Mikhail Shumilin

Game and Level Designer

Tumbleton’s Fortune is a 3d platformer with puzzle elements set in sandy Egypt. Players navigate the world and solve puzzles by attaching various objects to the environment.

2011 is my senior year at DigiPen as a BSGD (Bachelor of Science in Game Design), and I wanted to challenge myself both as a level and systems designer. I proposed the game idea to my 2 programmer friends, and we quickly formed a team for game class.

In Tumbleton’s Fortune, players take control of Tumbleton, an adventurer exploring the mysterious Egyptian land in search of treasure. Tumbleton is a cute rolling ball smiley face with one of those sweet Indiana Jones-like explorer hats. Currently, we’re just using an orangish sphere as a placeholder, but it will soon be replaced by an actual model. As you might have guessed, the Tumbleton’s Fortune game title is a play on Naughty Dog’s Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, one of my favorite new game series this generation.

The game is essentially a 3d platformer – you roll around and jump on various platforms. There’s moving platforms, fire that burns you, bumpers and other crazy obstacles that you must navigate around.

However, there’s a twist! The puzzle mechanic kicks in when the player picks up one of the many powerup objects scattered around the level. Powerup objects come in different varieties, but the simplest one is just another platform. Players can then choose to take the platform object and stick it to anything in the environment! And by anything, I mean anything as long as it doesn’t clip through Tumbleton himself.

In later levels, players will be able to carry multiple powerup objects at the same time, using them in unison to solve challenges. Objects are stored in a small inventory on the bottom right of the screen.

The first puzzle that the player encounters is a huge gap that is too big to jump across. At the front of the gap is our powerup object. The player picks up the powerup, and attaches it to the opposite end, essentially creating a bridge that he can roll across. Nice and simple for the first puzzle and it will help players get familiar with how the object powerup mechanic works.

The second puzzle is an extension of the first one. Instead of placing a bridge across a gap, players will have to place 2 smaller objects in a vertical fashion to scale a wall that is too tall to jump over.

That’s how puzzles in Tumbleton’s Fortune work. Me and the team are still undecided whether to take away the objects from the player once they use them to complete a challenge. There’s 2 sides to this issue:

On one hand, it’s cool to always have an object that you carry throughout the level with you, similar to the beloved Companion Cube in Portal – it creates attachment with the players which is a powerful emotional connection.

On the other hand, if players just pick up all the objects after solving each puzzle, they can use them to potentially break how levels work, or even skip huge portions of levels.

A solution we’re considering right now is to allow players to carry certain smaller objects with them throughout the level. As long as the objects aren’t huge, players won’t be able to use them to cross gaps and go where they shouldn’t be allowed yet.
For all other objects, once the player uses it to complete a puzzle, he will be unable to pick it up again.

So platforming and solving puzzles with powerup objects is what Tumbleton’s Fortune is all about. I’ll dive into the types of these powerup objects and what you can do with them in a future update.