02 - Level Design
very important part of game development is the planning stage
before any code is created, helping to define the game details and
highlighting the challenges to follow. This stage can save so
much frustration and
difficulty in the later stages of coding.
have spent many weeks designing graphic tiles using Brilliance
on my Amiga and also the level design using my custom level designer on the
CoCo3 which I wrote in BASIC. With these tools, I am able to analyse
the game play logic of each level before committing any code and also manipulating each level to create the mechanical/industrial asthetic I wish the game to have.
also tried to design some of the levels to be mini-games in their own
right such as the conveyor levels where you control the conveyer's
direction to control the flow of of the falling objects. Another level
has a hoist that you must ride and navigate to collect items which deactivate
the security system and allow passage through the game. Another level has a casino slot machine where you
can gamble some of your accumulated credits to win EMF bombs used to
temporarily disable the security roots.
THE LEVEL EDITOR
of the levels will require you to operate machinery to reach each of
the security sensors in each level. The goal is to disable the
building's security system in each of the 12 levels. Once disabled, you will be given passage to level 13 at the top of
the building where you will find a nuclear bomb that you must disable
by cracking the computer's code.
All this before the bomb timer reaches zero... no pressure. :)
Those familiar with my previous games Donut Dilemma and Rupert Rythym will see similaries. As I mentioned in Chapter 01, Zero Hour is a mashup of these two games.
Many of the levels are patrolled with security robots which you can temporarily disable by detonating a small EMF bomb
(Elecro Magnetic Field). The burst of energy from the EMF explosion
will force the robot to shutdown temporarily as it reboots its internal
operating systems, giving you a chance to pass them and continue with
I will also be bringing back the eyeball security robot I had in my game Rupert Rythym which will appear randomly and float around the room as it does its scheduled security sweep before moving on.
I am at the stage where I have most of the game planned out and ready to start coding.
steps will be to create many of the general subroutines which I will
need such as a PRINT routine for text, an INKEY routine for obtaining
ASCII key presses and several other common routines, many of which I
can extract from my previous games such as Gunstar and PopStar Pilot.
The first real pieces of game code will be the routine for
recreating each of the levels from the data created by my Level Editor.
as I hinted in the last chapter, I will be creating a new special
effect for this game that will be something I've never seen
before on the CoCo.
Say tuned for the next chapter where I should be able to provide a video showcasing my progress.
"To infinity and beyond!"