What sort of level layout designer are you?

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by UtopiaUK, Oct 27, 2009.

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  1. UtopiaUK


    Sonic 3 Resort Island
    I thought this would be an interesting thing to talk about.

    I am a level layout designer who loves to start with a blank canvas. In any level I like to delete all or most of the original layout and just start from scratch letting my imagination run completely wild. I prefer this style because it allows me to get very creative with my level layouts.

    So how do you like to design level layouts?
  2. Varion Icaria

    Varion Icaria

    He's waiting.... Tech Member
    S4: Cybernetic Outbreak
    Based on what chunks I create and what theme I am going for I make sure the layout flows naturally without being too linear or too dependent on one thing. My RFZ is built for speed but also it got completely rebuilt to allow for some big obstacles and the like. just an example.
  3. Tweaker


    The last time I designed a level—which, for the record, was a <I>really fucking long time ago</I>—I had wiped the tile layout and made a new layout based loosely off the positioning of the old objects. It was exactly that complex, but it was a nice way to give a fresh take on an old level. In any case, it wasn't made inherently obvious that I'd followed any specific pattern, and I did spread out to some new locations that were previously uninhabited, so it wasn't a huge deal.

    Now that I think of it, though, I did make a map layout for Cinossu that he never ended up using. I thought it was cool, though—I took a Sonic CD approach and made lots of potential paths you could go to and even obtain some goodies. I don't think I have a copy of it anymore, but it was fun to play through, albeit short. I should totally do more level design.

    In terms of level design <I>in general</I>, I prefer a nice balance between multiple paths and platforming and a nice level flow that lets the player keep up a decent pace without any explicit prior knowledge of the level—sort of like in Sonic 1. I also like speedy levels, though—Sonic Rush and Sonic 2 covered this rather well without making the levels one straight line. As long as there's places to go and the ability to do them fast, I'm totally set. <a href="http://info.sonicretro.org/Sonic 2 Retro Remix" target="_blank" style="background: url(http://info.sonicretro.org/images/5/50/Reticon.png) right no-repeat; padding-right: 20px; border-bottom: 1px dotted #3366BB; color: #3366BB; cursor:pointer; text-decoration:none;" class="wiki">Sonic 2 Retro Remix</a> did this the best of any fan production I've ever seen, so that's definitely a good example of my ideal Sonic level.
  4. Spanner


    The Tool Member
    United Kingdom
    Sonic Hacking Contest
    My level layout skills are pretty shit, resulting in Straight Line Zone or <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94IeHGiIAzE" target="_blank">this</a>. Some people actually like the latter, but I can't be bothered to remake anything right now, I'm focusing on music right now.
  5. RedStripedShoes


    And I'm gone again. Member
    I had this posted in "What would you want to see in a 3D Sonic Game?" But since everyone here has ADHD, I'm going to only post this one relevant excerpt. It'll never be read otherwise.

    If I had my way, levels would be wild and untamed (like the real, natural world) or nearly air-tight deathtraps (like any good villain's fortress). The only guiding light would be to take full advantage of every move in your arsenal, and employ every hedgehoggy instinct to always find a way out, no matter how tiny.
  6. Jayenkai


    <!--quoteo(post=366488:date=Oct 27 2009, 10:59 AM:name=SOTI)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (SOTI @ Oct 27 2009, 10:59 AM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=366488"><img src="public/style_images/retro/snapback.png"></a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->resulting in Straight Line Zone or <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94IeHGiIAzE" target="_blank">this</a>.<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->

    I quite like that. It reminds me more of a Mario level, though. *shrugs*
    For the record, I've never attempted to do a Sonic level. If I did, it would also be Straight Line Zone.

    My weeks are busy enough with AGameAWeek to be attempting AZoneAWeek!!
  7. nineko


    I am the Holy Cat Tech Member
    I pretty much fail at making levels, you should know that <a href="http://img229.imageshack.us/img229/8317/planea1.png" target="_blank">by now</a>. I try to focus on multiple paths, with one of the paths being the easy one you can normally follow, and harder paths which lead to better bonuses such as extra lives and such. Actually all the paths tend to suck in my levels.

    Apparently I'm much better at designing Sonic 3 Special Stages...
  8. GT Koopa

    GT Koopa

    Elgin, IL
    Flicky Turncoat DX, T.L.W.S. Vs M.G.W.
    I have noticed that I do vertical levels. Or rather vertical maze. Either climbing up a mountain, or a falling puzzle. And after a few wraps of this, everything levels out and goes more horizontally, with two main paths independent of each other. I also try to cross all the paths around each other and use all available space.

