How to Incorporate Satisfying Death Mechanics Into Your Game? (Review)


Games that do not allow you to die (or fail, for that matter) lack challenges. When failure occurs, what purpose is there in defying it? Success loses its meaning when there’s no dread. However, player deaths don’t have to end in frustration or the player having to play the long stretches of the game again.

Death mechanics can be integrated into the story and the gameplay, where they become part of the experience. In this article we’ll take a look at different ways to deal with player death and failure, both good and bad. Some games manage to do both at the same time!

You can see more: how to hide a game on steam

Impression:

The best ways to deal with player death are fully combined the narrative and gameplay, these are the ones we should use as inspiration in our titles.

1)    Narrative Deaths

a)    Good: Keep Narrative Death and Gameplay Death Separate

The difference between the two is that one death exists in the narrative, while the other deaths exist in the gameplay. The game deals with that by keeping both things separate and never referencing each other.

b)    Bad: Mix Narrative Death and Gameplay Death

Borderlands 2 fails at this and mixes the two. The game has a system of New U Stations. These work both as checkpoints from which to restart the game and as resurrection points. When you die, a New U is created: basically a clone of your previous self. You lose some money, and the voice of the machine quips that you should avoid jumping into lava and states how much money you have made for the company.

2)    Giving the Player Another Chance

a)    Bad: Magically Save the Player at the Last Second

In the 2008 reboot of Prince of Persia, you can’t actually die. When you’re about to fall to your death, you are saved at the last second and deposited back where you started. When your health is about to run out in battle, you are saved, you get your health back, and the enemies regain their health too, which is another break in the logic of the universe.You end back where you started, with no progress made.

b)    Good: Let the Player Rewind Time

One of the best features in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is the use of the titular sands to affect gameplay. The sand shows up in several story segments, but you can also use it during gameplay! When you die, you just rewind time to a point where you are not dead. Instead of quick-loading, you stay in the game, and the gameplay fully supports this.

In a time-travel game, this feature practically comes with the gameplay. Braid allows you to rewind after death back to when you were alive, and even further to the point where you began the level.

c)    Good: Use an Unreliable Narrator

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time has another fun system for dealing with player death. When you actually do run out of both health and sand, the hero says, “Hang on a second. This isn’t how it happened!” before you need to replay.

What’s happening is that the entire story is actually told by the character after it happened. The game starts right at the end, and everything is told in flashbacks. This feels as if the prince might actually have made a honest mistake. Realizing you have an unreliable narrator is fun and softens the impact of being pulled out of the game to reload it.

Good: Allow the Player to Escape

In Batman: Arkham Asylum(and its sequels) the grapple-hook is a central element of the game. It permits you to quickly move around the world and climb objects.If you should fall into a pit in the game, you do not die. Instead, Batman pulls himself out where you began the jump.

This nicely integrates the grapple mechanic to prevent some player deaths. As there are plenty of other ways to die in the game, this does not feel like a cop-out.

e)    Good: Keep the Player in a “Downed” State With a Way to Get Back Into the Action

When you run out of health in the Borderlands games, you don’t die at once. Instead, you have “last chance” mode.The screen color fades until everything is grey, and you can only crawl. But if you try to kill an enemy, you get a “second wind”, stand up, get a portion of your health back, and can fight and walk again.

You can also be supported by another player, if you are playing co-op. This is a good system. It keeps you in the game and engaged, and doesn’t immediately throw you out. This have more tense fights and moments where you might get downed and have to weigh the chances of your team mates being able to revive you. The AI is also good enough to support this – with horrible AI it wouldn’t work as well as it does.

3)    Above All…

a)    Best: Integrate Death Into the Story

Bioshock Infinite designed the theme of multiple universes. You jump between them in the story. And when you do die, you suddenly wake up in your office, which looks like it did in flashback sequences. But opening the door puts you close to where you were when you died. This tells that you did actually die.

Then the universe-hopping characters that engaged you in the first place went to another universe to get another you, and fast-forwarded through the story to leave you at the point of your previous death.

This is alluded to at the start of the game, where you see a list of decisions you have made before, and it implies there were several dozen yous. Once again player death is woven amazingly into the gameplay, and actually extends the mythology.

b)    Good: Keep Downtime to a Minimum

If there is no way to have a fun death mechanic, at least make sure it’s as painless as possible. This means mainly two things: Allow reloading or restarting as quickly as possible.

When you fail in Trials you can press the restart button, which puts you immediately at the last checkpoint. There is no load time or lengthy animation. Players aren’t frustrated by failure, yet it still retains its heft. Also, keep automatic and fair restart/save points, so the player doesn’t feel punished by having to replay segments.

Conclusion

In conclusion, game’s failure is also vital, as it shows the story meaning and its substance. Applying an unreliable narrator is related to cost-effective way of having player death integrated into the story. Avoiding having in-game characters acknowledge resurrection systems as part of the narrative also keeps maintaining the suspension of disbelief.

 


9 rare game genres are not widely used in video games


  • We have researched and realized that there are many types of games that have been forgotten. They are not widely used in games, from ancient games to modern games. So in today’s article, we will learn about 9 rare game genres. Maybe you will find something appropriate for your game project.
  • 1. Round-Based Tactics

  • These are tactical games combined with unique upgrade features. In this type of game, you will have a base and it will give you the exciting upgrade features.
  • After the battles, you will return to the base and upgrade the units with new equipment. Your units will become stronger, their experience and skills will also increase over time. Therefore, they will become increasingly valuable and when you lose a unit, you will feel extremely regret.
  • This type of game is quite rare, and only a few games developed under it. XCOM is set to be a science fiction world, while Invisible Inc is about spycraft.
  • You Also Might Like: strike force heroes 3 unblocked games 66
  • Link: http://store.steampowered.com/agecheck/app/200510/
  • Invisible Inc.Link: https://www.kleientertainment.com/games/invisible-inc
  • Jagged Alliance. Link: https://www.gog.com/game/jagged_alliance
  • 2. Guns and Conversation

