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View Full Version : What makes a good level - definitive thread



Coxy224
02-20-2009, 10:59 AM
Just to start, sorry if this has been posted before, Ccubbage said that they’d post it but I haven’t seen it come up so hopefully this is the first time it’s come! :)
Ok, I took the answers from this thread here (http://www.lbpcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?p=134961) and complied them to a definitive thread. All of these were suggested by members of the forums, therefore we know that they are what people want. YOU voted for them, and these are the most popular.

Make sure your Level is well polished and has good visuals

A big thing for me is Polish, for lack of a better term, which encompasses a lot of things - checkpoints in bad spots, objects which shouldn't be moveable, getting stuck or killed due to "bugs" which could have been designed differently, and many other little things like that. I also love decorations and levels with good visual style, or at least visuals that appeal to me.

I know it may not seem right to place visuals over gameplay, but I really do show more preference to aesthetics than anything else. Before you even move your sackboy, you are immediately given an onslaught of optical stimulation when entering a level and I believe that this is the first impression.

A well-written story with good characters can really make a good level

Sure, anyone can have a square piece of material, put a sticker on and attach a magic mouth. But it's just far more interesting when they make them a bit more animated. It helps with player immersion.

I guess I am a little biased here since my levels are story-driven but I really appreciate a great tale. Some of my favourite levels have epic/immersive stories with fantastic writing that keeps me engaged from beginning to end.

There is a difference between frustrating and challenging

Challenging levels can be fun, but frustrating levels rarely are. I know this sounds obvious but many level authors don't know the difference. In order to make their levels "challenging" they add REALLY frustrating and touchy jumping sequences, and easy ways to die.

Few things are more irritating than getting past a long and difficult obstacle, only to die in a fire pit obscured by a tree or a rock. Matters are only made worse when the last checkpoint was before the previous obstacle.

The difference between challenging and frustrating is slightly difficult to judge though, mostly because the line that's drawn changes with each person.

Your level needs to have innovative and original game play

These "see how many stairs you can climb in 28 minutes" levels don't amuse me. I like something I would NEVER have thought of myself, a great concept that's never been done before.

My biggest gripe about poor game play is pretty simple... lack of innovation. Anyone who has followed my posts at LBW knows that my biggest peeve death-trap is slabs of electrified or fiery material embedded in the ground. I'm talking plain old rectangular slabs stuck in series in the floor. They look like crap... they're hard, and boring as hell. Good game play does NOT equal beating a player over the head with the difficulty stick.

A good level must use sound and music effectively

Sound is another thing that's overlooked. Anyone can make a door, just get a block of material and attach a piston to it. But it shows attention to detail when they put sound effects to match it. Music is also overlooked but is important to setting the mood.

Use music, but not switch it around too much. Switching the music might break the immersion, it depends on the situation but if you switch around the music too much it nearly always starts to stand out. Experiment with the interactive pieces of music, use the different sliders to evoke a mood (more drums, less melody for a high tempo section for example) this way you can more smoothly change your music.

Custom content makes your level stand-out

Originality is a big deal to me as well. If you have a single story object in your level that isn't an LED light, a thin object, or some such justifiable effect thing... then I won't take it seriously, and just overlook its flaws.

I'm with Ninja on going 100% custom content. Obviously some pre-made objects have to be used since they cannot be created (bottles, vases, etc), but when I see things like the jade snake in a level, my enthusiasm for the level dies, because it comes across as a cheap ripoff. If you're going to re-use an idea, at least have the decency to remake it and put your own personal touch to it.

Blatant speeling eroors relly are annoying

I know this will most likely end at the bottom of the list, but blatant spelling errors really turn me off playing many levels.

I agree, or using "leet speak" or using words like "lol" and such, it just seems so unprofessional.

And there it is, as voted for by the community. These are all the points that came up 3 times or more in Ccubbage’s awesome thread.
Just a note, I have only put these points together, it was the brilliant community here at LBPC that came up with them and elaborated so all credit to them really.
Thanks for reading :)

dawesbr
02-20-2009, 11:13 AM
Nice compilation. I've read through most of them, and agree wholeheartedly. Sticky, maybe?

uzman
02-20-2009, 11:40 AM
I was having trouble, whether to make my obstacles real hard or attainable in one try. I guess since they mentioned frustration is also a factor. That makes sense since when i get frustrated in a level, i just quit.

RangerZero
02-20-2009, 05:34 PM
Nice. And true. :)

I think our community is having good priorities. Gameplay (polished) and visuals. Ok that kinda was expected but you never know!


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Thegide
02-20-2009, 08:18 PM
Great compilation, thanks Coxy.

Whalio Cappuccino
02-20-2009, 09:06 PM
Sticky for sure. Thanks for compiling this Coxy!

Coxy224
02-21-2009, 07:20 PM
Thanks for the comments everyone, but most of the credit should be to the contributors :)
My thanks goes out also to Ccubbage for the original thread!

kodymcq
02-21-2009, 08:29 PM
stickeh. naw.


that was awesome. i really agree with all the quotes. people using stuff like "lol" or leet does get annoying.

dkjestrup
02-22-2009, 07:09 AM
I think something about grid or corner editor should be in there, but overall it is a good list.

Coxy224
03-01-2009, 07:58 PM
Yeah, that's a good point but some people can make good levels without using the grid. Grid is more about preference.

CCubbage
03-05-2009, 05:34 PM
Man, I love this thread. I was going to get to this eventually, but you just saved me a lot of work!

Coxy224
03-05-2009, 06:41 PM
Hey, no problem - I was really interested in the thread and thought I may aswell do it :)Thanks to you aswell for the brilliant thread in the first place.
If anyone wants, I can post the full list of everything that was suggested and how many suggestions it got :)

dkjestrup
03-09-2009, 07:00 AM
Just been thinking. about the fustrating V challenging

- All levels should, (idealy) be easy to beat, and tough to ace. So plenty of checkpoints at the right points, obstacles that will kill you IF you're not paying attention, possibly surprises (for replay to get ace) etc. Never use narrow platforms, jumps that are barely makeable etc.