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Action Adventure Level Design: Pacing, Content, and Mood
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Action Adventure Level Design: Pacing, Content, and Mood

May 27, 2010 Article Start Previous Page 2 of 3 Next

Example: KFZK

Let's carry on with the imaginary game Kung Fu Zombie Killer, discussed in depth the last installment. The variety of gameplay in that design comes from the types of survivors that you rescue.

  • With doctors, you could have a level where your goal is to heal injured survivors.
  • With forklift truck drivers, you could have a level where heavy equipment has to be taken to a particular location in order to progress.
  • With engineers, you could have levels that included traditional puzzle elements.
  • With soldiers, you could have a level where your crowd actually does most of the fighting for you.
  • And so on.

Let's assume these were the locations we settled on for the levels:

  • Dojo
  • Hospital
  • Building site
  • Army base
  • Power station
  • Police station
  • Supermarket
  • Town hall
  • College campus
  • Cinema
  • TV station
  • Office block

We know from the story that the game has to start in Ken's Dojo and that it has to end with camera men filming Ken as he rescues jenna126xyz.

We have goal mix of 80 percent fighting, 20 percent puzzles for the whole game and we had ordered things like this:

But during the detailing phase two things happened. (More likely a massive number of things would have changed, but let's keep it relatively simple.)

First, someone came up with a really cool teacher survivor who can put zombies to sleep by lecturing them, which changes the gameplay mix at the college to involve more puzzles.

Second, someone has proposed changing the cinema into a film studio, whereby the zombies and the survivors can be based on clichés like Wild West or Godzilla films. People are very excited about this idea and enough crazy mechanics have come from it to justify potentially splitting it into two levels.

Consequently things are now looking a little less balanced and we have one too many levels:

(For full chart, please click on image)

We have found enough new mechanics that we can nearly introduce a new mechanic every level. By cutting the supermarket and moving the power station a bit earlier we can adjust the level order to create a better gameplay rhythm:

(For full chart, please click on image)

This can still be improved; we can look to either find a new survivor type that can be added to the town hall level, or we can try to replace it with something else that gives us more opportunities to do so.

Article Start Previous Page 2 of 3 Next

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