About good level design
Level design standards
This document explains why certain levels will no longer be accepted for inclusion in the game. The amount of levels has grown too big and the quality of the received levels is rather poor. For that reason we found it necessary to explain some basic ideas of qualitative level design. Here you can learn what is important when creating levels, the general idea of level design, and why not every level will be accepted.
This section pertains to graphic design questions, game play, and general atmosphere. Things really needed in a level are
In the matter of Track Design / Blocks composition:
- Parcour design: Note that there are already ~1500 Levels in the X-Moto level pool. Therefore simple parcours, like rather simple handdrawn surfaces or uninspired track design will NOT get validated anymore. You shall try to combine tricky passages in a elegant way, to give some new impulses to level design. Very simple levels even with good graphics DO NOT get validated anymore, since there are already hundreds of levels of that type!
- Versatile level design Try to get some kind of plot into the level. Maybe it's not alway good to put the most difficult test at the beginning, requiring most players to try 1000 times to even get started. Try to create a plot that consists of smooth passages as well as tricky parts in a reasonable whole.
- Geometry errors that consist of inexactly placed corners must be avoided.
- Scripting use can supply versatile ideas for level design. Discover them!
- Use strawberries and wreckers carefully! Strawberries are mostly for defining some kind of way the player shall go. The performance of a level will decrease if wreckers and strawberries are grouped or placed very near each other.
- Limit the number of vertices! When designing a level also consider the player's computer. Not all players have powerful computers. Especially when creating smooth levels do not use more vertices than necessary to keep everything playable. Use the frame counter to assist you! You can find the according inkscape parameter in level properties, smoothitude!
- Avoid Block overlapping! Overlapping produces edge effects flickering, and makes F9 mode very ugly. Soon you can find a TUTORIAL here about how to deal with block composition.
- Chipmunk Use: Using physics blocks can open various design ideas. Use it carefully and for special effects. NEVER try to make almost every block a chipmunk block, because the level looses structure then, and becomes random. Such levels don't get validated!
- NEW for 0.5.3 Use Checkpoints! Checkpoints are a good way to prevent frustration on hard levels. Use them wise, and cut the level in equally weighted parts.
In the matter of GraFiX:
- Well designed surfaces For example: if you use the dirt texture, try to add grass to it. If you transition to a more rock-like surface underground, make the underground look more like rocks than a stairway.
- Create a nice atmosphere. Use more than one layer. Try to do more with the items in the editor; paint, but not just place them. For example: A cave structure will look better with a background texture, trees can also be bushes, cliffs also can have cracks etc.
- Layers available since 0.2.7 help create beautiful sceneries that make the game experience more enjoyable and create atmosphere. Check Inksmoto for how to use them! See also the Background Graphics Pool to use prefabbed backgrounds in your level!
- Sprites should be placed fitting in the scene, but not in a manner that is confusing. There are also multiple ways to modify and customize them! You can even add your own! Note that putting too many sprites into a small area creates flickering and reduces the chance to get the level validated heavily! Sprites must be used rarely, since the parcour is the main game part, not the sprites.
- Of course the level has to be playable without the game engine displaying errors.
- Give your level a beautiful outfit that sticks to a certain design idea, do NOT use several textures that produce eye-cancer when placed next to each other!<br>Note that you can also use your own textures, even when they are not officially validated yet!
- Create an interesting sky! By using the "Drifted Sky" parameter in the "Set Sky Properties" Inksmoto-Dialog, you can achieve very nice effects, that make your level unique! Try also using alternative textures there, but NEVER use "KRWNighSkyMoon" as sky texture, since it looks ugly in default use and needs special treatment (See "KRW Night Sky" levels for correct use).
- Add music! There are several musics available, that create different atmospheres for level design. Please make use of it, or the level won't get accepted.
- NEW Use Transparent Water. Since the xmoto gfx engine allows this, water should always be made transparent. You can find a tutorial video here.
Before committing a level, you should ask yourself several questions:
- What the hell is so special about my level among the 3000 others that make gamers want to play it?
- Is my level really interesting?
- Do I like my own level? I mean, really, really like my level?
- Even still tomorrow?
- Does it fit into the quality standards, described above?
- Did I create it for the reason of just creating my own level, or do I want to help improving the game play? Do I really want that others will play and vote my level?
- Have I played my level excessively? No?? Oh my god I will before committing it!!
If a level is rejected by the validation team, there is a reason. The probably most often issues are of these, to make a long word short:
- No surface textures, low design quality, really poor game play
- No creativity for the parcour: If it looks like ones that exist a hundred times: No chance!
- Geometric lags.
- Level game play more random influenced than controllable, which evokes a frustrating emotion.
- Flying Sprites. Sprites must be used rarely, and be placed correctly. A Tree must be planted to the ground.
- The Bikes wheel is (partly) inside a block. This mustn't be done!
If a level is discarded due to such a reason, we'll let you know, give advice and look forward to the corrected version.
Note that you really should make use of the features Inksmoto provides! Otherwise your level has absolutely no chance to get validated, and you waste your and our time by uploading it on the website! Check the Inksmoto-Tutorial to learn about the necessary features!