Friday, November 8, 2013

Obstacles continued

In this post I would like to expand on some of the issues that where brought up in the final post on obstacles. I am going to go via some of the methods involved in coming up with an obstacles and problems encountered.

Usually what we start off with is getting some sort of common journey for player. This could be some thing like this (a lit a lot more detailed although):

The player begins at the pirate island and should then steal a ship to get the jungle and rescue his loved a single.

This is then built upon step by step and ends up as detailed designs of each and every level. Now lets say that I now have to design and style the levels inside the skull castle on pirate island. Due to the fact of story motives I now need to have to fit in the following levels:
  • Treasure chamber
  • Torture space
  • Drinking hall
  • Fencing hall
When trying to fit these levels collectively I can do it in various techniques. It could be a linear progression like:
Treasure chamber -> Torture area -> and so forth...
Or I could use some kind of hub structure. A way to do this is by getting a excellent hall (acting as a hub) that all of levels connect to.

Designing the basics for these levels are by far easiest in the linear progression. Right here one particular can have an obstacle blocking the path amongst the present and next level or it could be as straightforward as just reaching the finish of the level. Adding an obstacle is simple due to the fact there are no true constraints and just about any kind of puzzle fits as solution.

In the hub structure factors get far more complicated. Here there need to be some obstacle in the fantastic hall that call for the player to go to all of the levels it connects to. A way to solve this is by spreading the resolution to all of the levels, like a door that demands four keys. An additional solution would be to have the levels relying on every other, for example to enter the torture room the golden spear from the treasure space is necessary.

In terms of gameplay knowledge these two solutions varies a fairly a bit. The linear progression provides a quite, uhm, linear really feel, but permits for a a lot more fine-tuned and scripted encounter. The hub structure provides far more freedom for the player to discover and a much less linear experience, it is also tougher to script. In the Penumbra games we use a mix of these two sorts, to give the game some variation and attempt to use the strengths of each sorts.

Coming up with puzzles for overcoming the obstacles also vary from the distinct varieties. In the linear progression it is easy to add a number of solutions, and it can be feasible to let the player total the puzzle with out exploring the complete level. For hub structures it is much tougher to do some types puzzles, like these getting numerous options. If the player can resolve the puzzle in the wonderful hall with out visiting any of the levels, a lot of story and gameplay may be skipped. Coming up with a single puzzle that calls for the contents from all levels is hard sufficient, so you mainly have to reside with getting a single special solution to these puzzles. This also puts further constraints on the obstacle, as it is not very great if the player can come up with many alternate options that would overcome it. In that event the obstacle will look too artificial and immersion is broken.

Note that there can of course be sub-obstacles blocking the path for the various parts of the excellent hall puzzle. For example the player might require get to a golden hook from a pirate frog in the treasure chamber and this puzzle have far much less restrictions. That does not take away the problem with the puzzle in the hub even though.

Hopefully this has given some insight into how we (or at least I) go about producing levels and the problems with obstacles encountered.

What are your thoughts on these problems? Know any more troubles that may well arise or perhaps any much more solutions?

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