For this week’s development blog, I thought maybe I could talk about some of the level design choices I’m making for Major Escape. This game is designed to be short and sweet. I expect that, when balanced, the game will give players about 2 hours of engaging game-play.
So, with that in mind, I had to create the level in a way that it could offer an unique and challenging experience every time it was played, without really adding too much content to it.
Each time you play a round, the entire corridor is created with random components. Each corridor is divided in rooms. Each room is randomly selected and then stitched together to form a corridor. The contents of the room themselves are somewhat random, but each room is carefully designed to offer challenge and fairness, according to the room’s level of difficulty. This type of semi-randomness is similar to that of games like Spelunky, one game that I admire for its brilliant design.
I created a way to visually build the levels in Photoshop, and then transport those levels to a text string that is fed to the game. The game takes each string and then stitches together a set of rooms.
You can see below how the visual guide looks like.
The rooms are turned into a long string of text that is then fed to the room creator. Each room contains static elements and random elements. The result is that you never know what you are going to see next in a level, which forces the player to concentrate on learning the rules of the game, rather than memorizing the structure of the rooms.