Let's talk level design.

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Let's talk level design.

Parry
For example, a speed runner's wet dream. Let's say Mirror's Edge.

Yes, I know, this is mainly a Halo design site, but bear with me.

What is intuitive? What is right? What is wrong?

I don't claim to know, because I don't know.
"Those who seek absolute power are the absolute corruptible."
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Re: Let's talk level design.

Sash
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I like where this might go.

I'm not quite sure either. Are we talking level elements or layout? In general, I think that anything that would inhibit the player's sense of mobility or immersion would be a no-no.
Light can be just as blinding as Darkness. Bring some Sunglasses.
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Re: Let's talk level design.

noklu
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In reply to this post by Parry
Yeah, so in any game or design, you've got particular concerns and ideas that are absolutely central to that game. What works in an FPS does not in a high-paced mech like AC or in a speed running game like Mirror's Edge—but that's not because anything is better or worse than anything else, but because certain conventions and elements are held sacred in FPS's that aren't in AC or Mirror's Edge. Genres have conventions; designers tend to pick a particular convention and uphold that as a sacred touchstone.

With that in mind: what are the sacred touchstones of Mirror's Edge's design? I haven't played it, so this is a terrible example for me. I would hazard a guess at fluid motion. From that, what follows? Well, (semi-)obvious pathing: if the player has no idea where to go, then he has to stop and search and choose, which entails that the ideal of fluidity is broken—in other words, when it is sacrilegious. Therefore, if we were all game critics, our job would be to identify parts in the game where, by its own standards, it is sacrilegious. We might also undertake higher-order criticism and search for ways that the game designers have chosen to make something sacred or profane in ways that are problematic. Anyway, returning to the "what follows from fluid motion" game: from obvious pathing, we have some design choices: linear, semi-linear, or totally non-linear. I don't know if it is properly open world or if it consists of linear missions (or a mix)—but I do know that it uses a hint system to teach players what kinds of objects, structures, and areas to identity in order to advance. Early in the game, when a player is still navigating the learning curve, she is aided by the game: "Hey, look, this pipe is red, go run on it!" Eventually, the player begins to learn: "Oh, right, there's a pipe—I can use that to escape! Yay!"

What else follows from the sacred touchstone of fluid motion? (If you've played the game, you have an advantage: you can just say "Look at this element X! This is how it connects to the sacred touchstone of fluid motion...whereas I, having only the research of a wikipedia article, have to make conservative deductions about the game.)



In more general answer: what is "intuitive" or "right" or "wrong" in the design of a game or a level within a game is dependent on what genre(s) the game exists within and what element the designer is upholding as sacred.
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Know this and fear.

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Re: Let's talk level design.

Parry
In reply to this post by Parry
I played quite a bit of Mirror's Edge, but to say I'm good at it is a lie.

The nature of how the visual system works (Where the most obvious path is painted vibrant red) is a great learning tool, and should definitely be used in any future game, in my opinion.

Mirror's Edge is a linear game, with, due to how the physics/game works, has multiple paths through the same level (though it ends up at the same goal), but in the end, speedruns end up being the primary drive for these levels.
"Those who seek absolute power are the absolute corruptible."