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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperDesignLevel Design Workshop - #3 Structural Atmosphere
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Author Topic: Level Design Workshop - #3 Structural Atmosphere  (Read 55340 times)
Jonathan Whiting
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« Reply #200 on: August 18, 2010, 09:41:24 PM »


Good use of simple forms and symmetry to create a cohesive feel, good work.

On the second to last screen the layout seemed to encourage me to jump off the platform rightwards below the route that should actually be taken, an instant and unfair death.  I guess it's a little present in my original level too, but the draw felt stronger here. (probably because of the enclosing roof).
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wademcgillis
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« Reply #201 on: August 23, 2010, 08:06:23 AM »


I'd like to know if you used separate images for each block, or if you know a way to use just one image and display it several times.
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Jonathan Whiting
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« Reply #202 on: August 23, 2010, 09:33:46 AM »


I'd like to know if you used separate images for each block, or if you know a way to use just one image and display it several times.

I assume you're coming at this from a fairly 'standard' mainline flash perspective?

This is made in flex, rather than flash.  The approach I'm using is (I assume) much like the approach used by FlashPunk and Flixel.

I'm essentially setting up a more conventional graphics context within actionscript.  In the flash graphics context there is only one 'image' total being rendered each frame, but before this is done I can layer up graphics as I want in a fairly freeform way.  I feel like I'm probably describing this rather badly.  It's essentially much like this technique http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flex/articles/actionscript_blitting.html

Everyone:

Now that LD is over I guess I should be thinking about setting up the next exercise.  I've got a bit of a general question though...

Previously I've avoided doing exercises based directly on games I've made and/or working on, because I'm worried it'd feel a bit too much like I'm just doing this as a shallow self-hype vehicle (only half true Tongue).

The flip side is that working with real games is beneficial in a slightly different way to the playgrounds we've previously using.  So I would like to work some in, and if I use my own games it means I can tweak them to try and make the process nice and comfortable here.  Otherwise I'll have to open it up a bit more, and we'll lose the interface consistency (but maybe gain something else? *shrug*).

So, any thoughts, strong or otherwise for either direction?  Am I being overly sensitive?  or are my worries legitimate?  I'd love your input, whatever it is.  Beer!
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Captain_404
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« Reply #203 on: August 23, 2010, 09:51:56 AM »

I wouldn't care if it was a self-hype vehicle. If you feel you would teach people best using an exercise based on one of  your games, by all means, run that exercise. I think I speak for everyone when I say that we understand it isn't self-promotion.

As for interface consistency, I don't think it's a necessary thing. Nice, yes, but a unified aesthetic isn't really the point of the workshop I think.

Personally, I think it would be good to break away from tile-based stuff at some point and work with more interesting geometry.



Also, sorry if it seems like I'm just yelling directions from the sidelines without actually participating. I don't have internet of my own currently, otherwise I'd be making levels and giving critique.
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Dustin Smith
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« Reply #204 on: August 23, 2010, 10:42:31 AM »

If there's any game you'd know the most about, it'd be your own. I don't have any qualms with that.

Over at Glorious Trainwrecks they have a "Knytt of the Month" club, where people make Knytt Stories levels in two hours. http://www.glorioustrainwrecks.com/node/1113
Outside of that level editor (which I don't particularly care for, honestly) I can't think of many other editors that are available to us. Whatever works best for you is fine by me.
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Jonathan Whiting
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« Reply #205 on: August 23, 2010, 02:01:42 PM »

Okay, thats quite reasurring guys, thanks.

As for interface consistency, I don't think it's a necessary thing. Nice, yes, but a unified aesthetic isn't really the point of the workshop I think.

My main motivation for interface consistency is to keep the entry-barrier nice and low.  I'd hate to have people who would otherwise be keen put off by it becoming a bit of a learn-the-confusing-interface-of-the-week workshop.  Also I'm trying to slowly manipulate people into thinking that in-engine level editing is a really fantastic idea (which it is!)  You do make a very valid point though.

Personally, I think it would be good to break away from tile-based stuff at some point and work with more interesting geometry.

Hmm, you're right.  That would be good.  I do and have done mostly tile based level editing (even when doing 3d stuff, thanks to Cube), but there's certainly a whole world of other stuff out there which are also relevant.  I'm struggling a little to come up with games that might fit though..  I remember Soldat had a slightly-clumsy-but-okay editor that might merit re-investigating.  There's also the old mega-classic, Doom.  What else?

Also, sorry if it seems like I'm just yelling directions from the sidelines without actually participating.

