You might have already seen some of the game level development process for FingerBoy game when the project just started, but after second-third-tenth iteration it becomes more or less steady, and I decided to go a bit more in-depth. For you and for us as well.
The very first part might seem dull a bit, but it’s the longest and the most important part of level creation – preparing the level logic. There is no point in continuing if this is not done properly.
Here is the final image of the parents’ room level. You can see it in game as well, the demo is on the right of this screen.
Development starts with simple logic description with a minimum amount of taps needed to solve it. Difficulty is increasing, and so does the tap count.
We have an internal document with the list of items that can emit/reflect/direct light. But it would be so boring if switching the light was the only thing you could do in the game, wouldn’t it? And thus we make another list of relevant items and see what we can use without breaking the immersion and feeling of the current room.
Rooms have to differ and have to be recognisable. You will not put a toaster into the bathroom or a chainsaw into the baby’s dorm, right? Since we are making the room for parents, the main items are obvious: double bed, closet, and a mirror. Other things are optional, but still in the list.
Here is one of the first sketches by our game designer, for example.
And then come iterations, iterations and more iterations. TV was in the previous room already; there are too many lamps; the perspective of the closet is wrong and cannot be used, etc. After every little thing is solved and all the confusing points are eliminated on paper, we do a quick prototype. It’s very rough, without animations, only key elements in key positions.
Then comes a quick slicing with a Photoshop Slice tool – it’s extremely useful, and it’s widely used by web developers. Each slice has its own coordinates and size, and with this information programmer can quickly build a level without having to guess the images positions.
When the level prototype is done, the team has played it and the comments were processed, it’s time for the final part – drawing the level itself.
Next part will be about live materials and tricky iPad use. It will be more interesting, I promise!