  • Mass Effect and Deus Ex are the games that have successfully applied this type of game. It’s a unique combination of dialogues and shooting scenes. Of course, the game also has the full features of a RPG shooter. However, this combination is something new and interesting.
  • When playing these games, you can talk to NPCs. These are usually conversations about the tasks they give you. In addition, you will have links to decide whether you agree to the task or not. Sometimes, you just talk and everything will be resolved smoothly and safely.
  • Mass Effect. Link:http://masseffect.bioware.com/
  • Deus Ex. Link:https://www.deusex.com/
  • Alpha Protocol. Link:http://store.steampowered.com/agecheck/app/34010/
  • Escape from Butcher Bay. Link:http://riddick.wikia.com/wiki/Escape_from_Butcher_Bay

  • 3. Quiz Games

  • When you experience Do You Know Jack, you will laugh throughout the game. There are many questions in this game and they are very funny (even their design makes you laugh).
  • The game combines fun elements with other features and creates a unique game. You can play alongside 3 of your friends on the same computer. You can give a question to other players and their task is to give the answer. Interaction is emphasized and it creates excitement.
  • However, this game is not just “answer this”. Sometimes, you will encounter really difficult challenges. Typically the question asks you to speak out the names of 30 characters in Star Trek or Star Wars, and come up with time pressure.
  • You Don’t Know Jack.Link:https://jackboxgames.com/project/ydkj-classic-bundle/

  • 4. Meditative Games

  • Phyta is a great game. In Phyta, your task is to control a tree. It’s a nice and slow time, you will feel relaxed with the background music. There will be a few ghosts appearing to “greet” you, but they are harmless. The whole game is a quiet, peaceful story.
  • Another game is Mountain. Like Phyta, Mountain is also developed with very simple gameplay, it does not have many game features. All that the game gives you is a mountain, and nothing else. Over time, you will admire the mountain through the changing seasons of the year.
  • Link:http://mountain-game.com/
  • Link:http://thatgamecompany.com/#games/flower/

  • 5. Element Combination Games

  • The Doodle God begins with three basic elements: Fire, Water and Earth. You will combine two elements and they will create a new element. With this game you can create more than 100 elements with rare elements in the universe.
  • Little Inferno is similar to The Doodle God. You will burn the toys with a fireplace. Some toys will create special effects, such as green fire. The game challenges you with “combo”. Each combo is a puzzle and you can only solve them by picking the right toys and burning them.
  • Little Inferno. Link:http://tomorrowcorporation.com/littleinferno
  • Doodle God. Link:http://doodlegod.com/games/doodle-god/#all

  • 6. Dyson-Like

  • There are very few games that apply this style, so I temporarily call it Dyson-Like. Why? Because Dyson (now Eufloria) is one of the typical games for this style. These games are centered on the base. In Eufloria and Galcon Fusion, it is the planet; In Oil Rush, it is oil derricks. You can own multiple base in these games.
  • In Eufloria you will build your own planet. You can decide how many “warriors” you send to another planet. You will have to pay attention to the distance factor. The longer the distance, the longer it will take to travel. And you also have to decide on the number of “warriors” that you use to attack other players. Besides, you also have to build a solid defense system for your planet to make sure you can stop any surprise attack by the enemy.

  • Eufloria (aka Dyson).Link:http://www.eufloria-game.com/
  • Galcon Fusion.Link:https://www.galcon.com/fusion/
  • Oil Rush.Link:http://oilrush-game.com/
  • 7. Serious Military Strategy Game

  • Combat Mission Shock Force impresses with its mission system. Each task will be different challenges for the player. Example: When you choose NATO, you must occupy some base in the game. However, when you play on the other side, your task is to try to survive and not lose too many units.
  • Another great feature is the “unit visibility”. In this game, there will be some units that can see the location of the enemy. Therefore, you need to create these units and arrange them in reasonable positions to ensure communication between all your units. Without these special units, you will not be able to see the location of the enemy.
  • Combat Mission Shock Force.Link:http://www.battlefront.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=31&Itemid=252

  • 9. Firefighting Games

  • A game genre about fires. In Jones On Fire, you must run continuously through a burning forest and try to save the cats that are trapped in it.
  • Firefighters 2014 is developed with more features. You must direct firefighters and fire trucks to the location of the fire. Different fires require different units to extinguish it.
  • Firefighters 2014.Link:http://www.firefighters-the-simulation.com/index-en.html

Conclusion:

  • While today’s games are quite similar in gameplay, applying a rare genre to your game will break this saturation and create a unique gameplay. Take a look at these nine rare game genres and apply them to your project.

 

 


Ways to teach your players to understand the game play of the game


Some people hate the game guides. When buying a new game, they just want to jump straight to experience. They are not interested in moving maps and menus. But you need to know how to play. You need to understand the new rules of the game. Since all games have their own rules.

You need to find out about the game you are playing. How do you interact with the game? What is your goal in this game? What is the world in the game? All of this needs to be directed to the player.

So, how to guide the players quickly but still ensure the above factors? It should be noted that the initial experience is very important. If you are developing a mobile game or web game then you need to put the player in the content of the game as soon as possible to make sure that they do not feel uncomfortable and leave your game.

You need to be a game guide, but do not let the player feel bored about this tutorial … this is a difficult situation. So, I’ll give you a solution. Do not force the player to “learn” the tutorial, turn it into a part of the game for the player to “experience”.

 

 1. Non – interactive

Guides in games of this genre are part of the old game design. You can see the picture below (Infected game).

Link:https://www.kongregate.com/games/djamieson/infected

The “tutorial” in Infected.

The whole game tutorial is a picture. When you look at this picture, you will quickly understand the “rules” of the game, and then you will hit Start to experience it.
George Fan, developer of Plants vs. Zombies, shared that “there should be no more than 8 steps in a screen.” Players only want to understand how to play as fast as possible.

This is the first rule in game design guidelines. If you give the player a list of 200 combo and special skills, they only remember two or three and use them for the whole of your game. However, if you “guide” the player more reasonably, then they will have a better experience.

A long, but very effective guide

If you force the player to complete a task with only one basic weapon, it can reduce their “experience”. But if you let players freely choose tactics, weapons, and operations to complete a mission, then it is definitely a wise decision.

You can add rating systems or rewards to the tutorial. In this way, hardcore players will try to achieve A + to get the highest rewards and normal players will easily pass your tutorial with a “sufficient reward”.

Super Meat Boy is a game with 6 levels in its “guide”. The first is about the fundamentals: move left or right and jump. Level 2 is about jumping on the wall. Level 3 is a fast-paced skill. After the players are instructed on these basic contents, they will be introduced to more advanced skills.

