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51

Well now - what a simple but interesting question to tackle. When reloading a level there are so many factors that need to be taken into account that the answer can go many ways. If your level state contains a large list of assets it can be more practical to start from a clean slate when reloading a level back to a save/mission state as this maintains the ...


49

Make use of "arenas"--confined spaces where the player must solve some puzzle, fight some enemy, etc to move on. This is often referred to as "gating" the player, ie barring their progress until they have completed their task. This helps to create a sense of accomplishment when the player is allowed to continue, and makes for easy save/retry loops. The ...


43

Players never look up -- Avoid putting enemies or solutions to problems above the top of the screen when player is looking straight out. Unless, of course, you've taught the player that it's necessary to do so (i.e. Portal). Use lighting to highlight important features or the way to go. Players are very receptive to going down a path if there's a light in ...


27

Don't make a bunch of "jump" puzzles. There is nothing more frustrating than having to do the same jump about ten times until you get it perfectly right (or you have to redo previous jumps because you missed the Xth jump and have to start over).


22

The term you're looking for is signal processing/analysis There are lots of techniques involved but the fundamental one that those games make use of is Beat Detection. This tries to calculate the tempo of the song and where the beats in a measure are and hence place the obstacles the appropriate distance apart to coincide with each beat. The way that the ...


21

Whatever format you use for your save games, for goodness sake put a version number in. You'll be able to have backwards-compatiable loads by branching on the version number, or you'll be able to safely recognise saves that are too old to load. You'll regret it if you don't.


20

No water levels please. You can generalize this to a few good tips: Don't make the levels frustrating -- Don't make the player needlessly backtrack around the level. Don't make the level dependent on some split second timing to get right (and screwed if you don't). Play through the level a few times. Get others to play through it as well. Make sure ...


19

Presumably all you need to save is the random seed, which is generally just an int. You could encode the int to base64 if you wanted to make it a bit more opaque, but thats probably not needed.


17

Build your art in modular pieces that can be reused throughout the level (or multiple levels) Create "Hero" or detail pieces that really stand out and can act as a point of reference for the player. Use dirtmaps/detail maps that can overlay your modular pieces to break up any tiling effects. Be conscious of your far plane and draw distance. Find ways to ...


16

To briefly answer your main question first, the main advantages of a procedurally generated game world are that: The world can be huge, much larger than any manually designed game world could possibly be. The world (or at least parts of it) can be regenerated for each game, potentially increasing replay value, since the player will always have something ...


14

Valve's games with developer commentary (particularly: Half Life 2: Lost Coast, Episode 1 and Episode 2, Team Fortress 2 and Portal) are well worth checking out for some good tips on level design. (L4D also has commentry, but I can't remember if it had much about level design in it.)


12

To clarify the existing answers against your question about consoles: they don't have enough memory to store both the starting state and current state for larger complex games. A game could store the level and initial state separately so that just the state could be restreamed in, and this is very likely what many games do. Even streaming just that is ...


11

There are many terms for "level" nowadays, depending on the genre of the game and also the preference of its designer(s). Level typically means a secluded, in itself complete portion of the game, mostly independent of the rest; when I hear level, I think of 2D platformers exclusively. For the first or third person shooter genre, levels are more typically ...


10

my name's Matthias Buehler, i am content manager at procedural, inc. to get an idea about the current way to implement the cityengine in a game pipeline, check out the following show case: http://www.procedural.com/showcase/showcases/destroyed-city.html this is a game which was created from scratch by a few students. the guy responsible for the level ...


10

Somethings to add to already great advice given. Set physics parameters (minimum and maximums) first before starting to design level. (I.e. Jump height, run speed, etc.) Make sure enemy placements are not impossibly in favor to the enemy, conversely make sure the AI scripts/tools allot for the enemy to take advantage of their placement.


10

When everything is special, nothing is special. Make sure that your level/game has a 'comfortable average' that is fun, but that the attention-grabbing moments can rise above.


9

There's no standard, nor is there actually any reason for there to be. People seem to like the exponential growth as it makes them feel like they're getting more powerful and being faced with proportionately more challenge each time, but in fact that is only true if the way you collect points doesn't also change proportionately as well. If the ...


9

Asking how many levels to include in a game is sort of like asking how many paragraphs to include in your essay, or footsteps to take in your journey. Once you have a clear idea of your destination and your path, the question answers itself. But it is a question worth considering because it leads to some interesting observations about game design. What is ...


8

One way to do this is to add "markers" in the scene geometry file itself. You would use a specific naming convention on these markers (which are just pieces of geometry) to represent various things. For example: Add a sphere and give it the name "player_spawn_0" to represent the starting location of the player. Perhaps more helpful would be to add the ...


8

Give the player the information they need to succeed. If the solution to a level relies on something obscure or some new ability then teach the player about it. There doesn't have to be some specific tutorial where you spell it out, rather you can teach the player using cut scenes or making small puzzles at the start of the level that introduce new concepts ...


7

In a linear context, provide the player with challenge, but also rest. Gradually increase the difficulty in an upward wave, something like Very easy (1) -> Normal (3) -> Easy (2) -> Hard (4) -> Normal (3) -> Very Hard (5) -> Hard (4) -> Extreme (6) -> ...


7

Try Gleed. From its site: GLEED2D (Generic LEvel EDitor 2D) is a general purpose, non tile-based Level Editor for 2D games of any genre that allows arbitrary placement of textures and other items in 2D space. Levels are saved in XML format. Custom Properties can be added to the items in order to represent game-specific data/events/associations between ...


7

Advantages of Procedural Generation Can easily scale your maps / designs to truly large sizes, much larger than you could create by hand. By creating a system where chunks of terrain are created on the fly, you can avoid having to write pieces of code to load in chunks from permanent memory. Over the long term, you may be able to discover more viable ...


7

I disagree with much of Blue's answer, I do not believe there is a technical case for not resetting levels - I certainly never encountered one. Level loading is almost always slower than level resetting, in fact I find it difficult to conceive of an occasion when it wouldn't be. In most cases games could offer effectively instant level loading if the devs ...


6

For the Pirate Poppers puzzle mode, I generated the levels randomly based on some parameters related to difficulty. Difficulty is always difficult to measure objectively, but in this case there were some variables that were good indicators (chain length, number of different colors, nesting level of the combos) so I was able to generate pretty good puzzles ...


6

Just a few that just came to my mind while i came across this... Think about how you balance challenges and rewards. Think about how you can provide variation and contrast Think about which order and what time during the learning curve to introduce which game element Some more thoughts... Have recognizable locations or objects at places you want the ...


6

The probably best reference to rendering grass: Boulanger. Also, since geometry shader was mentioned: this techdemo has slightly inferior quality compared to K. Boulanger's technique, but it is stunning in another way since it draws crazy amounts of grass blades and does the culling via the geometry shader and transform feedback, which is a pretty cool ...


6

Creating chunks are really a good idea but you need to use it wisely. there are many big titles that use the same idea to give the illusion of very large world. for example you I can mention Spore or Oblivion. First let's talk about spore since in it's galactic phase you can easily see how the things work: there are many planets in the galaxy but not all ...



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