Continuing off of my last update on the RLD, we now needed to quantify the aspects of level design in order to be able control the level progression. One of the first steps as defining the ingredients, as seen in the previous post. Next I took the street intersections and tried to assign values to different types of intersections. The idea is that different types of intersections provide different egress possibilities for the contestants. The more possibilities to escape the harder it is for the player.
Since the cameras are what allow the player to see the contestants, I compared the 2 camera types we have vs every intersection type. Below you can see every intersection type ( remember there were 6 in total ) checked with the two camera sizes: 2-unit cams on the left column and 4-unit cams on the right column. Its important to note that each grid is equal to a grid within Unity space.
So above, you can see how many cameras of each camera size are required to cover those 6 different intersections ( white text ). You can also see how many egresses each camera can cover ( in red ). By doing this exercise we were able to lock down the street sizes as well as the camera radii. From this information I was able to discern 3 general categories of intersections and therefore difficulty: those that required 1 cam, those that required 2 cams, and those that required 4.
By providing a value to each of those 3 categories and counting how much of each type we have in a given level we can get an idea of the overall difficulty of a level. Of course there will be other factor involved such as the numbers of items a player can place each level as well as the number of contestants running, but the bulk is weighed by the geometry. At least that is the plan.
Below is an image of a placeholder level 7. It started off as a block for block duplicate of the one in unity. The same exercise can basically be done in both Unity and Photoshop. Anyway, in it I’ve identified all the intersections and colored them according to their type: yellow for “easy”, orange for “medium”, and [ although there are none in there right now ] red for “hard.”
What was being done in parallel can be seen in the image below. On the left is a first draft basic foundation of how we thought the levels should progress, what new features should be introduced and when. Also in order for the player to have something familiar to hang on to from level to level, although new concepts are introduced, I made each level an expansion of the previous one. It all culminates at level 7, then after that when everything has been learned, new levels are introduced unrelated to the previous 7.
Its important to note that these weren’t the final level layouts of course, but a roadmap that we could go by. There are many questions we couldnt account for until we tested, such as whether too many features were introduced too fast.
As the RLD is evolving, the level layouts and the introduction of concepts are changing. Its an organic process that we are still going through now. Below is a snapshot of that evolution. On the right you can see me checking the layouts against camera sizes and what percentage of the level’s surface area is covered by however many cameras we “provide” the player. That in turn will affect how many of each type of intersection we want in there.