Link:http://supermeatboy.com/

“Level 1” in Super Meat Boy’s guide. Walk and jump.

You should pay attention to the design so that players easily pass these tutorial levels. It is best to design so that the player can not fail. This will help players to understand the mechanism of the game without feeling pressured.

Link:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NoobCaveThe “noob cave” technique is a great way. Example: At low level, there will be no threat for the player. At high level, AI will attack the player. But AI will attack and move randomly.
There are many ways to design “hang noob” in a game, but the most effective way is to create an interactive tutorial: a tutorial with locking mechanism. Players can only perform actions as directed and win.

2. Interactive tutorial in game

This is a great way to design video game guides. Instead of showing an image with step-by-step instructions and letting the player read it, you can turn it into action and force the player to perform the action. The highlight of this method is that it helps players “remember” what they are instructed.

Players need to click on “S” as directed.

The image above is from Highrise Heroes. This is a good example of how interactive tutorials work. Players will be locked all actions except for the click of the letter “S”, and it will help them easily understand how to play the game. It should be noted that: When using this method to guide the player, you must ensure that the player must be “forced” until they complete the tutorial.

Link:http://www.noodlecake.com/games/highrise-heroes/

Limitations of this method: If the player knows about this part, they will feel uncomfortable and bored. So you need to have a “Skip” button so the player can skip this step. However, you should be rewarded for the time spent by the player to complete the tutorial.

One more thing, these guidelines should not be too lengthy, so make it as concise as possible.

3. Tutorials “background” in the game

Background guides allow players to experience the game and understand how to play each section of the game. Here is an example:

A background guide in VVVVV

This is the first part of the VVVVVV, they used a small popup to guide the player how to move. This method is short, easy to understand, easy to communicate for players.

Another background tutorial

4. No instructions in the game

How to get water from a locked faucet? The player will rotate the handle of the tap to the right so water can flow out. How to open the TV? Players will use the remote control or click the “Power” button on the TV. The things I just said are not in the guide. So how do you know?

They will rely on human instinct, based on real life experiences and they will apply to your game. This is a good method. This way of doing it is quite fun, pro players and noob players can easily understand it. It is clear that no one will control their character running straight into the fire or into the poisoned walls.

If you design well, the player will know which objects are good and which ones are bad. And players will not need to “test” with their life. Shigeru Miyamoto talked about the gold coins in Mario: “When we discuss what anyone will aspire to when they see them, and that is the gold coin.”

Plants vs Zombies have also applied this method successfully: the player knows that the trees will not move and that the zombies will move slowly.

A good example of this method

 

With this method, you do not need to explain everything in your game. When you design a game with this method, make sure that the player understands the “rules” in your game. Because the “basic rules” of the game are now very popular, which means that players are very familiar with them.

For Infected, this is really a great method. Their players may not read the guide and still play the game. When you click on an object, blurry tiles appear and you understand that these are the places you can move. The first version does not have this feature, adding this feature makes it easier for gamers to access the game.

The design of the blurry tiles makes it easy for players to understand where they can move

You should not change the “familiar game play” that players already know, this will cause bad effects for your game. If you really want to change the traditional gameplay elements, give the right reasons to convince the gamer. Katamari Damacy did this well. In the game, you need to use both fingers to control, rather than using a finger in the traditional way to control the camera. Although the gamer will have some confusion at the beginning, however, the simplicity of the game has made them approach the game quickly and efficiently.

Link:

http://katamari.wikia.com/wiki/Katamari_DamacyIn a similar game, the Karoshi Suicide Salaryman web game requires players to kill themselves (usually by jumping on spikes). Although this is a weird play (you have to kill yourself to win), but with a clear mission, the player still understands the play game.

5. Continuous learning and testing

There is a very good method (if you apply it wisely): do not give the player clear instructions, you just give some simple suggestions to curious players and they will have to experience your game to explore. In the game Zelda, players will have to constantly search for new items and equipment, and they must also know how they work. Instead of having to make a long tutorial about the item’s features, how to use items … the game will give you a hidden room and say “think about it”.


These rooms are actually basic instructions: it allows the player to explore and explore their new items. So, players will know how these items work in a safe environment.

There is a very good method (if you apply it wisely): do not give the player clear instructions, you just give some simple suggestions to curious players and they will have to experience your game to explore. In the game Zelda, players will have to constantly search for new items and equipment, and they must also know how they work. Instead of having to make a long tutorial about the item’s features, how to use items … the game will give you a hidden room and say “think about it”.

These rooms are actually basic instructions: it allows the player to explore their new items. So, players will know how these items work in a safe environment.

Once the player has understood all the features and the “operation” of the new toy, they will be thrown back into the” real “world of the game. Here, they can continue to use their experience and knowledge to overcome the challenges of the game such as fighting monsters, performing quests … And finally, the player will combine these weapons to solve difficult puzzles in the game. They were really “passionate” about the game.

Zelda also designed their game very well and skillfully: in Zelda, the whole game was the tutorial. Except for the last cave, Zelda almost instructed the player during their game experience. But they do not force players to learn everything at the same time. The information is taught sparsely, the important content will appear in front of the player at the time they need them most. This is one of the biggest advantages of Zelda.

Instead of instructing players on everything from the beginning, they will slowly unlock your game. With this method, players will never be overwhelmed and they will always feel excited when discovering new items, while discovering other interesting information while playing your game.

Plants vs Zombies has also applied this method very well: during the game, players will be able to open new trees (and sometimes new features). When they open them, they will have to learn about their effect to use and defeat the zombie army. Players always find new things in the game (mostly through new trees with their new effects). Because plants are an important weapon in the game, Plants vs Zombies encourage players to choose the most effective “weapons”, instead of looking for some “cute” plants and planting them all the map.

6. Do not scare the player “quit”

All I want to say to you is: Do not be afraid of players leaving your game, and do not let them leave your game. Very clear advice, but very few games can do this. I wonder: why is that?
A common example of this is the registration to activate the account. If you are wanting players to sign up before they enter your game, do not add items like birthdates, IDs, home addresses … you just need to give them a gaming account when they click on the registration form. Make them able to experience your game as quickly as possible. And if they like your game, then you will have plenty of time for players to fill in a “full registration form”.

I take the example of Tagpro, this is an online game. Do you want to create an account to play their games? I do not think it is necessary. First, you choose a host, then you hit Play as Guest and you are in their game.

