Tag Archive: Game Design


Rescaling the Level

We’re working right now on the content for the Indigo – that means getting the first level nicely playable. One thing we will have to do (possibly later though), is to rescale the layout of it. My concept just totally underestimated the size differences between the small scale and the big scale (we want to go from small crates up to destroying skyscrapers).

Here is a sketch just visualizing the size progression:

So instead of this:

We have to do something more like this:

This is very different from usual breakout games. They are very “top-down” usually – not going into height at all, even if 3D. So this will be a gamedesign challenge, to get a more vertical gameplay working. It has advantages though: The top-down camera is not very impressive – so if we can manage to change the angle, then the look of the game will improve. It will also set us apart of existing games.

Zeroing in on Level and Style

On a team meeting we decided that we should set a proper goal. One level that we aim to finish as a prototype. Taking gameplay and style into account, I’ve made a sketch of a bigger level. It should show the size-progression well, and also use for example some custom physics shapes – in this case it is a twisted ramp (the road in the picture).

We decided to go for this. Also Pascal found this photo you see below, and suggested to use it for the style. This really nailed it – somehow totally what I imagined too. So from now on I took this as my main reference.
Later just by chance I came across the picture again – it’s the Chicago industrial area, from the flickr-account of the library of congress.

Also somehow in my head the style had a much more desperate and kafkaesk look to it – and this image fits so nice to that. But the first version of the level concept fell short of it. So I redid the design – and made the following two color versions, so the team can decide which way to go.

I love the white look – and one day I wanna make a game with that. But for now we all agreed to go for the colored one.

The idea is that that you would start in the little corner where the farm is. And first clear out food-boxes and helpless chickens. In the next step you break out of the wall, then progress to the next wall. After you destroyed the city below, you can unblock the ramp, and finally attack the skyscrapers on the very top.

…which at the very end leads to some nice special effect. I sketched out how flowers overgrow the whole rotten city. We will have to see if we can actually pull this off in the final version.

I’m not 100% satisfied with the look. It should get more of a Metropolis or Gotham City feel. So I will work on this in later concepts.

Gameplay Ideas

The basics of the game design were born out of the first versions. Especially the physics aspect of it, since this is what most of the programming effort went into. But to have some more special features, we collected ideas of what else to bring in. Things that you don’t see in other Breakouts.

One idea that came a bit out of the style we went for was that certain objects should be more the goal to hit. In the picture here it is the nuclear power plant (colored red).

Now the question is how to stop the player from hitting it in the first go. And thats where the idea of the growing ball comes in. A bit like in Katamari Damacy: First you start up small, an can only hit smaller objects. Once you gathered enough points, you grow bigger and can hit objects of a higher level.

This last image is an example of a level idea using the size-progression. Each roman number shows another step – where you can first only affect little objects in the hall, you can later break the walls and go out to finally hit the ship.

We also decided that we want to have lots of variation: Playing with the camera, having sub-levels, level-specific goals and features. We definitely want to bring in all the ideas we have – and play with the physics to really use the aspect. So for example switching the gravity around, turning the level. And lots of goodies – multiball has to be in there, its just too much fun.
Here are some more sketches of what we could possibly do.