shawn's blog

Designs and Books

Posted in MCE by Shawn on April 14, 2011

In a past update, I talked a lot about balancing and how tedious it can be. Because Winshi was a simple fighting game, the design of levels wasn’t overly complicated. Place baddies. Place main player. Alter environment. Fight. That’s all I needed.

However, this puzzle game is a bit different. So different, that I need to do a lot of prep work before I even go to the computer screen. Right now, I carry around a sketchbook (except for right now, because I left it somewhere else). Within this sketchbook are my designs for levels that I plan to include within this puzzle game. Within the book are some elements that I haven’t designed yet, levels that are not fully complete, and random scribbles. However, everything in this book is contributing to the overall design process of each level, which is much more intricate than Winshi ever was (no offense ninjas…).

One major element within the puzzle game I’m developing is timing. Planning and timing is key. For both myself, and the potential player. I have to make sure that everything within the game is timed correctly, to allow the player to actually beat the level. However, I can’t make it too easy where the player doesn’t have to think about what they’re doing. I just realized that I haven’t even provided anyone who may possibly be reading this (heh), with any information about what the concept of the game is. Well, I will. When I have more things in production.

Anyway, back to my processes. I have a goal which I started on Monday. My plan is to design at least one level every two days, three at most, as some days are unpredictable. I’m hoping to actually stick to this goal, and fill up my first sketch book soon. I may wind up doing that sooner rather than later, as many of my drawings are large, ugly and have may different markings that turn items that should be able to fit onto one page span across 4. In terms of the actual development of these levels, I managed to put together 4! One of them, which I already mocked up, I hasn’t been implemented yet, mostly because I haven’t found the best way to do it. I may need to redesign this on paper before I try to design it again.

Speaking of design, I recently purchased a book on game design. I’ve just started, and so far….well, I don’t like a lot. I don’t know whether this is good or bad, but I am happy that at least the writers of the book initially stated that this is what they did and figure should assist people in the future. They also made it clear that there are multiple roads to actually achieving the goals of designing a good game. A lot of the details are standard, and being that the book also discusses a lot about writing a story for a game, something else that I’m extremely interested in, there are a lot of elements than can easily be transferred over to the person who wants to create a quality story. Which makes sense. However, before I reach my final verdict, I’ll have to read more. Probably on the bus ride to work tomorrow morning.

Yay buses. I think I spend ~11hrs M-F in transit. Typing on this bus ride, which is extremely bumpy, is annoying, and the potholes along the route turn my drawings in to blogs, smears and tears. I can always watch a move! Reading is productive too. But enough rambling. I should get back to doing something. So that’s it for now.

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