Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Three Levels

We've finally decided as a group which three levels we want to appear in the game. The three are, as I predicted, Footstep, Mugen, Donut.

To celebrate, I've completely remade Footstep to fix many of the spots where players got stuck in the map. Many of the ramps actually go to reachable places now and the new art assets, such as the rock structures, make an appearance.

My goal for the next few weeks is to start polishing these levels, adding the new assets and features to make sure they work. I need to make sure the levels are completely functional and playable so when the artists come in with the assets, they can make them look perfect.

I'll also be looking up level music, with the plan to have 4 different songs for each level.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Doughnuts and Mugens

This week I attended QA several times to get a better feel of which levels testers enjoyed playing the most. Thanks to their reactions and feedback, I designed a new level based on an earlier level I had created this week, Donut.

Donut is a relatively simple map, it goes in a circle around a center point and doesn't offer much in the way of exceeding creativity. Yet, for some reason, all the players love it. Perhaps it's because it's so simple that they know where to go and what to do that makes it a favorite for them.

Donut is nice and flat, and offers a chance to really get creative with the backdrops. This is definately going to be one of the final levels in the game, based on all it's positive feedback. I just need to tweak it some more.

As I said, the testing inspired another simple level I decided to call Mugen. The track is a simple infinity symbol, but it works really well for the purposes of the game.

The thing that makes Mugen really unique is the setting. Instead of placing the track in the middle of a wasteland, I decided on making it set in a cliffside with as beautiful sunset in the background and a blimp hovering just overhead. The level has already received some compliments for it's aesthetic.

I believe with these two levels and Footstep, we'll have our 3 final levels to include in the Gold Version of Goldblitz. My next task is to polish these levels so they play better (players keep getting stuck in cracks).

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Two New Levels

This week I worked on two new levels and more are on their way. This is really a push to see what people are really enjoying about the levels and which they prefer to play. I'm awaiting feedback today from the testing this week.

The first level I designed was one of my original concepts, playing the 4 cars in an enclosed arena environment to ensure maximum combat engagement.

The map included plenty of powerups scattered in close quarters that followed the pathways of the map. This encourages players to stick to the two main roads between the center ramps and the side turner, where the main 3 gold nodes are.

The problem with this map is that it doesn't give room for many art assets to show off the design of our artists. Though, that could be beneficial considering we may be having trouble getting all the environment art in time.

The other map I worked on is my personal favorite so far, Footstep. It is named as such for the shape of the general map, it looks like a footprint in the desert.

The entire level is asymmetrical, making it completely different from my other maps thus far. I guess that's why I like it so much more, it makes the design feel more natural as opposed to the whiteboxed perfect symmetrical levels.

This was also a test for the environmental art, as I placed all the assets thus far into the map somewhere. Whether they noticed them or not remains to be seen. I also added a lot of little secrets to the level, like ramps that allow players to reach the top of the hills if they're lucky.

I think this week I will be going to QA so I can nail down which levels the players really like and what they like about them. By doing this I hope to start fleshing out our final level design ideas.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Track Level

This week, I was ordered to experiment with a track-like level similar to what would be in many standard racing games like Mario Kart. An idea came to me after I recalled a specific level from Mario Kart 64 that stuck with me, Wario Stadium.

The whole level is set in a dirt bike colosseum. It's complete with bumps and long tracks with a slew of items to pick up and allow players to pass each other. The main focus point is the giant ramp that takes place in the middle of the map.

Our new level borrows many of the lessons learnt from Wario Stadium. Unfortunately, I cannot post pictures of it as there is a problem with the terrain.

But one feedback about the new Track Level requested that the map not have any walls to contain the player. So here is the new Track Level, without walls. Giving the player total freedom to explore.

More testing on these levels will be required. We need to decide soon which levels we like the most.