Week 4 : Level Design

This week I did some research into level design and what it takes to make a fun and addicting platform game. Two of the main elements in platform games are obstacles and enemies. In this post I will conduct research on the types of obstacles and enemies I will incorporate in my game and develop a concept level design.

Ideas

Color Scheme

I have decided for my game I will make use of a dynamic color scheme. The game will start off in a very dark black and white state and as the player progresses it will begin to get lighter and color will fade back in. Similar to the aesthetics of getting out of a deep hole. I found a game that makes use of a black and white theme called ‘Limbo’ which I will use for styling reference. However the whole game is played in this color scheme.

I will need to find a way to add some color and lighting to my landscape and character as the player progresses through the levels.

Character

The main character in my game is a young girl named Boo. She will be styled in a bright and happy way. However for the start of the game she will only be seen as a silhouette. Here are some example characters I found while researching that I will base my creation of Boo on, I will need to also create instances of her kicking, punching, jumping, climbing and running.

Enemies

My game will consist of two types of enemies one that crawls and one that flies. The idea is that these are just dark renditions of real life animals that are in dark world she is in, specifically seagulls and rats.


Keeping in mind I will need to create two version of these, one evil version and one normal.

Pick ups/Items

The only two items that the character can pick up in my game are partial extra lives and the keys to unlock the prisoner. Traditionally extra lives and represented by heart tokens or a token of the headshot of the character. However in my game picking up one token will not allocate an extra life but a partial life so I don’t think these styled tokens would represent that.

So in order to represent the need to get three of these tokens I will make use of 3 seperate images. An outline of a heart, half filled heart and a filled heart. Once the player picks up a full heart they will be given an extra life.

Obstacles

One of the most basic obstacles in a platform game is a jump, a hole in the landscape that the character must jump over to get past. A miss-timed jump will result in a fall to instant death and loss of a life.

Mario jump obstacle example

The second most common obstacle is an enemy, the objective is to either kills or pass the enemy without touching them. Touching them can cause loss of health or even death.

Mario enemy example

These enemies can also be of a flying variety adding more complexity, these can either be killable, avoidable or both. In my game I plan to make it both, this makes it a choice to attack them and could result in the player missing an item drop like a key.

Mario flying projectile example

Another example of obstacle is a wall or chasm that involves the player moving or interacting with an object to pass. For example moving a crate to then jump on to pass a wall.

Little Big Planet object interaction example
Example of a rope swing to clear larger jumps

Concept Level Designs

Research Materials

Designing fun platforming levels: Tips and best practices. (n.d.). Amazon Developer Services. https://developer.amazon.com/blogs/appstore/post/a08b3316-4fdc-400b-884d-1ada24b485c1/designing-fun-platforming-levels-tips-and-best-practices

LIMBO on steam. (n.d.). Steam. https://store.steampowered.com/app/48000/LIMBO/

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