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  1. #1

    Default Step by step to making a good level

    Hi there everyone, I am here to offer you some advice to creating great levels in some easy steps.

    Step 1:

    Timing. Do not rush your levels, as the saying goes, Rome wasn't built in a day, neither are amazing levels. Look at the mm picks, I doubt that all of them where created in 20 minutes. More and more people are publishing levels that took minimal time, especially movies.

    Give yourself plenty of time, don't feel that you have to make a level by a certain period. This puts pressure on people, and often results in messing them up when creating. So step 1, don't have a time limit.

    Step 2:

    The idea, Have an idea of what level you want to create. Edison pondered around and analysed in the world how could it be improved, he had the idea to convert electricity into a utility, and ping he created a light bulb. Before going into a level, have the idea. A tip, draw rough sketches of what your level will look like, this gives you a visual idea of what your level will consist of. This also allows you to determine what materials, objects, stickers and decorations will best suit your idea and allow you to develop a theme.

    Step 3:

    Groundwork: This step is the basic image of your level. When drawing a cartoon character, you draw a model of the character, this is basically that. This step you build the walls, ceiling and flooring of the level. By doing this it improves your efficiency of creating and allows you to review you design, for changes you may need to make, instead of deleting valuable work. If your level is a cinematic, this is the basic design of your scenery.

    Step 4:

    Start and finish, this is where you establish where the beginning and the end of the level, by placing your entrance and scoreboard/game ender. This gives you the limits of your level, by doing this you have determined how far your level will be, as when you get into further steps, and get your creative ball rolling, you want to know where your level ends, as you may over or under think the length of your level. By doing this beforehand, it will help control you when creating.

    Step 5:

    Obstacles, this step is for levels that are platformer based, players will want some obstruction in your levels, look at Comphermc's levels for inspiration or the ever popular Hansel and gretelbot series. They have many obstacles which when overcome, give players subconsciously a sense of accomplishment, and a will to continue playing. When designing, I like to sketch designs, as people have seen the cliche sponge attached to a string. Find some inspiration, the more unique your obstacle is the better. Most levels base around some obstacles, and then increase the difficulty of the obstacle as you progress through the levl.

    Step 6:

    Storyline, A storyline is good for any level. Be it cinematic or plarformer. It gives you an instruction manual to how your level will flow. This is vital, and very often ignored by many creators.

    Step 7:

    Polishing, with obstacles in place this allows you to put backgrounds in, close of areas that you don't want entered, and clean up areas. This in my opinion takes the longest, as if you followed this guide step by step, requires to fill in your entire level. People often focus on one location, then move on. This allows you again to be more efficient, and with your sketch and groundwork gives you your limits.

    Step 8:

    Cameras, This is another step is that is ignored by a lot of the naive players, but a very clever tool. Game cameras give you full control over what is seen by the player. It also reduces the amount that needs to be created, I highly recommend this being step 8, as after you have your areas in your level filled in, it gives you a limit where your cameras need to be allocated.

    Step 9:
    Lighting and audio, this step adds to the scenery, at this point players just want to publish the level, and can't be bothered with it. This adds to the effect of your level. An example of this is a cave, if you go deeper, the lighting should dimmer and sounds should echo a lot more.

    Step 10:
    Test, play your level, if there are parts of your level that you find tedious, chances are players will too. Look how can you improve it. If anything breaks during your play through, it gives you a chance to fix it.

    Step 11:
    Decorations/stickers, Once your first test is done, go through the level and add stickers and decorations to create and add to the scenery and theme of your level. I have noticed that rushed levels have very little decorations and stickers in the level.

    Step 12:
    Personal opinion, Ask 3 of your best pals to look through your level what they think. Just a wow this is awesome! or cool is not good enough. You need to find out what they think could be done better. Ask them to honestly criticize your level, don't be offended by this, take a note of what they have said.

    Step 13:
    Clean up, this is where you take your friends comments and have cleaned up your level. look at ways to improve on what has been said and do so.

    Step 14:
    Community, Post pics of your level on this site or another LBP site to seek comments from them. Provide a range of pictures, and don't be afraid that they will copy, as you have put the work in for some time to complete this. I would say after 5 days, if you recieved no comments, go to step 15, if you did , make this changes, and post a picture of the changes.

    Step 15:
    completion, add score bubbles and ensure there are no bugs throughout the level. There should not be due to your first play through. After this your almost done. When placing score bubbles in a level its important not to oversize them (makes it look amateurish) place in groups of three looks good and make the player work to get them (not just placed in your path ect).Especially prize bubbles.

    Step 16:
    Publishing, Give your level a name, remember that this is got to attract players, so something short and sweet. Again look at the mm picks, quite short titles. Your levels badge, this will again be a advertising tool, make it colorful but also should reflect on your level. Finally put a well detailed description, because believe it or not, people actually read it when waiting for levels to load, so ensure that it describes your level, but doesn't give it away. This can also be a tool to give a back story to the level. Give credit to all those who have helped. And finally publish.

