2D Platformer Level Design

2D Platformer Level Design Document

Zach Bohn

Overview

2D Platformer_03In my 2D platformer I chose to focus on two different design elements that would create unique platforming experience for the player. They are Randomization and Player Movement.

Randomization is used to create the level, by compiling a selection of pre-made segments. These Segments, which are created by hand, also have a degree of randomization when picking what enemies and pickups are generated within them.

This randomization, traditionally found in Rogue-like’s, adds a unique twist to each play through.

Player Movement is encouraged through the addition of special Air Segments that are generated above the Ground Segments. These areas, while difficult to reach, will often be where the majority of important collectibles are found. Player Movement is also greatly altered through the behavior of the enemies who will either Assist or Hinder the player.

Level Layout

A single level is created with two different types of segment types: Ground(G) and Air(A). Ten ground segments are picked at random and placed end to end. Ten air segments are then picked as well and placed above the ground planes.

Segment Creation

Each Segment is composed of a 10×6 Grid. This image would be generated by importing the level as a series of numbers

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 6
0 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 2 2
0 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
0 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

Segment Randomization

Randomization within segments is primarily limited to the types of Enemies and Collectibles generated. During the creation of Segments the level designer would be able to add different variables to create these elements.

Enemy Variables (more detail about enemies is given below)

  • AM : Spawn any Assist Movement Enemies
  • HM : Spawn any Hinder Movement enemies.
  • Sp: Spawn a Spring Head
  • C: Spawn a Cannon Shell
  • P: Spawn a Plant Foe
  • R: Spawn a Rock Guy
  • D: Spawn any enemy with “Dumb” behavior, those that take no awareness of the player & simply move back and forth.
  • O: Spawn an Octopus
  • S: Spawn a snail.
  • RdE: Spawn any enemy type with a chance that nothing will spawn.

Collectible Variables

  • I: Invulnerability
  • F: Flight
  • H: Health +5
  • H+: Health +10
  • Co: Coin
  • J: Jewel
  • RdC: Spawn any item type with a chance that nothing will spawn.

Starting Ending Locations

The start location for the Hero is always found in the first glevel_01 in the first available column.

The end location is always found in the last glevel_10 in last available column.

Enemy Types

The following is a list of six different enemies that may appear. They fall into two separate categories: Enemies that assist player Movement (AM) and Enemies that hinder player movement (HM).

Assist Movement

Spring Boy

  • Movement
    • This enemy moves back and forth upon its plane. Upon reaching a wall, ledge, or enemy it turns around.
    • Behavior
      • This enemy takes no awareness of the player & simply moves back and forth.
      • Death
        • By jumping on the head, the player is launched 4 units directly up.

Cannon Shell

  • Movement
    • This enemy is stationary and cannot move
    • Behavior
      • When the player enters line of sight, the wick on the cannon will begin to burn. At completion it will fire a cannonball at the player.
      • Death
        • By jumping on the cannon, the player enters it. The wick on the cannon begins to burn, during this period the player may change the angle of the cannon. At completion the player is launched out of the cannon in an arc.

Plant Foe

  • Movement
    • This enemy moves back and forth upon its plane. Upon reaching a wall, ledge, or enemy it turns around. This enemy moves at a slow speed, ½ the rate of the spring head.
    • Behavior
      • This enemy takes no awareness of the player & simply moves back and forth.
      • Death
        • By jumping on the head, the creature is eliminated. A vine sprouts from the body that reaches 3 units in height. This vine is a climbable object to the player.

Rock Guy

  • Movement
    • This enemy moves back and forth upon its plane. Upon reaching a wall, ledge, or enemy it turns around. Every 3 units traveled it stops, lowering itself to the ground and becoming invincible for a short period of time. This enemy moves at a slow speed, ½ the rate of the spring head.
    • Behavior
      • This enemy takes no awareness of the player & simply moves back and forth.
      • Death
        • Can only be destroyed by jumping on the rock while this enemy is moving. Upon death the rock falls to the ground and can be used as a 1 unit platform.

Prevent Movement

The Octopus

  • Movement
    • This enemy is stationary.
    • Behavior
      • This enemy is represented by a hole in the ground. By falling into the hole the player is defeated. As the player approaches a suckered tentacle (2 units tall) will rise out. After a short period of time the tentacle will retract and the eye stalk of the octopus will rise out.
      • Death
        • By jumping on the eye stalk, the player may defeat the Octopus. This will also seal the hole.

 Snail

  • Movement
    • This enemy moves back and forth upon its plane. Upon reaching a wall, ledge, or enemy it turns around. This enemy moves at a slow speed, ½ the rate of the spring head. When shell less the snails speed increases by 100%.
    • Behavior
      • The snail leaves a trail of corrosive (-5 health per second), slowing (reduce the players speed by ½) slime in its wake. This slime persists for four seconds.
      • Death
        • Player must jump on it once to crack the shell, a second time to destroy the shell, a third time to eliminate the foe.

Collectible Types

Collectibles are items that the player picks up by simply running over them. The list of collectibles is as follows:

Invulnerability: The player cannot be harmed by enemies. All Enemies may be eliminated by colliding with them. Invulnerability lasts 5 seconds

Flight: The player may fly by holding down the space bar. Flight lasts 5 seconds

Health +5: Adds 5 points to the player’s health pool.

Health +10: Adds 10 points to the player’s health pool.

Coin: Coins add 1 point to the players score.

Jewels: A total of 4 Jewels may be found on each level. Each Jewel adds 50 to the players score.

Art Notes

All assets were created using a pixel editor called Pickle. To find out more about this program please look here.

With this exercise I wanted to create something whimsical, filled with strange creatures and bright color. The majority of the art was inspired by Super Mario Advanced in particular a game I played a kid. All assets are bound to the same scale, with everything being created at 16×16 pixels.

 

Categories:

Experimental