Unity Puzzle Components
In Advanced Level Design (and other classes), as you begin to research, brainstorm, and concept your simple maze/ platformer, there are a few core concerns you will want to address. First of all, you will want to consider your (target) audience, and their expectations for fun and gameplay. Everybody has a unique concept of fun and play - this can be a very complex subject, that warrants much reflection and discussion.
However, I recommend that for a first project in a new Game Engine (Unity), you should keep things simple, focussed, and goal-oriented. Goals are the simplest and most straight forward ways of providing players with a meaningful emotional experience, and most people will agree that meaningful emotional experience is the foundation of fun, particularly game fun.
Not only should your game have a goal, the player needs to be made aware of the goal as soon as possible. If the player is not aware that a goal exists, it is almost as though it doesn't.
- In some cases, particularly games that attempt to introduce innovative game mechanics, an intro game level will consist of a series of very simple, easily attainable goals. In which case,the first goal may be within immediate sight of the player.
- On the other hand, one of the easiest ways to make a goal known, is by telling the player with a message that is triggered when the game begins (or when the palyer takes their first step forward). You may not know how to set up a message now, but you will, soon enough.
- Sometimes goals are depicted merely as pictures on walls - remember the slice of cake in Portal?
Once you have determined the goal of your level, you can begin to consider how the player gets there. To an experienced game designer and programmer, the sky is the limit. However, if this is your first game in a new game engine, you will want to implement techniques that are covered in class and are easy to discover through research, for instance, online. You may wonder, now, at the beginning of a Level Design class, what kinds of techniques will be taught, or that you will be expected to implement. Feel free to refer to the syllabus and project descriptions. To make things more straight forward, I have provided a list for my Advanced Level Design (Unity) class:
Puzzle Components Covered in Class:
- Lights: In order for most players to fully understand the game and game environment, they need to see it. You will therefor need to include lights. Morever, in Level Design, you will learn how to turn lights on and off. You can make this a part of your puzzle.
- Triggers: At the core of game design is interaction. You will be designing interactions. Interactions consist of two components - player input and player feedback. When a player inputs a command - presses a button - it becomes possible to "trigger" Events. A "trigger" is often clothed with a visual metaphor within the game environment - a button, a lever, a pull-chain, a console or kiosk. Feel free to include these in your puzzle.
- Movers/InterpActors: Once the player triggers an Event, something happens. This is player feedback. One example of player feedback is movement. When a player trips a switch, the door opens. The elevator moves. The platform shifts. The ancient statue tumbles. I will cover Movers (Moving Objects) in class this quarter. Feel free to include them in your puzzle.
- Particle Effects: Particle effects add magic to your level, particularly if they are ignited by player input. In the last few weeks of this class, I will cover the particle effects editor.