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I'm working on a game that will have lots of (more than 100) levels. The player has to finish a level before she can play the next one, but also can play levels again that are already finished.

Now I'm looking for ways on how to present an overview of the levels to the player. A simple list (with a small graphic showing the level) is of course a possibility, but I wonder what other, perhaps less boring, ways there are.

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closed as too broad by Sean Middleditch, Vaillancourt, Kromster says support Monica, Josh May 11 '16 at 14:14

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi Ridcully, unfortunately this site is a poor fit for open-ended "give me a list of ideas" kinds of questions. You might try to forums on gamedev.net instead, or provide a specific problem that you're trying to solve along with the solutions that you've already tried (e.g., "I tried making a level screen like XYZ but it doesn't work because ABC, how do I fix it?"). \$\endgroup\$ – Sean Middleditch May 11 '16 at 7:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SeanMiddleditch I think this question does what you say it should be doing in your "e.g." part. It says what it tried to do ("A simple list with a small graphic showing the level"), why it doesn't work ("it's too boring") and asks how to fix it ("I wonder what other [...] ways there are"). I really wish people on this website would be as open to questions about game design as they are about debug-this-code questions. \$\endgroup\$ – Philipp May 11 '16 at 10:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Thanks Philipp - I wasn't quite sure if this is the right place to ask this non-technical question but didn't find any better suited place either. \$\endgroup\$ – Ridcully May 11 '16 at 11:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ridcully Non-technical questions are on topic here but I also think another good location is ux.stackexchange.com \$\endgroup\$ – Captain Man May 11 '16 at 13:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ The topic is fine, but I don't think this question fits the Q&A format well. As it stands, every idea makes for an equally valid answer. There's no way for us to know which ideas might be appropriate for your game. I think we need some more details to be able to substantiate answers with specific expertise. \$\endgroup\$ – Marcks Thomas May 11 '16 at 14:00
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I can share my experience from a mobile game that had 10 worlds with 10 levels each so 100 levels in total. We displayed each world as a map with a winding road on it. Each level had a badge with its number and the badge resembled in a way the signs on US highways. All the maps were then put into a single slide controller so that the user can easily snap between maps. Levels that were not played and locked were tinted darkly. Unlocked but not played levels had a light shade of green and completed levels had a dark shade of the same green. Testing the user experience yielded positive result as all users even small kids found it easy to navigate and choose the appropriate level.

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Put your levels into logical groups. Then have the player select the group, and on the next screen select the level from that group.

Grouping can be either by theme or by difficulty. Here is a mockup:

First screen: level groups

When the user clicks on a tile: level selection

When it makes sense in the context of your game, you could also use a map of the game world to represent the overworld where the player selects the region they want to play in and then show them a regional map where the player picks the level.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your answer and the drawings - this would be a possibility but isn't it annoying for the user to have to click through all those sections before he can actually play? \$\endgroup\$ – Ridcully May 11 '16 at 8:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ridcully I don't think that one click would be too much of a hassle. But you could avoid it by sending them directly to the last played group and add a back-button when they want to switch groups. \$\endgroup\$ – Philipp May 11 '16 at 9:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Adding a theme to each group and reflecting that in the group select screen will help a lot when looking for a certain level. \$\endgroup\$ – ratchet freak May 11 '16 at 10:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ridcully by that logic, all your files should appear on your desktop. Grouping together into folders may be an extra click but at the benefit of cleaner UI and better experience. Crayon Physics has a map like this where there are islands that have a number of levels to complete. I liked it because it made for good stopping points (i.e. "after I finish this island, I'll stop playing for a bit"). Plants vs. Zombies 2 is an example of themed groupings. \$\endgroup\$ – David Starkey May 11 '16 at 13:54

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