Like other games in this genre, I had to create some kind of token/gold/coin object for GunnRunner. This object had to fit into the game’s continued design philosophy: quick-paced, ranged precision instead of melee/touch mechanics. I achieved all these things with the new Pylon object! Shooting it begins a count down timer. You must reach the exit before the pylon time runs out, or it will power down and you will have to re-shoot the object and try again.
The player can start the timer whenever they want by shooting it. Also, depending on how it is placed in the level builder, it can be shot from anywhere as long as player has line of sight with their weapon. This gives the player complete freedom to begin their run at their discretion and on their terms. Even after playing and designing levels for hundreds of hours, I came back to old levels finding that I had to play them completely different with these time trial pylons. It becomes a puzzle in itself trying to figure out where to begin the trial and, if there are more than one pylon to shoot, which pylon to start with.
I had to completely reroute levels to account for time taken to shoot the pylons. And sometimes, it was not even about overall speed! For some levels, you need to clear enemies and shoot all objectives first, then deal with the pylons after. But if you desire to achieve a golden gate (all-objective clear), that requires even more strategy. I would find myself retreading levels back and forth to create the optimal path.
It is so satisfying to design an object in your game that just fits. It fills every criteria I need and creates replayability.
I just had to talk about these pylons! Go out and design something that makes you feel this good. Even if it is something as simple as this.