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  2D Platformer - Level Design?  (Read 9027 times)
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Offline kpars
« Posted 2013-05-24 15:13:04 »

Hello fellow Java-Programmers, I am in the middle of making a new platformer, and I have a level loading system and everything down. But now I am wondering, how would you DESIGN levels?

Loading them and everything is easy, but then all of the gamplay stuff comes in. Does anyone know of any good tutorials, or does anyone have any good tips for level design?  Clueless

All help is appreciated Grin.
Offline Zhon

Junior Devvie

Medals: 4

« Reply #1 - Posted 2013-05-24 15:23:00 »

You could make a separate game/program to build your levels, I've made a very simple one with slick2d and it looks like this.
So I build it tile by tile etc and export it into a text file for the main game to read.. I don't know how is your game, if it is drawn in separate tiles I think building something similar isn't a bad idea..
Offline Exception_e

Senior Newbie

« Reply #2 - Posted 2013-05-24 15:25:27 »

Have you seen Indie Game: The Movie?

There's a point in it where Edmund Mcmillen is talking about Level Design in Super Meat Boy and he raises some interesting points that I think you'll find useful! Smiley

Even without that, I'd recommend watching it.
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Offline heisenbergman

JGO Coder

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« Reply #3 - Posted 2013-05-24 15:27:04 »

I think kpars' question is more on how to design the level and not how to code it.

I remember a few good articles... wait a min, let me look for them...

Offline kpars
« Reply #4 - Posted 2013-05-24 15:29:07 »

I have watched it, actually. I can't remember too awful much as I fell asleep while watching it, but it was really good.

Also, Zhon, I wasn't asking for how to load levels, I just use an image-based system for that. I have an image, and it detects the hex and location for each pixel.
So if the image had a 0xFFFF00 somewhere, it would place something at the location of that pixel in-game.
Offline Exception_e

Senior Newbie

« Reply #5 - Posted 2013-05-24 15:31:01 »

I have watched it, actually. I can't remember too awful much as I fell asleep while watching it, but it was really good.

If you're wanting to know about level "design" as in, how to construct a level to better the player's experience, then watch over that bit again Tongue I can't find a clip on YouTube so I can't provide.
Offline heisenbergman

JGO Coder

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« Reply #6 - Posted 2013-05-24 15:38:02 »

Here's a good thread on TIGSource regarding the topic:

2D platformer design studies

Lots of good discussion and articles there. Check out JustRadek's deconstruction and analysis of the level design from Super Mario Bros 3 especially.

All in all, you should get more than enough insight from that thread alone and the linked articles to get you started on level design.

Offline kpars
« Reply #7 - Posted 2013-05-24 21:35:17 »

Wow, that's really great. I love how the SMB3 Tutorials go through the basics of every level, and why every block is where it is.

Then again, that's one of the core things you have to focus on when designing levels, is where each block is and why it is there.

Thanks for the help!  Grin
Offline VaPS
« Reply #8 - Posted 2013-08-09 01:20:22 »

Not to spoil a dying thread but I'd like to share my knowledge:
  • When designing the introduction levels, explain the game's most basic movement techniques (like walking & jumping) through gameplay. Do not throw a splash screen onto the screen telling them what to do.
  • Try not to overwhelm the player with mechanics. Keep it slow and simple in the beginning and gradually increase difficulty and complexity.
  • Make sure the player doesn't forget what you've taught them. Keep reminding them how to do certain things.
  • Have the mindset you're a person completely new to gaming. You don't know what button to press to do anything in any game.
  • Be extremely emotional when playtesting your level. If a particular jump is too wide, making you feel uncomfortable if you can make it across, fix it. This obviously does not apply if you actually want the player feel uncomfortable!
  • Make sure everything valuable in the level is clear and easy to see. You should be able to know with ease what you're able to grab, pass through and collide with.
  • For good practice, play a wide variety of games and criticize them. What is wrong with them, what is good with them? Either write what you learn down or just try to remember what you're learning.
My words of wisdom: Good level design is organic.
Good luck!

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