Link:http://tagpro.gg/

You may have created a very beautiful, detailed, and informative tutorial. But you will realize that players really do not need them. They do not care about them, because they feel “lazy” to read them all. Maybe they need some information and they know they will be in your tutorial. But they do not want to spend time looking for them.

Overview

Try to make your tutorials fun, attractive and not a tedious, lengthy one. Depending on the game genre, you can create a simple and succinct “tutorial” for your players. Or you can let the player discover everything in game as a real life. You can also split scattered tutorials in your game and place them at the most logical moments.

 

 


A Guide for Newbie on Designing Levels in Video Games – Part 2


***** Please read the Part 1 at the following link:

…..link part 1…..

3. The Bubble – Diagrams

Before I decide on the time and things to do to create a final design, create something in the toolbox, or I will start thinking about the issues of the personal area, I always hope that I have a feeling, a broad idea. This is very good. It helps me avoid mistakes, and I do not have to redo my design many times.

To be able to visualize that overarching idea and the parts in its area, how they are connected, I need to create a Bubble – Diagrams.

a. What is the Bubble – Diagrams?

The Bubble – Diagrams is a very simple map. It showed me a general picture of what I had to do. It has circles that tell you the levels of each area, and the arrows let me know the flow and connections between areas.

From the second part, I have given all the parts of the level. The idea of ​​the Bubble – Diagrams is to help us know exactly where all the pieces of the design are linked together. The Bubble – Diagrams also help us think about the paths (through levels), the Bubble – Diagrams also tells us what kind of path is best for our purposes.

This is the Bubble – Diagrams that I used to create linear cleavages. In this diagram there are two types of arrows with the effect of indicating their connection type (two way or one way):

The Bubble – Diagrams from my example. The numbers in this diagram are the eight areas from the “Brainstorming – Structure”

 

For The Bubble – Diagrams, each designer will have different ways to create it. But there is a note that I need you to remember, that the ideas must be consistent and that it must be tremble. Another benefit of sketching out The Bubble – Diagrams is that you can use it to better understand your ideas, so concentrate on creating The Bubble – Diagrams.

4. About The TheRough – Maps

a. Let flesh out Each “Bubble”

When we have completed The Bubble – Diagrams, we need to know what happens at each level and we must know how each area is connected to each other.

The next step that we have to do is look through the lists and make a rough design for each “bubble”. You need to do this in Illustrator or on paper (this is how I usually do). But there are also a number of experienced designers who prefer to do this on programs, simply because it gives them an infinite space. And you can do the same, or do on paper like me. Anyway, the way you feel the easiest and fastest, then you should choose it.

Take a look at the picture below. This is an example of what’s in the “Bubble” (especially in Bubble 3: Tight – Corridors). I created it on paper:

Players will start at the top of the map and move towards the bottom. In this area, I have a note in the top corner to introduce the types of enemies so people can understand it more easily.

Now let’s see what we have here:

  • The player moves south and destroys 3 swarmers. After that, the player will go down and meet the four swarmers (they will run out from a secret passage).
  • After defeating the 4 Swarmers, the player faces Melee. They will come closer to you and I think our character will spend a bit of HP in this scene.
  • In the third corner, our character will have to fight with a group of Swarmers and Melee. Looking at the figure, we will see the direction in which these enemies will appear.
  • The player goes through the fourth corner and right at the fifth corner, the player will be confronted by three Ranged enemies and five Swarmers.
  • At the last corner, the player moves to the area in “Bubble 4”.

You should pay attention to how these areas are designed. They are completely separate from other areas. In this section, it is not necessary to write down the details of space and height of each area. In this section, if you see something wrong with your mind. You can completely change everything. So I do not put the details of the space and height of the area into this section.

You should try to keep the scale relatively suitable for all other areas. Because this will make your work easier, especially in the next step when you have to connect the areas together.

Do not pay too much attention to accuracy or small details in areas. As ideas will arise continuously, and things can change (even if the design is completed).

b. About The Connection Between The Areas

After you have created “bubbles” with raw designs on paper (or on computer programs), you need to link them together to create logic. To do this, I usually use Adobe Illustrator, but you can also do this on paper.

 

You should design the areas and show them all so that we can see all the areas more easily.

A note that I want you to know, that is the severity of the area. The harder the next, the more enemies or challenges. It is a good and good way to do it.

You should also create save points after each battle or in the positions you think are right. This will allow the player to relieve pressure while playing the game.

And finally a complete raw product (as shown above).

5. Let Finish The Design

Once you’ve completed linking the “Bubbles” areas together, you are nearing the finish of the design. Everything is ready, and this is where you add elements of “area width” and “height”.

Designers always have different ways to do this. My priority is usually to design a 2D map first. Because I’m always very good at designing these little details, and 2D maps help me do it faster. However, the choice is still yours. Choose the way you feel most comfortable, how to help you complete the product fast and quality.

 

Note:

Let see the PDF file below for larger and more detailed maps. You can also see how it is designed.

Link file

Each box is 2×2 units of the game. By doing this and by writing out the numerical height index (for example: +70 on the map above), we can better understand the metrics.

Conclusion

Remember that everything we do is just a design. As soon as you start doing this task, you will realize a lot of things you are missing out on. So a solid foundation before the work will help you a lot.

I hope this article will help you. Make sure you have other changes than I do. Just do it the way you feel comfortable, or make the results of your work better, so it’s good.
I started this process by exploring all the difficulties and limitations of a level. Having a solid working approach will help you prevent shortcomings and avoid having to redo the design several times.

In the next step, I think about ideas and gather a rough map for the levels: how many areas to design, what will be in each area. This map is usually completed with a list and numbers, especially for linear levels as in my article.

Then I continued to create a Bubble – Diagrams and I could see everything happening in each area very clearly. This gives me a background to understand the flow of the levels.

Everything was nearing completion. Now I will create a rough map to link the “Bubbles” together. I usually design each area (on paper). I then combined the “Bubbles” together. Once I finish this part, I will look again at everything. And if there are any shortcomings or adjustments, I will change immediately. Until I felt the areas fit together, I entered the final step.

The rough map is ready, now I need to design the small details inside of it like the height or width of the area. And I usually use a computer program to do this.
When I make requests from customers, I usually design a map. Map is a tool that I find very useful. And for one more reason, they can also help you with presentations or conversations with your customers.


