John C. Jensen

Unity Developer

Unity Game Developer specializing in C# programming

Mining Platformer Prototype

   This was my first attempt at a “real” game. It was inspired by the “grind currency, buy upgrades to more efficiently grind currency” loop of old Flash games on Kongregate & Newgrounds, etc. 

As has been and continues to be my main challenge, I spent a lot of the time on this producing art of dubious quality.

Design & Mechanics

Character Controller

One of my goals for this project was to be less reliant on 3rd party assets, so I created the character controller from scratch.

Pretty standard Rigidbody physics with raycasts to detect the ground. After a LOT of value tweaking I was very happy with how smooth and responsive it felt.

Procedural Animation

This was also my first attempt at animating beyond simple keyframe animations.

I’d used IK to animate prior to this, but combining that with procedural animations allowed for some fun effects, like the worm enemy and the miner’s arm while swinging from his grappling hook.

Level Generation etc

My first go at procedural generation didn’t follow any established algorithm; I didn’t read anything about it first, I just went in blind. Although the results are questionable, my requirements were pretty loose, so I was happy with the results.

I also added the ability to save the generated level between sessions, as well as any changes that had been made to it. (Mining, constructed objects.)

To preclude any potential performance issues, I created a chunk system to activate only the areas that were close to the player. 

Store & Upgrade System

What’s the point of mining if there’s nothing to spend it on?

Upon returning to the surface, the player could visit the store to purchase permanent upgrades, such as stronger mining pick, more stamina, larger vision radius, as well as replenish their stock of consumable items like grappling hooks, dynamite, and buildable platforms and climbing ropes.

Additionally, the player could buy placeable mine cart stations, which served as a fast travel system to quickly reach places you’d been before.

Store interface, Upgrades tab.


Turns out there aren’t a ton of different options for mine-themed enemies.

Once I’d exhausted my initial brainstorming list, (Which consisted of “a bat”) I had the idea that the deeper you went, the darker and more surreal the inhabitants would become.

Thus, I ended up including things like “the fractured skeletal ghosts of less successful miners,” a weird hybrid centipede + devil’s claw plant worm thing, and a tottering, wheezing commentary on how messed up the concept of a canary in a mine is.

Yeah I don't know either