Monday, January 24, 2011

AD: The Quality Aspect

Throughout the past few weeks (whilst I've been concepting levels) it has made me come to realize to slow my pace of work down to do things properly and, well, better. Rushing through the creation of levels often leaves it feeling like any other ordinary level room, nothing new and exciting, no new challenges etcetera.

So upon development of my Quality and Final levels I really want this aspect to some through, to thoroughly think of ideas that would make the levels unique when being compared to the Arcade levels.

The Persistence Level
Originally going to be a giant maze, I've changed my outlook on this level and wanted the rooms to repeat - mainly plain and non-challenging rooms which draws its challenge from persistence - the player having to go through 40 rooms. Of course I've only made ten different rooms, meaning some will repeat. It would however, be really exciting to have over 100 different rooms, meaning that if the player does the level 10 times, there's a chance that they haven't seen 6-10 of the rooms, which can come up during their eleventh time: "Oh wow, I've never been here before." But it would slightly detract from the gameplay I want to enforce here - repetition. By having rooms repeat, it'll be easier for the player to get "bored", therefore to complete the level they may have to push themselves into completing it.

The Thought Level
Probably the hardest level to make. The first room of the Thought Level resembles a regular room, in some cases you may also want to try to find a way to know what's in front of you. The second and third rooms however, require some extensive thinking and planning to complete. This is what made it hard for me: coming up with a nice puzzle (two in fact), and using them in the level. The second room entails the player into turning off all the lasers - a relatively simple task. There are 5 lasers, and 5 switches, with each switch changing the on/off status of two/three lasers. It'll be wise to find out what switch turns which lasers and their location as it may be one of the longest (and possibly the hardest) room in the game.

The third and final room of the Thought Level has to do with six coloured statues. Simply enough you have to place them in their correct hole, but it's the journey along the way in which will make it difficult. Placing one in the wrong hole will force you to reset the puzzle, so be very wary about what you're about to do. These puzzles have taken a relatively long time to complete due to myself being the only tester - and it's hard to test if you already know the answer!

Some may say these are hard (and some may refer to walkthroughs to help them), but I find a good game one which takes time and effort to complete, along with it having nice rewards for players who do complete them.

The Speed Level
The last Quality level. This level was tricky to make as it bares resemblance to the "Perfection" of Arcade levels, with some rooms you have to beat the timer (hooray). There is an ordinary Arcade-like room to begin with, then a room where you're constantly falling, and when you're not you're trying to get out before a giant wall crushes you, a room where if you take too long fiddling around, you'll be choked by the poison gas, and another where you may think the wall got stuck... wait until the timer reaches zero to find out!

The last room in the Speed level is one which again - I want to take my time with and really... make it a good one. In fact, because I've pretty much spoiled the Thought level end, I'm not going to spoil this one!

The Final Level
This level is quite funny in that the level itself is split up into four separate areas, where the player can enter any (one is locked until the three previous are complete). These rooms are relatively harder than the previous, and include an Arcade-type room, a Quality-type room (Persistence + Speed), a dark/light room (these darn Immetrumen can't make lights that work!) and of course the final room being a Thought-type room along with Arcade-type and other mechanics thrown in. I won't spoil much about this level, except that it will be... fun, I hope. I really want to spend a while trying to perfect the concepting of this level as, it is of course the Final level!

I guess the Final Level in a way 'acts' as a boss, just that it's not a boss, heh. I actually did want to test my coding skills and actually make a pretty neat boss (requirements being having collected all secrets and unlocked double jump). I doubt this will happen though because the character himself has no combat-mechanics built in and it really messes with the setting of the game - SO, looks like it'll come in the second half of the game series.

The Bonus Levels
Not really fitting to this blog post but nonetheless it is probably best that I say these will be 2 Arcade-type levels which also have Perfection times. Getting them open is a lot harder than the regular Arcade levels as you have to Perfect Mellow Meadows and Craving Cavern for the first Bonus level, and Perfecting the remaining two - Vivacious Volcano and Everlong Everest opens the second Bonus level. Completing a Bonus level grants the player access to a secret (one for each), and Perfecting both grants the player the ability to double jump. This can come rather handy in the other game levels.

The levels will also introduce new mechanics, such as the crushing wall for the Wasteland level and the Core for the Core level (how fitting). With these new mechanics I want to take my time into creating the best suitable level design to make these as much fun as the other levels. They are relatively short (Core continues the '2 room' trend from it's pre-Perfections and Wasteland follows the '3 room' trend from it's pre-Perfections).

Note: The sequence of rooms is likely to be changed before release for some levels.


So until next time - I best get to work!

Enjoy!

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