Sonic Level Design
Posted 21 December 2012 - 09:05 PM
Posted 25 December 2012 - 04:58 PM
You can see, it's a really nice transition from one background to another within the same level. There's the icy, cavernous background and the arctic outdoors background (perhaps the best background in the game imo, btw), smoothly separated by the icy wall pseudo-background. It's little touches like this, that tend to go unnoticed but really add a lot to the sense of immersion within a game. For me, they definitely helped make this one of the more distinctive, memorable levels. Angel Island also stands out in my mind for its effective use of backgrounds to add to the level as a whole.
There are also some glitches that can occur as a result of those backgrounds. Ever glitch into Knuckles section of Ice Cap Zone (Vertical scrolling glitch at the ice pillar that normally leads to Knuckles' act 1 boss will do this)? The backgrounds will get... a little weird. Of course once you go through one of those transition screens it returns to normal.
Posted 09 January 2013 - 11:34 PM
Given just how long 2d platformer games have been around it is perhaps surprising that no random 2D platformer level generator has ever been truly viable. However, there is a degree of balance and precision to successful platformer level design that cannot [be] duplicated by any method other than careful design, calibration and testing.
The basics of platform level design may seem rather straightforward, but after judging a few casual games competitions and examining some platformers made in the indie designer scene, I'm seeing enough common flaws to suggest that some of the basics and principles of 2d platformer design are worth discussing.
And this resource in case people don't know about it and are wanting to get a better feel for the topic:
That is all.
Posted 19 April 2013 - 04:33 PM
So I'm starting up a project and right now I'm in "build characters, physics, and abilities to test them out on shitty slapped together design" phase tentatively using Sonic Worlds.
I've taken to heart the unique loops rule of thumb...especially because my gimmick for the first stage is a whole lot of twisting and turning loops made up of tree branches. I've done a lot of shitty ms paint tier mockups of level design ideas just to get the ball rolling and just want some tips for approaching this the right way.
So for example here's a shitty mockup for a small area centered around a slightly unorthodox loop:
It may not look like much, but the idea is that there is an element of exploration, speedrunning, speed indexing, and branching paths obtained through manipulating the physics. Just running the normal path nets you a cool unusual loop, though you can jump over the whole thing to save time. However, if you roll at the right time in the loop, you can slingshot around it, giving it a sort of skill index for those who like to go fast. In theory this could actually be faster than simply jumping over the loop. Another option is using that slingshot momentum and jumping at the right time to propel the player upwards to an otherwise unreachable path for Sonic, thereby rewarding the player with a higher path for of successfully manipulating the game physics. The items below are there for exploration. The player has to willingly stop to fall down the pit, so that shouldn't be punished with spikes for a death pit. Instead, as a reward for stopping to smell the roses, exploring nets you rings and a life. However, a crafty player who knows the layout can use the upside down momentum from jumping off the bottom of the loop to land on the life monitor and possibly propel themselves upward into the high path, gaining both a life and the high path. And that's just how Sonic interacts with this bit.
Oh jeez that's a lot of overthinking. I slapped together a Sonic Worlds implementation of the design just to test if they are actually viable. Ignore the first bit since that's testing another idea. The loop and pit are entirely oversized in part to test larger loops. Ideally the loops would be much smaller and either a trail of rings or the lowering the upper path to be more visible would denote that it exists and is just out of Sonic's standard reach. The monitor bouncing doesn't work right due to Sonic getting stuck on a pixel on the pits side, but you should get the idea.
Also ignore the aerial spindash. It's a
Posted 19 April 2013 - 05:13 PM
Ignore the obviously fucked scale, I didn't feel like making it correctly. Hopefully the idea is clear. That wall could be positioned such that it's visible when you go into the tunnel, so players using Knuckles might think to go back and use the loop to glide onto it.
Posted 19 April 2013 - 10:34 PM
Though my goal is to create new playstyles using other characters rather than Tails and Knuckles. They've been done over and over and I'd like to try to make my trio diverge from that a little bit.