Hi, I'm Blake. My first game was '89 Doors', a rage game where you escape mazes whilst being pursued by an insatiable creature of hunger, and now I'm working on a tower defence game called 'Forgive Me My Henchman', where you play as a typical head 'bad guy', deploying henchman and sabotaging a building in an effort to stop a one man army action hero.
Hi, my name is McDeezy – I am designing a game called FMMH – a tower defence game that satirizes action movie tropes.
I feel like I made more progress with level design in the past few days than I have in the last month. Not only have I finished designing the first five levels, I am also happy with them – even though the levels will still be reworked many times, I believe I am finally on the right track.
A word of warning to those about to play this game:
If there is one thing Spelunky teaches you, it is that hell hath no fury like a shopkeeper scorned.
Just one little bomb detonation or one small whip to the face is all it takes to set the shopkeeper off on a rampage so fierce that it makes the God of War look like Hello Kitty.
There is no escape from him, except death.
I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that Spelunky is a gem of a platformer. It has made me laugh throughout my 388 deaths (so far) and keeps me coming back for more. If you haven’t played this game but want a game that will challenge you, surprise you, and amaze you, then Spelunky is your game. I give it eleven out of five stars.
Have a great week guys!
I am learning the hard way that tower defence Level Design is difficult!
Even if all these elements come together, that does not necessarily mean that a level will be fun and engaging. With so many things to consider, designing great gameplay can sometimes feel like an impossible task.
That is why I was so fascinated by a quote I read this week by the creator of Braid: Jonathan Blow
So why was gameplay design such a zen process for him, and why is it such a difficult process for me? I decided to do some research and to figure out how his design principles differ from mine.
After watching an interview with him, I noticed he said “You don’t necessarily need to always have difficulty ramping up”
To many people, there is no distinction between those terms, but not to Blow. He says that “the answer [should be] right there if you know the right way to look at the world”. What I've learned from this is that I should make level progression a result of to the mastery of skills, not due to the memorisation of sequences or by trial and error.
He therefore takes out anything from a level that doesn’t focus on that level’s specific idea. It made me think of my game, and how it often feels very messy and haphazard. Often, even I don’t know what exactly a level is supposed to test – how can I expect that level to deliver meaningful epiphanies?
That is why I am going to start my level design once again from the beginning, following some of the design philosophy of Jonathan Blow. I think my game will be better because of this.
Wish me luck guys!
PS - a great introduction to Jonathan Blow's design philosophy was given to me by a video by Game Maker's Toolkit. I highly recommend it.
PSS - there are many youtube interviews with Jonathan Blow. Here is one, but there are many others. All of them are golden.
Hi, I'm McDeezy. I am currently working on a game called FMMH - a tower defence game that satirises action movie tropes.
Months ago, I read a great article by Blackshell Media called ’10 Simple Mistakes Indie Developers Should Avoid’. I suggest reading it, and you can find the original article by clicking here. I recently decided to revisit this article in order to get an idea of what mistakes I am still making, and how I can respond to them. I have written about the relevant ones.
Why I haven't already started asking for help is because I want to be able to give people a clear idea of what this game is about beforehand. I also think people will be more likely to help/team up with me if I have shown that I am serious about taking this project through to completion, and the more work I can do on the project myself, the more clearly I can demonstrate this.
I still think this is a good idea, so I will continue with my current course of action.
Mistake 9: Keeping your project a secret – I have kept my project a secret so far. The reason is because I want to make sure that I can provide an example of what this game is about - and be able showcase some of its mechanics - before I start explaining it.
According to what most developers say - this is a mistake. From what I have been reading, most developers recommend showing off something as soon as possible, some even recommend advertising your project even before you have something to show! Maybe I am being stubborn, but I don't want to show off my project until I feel I can give people a good/clear demonstration of what it is about by sharing gameplay footage. Since I am still committed to doing this (even though it may be a foolish idea), all I can try to do is work towards having a gameplay trailer as fast as possible.
To finish, it was good to revisit this article - not only did it make me realise areas where I can improve, it also made me realise how far I've come. What a journey. Well, gotta keep on moving!
Have a great week everybody
Now and then, I want to draw attention to what I have been reading. This week, I read a short interview with one of the creators of Kingdom Rush: Alvaro Azofra
Amongst other things, he talks about the development process and provides some valuable marketing advice.
You can go to the interview link by clicking here.
Thanks to RayWenderlich for conducting such a great interview. Hopefully, one day they will want to interview me ;) K, I better get back to work!