PAX West 2018 DigiPen Showcase Game
A 2D side scrolling puzzle/platformer where you cut, copy, and paste blocks to make it through the levels.
I designed the levels for this game using a custom ImGui editor.
The First Steps
During the development of C.C.P. I worked on creating the first two levels of the game. This meant that I had the important task of teaching the player the basic mechanics of the game.
I started with the teaching of basic movement as seen in the photo to the left. I finished the first level by rewarding the player and their new traversal skills with the first of their three power-ups.
At the start of this second level of the game the player has recently acquired the cut ability. This allows them to remove the purple circuit blocks seen on the right. During this level I also introduced to them coins and push-able blocks.
It is not until near the end of the level that the first checkpoint appears. For this reason I had to make sure to design the earlier puzzles so as to avoid soft locks. Then, once the checkpoint was introduced it was followed shortly by a hazard. The first true test.
Out Of Sight,
Not Out Of Mind
This level was the sixth in the game. At this point the player has obtained the cut (remove blocks), copy (save them for later), and paste abilities (place the copied blocks).
It was my job to introduce the vanishing blocks to the game. I took this as an opportunity to figure out what mechanics I needed to teach as they relate to these blocks.
For example, I wanted to show that if these blocks appear where you are standing it will kill you. After introducing the block in a safe way, the following puzzle had the player run through a tube with these blocks on timed offsets. If they mistimed their run the one block high tube would prevent them from jumping and they would die from the block appearing.
The last level I designed was the level introducing the trampoline blocks. Another opportunity to introduce small mechanics as they relate to each block. That is why there is a section of the level with increasing heights. The trampoline blocks don't behave like they would in real life, and you gain height as you bounce.
This was my philosophy behind the whole game while designing levels. Figure out what needs to be taught to the player, in what order is best, and does the difficulty ramp up smoothly.
I would also do passes over the levels once they were finished to add interesting visual elements, such as in the first level. The backgrounds also gradually become more red as you progress through the game. This is to subtly communicate difficulty.
This is the editor for the game that I used to make all of my levels. This was created using ImGui and with it I could edit both levels and individual object's properties. I often used the object editor to add particle effects to blocks. During the development of the game the editor changed a lot which I had to keep up with to make the levels efficiently. I also had to work around bugs that were not able to be fixed due to time constraints by the team. That being said, I was able to create some great levels using this tool, and I gained invaluable experience using a custom editor.