No Body Home

Steam (Windows, Mac). Collaborators: GJ Lee, David Kirman.

A cute and dark cooperative platformer about two little ghosts searching for delicious cake in a house that’s haunted … with humans!

CO-OP PLAY: Team up with your friend to rummage the haunted house! Work together to find all the secret cake, but avoid humans at all costs!

REMOTE PLAY: No buddy home? Steam Remote Play lets you play with a friend over the internet!

NO BODY HOME (20+ levels): Follow a fully-narrated main storyline. Who are these ghosts? Why is there so much cake? What happens when we find out what we really are? Unveil the mystery of this haunted house, and all of its twists and turns, level by level.

NO BODY MANSION: Unlock even more levels, with more secrets, more cake, and more candy! Discover hidden light switches, trampolines, bouncy balls, candles, seesaws, chandeliers, tires, cannons, and more!

SIMPLE CONTROLS, EXPRESSIVE MOVEMENT: Simply run, crouch, and jump for the doors! Or, wall jump, long jump, pivot jump, crawl, ground pound, and more! A wide range of movement options lets you traverse a responsive world in creative ways. Make a mess!

SECRETS? Find them in every level! It’s a haunted house, after all!

 

Links

No Body Home at Steam
No Body Home at The Sheep’s Meow

 

Teaser & Gameplay

 

Design

Satisfying player movement

  • Simply moving around is fun
  • A wide range of movement options lets players traverse space in a variety of ways
  • Hand-crafted levels support the player’s creativity with movement

The world is responsive

  • Objects are fun to play with on their own
  • Physical humor that mix ordinary objects behaving in abnormal ways

Secrets to discover

  • Collectibles are hidden in interesting ways that support accidental discovery
  • Use the darkness and light to hide other surprises

Cooperative level design

  • Interesting interactions between 2 players
  • Puzzles are never too punishing and platforming is never too hard
  • No time pressure to allow exploration

Storybook charm

  • Mixture of cute and dark
  • Mixture of polished vector art and crude cutouts
  • Combines the cute with the dark using polished vector art and crude cutouts
  • Illustrated popup children’s graphic novel storybook
  • Surreal mixture of old-fashioned and contemporary

 

Player Movement

The ghosts have a complex moveset. When possible, the level should take advantage.

  • JUMP: A button
  • CROUCH: LB or RB
  • BREAK BRICKS: crouch in the air
  • HIGH JUMP: while crouching, jump
  • LONG JUMP: run, crouch, jump
  • PIVOT JUMP: change direction, then jump
  • WALL JUMP: cling to the wall, then jump
  • IDLE: not pressing anything
  • RUN: moving left or right (no run button)
  • WALL CLING: pressing against the wall
  • CRAWL: moving while holding crouch

 

Level Design

Snap to 32×32 grid. Use 16×16 for fine adjustments if necessary.

 

Perfect Jump Distances

It’s satisfying when jumps and platforms match nearly perfectly; so it’s useful to know perfect jump distances. Here are some examples:

 

Designing for two players

Both players should experience laddering from easy to hard, and be given a sense of progress.

When testing, note any extremes: 

  • One player shouldn’t be subject to excessive delay by their partner
  • One player shouldn’t be able to solve everything for both players

Two-Player Level Variations

  • ghosts are together
  • ghosts are separate
  • ghosts start together, but are forced to split up
  • ghosts start separate, and meet
  • if ghosts are separate, they could be faraway, or they could be nearby yet separated by walls

Difficulty

  • No Body Home any% – Completing No Body Home should be pretty easy. Small levels with a clearly obvious way to get to the door.
  • No Body Home 100% – Finding the cake on each level should require teamwork, coordination, or communication. Players talking to each other is a good sign.
  • No Body Mansion – A wide range of levels, including some very difficult or very large levels. 

Lights

Use lights to show the way next. Light up:

  • Corners
  • Landmarks
  • Key obstacles

Lights can also be used to highlight secrets (but not necessarily the path to the secret), or the converse (to hint at a secret path, only revealing a secret when the player follows).