Essence Showcase - Slowing Time

Next up on our list of time-altering abilities is slow essence. If you haven't checked out the first write up on pausing time, click here.

One of the trickier aspects of implementing the slow mechanic, as I mentioned in my previous write-up, was balancing it alongside the other powers. From a technical perspective, slow is actually dead simple. Take how much an object moved in between physics steps, and set its position to be half of that. It's so simple, I can show you in one block of code:

It's actually slightly more complex, as we set it up to where you could use any scale for different speeds (as well as speeding things up), but for Worldline, everything gets slowed at a rate of 0.5.

On the gameplay side of things, slow was hard to balance for several reasons. First, in combat, pause was always a better choice. Second, designing puzzles that could be solved with slow, but not pause, was a hard hurdle to overcome. If you're interested in how we balanced slow compared to pause, then you can check out our first post.
In terms of puzzle-solving, it took me a while, but I figured out a handy little trick for slow-specific puzzles. Generally, slow will better than pause, if not flat-out required, if your puzzle involves multiple moving parts that aren't synced with each other. The very first puzzle we introduce to the player is honestly the best example.

The design of the platforms here was very intentional. If the player tries to pause them, some of the platforms will be raised, while the others aren't, making clearing the gap with one single pause impossible. Granted, the player might be able to cross the gap by pausing and unpausing time over and over, but if you've played the game, you'll know this is a huge waste of essence. Other than that, puzzles that involve timers are always a good choice. Since pausing time makes it to where a timer can't be turned on, slow is usually the best option for timers.

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