Saturday, December 31, 2005

design [t.a.g.]

Level design is the first item I considered when starting to think about video games beyond a pure technical point. I use to think about it as the art of drawing interesting maps. If it looks cool on a sheet of paper, then it's great level design.

I started thinking about game design after I experienced new Super Mario Bros for the first time, and immediately compared it to SMB3. It captures the rules and the decisions that affect the whole game, especially how you manage game-over, save states, character abilities and whether they are progressively revealed, etc. If you can't alter it with e.g. RSD game-maker or an editor in any way, then it's likely game design.

It took me time to realise the difference between gameplay and monster design. I had noted that some levels may be completely boring if you change the behaviour of the monsters that are in.

But gameplay goes beyond that interplay between static structures of the level, player's avatar and monsters. It really defines what goes between user input and game engine core rules. It's the part of the game that definitely *cannot* be depicted on paper and that *need* to be experienced. The part that Youtube cannot show you and that stress your dexterity, reflexes and timing.

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