Not at all Smiley

Outside of that level editor (which I don't particularly care for, honestly)

I struggled with it myself when I tried it.  Glad it's not just me.  It feels powerful, but not easy.  Typically I prefer the opposite.

I can't think of many other editors that are available to us.

There are certainly some, although in a lot of cases I'm left thinking "well that's great but x or y will make it awkward", which isn't ideal.  At some point I'll have to run back through the things I've made levels for and evaluate them a bit.

I've got a sketch of an idea for the next excercise, need to do a bit of groundwork and put it up.  I'm going to be on holiday for a week starting this weekend, so I'd better make sure I get it done soon!
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Captain_404
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« Reply #206 on: August 23, 2010, 02:29:43 PM »

Hmm, you're right.  That would be good.  I do and have done mostly tile based level editing (even when doing 3d stuff, thanks to Cube), but there's certainly a whole world of other stuff out there which are also relevant.  I'm struggling a little to come up with games that might fit though..  I remember Soldat had a slightly-clumsy-but-okay editor that might merit re-investigating.  There's also the old mega-classic, Doom.  What else?

N, though it is grid-based, is actually pretty good at creating a large variety of interesting shapes. I'm not sure what you could cover with it that you haven't already covered. Perhaps designing an environment to facilitate AI navigation? The interface may also be a little complex at first...

I can't think of any other currently, but I'm sure they exist.

I'm sure you could at least reach something less square by building a gridless vector/point based editor. And if you don't want to code that, I'd be happy to help.

Quote
I'd hate to have people who would otherwise be keen put off by it becoming a bit of a learn-the-confusing-interface-of-the-week workshop.

I didn't think of this, it's worth considering. (conversely, could people also be drawn in by using a game editor they know well?) If you were to stick to creating custom interfaces perhaps you would have enough control for this to be a non-issue.
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Dustin Smith
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« Reply #207 on: August 23, 2010, 08:11:28 PM »

Quote
There are certainly some, although in a lot of cases I'm left thinking "well that's great but x or y will make it awkward", which isn't ideal.


It seems for most of the (intuitive) editors out there the scope is pretty limited. They typically can only make levels identical to the game they're built around.


Mockingbird
is a Flash game creation kit, can't say much else because I haven't really dabbled in it. Battle for Wesnoth has a Map Editor (and there are a handful of platformer editors) but I don't think that they would fit this workshop. N does have a pretty solid editor.

Back in the day I loved the Timesplitters 3 editor. I made multi-level campaign levels with rudimentary scripting and everything.  Durr...?
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wademcgillis
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« Reply #208 on: August 24, 2010, 06:10:54 AM »

I assume you're coming at this from a fairly 'standard' mainline flash perspective?
I guess. I write the code in notepad and "compile" with mxmlc.

I've used blitting before when programming for iOS.
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PsySal
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« Reply #209 on: August 24, 2010, 12:03:48 PM »


Really like what you did here!
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PsySal
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« Reply #210 on: August 24, 2010, 12:20:29 PM »

Perseus Disembarks

I was putting off participating in this thread because I can sink hours into this! =) Anyhow JW keep it up, this is such an interesting exercise even though the lessons learned are somewhat intangible.
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increpare
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« Reply #211 on: August 24, 2010, 12:22:54 PM »

I was putting off participating in this thread because I can sink hours into this! =) Anyhow JW keep it up, this is such an interesting exercise even though the lessons learned are somewhat intangible.
I liked the opening quite a lot, though I got a bit bored during the hilly bit.
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Ishi
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« Reply #212 on: August 24, 2010, 01:41:09 PM »

Back in the day I loved the Timesplitters 3 editor. I made multi-level campaign levels with rudimentary scripting and everything.  Durr...?

I didn't use the Timesplitters 3 one, but the Timesplitters 2 one was awesome. The ability to tint the colour on each tile really helped atmosphere-wise.

Timesplitters 2 made editing a 3D environment really easy by reducing it down to a set of tiles, so maybe that could work in 2D too? Tiles of different sizes that could contain anything from a single block to slopes and stairs and stuff. It would allow for more complex level designs but keep it fairly simple to use.
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thewojnartist
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« Reply #213 on: August 24, 2010, 01:50:09 PM »

Um, is it ok if I just work on the second exercise for right now? I need some practice, feedback, and advice in that area for this one Jumper-esque game I'm designingthe levels of:
Quote
I know they're messy, but I just wanted to get a concept out through them:


These are both the same level, except the background is changed. The concept of the game is that there are black blocks,spikes,bad guys, etc. and white blocks, spikes, bad guys, etc. The main character (the grey afro dude), when standing still, can change the background from black to white and vice versa, so as to change which blocks and stuff are visible This doesn't make the ones that are the same color as the background stop existing, they are still there, but blend in with the background. This causes the player to have to utilize some memorization in order to get through parts that require constant movement (such as a wall jumping segment)

