Lockdown Protocol is a high-score-oriented shooter/platformer game with built-in level editor and multiplayer support.

Report article RSS Feed Creating level SP9

This is a short picture series from creation process of nineth single player level.

Posted by fractilegames on Jul 20th, 2012

I decided to show you how I create the levels for The Platform Shooter. This is a short picture series from creation process of ninth single player level. While not really a tutorial it might still help you in making your own levels.

Step 1. Sketching

I usually make a rough sketch of the level on paper first, because it is easier to make radical changes on paper. When I'm happy with the overall layout of the level I launch the game and start building the level using the built-in level editor.

This sketch for level SP9 was drawn laying in a park:
Sketch of SP9 level

Step 2. Walls

First thing to do is place all wall/floor/ceiling blocks based on the sketch:
Creating level SP9 step 1

Step 3. Lighting

Now that all walls are there it begins to look like the level I planned, but it is way too dark to see anything. Let's add some lights:
Creating level SP9 step 2

Step 4. Platforms, enemies and items

I usually start by placing all elevators, moving platforms and doors, then all immovable items and decoration. Finally I add enemies and collectable items (weapons, medikits, power cells).Creating level SP9 step 3

That's it, the level is almost ready. After setting the level properties (title, author, etc.), it's time to test it.

Step 5. Testing

This is how the level looks in action:
Creating level SP9 step 4

I do a lot of tweaking during testing phase. Enemies and weapons are added or removed if some part of the level seems too hard or easy, lights are added if some parts look too dark. When I have gotten used to the level I make one clean play-through and see how long it takes to complete the level and go back to editor to set the target time for level based on that.

Writing this I noticed that I have forgotten to add the dragon eggs at end of the level (the round things in the sketch) :)

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7heSAMA
7heSAMA Jul 22 2012, 5:00pm says:

Do you throw away a lot of your rough paper ideas or keep most? It's kinda hard for me to look at a paper design and say "Yes, this will be fun". Hell, it's hard to play a fun level in a game and point out specific reasons why it's fun, or how to go about applying that to your own designs. I'd like to know your process.

About how you set the target time: basing it off your completion time is a bit biased - you've been testing it this whole time without many radical changes, I assume (adding/removing whole rooms, boss enemies, etc). With that much practice it will probably be a lot easier for you to beat it than the average person.

+1 vote     reply to comment
fractilegames Author
fractilegames Jul 23 2012, 4:29am replied:

I sketch several versions of a single level until it looks good enough on paper. Some of the sketches never reach the "good enough" state and get thrown away. The good enough sketches almost always ends up as levels in the game, possibly after quite a lot of modifications.

I should have explained what the target time is. There is no hard time limit for completing a level. If player completes level in less than set target time, extra score is given based on the remaining time.

I consider my own faultless level completion time as the "best possible time" and add a significant amount of time to it to get the actual target time for the level. So if player completes the level in same time I did, he/she will get a hefty time score.

+2 votes   reply to comment
7heSAMA
7heSAMA Jul 23 2012, 6:37pm replied:

Ah, that actually sounds like a pretty good approach on the time limit. With all that practice you should be able to get very close to perfect. Thanks.

+1 vote     reply to comment
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Lockdown Protocol
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Windows, Linux
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fractilegames
Engine
Ogre Engine
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Lockdown Protocol
Lockdown Protocol Single & Multiplayer Third Person Shooter
Related Engines
Ogre Engine
Ogre Engine MIT Released Jan 30, 2005