Kyle Banks

Siren Song, Devlog #1

Written by @kylewbanks on May 23, 2020.

It’s been a long while since I’ve written anything on this blog, but I’ve got a really solid side project going and figured it would be interesting to write about it. The project is a procedurally generated 3D platformer called Siren Song, where you play as a diver with ambitions to reach the deepest depths of the ocean.

So what’s interesting about it?

Well it’s procedurally generated as I said, but in such a way that it’s generated consistently for every player. Essentially, you have an infinitely large ocean to explore (okay maybe not infinite, but for all intents and purposes large enough that it could never be fully explored) where the content inside is generated on the fly, using an algorithm that allows you to return to the same location and find the same content. This opens up a number of multiplayer and social aspects to the game, because you’re now able to share interesting dive spots with your friends, leave helpful (or otherwise) hints to other players online, and a few more interesting mechanics that I won’t spoil for now.

Throughout Siren Song you’ll keep track of your dive stats in an in-game “dive log”, which will allow you to see where you’ve had the most successful dives. You’ll also record your best dive results in an online leaderboard, encouraging competitive players to search out the most advantageous starting locations.

What do you actually do on the dives?

Each dive is split into two halves, the descent and the ascent. On the descent you’re making your way deeper through a maze of obstacles and hazards, collecting treasure as you go, and monitoring your available resources. You’ll definitely want to make sure you leave yourself enough oxygen and other important resources for the ascent… To guide your ascent, you’ll leave flares and other hints to guide yourself back to the surface, while at the same time running low on resources may force you to risk taking an alternative route back.

Oh, and if you don’t make it back to the boat, you can’t record your dive or collect your treasure! This puts you in the difficult position of deciding between pushing your dive just a little bit deeper, and getting back to the surface to lock in your score and loot.

Between dives you’ll spend the treasure you’ve collected on resources, such as flares, to use on your upcoming dives. You’ll want to be careful how much you buy though, as perishing on a dive wipes out your inventory, and only the treasure safely locked away on the ship is kept. How much you stock up on each dive becomes a critical choice between leaving yourself enough resources for future dives, while at the same time bringing enough with you to ensure success.

That’s all for this first devlog, but I’ll be sharing more as development progresses!

Let me know if this post was helpful on Twitter @kylewbanks or down below!