If you’ve ever doubted your ability to design games, three top game developers are here to help with tips on how to create entertaining LittleBigPlanet levels.
Young Tristan, the son of Kotaku editor Brian Crecente, has been spending his evenings developing game worlds with LittleBigPlanet for the PlayStation 3. His dad noticed the 7-year-old’s creativity and suggested he to write a letter to experts asking for advice, and their responses serve as basic guides for any wannabe developer.
Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski (Gears of War), EatSleepPlay’s David Jaffe (God of War) and Mark Pacini of Armature (Metroid Prime) commented on the basic design outline Tristan sent them while explaining their own design principles.
Bleszinski offered simple, yet profound advice: “When in doubt, add zombies and exploding barrels. Your review score is guaranteed to go up by at least 3 points across the board.”
Jaffe outlined his four-point plan to game design success:
- Reward players with treasures and secrets
- Enjoy your own levels
- Tell his father to improve the Kotaku website with a better commenting system
- Put in more jumping
Based on the principle of “Try to not show the answer before the player knows the question”, Pacini posed a possible puzzle scenario that he think would work well as an example of how to add intelligent gameplay to the level.
You have fire in your level, right? Well, imagine you had a pit of fire that the player could not cross. (It is too long to jump safely across) The only way to cross it is to shut it off by pressing a button. Well, where do you put that button? If you put the button right in front of the fire pit, the player will probably push the button and shut off the flames before knowing that’s what he needed to do. One place you may want to put the button is above the fire pit, on a platform that the player can reach. That way, the player is more likely to run into the pit and realize he cannot get across. When he finds the button above the pit, he will probably feel more rewarded because he figured it out on his own. This is the basic principle behind building good, rewarding puzzles.
Inspired by these wise words, anyone can potentially join the ranks of the design community when LittleBigPlanet ships later this month.