My roles: Level Design and Gameplay Design.
Möbler is a cross between Tetris and platforming games. In Möbler players have to avoid falling furniture while climbing up to get as high as possible. Möbler was completed in 8 weeks with a 9 person team in my first year at Breda University Of Applied Sciences.
7 Jun 2019 Möbler was released on steam and has since gained over 25,000 downloads and a ‘Very Positive’ rating.
My responsibility as level designer on this project was to create “sequences”. A sequence is a specific order of which our furniture blocks fall down. I had to arrange the position and timing of each furniture piece for them to fall in such a way that the player has a path upwards as well as falling objects to avoid.
In order to have variety during the play session, we hand made over 27 different “sequences” of up to 1.5 minutes each. The game randomly chooses which sequence to use based on the difficulty number we gave it, the further the player got in the game the higher the maximum possible difficulty was. A higher difficulty would increase the speed of which furniture falls.
We give the player rest time after each sequence by making a flat platform. These flat platforms also meant new sequences would always stack on top of each in such a way that the player always has a path upwards. We would also spawn an “easy” sequence after a string of “hard” sequences.
We based the difficulty of a sequence on numerous metrics: speed of blocks falling, difficulty of jumps (based on length and height), how clear the path up is, and the number of blocks falling at one time. We supported this through playtests where we analyzed failure rates and verbal feedback.
Playtesting & Data Analysis
We gathered metric data from beta testers all over the world to support the level design. I helped determine which perimeters we wanted to collect and was also able to use that data to improve sequences. (EG: We would see that the most people fail on “sequence 21” and thus we would make iterations on sequence 21.)
I playtested the “sequences” throughout the design process. I would hold an initial playtest as soon as the sequence was functional, with this feedback I can review whether the sequence is achieving the goals I set out for them (Such as difficulty, player feel, and readability) and make iterations quickly. I believe that the quicker you get people to play something and give feedback, the better it will become.
Custom Level Editor
Initially, I started making sequences through a JSON file by typing in the shape type, rotation of xyz and time they should drop. This was a very long, difficult and buggy way of making levels, so I started the initiative for programmers to create a custom level editor with a more visual oriented approach. With the editor we could create sequences up to 3 times as quickly compared to the JSON method.
As I was one of only two designers, apart from level design I also was deeply involved in the overall concepting and designing of all other aspects of the game. Such as:
- Balancing movement variables
- Writing design documentation
- Concepting game mechanics, building and testing them
- Sharing design decisions with art and design team through meetings, documentation and presentations
- QA and polish for Steam release
- Creating and presenting pitches to stakeholders