A Guide for Newbie on Designing Levels in Video Games – Part 1


In this article, I will share with you the following issues: A guide to designing levels for video games, taken from the experience of Resistance, Ratchet & Clank, Skylanders franchises and from my experience. . I will not say too much about my own concepts, but I will give a clear and understandable example of the process that I am working on and applying when designing a level for video games.

I will show you an example of the steps I take, here you will understand more about this content:

  • Step 1: Understand the Constraints. I will help you overcome the limitations that I always find out during designing the levels for a video game.
  • Step 2: Brainstorming – Structure. I will show you how I decide what is allowed at one level in the video game.
  • Step 3: The Bubble – Diagrams. I will show you a very easy way to list what will be located in each area of ​​the level in your game.
  • Step 4: The Rough Maps. I will talk about the process where I come up with ideas for each “Bubble” from The Bubble – Diagrams. From there you will be able to more easily grasp the process. I think I can not write all the tutorials on this process here, so I’ll just go through the basics here.
  • Step 5: Finish the Design. I will guide you on moving from the original design to the final one. Since this is a big topic and there are many people interested in it so in this section I just give out the most basic and general.

 

1. Understandthe Constraints

When you are preparing to do a design, the hardest part of it is what you will do in one level of the game. As a designer, you will have to do a lot of things yourself. But not something you know, well understood – especially when you are working in a team.

In a team, most of your limitations or difficulties will come from other players in the team. There will be issues of business rights, business restrictions, player issues, legal issues, mechanical problems, and you need to be prepared to face them. As far as I know, no one does not get one of these difficulties.

The most typical comments will be from your art director, creative director, direct manager and anyone in the team who is involved in the process. If you are working as an indie person, you will not have this problem. However, you have to decide everything. So, you still need to understand the limitations and difficulties of your friend. This is really good in the preparation phase.

a. General – Constraints

There are some difficulties that we always face. I tried to memorize them when I made the design of a level of video game. I realize that these things always happen in all the games I have ever done.

I will show you the answers about the limitations, which will help you clearly see the work you need to get started. And I will use them to create a level design in the video game.

The Duration OfA Level.  

Create a short level, a maximum of 30 minutes.

Do You Want To Show Off Any New Tech, Audio, Art Or Similar? 

We have an imaginary game tool with beautiful indoor – lighting – effects, so I want to build lots of beautiful indoor – spaces.

How Much Time Do I Have to Design It? 

I wrote this post for a few months, but at the design level in the video game I spent about three days to complete it.

Do you understand the desires of the paid players in your game?

For a game, these expectations are often derived from the publisher, marketing department, investor, etc.

What is the platform of your game?

You should understand the background of the game you are doing. You do not need to know about all the platforms, but need to know the background of your game. Mobile games can not use as much energy as PC or PS4 games. A virtual reality game should take into account the motion sickness problem. Mobile games are limited to screens because everyone plays them on mobile devices like smart phones, tablets. Knowing these limits, you will do everything better.

Where Does A Level Suitable For The Level Progression?

This is the level in the third position of a video game. So, the challenges will not be too difficult.

The Customers.

You have to understand what your game is about, and what it targets. A science fiction game, with lots of violence and gore, it would be rated as 18+ or M. And it’s clear that the object we are targeting is those over 18.

b. The Most Important Constraints

If you are happy that someone is paying you to design a level for their game, remember that they want this level to be perfect. If you do not satisfy them, they will not pay you, you understand this! Satisfying your customers is the best way to grow your business. Because after you do well, they will continue to hire you a second time.

I have met a lot of important questions, from project to project, and I find that there are four most important questions that I need to share with you:

  • What is the story, theme of a level in the game?
  • What are set – pieces?
  • What are the limitations of yourself?
  • What is the “Macro design” of the game that requires this level?

Let analyze the above questions!

What is the story, theme of a level in the game?

You need to understand these issues. For example, the objective of this level is to rescue a VIP who is trapped in a mysterious land, then leave with the helicopter parked.

What are set – pieces?

Fight a monstrous monster in a destroyed area near the middle.

What are the limitations of yourself?

When designing areas, you need to pay attention to factors such as the player’s size, player movement speed, jump height, size of the monster.

Know this and you will know how much space you need to create, how long and how tall it is to fit in that area and make it logical.

What is the “Macro design” of the game that requires this level?

From the idea to build a video game, you need to have a document to know what will happen at each level in terms of specific terms.

A Macro document will show the enemies and challenges that will be in each level, the purpose at each level that the player wants, the rewards received, and the privileges associated with it. These limitations will again help you a lot in the process of creating a level for video games.

Here are my Macro examples:

The first part: This is a simple fighting game. There are no quests, no quizzes, and you only fight four types of enemies:

  • Ranger: An enemy can only stand and shoot at you.
  • Melee: An enemy can move near you and attack you with a weapon.
  • Swarmer: An enemy with a small body.
  • Heavy: An enemy with a large body but it only stands. You will take a lot of effort to destroy it.

The second part: When the player is close to the VIP, there must be a feature that players do not have to play the whole process of rescue. We call it save points.

The third part: You will have to meet VIP in the final battle scene. VIP is being arrested by the Boss.

2. Brainstorming – Structure

a. About The Ideas

Once you have a clear understanding of your limitations, it is time to look for ideas. I take for example: I want to build more furniture, more bodies, so I will create an underground base.

The helicopter can enter the base by a special airfield at ground level, and the airfield can deliver helicopters inside the base.

There will be situations where your base is attacked. There will be a number of places destroyed, so these areas should collapse.

I want to see combat scenes with enemies on the base surface, so I want to have at least one battle area with the stairs next door.

 

b. Think about the “Area”

When I design a video game, I usually think of different “areas” in the same scope. This makes it easy for me to design each area in detail, and make my product more quality. “Region” is a popular but very loose term for the stage of a video game, with any shape, size or location. Whether you are designing a real standard for an area or not, it is important that it should help you work more easily and comfortably. If things get worse, do not worry too much.

Let me give you an example: I want players to learn about their new enemies and then they have to take advantage of other enemies to get the most out of training. Things will get much more complicated, but this is a good and very effective method.

To do so, you need to perform at least 7 steps. When you need to create a final area for a purpose, like a room and a chat room where you rescued VIP, you need to create some more areas. For this example, we have 8 regions.

