Tribloos 2 Dev Diary – Part 13
I’m still making levels!
You may have seen my world trending (I can dream) tweet last week that I’ve finished more than 50% of the levels required.
With the risk of repeating myself – there are going to be 75 main levels, 5 bonus levels and (hopefully) a series of “challenge” levels for those of you who want levels that can be completed from several different angles to achieve better times.
But – you might ask yourself – how does Andy put all these levels together? Does he have some kind of super duper level editor with 1000 whizzy features that make level design a doddle?
I use Microsoft Excel.
Hey, don’t look at me like that. Excel is my favorite Microsoft product! I’ve used it since my first week at my first job and even started a “how to” website on it at one point. I’m that much of an Excel fan boy.
Back in the early 2000′s I even tried to make some games in Excel and came up with a sprite engine using the grid as pixels when zoomed out a lot. It even had double buffering thanks to the Application.ScreenUpdating command.
Obviously I gave most of that up when moving to Blitz3D in 2003, but I still use excel at home a lot for various spreadsheets and calculations (I used it as a website updater a couple of years ago.) It’s so versatile it can turn it’s hand to pretty much anything.
So, getting back on topic – I’ve written my level editor in Excel and it represents the game area on a 23×20 grid. In the game each grid square is 40×40 pixels.
Here’s a picture of level 20 for example:
A platform is a P, a ladder is an L and both together are a B. Houses are H, Chief huts are c and so on. Then I set all the starting variables and such on the right, click save and level done!
Once all the lookups are setup (so the program knows what I mean by “h” and so on…) it’s really quick to prototype levels in the game. I can just change the layout/targets/resources, save the level data and re-load in the game (as it loads the level on the fly rather than when the game starts up.)
There are a few rules I have to abide by when designing levels:
- I can’t place a platform over a platform otherwise tribloos can just climb between them.
- A ladder/platform combination should always be used when there is a platform next to a ladder – otherwise it just looks weird!
- There should be more than 1 space between separated platforms – otherwise the “neat” ends of the platform are long enough to make it look as if there is no gap.
- Zip Wires (oh yes) must have their exit locations accessible to the chief hut at all times (eg, only the entrances can be blocked off from resources.) This is more of a path finding issue.
Then of course there’s all the boring testing I have to do like, is there enough wood to build everything. How easy is it for the player to build themselves into a corner (mu-ha-ha) and so on.
There are other features which are making level design tougher than in the first game but I’d really rather not give anything else away right now. But something that appears in the late 30′s is brilliant! (I reckon anyway.)
I hope that was at least vaguely interesting for you all, let me know if you have any questions and thanks for visiting/reading! (And thanks to everyone who is still buying the first game, you’re just the best!)