I have recorded myself working with the editor to show you all how a level comes from simply being lines and boxes of physics into the water-color world of Backworlds. It is a time-lapse running at a brisk pace and should give you a good idea of the process. Note that I did not prepare in any way making this, I just came up with something as I went along, however I did work with this particular theme for the demo. By the end of the video the level is in a “first-pass” state and is missing smaller details, particle effects and so on.
You will notice moments that seem like the video freezing, but it is actually just me selecting images from the editor menu (which pauses the game) and you can’t see the windows dialog for that in the video. Also there is a part of the creation process missing in the second video for some of the interior in the backworld, so you might notice a skip there.
Hope you enjoy watching!
Part 1 (Music: Final Fantasy VIII – Seasons OC Remix by Ziwtra)
Part 2 (Music: Final Fantasy X – A Fine Place to Live OC Remix by halc)
Last time, I covered briefly how our playback system works within the game client – strictly speaking this is everything we need, and in the beginning it was everything we used. It did require our testers to take an active part in sending us the playback files though, besides being unreliable it put higher demands on our testers and forced them to tell us directly how much they had played – removing some of the advantage of letting them play on their own terms. Continue reading →
Put simply, playtesting is to design what QA is to engineering. It is not there so the testers can tell you what to do (although collecting feedback is a side benefit) but so that you can observe how your design and implementation performs with real data. Much has been said about how to do playtesting properly already – actually, Juha covered our own process a while back – so instead I will go into the technical details behind our own system. Much of it will be obvious, but hopefully there will be something to learn for someone.
Today I will show you something from the game-play scripting for Backworlds. In other words, what we do (partly) to make stuff happen in the game. We use a scripting language called Lua which we write in external text files that are loaded into the game. The advantage of this is that we can write functionality without having to recompile the game, reloading the level is enough.
I will begin by saying that Anders has moved a lot of the things we used to do with this into the engine and tied it to objects in the editor, making life a little easier for us when creating levels. But it is great for testing new ideas and we still have to use Lua in a lot of special cases and custom events. But enough explaining, let me demonstrate in this two part video!
Note: I make a mistake in the video by sampling the statue position every frame rather than only once in the OnCreate function, causing the object to move down very fast.
Winter is upon us, but before we check out for the year we’d like to give you a little more hard information about the game. This is subject to change as development goes on, but we feel reasonably comfortable with the scope at this point.
Following up on the last blog post by Anders, I thought I would talk a bit about the art of the other Sense of Wonder Night level
we prepared. You can view the level in the video above, which is the same sequence we used for the presentation.
The picture is a screenshot from one of the levels we prepared for the Sense of Wonder Night – presentation. We experiment with new art themes on small levels from time to time – these are built on a few small ideas rather than the themes present in the full game. As such, it is unlikely that any levels will look just like this in the final product but we may use parts that we like.
On September 21st we presented Backworlds on Sense of Wonder Night during Tokyo Game Show 2012. You can view all the presentations at the SOWN Presentation site. Our presentation starts at 01:45:00 but make sure to watch the other presentations as well as there was some very interesting games there. Continue reading →
A while back, in the editor basics video, Juha talked at some length about how we build levels by combining masks, patterns and color. We refer to these objects as HSVE objects after the color space, and today we are going to go over some of the reasoning and technology behind them.
A few weeks ago we started initial playtesting for a big bunch of new levels. So I am going to write a bit about how we go about with testing and how we use the observations gathered.
First off, Ron Carmel at 2D Boy has a nice writeup about rules for playtesting that anyone interested in these things should check out.
During the development of the demo, we only did in person testing. We sat the player down at a computer and let them play without us instructing, only quietly taking notes. If they got stuck for a long time we would however give them hints, but our goal was, and is, to not have any kind of hint system so those occasions made it quite clear we needed to redesign the puzzle.