These are just my examples, maybe for you it will be different. However, these are the basic things you can imagine what I’m trying to say:

  • Helicopter – Landing – Pad: Start of level; this will be a safe area and no enemies.
  • Computer – Room: 2 or 3 enemies called “Ranger” appear and you need to knock them down, the exit door is closed (auto).
  • Tight – Corridors: The number of enemies increased, you will face Melee and Swarmer.
  • Destroyed – Barracks: A fierce battle breaks out, you encounter the Heavy enemy, and this is a very strict area.
  • Barracks – 2: All the back paths are closed. You must fight with Ranger, Melee, and Heavy Ememies.
  • Corridors – 2: More battle with Ranger and Melee.
  • Large – Stairwell: All four dragons appear at once and you need to kill them all.
  • Damaged – Control – Tower – Room: A battle with two or three Heavies and several Swarmers. This is the last battle. You will then see the door leading to the VIP position.

 

*** Please read the “A Guide for Newbie on Designing Levels in Video Games Part 2” at the following link:

……….link part 2……….


The core things that game designer and game developers must have


Making a video game is not easy as we always imagine, it is a mixed with chain of things together. “Envato” is knew as digital good market, which provide a lot of useful material in making a game. In this essay, I will present you everything related to this field.

1. Sprite sheets:

Sprite sheets consist of sprites, which are combine into one file. Sprite is an object, which is always appears and plays an important role in recent games. Sprite sheets are now the standard of game industry. In this section below, we will give you useful things you need to make sure that whether you need symbol, character….

∎ Game character – Sprite 08

This is a set of tools to help you make your character move like people’s movement such as running, walking, jumping…In addition, it also has a character set for 2D runner games.

∎ Pixel characters

If you have ever thought about creating pixel art, here is a very quick introduction to one of the fundamental aspect of it: characters. Characters and other objects are formed by illuminating pattern of pixels. This set includes over 40 characters with 10 poses each. It is the perfect added to a “retrogame”, this allows us to focus on the player’s experience rather than the design of the character or other parts.

∎ Zombie Sprite sheets

Adding animated living dead to your game easily with this fantastic zombie sprite sheets. Five Zombie design, each walk and death loops, are included in this set. This is perfect for runner or platform games.

∎ Vegas Slot Icons Collection: 30 Vectorial Icons

Make fun by designing a Vegas style gambling machine with over 30 icons, ready for all your logo combining needs.

∎ Explosions and Impacts Spritepack

Filling a strong punch with beautiful designs. This is perfect for fighting games, RPGs, action games and more.

∎ Physics Game Block Set 3

These colorful block sets will bring a lot of fun and it is also great for games that play with physics or feature emotionalthat throw themselves at poor building. This set provides a variety of shapes, faces and block conditions.

∎ Game character sprite 07

Give your running girl magic power from earlier in this list a friend “nimble boy” sprite sheet. Wonderful for all platform games where you need multiple movement and actions.

 

∎ Virtual Coins for Your Games

If you need coin animations to attribute heavily in your game, within your game level, or as a part of user interface, this set of coin sprites youhave covered.

∎ Shark Game Assets

For players who love the simplicity and fun, creating a game of action-shark hunting bonuses will be a perfect idea.

∎ Flying Turtle Game Art

Instead of creating a flying bird like the old model, a winged turtle collecting gold coins would seem to be more attractive.

∎ Sky Birds Game Assets

With a perfect shooter, set of character and twist action, sidescroller games like this will have more fun.

∎ Game Asset Ornaments

With the diversified set of graphic ornaments and sprites, it will bring to the players feel interesting to play more and more from level-to-level.

∎ Game Animals Sprite Sheet | Volume 1

There will be a lot of animals in the game for you to choose, which can simulated the human movement such as walking, running, sliding, jumping,…

∎ Game Sprites 1

To players who enjoy adventure, this set of sprites is perfect.

∎ Space Shooter Creation Kit 3

Shooting games has been designed with complex spacecraft models, the sprite sheets will be extremely detailed contruction.

2. Backgrounds:

A background is what is underneath another object. In this field, background is the place where you can find any creative ideas for your game through the set of prites.

∎ 6 Game Backgrounds

Each background can be easily edited in the Adobe Illustrator software and the files are all ready for you to create a new game. In addition, the perfect combination of the set of backgrounds adds a lot of utility to adventure games.

∎ 5 in 1 Game Background

In this game, there are 5 colorful and funny backgrounds, players can choose a favorite background for their character based on the variety level.

∎ Jungle Run Game Background

Players must control their character through all different kind of trees in the forest with many interesting challenges in this game.

∎ Retro City Building Pack

With this background, players can build a busy retro city as they always dream.

∎ Nature Game Background

This is a game inspired by nature.

∎ Game Backgrounds #1

This is a simple game design with repeated backgrounds throughout the game.

∎ Game Backgrounds in One Set

This game design with the set of 15 backgrounds can integrate multiple moves at the same time as shooting while running or flying while shooting,…

∎ Game Background

This background offers players 10 different fantastic levels with spectacular mountain or nature scenes,…

∎ 9 Cartoon Game Backgrounds

Players will not be able to skip the games that have so cute and cute animated backgrounds like this.

∎ 8 Chinese Game Background

This type of games offer players the background to simulate Chinese architectural and designs.

3. Tile Sets:

This type will help game developers design diversified games by creating amazing different scenes.

∎ Scifi Shooter Sprite Sheet

Players have a chance to build a world dedicated to their character that against the enemy in this fiction games.

∎ Platformer Game Tile Set 4

This perfect set of tiles help game designers create many fantastic themes for adventure games. This set consist of two tile set styles, backgrounds, and an assortment.

∎ Pixel City Creation Kit

This Pixel City Creation Kit supports players in the construction of virtual city models.

∎ Platformer Game Tile Set 5

This is a winter themed game. Everthing in this kind of game will bring to players a very cool feeling.

∎ Platformer Game Tile Set 6

This is excellent graphic design software with challenges base on different levels. It allows players the opportunity to try with variety levels.

∎ Platformer Game Tile Set 9

The set of this tile is wonderful for players to build their castles. It shapes the style of the game and allows players to create castles related to the theme.

∎ 2D Tileset Platform Game

This is a simple designed game which keep the fun and comfort for players.

∎ 2D Tileset Platform Game 3

This kind of game with every detail were inspired from the forest.