    Step 17:
    Community p2, That's right it isn't done yet, put your level into the level gallery on a LBP site. Ask people for feedback, as people do give feedback. Pay attention to your reviews, as people could spot a bug you have missed. Cirrect or improve on anything, and your done.

    Tips:
    1. Don't dedicate long hours to creating, take a break regularly, play some levels, or even more go outside and get some air. I often allocate some time and leave the level for the following day. It gives my mind a break from the game, and allows me to reflect and improve
    2. Frustrated by something not working, don't give up. Ask people for advice or to construct the obstacle. Everyone needs help, don't think you can make everything yourself.
    3. Custom music is always a bonus, there are many talented musicians in the LBP community, again just ask.
    4. Sketch your ideas, this saves loads of time, gives you an idea of your obstacles and level.
    5. Test until you are sick of your level, leave it for a while, come back and test, ensure your level will not break, unless certain parts are supposed to.
    Last edited by Robmandx; 02-04-2012 at 03:07 PM.


  2. #2
    Dat Christmas Spirit Speedynutty68's Avatar
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    Great help for all the new guys but shouldn't this be in the Tutorials section? But, if a mod saw this and was fine with it, then I have no issues!

    ^ Not accurate time due to me using an alternate Minecraft launcher.


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  5. #5
    Your Partner in Crime SnipySev's Avatar
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    This is a very comprehensive guide, I definitely identified with many of the points made in it and I'm sure I would have identified with all the situations described if I was a more experienced creator. It takes much experience in the game to gather all this by yourself, not only through creating but also by observing brilliant levels and figuring out what makes them work out and click with the player. In my opinion, finding that sweet spot between letting the creativity flow freely and being organized and focused enough to make a level out of it is the key, but it's not an easy task.

    Maybe you should make a level out of this. More newbies would get to watch and learn how it's done.

  6. #6

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    Thank you Robmandx.
    Tomorrow never comes - Platform through the eerie uncharted. http://lbp.me/v/7cvgjp

  7. #7

  8. #8
    ♥ へいわ ♦ あい ♥ Hana_Kami's Avatar
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    Nice guide for the most part, but steps 6 and 10 ignore the fact that levels can have different purposes in LBP, meaning the idea of what's good in one type of level might not be good in another. In example you generally don't need to put a storyline in tutorials or extreme platformers, just to name a couple. Extreme platformers for example tend to be very long, but the trade off is a simpler visual scheme with no thermo wasted on story and more going towards many challenging obstacles since many LBP extreme platformists don't play for aesthetic (<might be spelled wrong) reasons. So a storyline is not vital or good for ANY level, only certain kinds of levels.

    Also, in step 10 you mention if a part is too tedious for you, chances are it is for others. Things that are tedious for one person may not be for another. The beauty of LBP is that there can be levels of various difficulties so players of any skill level, endurance level, etc can enjoy. I know in the pro community levels are intentionally longer than levels played by the average player, sometimes topping the 50 obstacle mark, and each ob is far harder than 95% of the LBP community could imagine or think possible. These levels are tedious even for pro LBP platformists, which is why it's no suprise players that play outside that community don't even pass the first obstacle and boo the level saying it's impossible or calling them cheaters, hackers, etc. And sometimes they might have 2 or 3 of these obstacles back to back before a cp. The infinite cp levels are harder, sometimes pros clocking 4 hours to 2 days in a single level before clear or giving, of course taking breaks every 6 hours or so. The amount of skill and endurance required for such things makes the difficulty unparalled in 99% of gaming. But these players push their skills to a limit on a daily basis and enjoy extreme challenges. So it's impossibly tedious to some, but enjoyable to others. There needs to be a market for everyone.
    Last edited by Hana_Kami; 01-09-2012 at 04:14 AM.
    Main LBP Profile: h0tNstilettos
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  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Hana_Kami View Post
    Nice guide for the most part, but steps 6 and 10 ignore the fact that levels can have different purposes in LBP, meaning the idea of what's good in one type of level might not be good in another. In example you generally don't need to put a storyline in tutorials or extreme platformers, just to name a couple. Extreme platformers for example tend to be very long, but the trade off is a simpler visual scheme with no thermo wasted on story and more going towards many challenging obstacles since many LBP extreme platformists don't play for aesthetic (<might be spelled wrong) reasons. So a storyline is not vital or good for ANY level, only certain kinds of levels.

    Also, in step 10 you mention if a part is too tedious for you, chances are it is for others. Things that are tedious for one person may not be for another. The beauty of LBP is that there can be levels of various difficulties so players of any skill level, endurance level, etc can enjoy. I know in the pro community levels are intentionally longer than levels played by the average player, sometimes topping the 50 obstacle mark, and each ob is far harder than 95% of the LBP community could imagine or think possible. These levels are tedious even for pro LBP platformists, which is why it's no suprise players that play outside that community don't even pass the first obstacle and boo the level saying it's impossible or calling them cheaters, hackers, etc. And sometimes they might have 2 or 3 of these obstacles back to back before a cp. The infinite cp levels are harder, sometimes pros clocking 4 hours to 2 days in a single level before clear or giving, of course taking breaks every 6 hours or so. The amount of skill and endurance required for such things makes the difficulty unparalled in 99% of gaming. But these players push their skills to a limit on a daily basis and enjoy extreme challenges. So it's impossibly tedious to some, but enjoyable to others. There needs to be a market for everyone.
    Fair point, but this guide is for those who are inexperienced at creating levels and wish to become more popular through level making. Pros already know how to make a level, where as people who have just begun or have been playing a while, can use this as a reference when making.

