Practice your level design skills. Up to now, most of your levels have been random levels created to follow a tutorial to demonstrate various tutorial skills. You can use any game (2D Game Kit, Roll-a-Ball, Ruby…) to create different types of levels. Create levels that demonstrate the following themes.
Conflict and Obstacles
These are often the most common as they involve fighting enemies or navigating through a parkour maze. Create a level that challenges the user’s game mechanic skills.
- Make the hack-and-slash level that requires cutting down a variety of hard to kill enemies.
- Make a parkour level that requires jumping and running a variety of platforms and obstacles.
- Increase the difficulty as the level or levels continue. Start off with easy challenges and end with the boss fight. Train the player to get better.
- Mix the two with a parkour placed enemies.
- Add some AI or randomness to the obstacles
- Make sure the player knows they need to solve a puzzle to go on. Don’t just leave the player confused as to how to continue. For example: when the come to the door that doesn’t open, show a dialog that says “I bet I need to find the pad that opens the door.”
- Make the puzzle fit with the theme or story of the game.
- Vary the type of puzzles
Missions and Scenarios
Missions and scenarios require fulfilling a series of criteria in order to continue with the game rather than just getting to a location or killing all the enemies. Example of missions would include escorting a treasure from point A to point B, blowing up or repairing a key bridge, or holding off the enemy attack wave until help arrives.
- Keep the mission goals simple, at least initially. You can make the missions harder after completing some simpler ones.
- Make sure the player knows the goals of the mission.
- Introduce tactics. Have multiple ways to complete the mission, but let the player decide how to complete the mission. If the mission requires a specific skill or item to complete, make sure you have introduced this earlier in your game.
- Link multiple missions into a campaign or story.
You have been hearing and telling stories your whole life. Books, movies, and TV shows are all stories. Games can also tell stories. Why not be the hero who decides their fate and writes their own story rather than just reading about the hero? Stories are about conflict and resolution, often a main character (protagonist) trying to reach a goal while overcoming obstacles on the way. Build a story into your game.
- Create a protagonist. Who is the hero or main character?
- Define the problem. The bigger the better, but make it doable in your game. Is it a situation? The spaceship broke down on an alien planet and it needs to be repaired. Is it an enemy that needs to be defeated?
- What are the obstacles that need to be overcome to solve the problem?
- Every good story should have a climax, a peak of actions where the hero’s fate hangs in the balance. “Use the force Luke” and blow up the Death Star. Bard kills the dragon Smaug with the black arrow to the heart through the missing scale. What is the climax of your story?
Work with Mr. Didier to come up with a rubric for your individual project.