Anyway, here's my first level: http://jonathanwhiting.com/coding/ldw/composition.swf?level=HQIHAIHAIHAIHJHAIHAIHAIHAIGKHAIHAIHAIFLGKHJHAIHAIHAIHAIHAIHAIGKHAIHAIEKAIHAIHAIHAIHAIEKAIHAIHAIDIDIHAIDIDIHAIHAIBNAIHAIHAIHAIHAIDLAIHAIHAIHAIBIFIBPHAIHAIHAIHYIHAIHAI
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Jonathan Whiting
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« Reply #214 on: August 29, 2010, 03:25:41 AM »

Exercise 4: Teaching Mechanics

Okay, so I'm writing this on a bus, and feeling a little bit motion-sick, so this one might be short text wise..  (see how dedicated i am! Tongue )

One of the most powerful, and yet challenging things level design can be used for is for teaching the player the games mecahnics without resorting to long-winded tutorials.  Done well enough the player can be introduced to all the concepts they need to know, with very minimal interference.

The Task

The thing I was least happy with in my LD18 entry was my comparative faliure to illuminate all the mechanics of the game naturally.  In particular the ability to get boosted by shots (both your own and your enemies), and through that 'jump' higher than you otherwise can.

I think you guys can do a much better job, so I've rigged up a version for you to work with.  Hopefully it'll all work out okay, but I've been prepping it whilst travelling, so I've got a worrying feeling I'll have screwed something up.  If so, apologies!

I've tried to make the interface etc. work in much the same way as the previous lessons, so it should be fairly familiar.

In-game controls are arrows/wsad/numpad and zx/shift space.

To make sure you don't miss some, the mechanics that need to be introduced are: Walking, Jumping, Shooting, Holding to shoot faster, reflecting bullets, wrapping, boosting using shots.

I'm going to be climbing in Wales sans laptop and internet connection for the whole of next week, so I'm not going to be able to do any feedbacking for a little while.  I'll do what I can when I get back, but until then you'll have to make an extra effort to criticise each others work.

Really looking forward to seeing what you've come up with whilst I was away.
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Draknek
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« Reply #215 on: August 29, 2010, 08:04:35 AM »

Is the player meant to be able to move in edit mode?

Sidenote: I'm getting that damn error 2046 again and have spent most of the afternoon trying to find a workaround for it. It seems to be Linux only, which is why I'm the only one who's brought it up here. Fortunately I've just discovered that Google Chrome comes with a different version of Flash Player which mysteriously works.
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Tuba
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« Reply #216 on: August 30, 2010, 02:24:10 PM »

You can move the player in edit mode and the enemy (is that supposed to be that?) doesn't work.
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Jonathan Whiting
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« Reply #217 on: September 07, 2010, 02:16:04 AM »

Hmm, not a roaring success then.. Shrug

Being able to move the player in edit mode is a feature not a bug, basically it's really tiresome to have to constantly remove/place start positions when you just want to jump in and test a short sequence.

I'm not sure exactly what you mean re: enemies.  They only work if placed on the ground, but otherwise seem fine.
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Tuba
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« Reply #218 on: September 07, 2010, 04:00:30 AM »

I was waiting for it to get fixed Tongue

By "enemies", I mean the guys with white hair, can't seem to make them work.
Are all the different tiles just for decoration or they do something?  Concerned

Well.. I found a way to teach the player about walking, shooting, jumping and reflecting shots. But it's not saving the player's position, you're supposed to start at the bottom:
http://jonathanwhiting.com/coding/ldw/04teaching.swf?level=PJHHHHHHHHHGKHHHHHHHHHGKHHHHHHHHHGKHHHHHHHHHGKHHHHHHHHHGKHHHHHHHHHGKHHHHHHHHHFKoHHHHHHHHHGJoHHHHHHHHHGpIHHHHHHHHHHgIHHHHHHHHHHAIHHHHHHHHHHAIHHHHHHHHHvoIHHHHHHHHHPJHHHHHHHHH
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Draknek
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« Reply #219 on: September 07, 2010, 01:08:51 PM »

Being able to move the player in edit mode is more confusing than anything, it's not really any more useful here than it would have been for the previous platforming challenges.

The enemies only show up when you load from a level string: if you just add them from the editor they don't appear in play mode.

Here's my attempt. Not sure it does a great job at teaching anything, more it just has puzzles that use the mechanics one by one.
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