Explore Alone?

This entry was posted on Apr 15 2010 by

After receiving quite a bit of feedback from various trusted beta testers, we are taking a hard look at not only the tutorial levels, but the entire single player experience.  The single player levels were designed originally to fit into a pattern based on the elements that they contained.  There was a section for levels with obstacles, with subsections for lines, triangles, and circles.  This division had three unfortunate consequences.

First, because our level selection screen was a tree-like structure, allowing players to explore the levels in whatever order they wanted, it was possible (even encouraged) to play all of the introductory levels first.  This meant that players would play all of the easiest, impossible-to-lose-so-we-know-you-understand-the-concept levels first, all at the same time.  Boring!

Second, because all of the levels with similar elements were grouped, players played them all in a row.  None of our elements were strong enough to design that many interesting levels without any palette cleansing in between.

Third, the number of levels was determined before any level design was attempted.  There were the same number of levels dedicated to the circle obstacles as there were to the super-ego.  Circle obstacles are not as interesting as the super-ego.  There were a surfeit of boring circle levels and a dearth of interesting super-ego levels.

Additionally, because we had the pattern, we made levels until we filled it, and then we stopped.  Only the most boring, unplayable, or gimmicky levels were cut for quality.

So what are we doing about this?  I’m glad you asked.  First, we’re adding elements to make the levels more involved, more challenging, more interesting, and more unique.  Second, we’re dropping the tree structure.  It just didn’t work.  We’re not sure what we’re going to replace it with yet.  Our plan is to make some really good levels first, and see if a structure for choosing which to play suggests itself.

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