Building levels and refining the game experience

At some point the thrill of solving game design issues will give way to that final slog of packing the whole thing up in to a playable game. Such things as title screens, game over presentations and handling certain gamey elements. I also need to consider what happens after level x (where x = the final level). I’d like to present something nice to the player as a reward for his efforts in my ever-more-complex dungeons.

But for now it’s all about puzzles, rewards and designing cool scenarios and monsters.

As I’ve blogged previously I’m a huge fan of creating enough of a stable codebase to be able to play with graphics. I’m an artist first and foremost. In the not so recent past I worked as a game artist. It’s what I really enjoy the most. Being able to construct these game worlds and actually realise them is a huge thrill.

One of the things that I’ve been toying with is the regeneration of level entities following playerdeath().
In the past I’ve always respawned every gem, powerup, key, bonus etc after the player character has died. It’s just an easier way to handle things. But with this game I’ve decided to leave the level in the state it was in immediately prior to playerdeath().

So when the player dies and respawns back in to the level all the previously collected items do not reappear. Much like PacMan where the eaten dots stay eaten.

There are a couple of exceptions to the rule; keys and magicballs. Keys because you may have collected the key and died before reaching a door (doors remain open after playerdeath). Magicballs because they are designed to respawn mid-game anyway.

I think the result is much more satisfying and less daunting for the player.

An old school friend of mine (Gary Webster) has been busy with his own bit of nostalgia creating Commodore 64 style game music. As kids we marvelled at the work of Rob Hubbard and Martin Gallway. Back then the UK spawned the best of game talent (IMO of course) so it’s a great thrill to be able to actually honour something so personal from our childhood.
Webbo goes by the name TheLastWaltz and his work can be found on SoundCloud.

Whilst I’m figuring our the Audio element of HTML5 I implore you to give his work a listen whilst playing the game.

A great example of C64 style music can be found here:

The latest version of my game can be found here:

Note: if you have problems viewing the game at the first time of asking hit F5. I need to figure out the problems and start pre-caching content.

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