∎ Platform Game Tileset 4: Abandoned Castle

This game titleset is an exciting start to players. It brings them the true feeling while they were playing game.

∎ Top-Down Roguelike Dungeon Crawl RPG Tileset

It is the perfect content for adventure games. Players also can easily change the set according to their preferences.

4. User Interfaces:

The set of interface packages are the perfect combination to help game designers complete their product in the fastest and most convinient way.

∎ RPG User Interface

You will not be able to miss any game using RPG User Interface because it’s a very clear and useful set of interfaces.

∎ Cartoon Games GUI Pack 3

The GUI Pack such as a wonderful set which create funny interfaces for mobile games.

∎ Match-3 Candy Game GUI

This kind of Interface is extremely lively and detailed.

 

∎ Cartoon Games GUI Pack 9

Exciting games on mobile phones or tablets will require the perfect combination of GUI Pack 9.

∎ Cartoon Games GUI Pack 11

These adventure games will operate more smoothly if they are designed base on this GUI Pack 11.

∎ Mobile Game GUI Pack 02

The items in the games will be highlighted by this interface. 2D games become more lovely because of GUI Pack 02.

∎ Mobile Game GUI Pack 04

This is the interface package that focuses on game mobile. It’s also the perfect choice for developing puzzle games.

∎ Cartoon Games GUI Pack 14

The colorful buttons in each game, which are designed by the GUI Pack 14 Interface would help players not to be confused.

∎ DingDong: Game GUI Pack

These items such as buttons, banners, tile sets, icons,… of mobile games can be lovely designed  by this interface.

∎ Space Game GUI Pack

Base on the space game GUI pack, game designers are able to focus on game instead just building items in the game.

5. Game Kits:

When you start developing a game, all you need is the set of game kits.

∎ Wirawiri: Game Level Map Builder

This game kit help creating the diversified terrain, surface styles, other items more beautiful and attractive.

∎ Top Down Racing Game Creation Kit

It will be much easier if the game designers use this set of kit to create racing games.

∎ 2D Pixel Art Game Assets

The 2D Pixel Art Game is the wonderful start to design a new game with 150 assets, creating a perfect begin for you.

∎ Casino Card Game GUI

This set is nice addition for your game inventory with full cards, table, and so on.

∎ Cannon Ball Shooter Assests

In this set, construct a bubble shooter with nice colors, animations, element and more in 3 file types.

∎ Flying Adventure Dark Style Game Kit

A game which consists of element sets, character sprites or so on will give for you sense of flying adventure.

∎ Spooky Places Game Assets

In order to an exciting game, this set with sprite sheets and buttons to the backgound is necessary for you. Spooky Places Gamr Assets is a cartoon-themed horror game.

∎ Game Assets for Tank Wars

If you want to enjoy a game with your friends in long time, this game set which have function sprites, tile sets and so on is good choice.

∎ Golden Slots Game Kit

This is a swanky game setwith more than 500 elements. Moreover, every asset can be edited in 6 file formats.

∎ Space Game GUI Set

You feel more excited with a space-themed game set which has designed menus, sprites, button and so on.

 

6. Miscellaneous Things:

This is a list of assets which has game icons and addition assets. Let’s see anything which be assembled below.

∎ Common Game Icon Asset

A game is very excited which has 100 icons in 4 sizes.

∎ RPG Item Bundle 1

This is a game with a bundle of 296 items used for leveling up players.

∎ Magic Bottles Icons

The icon sets are a new theme for all games.

∎ Game Icons

Icons which are designed simply and colorfully are one of the key to attract the attention of players.

∎ 2D Cartoon Forest Trees & Plants

For this type of game, the game makers have designed more than 230 items based on the image of the tree.

 

∎ Donut Game Icons Set

This game is great for playerwho love cooking, it is a perfect combination of colorful food.

∎ 85 RPG Fantasy Spells Icons

This is a fantastic game for players who want to create their icons by themselves.

∎ Asteroids Game Pack

Many players are considering buying this package to complement the space game collection on their mobile devices.

∎ Isometric Map Icons Vol.01

This is a perfect design for games that involve maps because it’s has many choice for players to choose.

∎ Common Game Icon Pack HD

For games that have already hit the market, this is a perfect addition to improving game quality.

Conclusion

This is a list of core things, which are game designers and game developers pay attention for creating a new games. There may be some details that can be overlooked but in general this is a useful article for people who are really interested in the game development services industry.

 


Tips and tricks in Unity and Vuforia that you should know


Vuforia helps you make engaging AR apps. Now, I will introduce several nice functions of it. We will explore Cube and Cylinder-Targets, Vumarks, Smart-Terrain and more. Of course, we will not explain these subjects deeply, but it is enough for you to understand and you can start with them.

 

1. Set up “Vuforia” on Unity

You can skip this section if you are already with preparing a Unity project. Because it reviews for people that used Vuforia in the past.

Firstly, you have to set up the framework by downloading and importing the “Vuforial” package for Unity. After that, in “Vuforia’s License Manager”, you have to create a License Key. You take the key and insert it on “ARCamera” prefab. And now, you can play around with “Vuforia”.

You can consult the example below : Create a Pokémon GO Style Augmented Reality Game With Vuforia.

2. Design an Image-Target

Almost of Augmented-Reality experiences on “Vuforia” base on types of Target which is admit by “Vuforia’s algorithm” to begin the augmentation process. Designing target by yourself, then submit it to “Target-Manager” of “Vuforia”in order to the system identify it. One thing you should remember, this design must apply some tutorials unless you want it cannot recognized at all.

Many types of “Vuforial” targets including a lot of “Image-Targets” are arranged in concrete position and order with a “Multi-Target”. So, you have to have knowledge about designing an “Image-Targets”.

When designing an “Image-Target”, it applies three main rules below:

Detail must be rich.

It must have a nice distinction with bright and dark regions.

There is no repetitious and can be exist.

An arrangement of the image which using its function is created by “Vuforia”, then the algorithm can find sample and track the targets. An image’ function looks like a box corner or the tip of the star, it means that it is a sharpened angle roughly; and the amount of function in image connect directly to its “trackability”

And important more, the “Image-Targets” need level of randomness and chaos to be identified. So, if functions in an image are arranged in a pattern, they will not help.

Therefore, you can create a perfect “Image-Target” if you apply those rules above.

