Airlock Development


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  • Posts: 11
I just discovered this section of the stencyl forums so I thought I would share the blog posts I made on some other sites. This first one is from a couple months ago when we started doing play-test sessions.


As we enter beta testing for Airlock I wanted to write about part of development process and how the game has evolved. Airlock is about a man stranded in zero gravity on an alien infested ship. I started with the concept of propelling yourself through space with nothing but a gun and limited oxygen. A constant balance between the 2 resources. Avoid spikes on the walls and aliens who chase you. Each level procedural generated so everything felt fresh and kept you on your toes.

I made a prototype of the game about 2 years ago as a sophomore at the Cleveland Institute of Art (I am now a senior). The prototype leaned towards a horror survival game where aliens stalked you throughout each stage. You couldn’t kill them but your bullets could push them away utilizing the same mechanic for motion. There was a flashlight effect that hides enemies in the distance. This worked in creating a tense feeling when drifting and a jump scare when the alien appeared. The problem was, it wasn’t fair.

The flashlight slowed reaction time and the movement took a while to get used to. Turns out what I was creating wasn’t a horror survival; it was an action avoid and needed a fresh look. This is the point where I called in my buddy and fellow CIA student, Colin Wolfe, aka Robonorm, check out his Tumblr here. I also worked with him on another game, “Hookshot Hobo.”

The Airlock Prototype

Airlock Beta (aka now)

The game transitioned into a modular linear survival game (there's probably a name shorter than that). There was still a need to balance the resources as you moved from one stage to another but it wasn’t working. The enemies weren’t threatening because you always knew where to go and could speed past them. Sure you might run low on ammo but you could just be careful until you got more, then just speed away again.

There needed to be some kind of motivation to back track. That way if enemies were following you there would be an actual reason to fight back. What that became was a timer, but when the timer hit zero instead of dying, the door to the next stage opens. To give an example situation, you have 2 minutes until the door opens, but only 1 minute of oxygen. The stages are more open now and give the player many more options.  Right now we are putting in some finishing touches and seeking sponsorships. More post to come soon!

« Last Edit: November 21, 2016, 11:24:45 am by DrHide »

RKL Design

  • Posts: 7
Oh wow, been a long time.  So long I made a new account.

This game was started while I was in college and after graduating I've been hard at work as Creative Director for 360 Alley, an augmented reality design company. On top of that I got married and became a professor at the Cleveland Institute of Art. Sooo, been busy.

But I still work on the game when I can and I've been putting in a lot more time recently.  With that I have a new trailer and the announcement that the game will be on display at the Akron Art Museum for a special 1 day arcade on December 7th!


and here are the details on the museum event!

More will be posted soon as I wrap up the game!