  10. #10
    ♥ へいわ ♦ あい ♥ Hana_Kami's Avatar
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    Oh, okay, well the title was misleading since it says levels in general. In that case yes, every step is a good one.
    Main LBP Profile: h0tNstilettos
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  11. #11

  12. #12

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    Wow 1882 people have viewed this, hopefully they all benefit from this. And anyone new reading, I hope you do too.
    Last edited by Robmandx; 05-16-2012 at 07:31 AM.

  13. #13

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    Very well done Robmandx, but, not everyone is capable of following the same process and succeeding as well as others. For example, I have met creators that don't lay out the walls and determine the beginning/ends of a level before coming up with obstacles/scenery, etc. What they do is start off with a basic design and theme for the level, and continue on with that design for the rest of the level, doing all the scenery as they go. Some creators build the entire level in pieces, then assemble them when they are done. I'm not saying you are wrong, but I am saying that not everyone will be able to succeed using what you have here. Creators create in different ways, including the new beginners who are opening up their goodies bag for the first time. Don't worry, I'm not criticizing you, I'm just mentioning that maybe you should include different ways when it comes to the design process. To be honest, I love what you have done here. I might come back here once and a while to help me with my projects Great Job

  14. Thanks!


  15. #14

    Default

    Very well done Robmandx, but, not everyone is capable of following the same process and succeeding as well as others. For example, I have met creators that don't lay out the walls and determine the beginning/ends of a level before coming up with obstacles/scenery, etc. What they do is start off with a basic design and theme for the level, and continue on with that design for the rest of the level, doing all the scenery as they go. Some creators build the entire level in pieces, then assemble them when they are done. I'm not saying you are wrong, but I am saying that not everyone will be able to succeed using what you have here. Creators create in different ways, including the new beginners who are opening up their goodies bag for the first time. Don't worry, I'm not criticizing you, I'm just mentioning that maybe you should include different ways when it comes to the design process. To be honest, I love what you have done here. I might come back here once and a while to help me with my projects Great Job
    I understand that, and I know what you mean I was the same way. But I started to do this method and it benefited me so much as I increased my level making efficiency, I also didn't become frustrated as I took breaks. Camera has become more smoother. I know some have their own style of creating, and I am not forcing people to change. I have just laid out a guide that people can follow, or adapt it to their own style.

    I am glad you like the guide as do others. In fact a lot of people have "thanks" me, which I never expected. I am also glad to hear that you will be using this guide on projects.

  16. #15

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    I wanna say thank you to the 500+ people who have read this thread Hopefully you have benefited from this. I also want to thank everyone for thanking me for this advice, really appreciate it.

    I have posted this guide on my blog, link in my sig (daily challenges) Which has got some decent attention for my blog. Thank you LittleBigCommunity

  17. Thanks!


  18. #16

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    Hey, thanks for those steps they will help me BIG time on my levels :P

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  21. #19

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    Step 15: When placing score bubbles in a level its important not to oversize them (makes it look amateurish) place in groups of three looks good and make the player work to get them (not just placed in your path ect). Especially prize bubbles.

    I also find that building the level in sections to be a big help (joining them up later as long as it flows smoothly)

    Great tips by the way, i agree with taking a break when it gets frustrating at points too. My best ideas come to me when im out and about, hanging with my homeboys away from the game.

    Also the level of difficulty is important, because you have built the level its easy to get around certain obstacles...so having it playtested by those who didn't help to build is very important. Even the most experienced player can turn into a noob if he/she doesn't know where to go or do, so i find that placing some helpful tips throughout is also a bonus.

    Peace out!
    The Crown! I want that Crown...

  22. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by RtooDee2 View Post
    Step 15: When placing score bubbles in a level its important not to oversize them (makes it look amateurish) place in groups of three looks good and make the player work to get them (not just placed in your path ect). Especially prize bubbles.

    I also find that building the level in sections to be a big help (joining them up later as long as it flows smoothly)

    Great tips by the way, i agree with taking a break when it gets frustrating at points too. My best ideas come to me when im out and about, hanging with my homeboys away from the game.

    Also the level of difficulty is important, because you have built the level its easy to get around certain obstacles...so having it playtested by those who didn't help to build is very important. Even the most experienced player can turn into a noob if he/she doesn't know where to go or do, so i find that placing some helpful tips throughout is also a bonus.

    Peace out!
    Hey I can't believe I forgot the importance of the score bubbles size wise, thnks I have included it in

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