3. Using Multi-Target

The “Multi-Target” is include a series of “Image-Targets” in determinedgeometric disposition. “Vuforia’s algorithm” can track the targets at the same time and make a volumetric reference in this disposition. In marketing strategy, “Multi-Target” is extremely useful to improve interaction of customer with product package.

a. Designing a Multi-Target

The rule of designing of “Multi-Target” is the same as that of “Image-Target”, but adding 2 rules, there are: the box’s depth and its Geometric consistency.

A recommendation shows that the depth of the box should be a half of its width. If it is smaller than that, it will work.

Algorithm of “Vuforia” expects that all parts of the “Multi-Target” have consistency. In other word, all of the sides of the box are expected to be in place. If this cannot happen, it can keep the removable part blank in target creation in “Target-Manager”.

b. Creating a Multi-Target

Firstly, selecting the database, then click Add-Target. Select the “Cuboid” option with Width-Height-Length-Name.

I repeat that a “Multi-Target” is include a series of “Image-Target” in a defined position. So, when the “Multi-Target” was created, select and set “Image-Targets” in it. Each the part of cuboid must have an image, in which, each image apply to the percentage of the cuboid, specified when the target was made.

You would be ready when the Cuboid is installed. Download the database, then, add it in Unity. Drag a “Multi-Target” prefab to the stage, and select Cuboid-Target and database which downloaded in order to use it. Take a look at the documentation.

4. Cylinder-Targets

“Vuforia” documentation shows that Cylinder-Targets allows you to find or track images that rolled into the cylindrical and conical shapes. You can create engagement with product package by using this interaction.

a. Design a Cylinder-Target

As Multi-Target, a Cylinder-Target depend on Image-Target, too. That means it should apply 3 main rules in designing. Both the top and the bottom of the cylinder must be a square, they will be marked by the Target manager system. You should attend to target’s consistency.

b. Create a Cylinder-Target

In first step, select the database in “Vuforial’s Target-Manager”, add a new Target, select the Cylinder choice, set its Dimensions and Name.

In second step, select the Cylinder-Target which you created and upload images to it. You can upload one image for top and one image for bottom. You should know that the image must respect the ratio of cylinder. But don’t worry because “Vuforia” system will give you the exact ratio, so, you can regulate your image percentages accordingly. Your upload will succeed just when the ratio is correct.

You only have to download and import the database to Unity, then, drag a “Vuforia Cylinder-Target” prefab to scene, you can use it.

5. Smart Terrain

The Smart-Terrain is a sole function which allows you to rebuild and improveyour physical environment. The function reconstruct, tracks physical objects,defines and surface. Those objects which are specified can be used as terrain in Unity, and it open up exciting possibilities for games and experiences.

The experience is beginning when the device tracks an Image-Target, a Cylinder-Target or other kind of target. The system will specify objects that distributed around the target, then, set the game stage base on objects tracked. The terrain is projected nearly over the scanned objects, the experience starts.

When objects apply to “Vuforia” standards, Smart Terrain can define them, like boxes or cylinders. It will put those simple objects directly on the game stage and using them like part of the scene.

The Smart-Terrain system calls those types of objects Props. The size can be small like a soup-can or big like a large cereal-box. “Transparent objects” like glass which is not supported.

Smart-Terrain works in 3 stages:

Staging: the user distributes the target and the objects (props).

Scanning: Smart-Terrain tracker captures and rebuilds the stage and props which used in the stalling.

Tracking: the Unity scene that you’ve developed augment the terrain.

In order to create a Smart-Terrain experience, the “Vuforia” team shows us an excellent each step guide. You only allows the guide if you want to try. However, you should remember that Smart-Terrain is limit certainty, especially relative to hardware and system requirement. You can find out more about the system in its documentation.

6. VuMark

A “VuMark” is a type of target can be made to order fully and it is defined by “Vuforia” tracking system. It can recount specific design option or a brand personality. “VuMark”can begin “encode data” or“AR experiences”.

The creation process with “VuMark” is not simple. The “Vuforia” team gives us an excellent guide and some helpful tools. But in this post, I will only show you general idea of this process.

a. “VuMark” Design

It is important to understand several construct and design rules for “VuMark”. A “VuMark”consist of 5 parts:

Contour: the contour is specified by the contrast between border and the clear space. It is a part which “Vuforia’s algorithm” finds firstly.

Border: the organizing shape of “VuMark”. It is made by straight lines with at least 4 angles which located at the outermost edge of the design.

Clear space: the empty area that appears adjacent to the border. It is ensure there is enough contrast for the algorithm to find the contour

Code / Elements: shows the target’ ID. Including elements have high contrast, represent 2 stage: dark and light. When create the “VuMark” Template in Illustrators using the tools, the amount of elements is organizing.

Background / Design Area: this area is an empty canvas that will be ignored. You can be free to design in this space.

To find out more about the design requirements, read the VuMarkDesign Guide.

b. Create a “VuMark”

VuMark is made by using Adobe Illustrator and the VuMark Design Tools. The tools are consists of 3 Illustrator scripts.

An advise for you, you should design idea and consider all tutorials which Vuforia gives before beginning a VuMark. When completing the design, you should divide it into parts, applying VuMark’s construction.

Firstly, create a new VuMark sample by using the “VuMark-Setup.jsx” illustrated script. Then, you can choose the mark’name, ID type, length in “VuMark-Temple-Setup” The amount of characters which encoded will define how many it contains.

You have to copy design idea and break it by using classes which created by the script when the template is created. Each class shows a part of construction and has its rules. You will the “VuMark-verify.jsx” script to check whether you design is right. This script will have some advises for you about the way to fix you design.

You will export the target after ensuring your design conforms to “VuMark’s standard” and it is broken down. To do this, you have to run the “VuMark-Export.jax” script. It will make a new file in Illustrator, move this content from your “VuMark” sample. It will remind you to save your sample under an SVG file. Now, you can upload the target file to a new database in “Vuforia’s Target Manager”. After that, as other targets, you download database and use it.

7. Explore cool features

In general, Vuforia system has extremely interesting features. Some other features in Vuforia:

User defined targets: like Image-Targets, but addition, user can organize the targets by using the device’s camera.

Cloud recognition: (for firm-accounts) this is kind of target database which lives in cloud. You can upload and synchronize new Image-Targets with the app on fly.

Object recognition: it is an experimental function. This function permits the specification of an object after a special tool scan it.