Ascension, the simplest, yet most iterated on level of the game.
Introducing players to movement through Gravity Fields.
Introducing players to moving boxes with fields.
Looking up can reveal new puzzle pieces.
Gravity fields can help them reach places that look unreachable.
They can use boxes to solve some of the puzzles.
The Bottom Floor
The first part of the level helps player get familiar with Gravity Field's movement, and teaches them that looking up is important.
Verticality is unforgiving
Level 1 was horizontal in its origins, but the resulting level's size made us change approaches. We went with verticality, which, on early stages, proved to be unforgiving with players' mistakes. However, after more than ten design iterations, the level became both vertical and safe. It also made players feel like they were doing something risky, which they enjoyed.
It looks harder than it is.
Players don't look up
Level 1 taught us something: players are not used to looking up. It became our goal to teach players than in Gravitas, looking up was worth it. Through Level 1's design, we created paths where players had to look up frequently. We also added "guiding dots" that helped players see their next goal. After all, the puzzle should never be to figure out where to go, but how to get there.
One of the very first Gravity Field puzzles requires players to look up. The guiding dots, and the room's layout, make the step a lot easier and intuitive for new players.
The Top Floor
The top floor in level 1 offers a safe environment where players can learn about the importance of boxes in puzzle solving.
The box and the precipice
In the top floor, players interact with a box for the first time. A complex puzzle and verticality led to players confusion and frustration early on in development. In the final design, we move the box to its intended location if players put a Gravity Field in the right place. This proved to be a lot more adequate for a first level, while still accomplishing our teaching goal.
The box's puzzle also serves as a tutorial area for the game controls, which the Curator introduces "subtly".
The box tutorial is designed so that players get it right the first time, and it teaches them how to manipulate boxes in the process.