Alright... So lately I have been really into helping out other people by letting them join me while I create and giving tips every once in a while, but it seems as though I am only showing them the basics..... so I wanted to make this guide to give people a solid understanding of how I create. Keep in mind these tips are straight from my rulebook and this is the way I create. I thought it would be more helpful to give my methods instead of general methods that anyone who plays LBP can tell you.
Planning is key in a good level... Okay thats a lie... It depends on what you want. Some people prefer to go into a level and build whatever comes to mind. Others plan their levels in certain ways (Examples below). Then there are some (like me) who do both. It's nice to try both methods because it gives you a taste of two different styles of creating. Planning a level would be best for the more "tech-advanced" type levels with more design and level interactivity. Creating at the top of your head is best for the "playful" type level and it gives you a chance to try new gameplay methods.
- Planning Methods
- Drawing In A Notebook/Scrapbook
- Writing Down Ideas
- Use Computer Programs To Draw Levels
Getting inspired is easy if you know what you are looking for. However sometimes it may be difficult to find the right inspiration. There are plenty of ways to get inspired and most of them can be done easily and others depend on who you know and who is willing to help you. It is a good idea to let a few people into create mode with you once in a while. Select the people you let in wisely. Do not pick your best friends if they are not of any use. Bring in people who can give you ideas about your level (Make sure the people who take a look at your level know what type of feel, theme, story, and gameplay elements you are looking for).
III. SETTING UP
Setting up is the step that defines your level. Setting up includes two key decisions. Layers and Materials.Here are these two decisions explained in detail.
The layers define your level in one of three categories. A) Stuffy Level, B) Balanced Level, and C) Empty Level. The category you want to shoot for depends on what kind of level you are building. In most cases you will want a 'Balanced Level' (You give players some space, not too much, and not too little). In other cases you will want a 'Stuffy Level' (You give players very limited space). In very rare cases you will want an 'Empty Level' (You give players a lot or too much space)
Whether you use 1 layer, 2 layers, or 3 layers it's your choice and you can always shift layers, add layers, subtract layers, it's all your choice. (*Keep in mind: If you use anything less than 3 layers you have to keep them in the upfront layers to prevent the players from jumping down and out of the level.)
Now the 'Layer Glitch' has become a very popular way of giving levels that extra push to success. That is if you know how to use it. (Once I get a bit better with the glitch myself I will try to make a guide for the layer glitch) For now you can take a look at other forums and find some guides that give some explanations on how to use it.
Materials are a pretty easy selection and are not something you should worry about if you are building a small level. Materials however need to be chosen carefully depending on the theme of your level. It is also a bad idea to use too many materials because it can be really heavy on your thermo. For small levels you should try to limit your materials to about 5. For big levels you should try to use anywhere to a maximum of 10 materials. They should all tie together nicely to make the level look nice and to give the materials a great flow.
IV. CONSERVING THERMO
A) Level Detail
Its never a good idea to build sections of the levels completely because of the thermo. Try to build the whole level in very little detail whenever possible. At times you will find yourself in a tight spot with thermo because you overdecorated the previous sections of the level. Try to leave decorating till the end so you can decorate the level in balance and not have one very nice looking section and another very bare and unattractive section in the level.
This is the main problem in thermo and can get pretty serious especially for the ones who love the corner edit tool. There is a little rule that can help you out with the thermo... The rule is: "If you don't see it in play mode it doesn't need to have any detail whatsoever." That can really help out. A good example is a house. If you are making a house that you go inside of and you make a very detailed roof that is cut off in play mode what's the point of having it when only you will know what the roof looks like.
C) Switches and Mechanics
A lot of people build with loads of switches and other goodies that make the levels as good as they are. But some people use complicated shapes for the switches. The best thing to do is use... Triangles! Thats right, you might not think about it and you might say, " WOW! Really? I use squares... One extra corner, big deal!" But it is. Believe it or not it can save you a load of valuable thermo.
D) Stickers and Decorations
Not much can be said on this topic. The stickers and decorations can really kill thermo so use it wisely. It can make your level, or break it.
Interactivity is a key element in a level. Interactivity comes in all shapes and sizes and while some interactive elements are hard to implement they are well worth th levels quality. When playing through levels you might stumble upon some levels that have you running around a scenery and the level looks great but you don't stay in one spot long enough to enjoy the details. Well I'm pretty sure nobody wants to have a level where nobody gets to enjoy your hard work so there are a few ways to fix that problem.
Bubbles are the easiest interactive element in LBP to use but it all depends on the way you use it of how 'interactive' it becomes and how much a player will want to play the level. Here are a few ideas on how to use bubbles.
- Hidden Bubbles
- Enemies (Brains)
- Objectives w/ Rewards
- Sectet Grabbable Items (Emit Bubbles)
Switches are the best way to squeeze that last drop of interactivity possible (for now). It can be anything from sensors, to lights, to levers, to buttons, and keys. Its all given to you but you need to find out how to use it. There is so much undiscovered about the switches you might discover something new while messing around. Here are a few common ideas on how to use switches.
- - Ideas
- Keys (To Open A Path)
- On/Off (Cars, Doors, ETC.)
- Collect Everything (Turn Or Open Something)
There is one thing to do before any normal creator must do. Test Test Test! A level is NEVER perfect. You need to test to make sure nothing goes wrong. Try as hard as possible to 'break' the level. That way you know what can go wrong and you try to make sure the problem never happens. Then keep playing and make sure no switches are visible (Unless you want them to be seen), nothing is broken, nothing is missing, everything is functioning properly, and if possible try to look for parts where it feels a bit empty or bare design-wise and add whatever you can to make the level as good as possible.
- Beta Testing
The best thing you can do is set up a beta testing session for about a week or more. Select a batch of useful and free people who are able to give you some feedback on the level on things such as glitches, broken/nonfunctional objects, add-on ideas, etc. The best way to set up a beta is by following these steps.
- Finish Your Level
- Test It Yourself
- Publish The Level As "LOCKED"
- Go Into A Previously Published Level And Place The Key Somewhere Using Switches, Emitters, Secret Locations, Or Any Other Way That Will Make Sure That Only The Testers Can Find It.
- Send A Message With Specific Instructions On How To Acquire The Beta Level Key.
Now, give the beta a few days. After you have received enough reports from your testers close down the beta level, make all the changes and Publish your level.
Hopefully this guide gave you some nice tips, ideas, and inspiration to make better levels. I'm not an A-class creator but I'm not so bad (Hopefully) so I hope you enjoy this as much as I did making it. Keep in mind "I WILL" be updating this guide whenever I have new things to add on to what I already said.
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[GUIDE] Flare Skull's Lost Book Of Creation
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- Apr 2009
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Nice guide I'm not sure how much I agree with your limit on materials... I would probably say materials should be limited more for continuity than thermometer reasons.
Yeah I just preffer to leave things the way I do with the materials because it helps me stick to a theme and it's easy on thermo but as I said this is how I do it and it's just to give people an idea of how I do things...nobody needs to follow this
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- May 2009
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Triangles and squares use the same amount of thermo. Complex shapes are still a mystery.
Very well-written guide though. I'll link it to any "I NEEDS A TUTOR I SUCK AT MAKNG LVLS" threads
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- Nov 2008
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