Nordenfelt comes full circle. I’ve revived two features which disappeared from the design documents a year ago: level generator and world map.

These two features where part of the canceled adventure mode. This mode was cut due to the pressure of making a living from Nordenfelt. During the last two years just bullet hell shooters were released. At least that’s what my news channels reported. It seemed the market was reduced to this type of shmup. So I tried to adapt Nordenfelt accordingly.

Now that I have a steady income again the need for entering this crowded market is gone. Now I can go on experimenting and do things differently. That’s what I like most about making games. Participating in the rat race of faster-higher-stronger sounds like long-term suicide anyway.

Level Generator

Level design follows rules which should make levels interesting, challenging and fair. An example would be: difficulty has to rise over time. Players get better so the challenges have to get tougher as well.

Another criteria to meet is the learning curve:

MMO RPG learning curves

Courtesy of lorehound.com

Ideally games should present new mechanics or features to learn after the last one has been mastered. The level designer’s job here is to find out how long it takes the average player to master each skill.

Third example: dramatic structures in their usual sequence of intro, crisis development, climax and resolution.

Further, simpler rules would be scalar factors like level length, boss strength, bullets per second, powerup density, risk/reward amplification, etc.

Finally many tasks in level design, at least formal ones, can be automated. There’s no need to sit down and plan each level from scratch. Nordenfelt’s level generator will serve at least as boilerplate for creating level skeletons. The rest is filling out details by “design intuition”. Time will tell how much level design can be formalized and converted into code. The optimum would be a full-blown, no-intervention generator. That would be cool!

World Map

Nordenfelt has random-accessible levels now. There’s no longer the need for going through level A and B just to play C. Therefore there has to be some kind of level selection. This will be done here:

Nordenfelt map screen

The big dots are test markers for the available levels. I’ll draw proper graphics for them tomorrow.

Cheers,
Thomas

P.S.: Get real-time updates via Twitter feed @nordenfeltgame.


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