    I drew mazes as a kid, the kind where the you could only move forward like in a car but could only double back when the split path allowed you to (ie a tear shape) and the paths crossed over and under themselves, like a highway overpass/underpass.
  9. muteKi


    Fuck it Member
    I'm an asshole with my level designs. Like, pure evil.

    Case in point, a trackmania level: <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmPDhnE-vwI" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmPDhnE-vwI</a>

    Since then I've made a couple that were a lot tamer or simpler. I like short courses that are really challenging, if not necessarily forgiving.
    <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sm2mocVJypM" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sm2mocVJypM</a>
  10. Ell678


    Am I Annoying You? Member
    Barrow, England
    Sonic Incursion
    I have just entered the foray of hacking, and started in the only field I feel I have adequete knowledge of - layouts. So far I have completed only three layouts, the first two (GHZ 1+2) make me proud. They have a linearish path, but many branching ways and hidden goodies. Also, a few 'bouncing' routes, where you hit one badnik, hit another, etc, there may be something good where you land ;) The last one, was actually my first layout, of MZ2 and after doing the other layouts I'm thinking of changing it. Its not linear, it does have two main paths and few 'branches' but only the top flows well. I may leave it till I show it off and leave you guys to let me know :)

    I'm trying to keep things in relation to the difficulty of the original Sonic 1 right now, and seeing as I haven't done any of the later levels, they aren't very difficult. Not a cakewalk though. I know I can make some real bitchy traps ;)

    EDIT - Spelling.
  11. Lobotomy


    35% Cognac Misfit
    Traverse City
    Project: Matter/Energy
    In the super special secret hack I'm doing right now, I start with a straight line from start to finish, then add layers of track and objects from there. I tend to like bottomless pits, even though a lot of people seem not to.
  12. Rika Chou

    Rika Chou

    Tech Member
    I always used to draw a few layout ideas on grid paper before I started. This way you know what 128x128 tiles you need to build.

    I always tried to have a least two or three paths that intersect at some point before all leading to the end. I also liked to try and make it so there's different ways to get to each path, like by falling off a platform by mistake or something. I've been told that I used way too many botomless pits. :(
  13. Afti


    I tend toward the mildly sadistic. I like to use lots of platforming and spikes, multiple paths, and evil positioning of Badniks.
  14. I tend to be too linear and easy in my designs.

    I do aim for multiple paths, but this ends up with one path being longer then the other...

    I also have the tendency to make the level layouts loop from the top to bottom of the screen (Which I happily used for a level long waterfall), though I think my implementation of that actually made the ROM literally incompatible with Gens and probably the hardware. At least it worked in Kega Fusion. :v:
  15. LordOfSquad


    tails is still a girl Member
    Winnipeg, MB
    making cool music no one gives a shit about
    When I was working on the Sonic 1 hack that I later abandoned, I would try to place tiles over the original layout and adjust the objects to match. That way it didn't lose the intended difficulty level of the level, but it was still something fairly new to play.
  16. Jayextee


    Comic Mischief Member
    Kathmandu, Nepal
    I organise each layout as a sequence of set-pieces, like (for example) the destructible-blocks-over-a-pit section in <I>S-Factor's</I> Arid Temple, Act 2. Taking into account pacing and a three-act storytelling structure (seriously), I place the bulk of the challenges in the middle of the level to leave the first third as a sort-of 'intro' and the last stretch as a reward.

    When I have this main route sorted, I'll use whatever space I can to create paths which provide alternate routes, or join routes together.

    I playtest my levels a lot, doing all sorts of weird shit to see how out-of-the-way I can get; and I'll stick 1-ups in those types of places.

    I <I>do</I> have a new method for making layouts, but I'm seeing if it actually produces good results before sharing.
  17. Dissent


    @SailsSSB on Twitter Member
    I sometimes jot down level design ideas, this is one that popped in my head the other day that I scribbled on a notepad (and faithfully recreated in mspaint just now).

    <img src="http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b353/sonicandtails/myleveldesign.png" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    I like junctions and would probably go for a lot of them if I level designed. Multiple paths with easy straight through ways, as well as paths that take slightly more skill to get to, and making sure that all the paths have multiple ways to get to them.
  18. DimensionWarped


    Erinaceous! Oldbie
    I haven't actually made a level before, but whenever I've plotted out on paper, what I've drawn tends to start with gimmicks (for those of you still not in on that lingo, think swinging platforms, rolling cages, etc.) and then the levels are basically drawn together in ways to go through the gimmicks or use the gimmick to split the paths. I've always considered gimmicks to be the main hooks of level design.
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