a proximity mine.   No
  Orange Enemy (Hunter) Moving enemy. Will chase Orb as long as it has a clear path.   No
  Red Enemy (Warrior) Moving enemy on a predetermined path. Very large detection range, in all angles. Ability to shoot in any direction once Orb has been spotted.   No
  Rotation Killzone  Will change to another killzone, or disappear entirely based on view angle of the world.   Yes
  Block Rotator Will rotate any block on top of it when activated.    No
  Island Rotator Will rotate an entire island when activated.    Yes
  Deflectors Will deflect pulses in direction indicated.    Yes
  Walls (Breakable) Will be destroyed if TNT is blown up next to it.    No

 

Recommended Machine Requirements

O-R-B is still under development and I still have to undergo many more performance optimization rounds.
As such the recommended machine spec is slightly high, and I have yet to ascertain the minimum requirements.

Intel Core i7
8 GB Ram
GeForce GTX 960

Known Bugs and Issues

1. Performance issues with the active power system

2. Missing sounds, many many missing sounds

3. Missing polish - on pretty much all elements

4. Sound effects normalization

5. Bug on game pad controller when moving left analog stick too quickly (Orb gets caught in a move cycle and races in one direction through walls)

6. Game starts in Window Mode (Please go to Options -> Fullscreen -> Yes -> Apply)

Please note! When reporting issues, please include your machine specs, as well as what you were doing at the time, how long you were playing for etc. The more information I can gather through this process the better.

Upcoming game modes

Currently in O-R-B - every move you make counts up - so does your time. When the game is in this configuration, I like to call it "Zen Mode" - which puts no real pressure on the player to complete the level in an allotted amount of moves, in an allotted amount of time.

O-R-B will support different game modes:

Zen - No move limit, no time limit. Moves count upward, so does the time.

Time Trial - No move limit, time limit. Moves count upward, time counts down.

Accurate - Move limit imposed, time limit lifted, Moves count downwards, time counts up.

Panic - Move limit and time limit imposed. Moves count downwards, so does time.

I do have plans to make this level specific through the game campaign as well - so that the player is made aware of the different game modes.

Upcoming puzzle elements and polish

Harpoon (Backlog)

Given that one of the core game rules in O-R-B is no double pushables (i.e - Orb is not allowed to push more than one block at a time), there will be times when a player accidentally pushes a block against a wall or another block trapping it from further movement. This has the unfortunate consequence of having to restart the puzzle from your last checkpoint. To aid the player, and to ensure for smoother game play, a Harpoon collectable element will be included in a version not too far away from now. Like the X-Ray tokens, Harpoons will be found interspersed throughout each level for Orb to collect. Orb will only be allowed to carry up to a maximum of 4 harpoons, and the harpoons will persist from level to level. 

When a harpoon is activated, Orb will shoot out a harpoon pulse which will latch onto the offending pushable element - the player will then have the ability to pull the block away from the wall by stepping in the opposite direction. If the player changes direction, the harpoon will detach and will be removed from the inventory.

Block Rotation Activation Panel (Backlog)

Currently the Block Rotator only rotates a deflector in one direction. This will be resolved by including a modified pressure panel by the name of  'Block Rotation Activation Panel'. When Orb is standing on the panel, and the player issues a rotate left or right command (via Q/E or Game Pad Bumper Left / Right), the block rotator will rotate any block on top of it by 90 degrees - either left or right depending on which button was pressed. The mechanics of this will match that of the Island Rotator, as well as the View Rotator to ensure that there is consistency throughout the rotation mechanic.

Coloured Power Block (Idea)

The idea of the Coloured Power Block is to have a block divided into 4 quadrants - each quadrant will have a different colour. This block will have a matching panel in the level, but the block may be oriented the wrong way. The player will then have to use the block rotator to rotate the block in such a way that the colour in each quadrant matches that of the target panel.

Block Spawner (Idea)

Currently all the elements in the level are placed down by the level designer. At the moment the level designer has to ensure that there are sufficient blocks in the level to reach the goal state. If the player accidentally destroys one of these blocks then the player has to restart from the last checkpoint. A Block Spawner may be introduced to contribute toward a smoother game play.

The Block Spawner will be a powered item in O-R-B, and will require a pressure panel to be activated for it to spawn a block (any block determined by the level designer at the time). To ensure that the block spawner is not abused, the spawner will track the block that it has spawned - should that block be destroyed, only then will the player be allowed to spawn a new one. This mechanic is still under consideration.

 

Plans in the pipeline for the level manager

Every move in O-R-B is counted (a pulse counts as a move). Each level will have a basis point - i.e. the most efficient and fastest route to the goal. If the player matches this route perfectly - they will achieve the highest possible score for that level (exact scoring mechanism still has to be thought through). For every move over that (plus a leniency margin of some sort I can imagine) a point will be deducted until a baseline progression score is reached. The baseline is important as I want the player to still progress through the game, albeit at a slower rate. As you earn more points, you begin to unlock puzzle elements.

The level unlock strategy will be based on what puzzle elements you have unlocked - this means that you will be able to play any easy, medium, hard or impossible puzzle at any point in the game, as long as you have unlocked all the required puzzle elements.

Co-op

O-R-B has the ability to play co-op, although this feature is far away from completion. 
You can play on the same machine, using either two gamepads or a gamepad and a keyboard, or you can play on two machines over LAN.
This feature will only be made available once the core mechanics are properly seated, and the game is headed to beta.

 

O-R-B