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William Good @TheBoob

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Portal in a portal

Posted by TheBoob - September 26th, 2009


So i have been thinking a lot about this recently, and have had trouble coming up with a conclusion.

I recently released a game with Edmund McMillen called Time Kfuc. From the begining we had this awsome idea about making user created levels, and the ability to browse through them with a "mini portal". We branched off this idea a lot with things like Enter the Unknown, and the ability to vote.

Ultimately, im very happy with how it came out, and i think in the case of Time Fkcu it works out REALLY well.

I have read 100% of the reveiws of the game, and those have helped me a lot in planning for my next game, but one thing that is often overlooked and just not reviewed often is the online levels.

So my question: Is it worth the development time to make a level editor, and the ability to browse through those levels, or is my time better spent making a more involved story, more game elements, or even just polishing everything a little more.

Now obviously no1 is going to say "the level editor is a horrible idea" but i think it is important to spend your time wisely, and that's exactly what i want to do.

TL;DR: In my next game, should i spend the timet o make a level editor and browsable levels, or is my time better spent making a "better" campaign?

All insight is much apreciated!

PS. Someone wrote a really long comment, and i was going to respond to it, and hit the delete button by axadent, im so sorry! you had a lot of good points, and i did want to address them, my bad!


Comments (42)

While making a level editor and shit is cool, the kids playing it are so fickle and don't give a rat's ass about that kind of stuff.

I'd just work on making the gameplay deeper and refining a story, as you said.

i think if you make a really good story that the player would be more interested.

I think a level editor is an excellent way to get people into your game, and really extend how much they play it. However, an immersive campaign is essential to creating a great game, so I'd prioritize that above all other features.

What is the next game going to be called?

Im not 100% yet, but my working title is Ascent

To be honest, I think you should give both a lot of thought. A lot of people have fun making their own stages. Look at Bloons: that game has spun off a ton of user packs and has a fairly active user-made levels community. If you guys play your cards right, you could, too. What you guys have going on in Time Kfuc is uber cool, and you should play with it. You guys are paving the paths for this kind of system.

Although i totaly agree that the potential is there, its just hard for me to justiufy spending around 1/5th of my time making a level edditor, that 1 out of 100 people enjoy.

this doesn't mean i dont WANT to make a level editor, but my ultimate goal is to become a somewhat well known game designer, and to do that i believe you have to spend your time making things people want.

If i had all the time in the world, and didn't need any money, i would put a level editor in all my games, but... unfortunately, that's just not the case, haha

Show off the cool things you can do with the game to get people hooked. Have extra things lying around for the people to play with that aren't necessarily in the game.

-Me

Personally I'm not into that kind of stuff. By the time I've played all the regular levels, I feel like I've played enough Time Fkuc.

The level creation stuff has so many pieces to scroll through and takes so long that halfway through I'd just think "nobody's gonna play this anyway when there's like a million other user levels out there" and then go n make my own game instead.

I do play stuff like that in big games though. If there's customization like in wrestling games or LittleBigPlanet, or just anything that you can be creative and make something totally bananas and unique, then I'm interested. But with small customisation stuff like this, you can never really do anything that hasn't allready bin done in the developer's levels.

Well, every once in a while I check out Time Ucfk to see if there are any new levels.
I don't like making levels, but I really like the game, so new levels are always lots of fun.
The only complaint that I have is that the Enter The Unknown mode is not good enough- Some times the levels are just pure crap or you can't even finish them.
I don't have any suggestion on how to make that better though :P
But if you make such a mode that works really well (for a good game) I bet a lot of people would play it for longer periods because it's like never-ending content for a really good game.

Counter TLDR?

no such thing for TLDR for me!

I have been working very hard on making changes to the Enter The Unknown to make sure that it really selects only the best levels, but also gives you a good range of difficulty. I think this has a lot of potential, but because its all user created, and all automated by users voting and such, its hard to make it perfect.

I havn't given up on it though, as every version change i make, i tweak the settings a little, to get it "just right".

spend all your time on the main game, part of what made spore, a higly anticapated game so horrible was the fact they focused so much on "user made content" that they forgot about making the ACTUAL GAME enjoyable.

I don`t get why people want to play user levels when the game designers make SOOOO much better stuff.

but if your going to add it, make sure it`s as minimal as possible.

A level editor allows some great replayability, and very often you'll see users thinking of ways of using the resources that create new challenges.

However, one flaw I've noticed with most games that had a level sharing system is that there is no moderation at all and often on way to filter out the crap. A little more work on the browsing options would be a big plus.

I haven't gotten around to beating an explore campaign on Time Fcuk because I always, at some point, end up getting an horribly designed level which I can't be bothered finishing

Well, what i tried to do with Time Fcuk was really make it so the users had control over what stayed and what went (like with the newgrounds portal). Although its hard to create a system that makes sense to everyone.

A lot of people didn't know what the voting categories ment, and so they just pick one and go with it.

In the begining there were a TON of horible levels, but after tweaking the system here and there a bit, i think you will notice that only "decent" levels are showing up now.

But ultimately, you are right, with user created content with no moderation, is well... hard to control.

More customization options within the game I believe are a lot more fun that level editors, especially with these types of games. In a game like Roller Coaster Tycoon, obviously having a level editor (which eventually they added into the 2nd game) is a complete necessity. However with a more adventure game like this, I would rather enjoy the time spent playing the game working other parts of my brain. IE my time-killing and gamer self, not exactly my creative sit down and think side-I'll do that with a game i'm playing because I wanted to be creative. However the customization within game would be fun I think, so for Time FCUK if you had made the decision to not do a level editor and spend time otherwise, maybe the more indepth storyline and progress would have been enjoyable, and possibly more ways to branch off from the story. I'm not sure what the intention was of the storyline to gameplay, but perhaps truly messing with time more and giving more actual options to the player would be cool. It seems I've been rambling for a while, but either way we know this next game is gonna be fcuking awesome. Good luck!

Basically-less level editor moar customization in-game, my personal ideas.

I think the level editor would be something to focus on if there was a search function to find anything by a name, a way to filter out some of the crap with a rating system better than awesome and difficulty, though that was a fun and creative way to rate levels.

The story is key to the game though, so I would say spend more time working on the story, and more time thinking about the level editor.

TL;DR

The level editor was a cool idea, but I felt like the game was really over for me when I finished the story. I had no way of telling the difference between an easy level, an experimental level, a boring level, and an insanely difficult with the features provided. I'd say you should still keep the level editor idea, but flesh out the campaign more. Maybe you can even include a "featured" custom level every now and then that you found and thought was really cool.

This is the exact sort of answer i was looking for (not cause i wanted to hear it, but because i think its what some people thing).

"I beat the game, so now the game is over"

I do like the idea of a "featured Level" and will definatly look into something like that!

Still have a level editor. It makes the replay ability a lot higher.

To be honest, I liked playing other people's levels in Time Fcuk, but I didn't really like making levels myself, so if I'm too lazy to make my own levels, I shouldn't have the privlege of playing other's. So go ahead, focus on the main game.

If there weren't a level editor in time fcuk I wouldn't come back to it from time to time to check the levels. I understand your point though. I'd say that most of my enjoyment of the game came from the campaign and not the created levels. If the level editor would only be like 1/6 of the time programming the whole game, I'd say go for it. Anything more would be too much time wasted. (Although then I'd like someone to create some extremely hard bonus levels for after campaign fun)

While I like things like the Meatboy Map Pack, I often don't have the patience to browse through a portal for user created levels.

For me the campaign is more important than user made maps, even if you can vote them and so on. (You can leave the level editor in as it is, it does not need improvement)

I really don't care much about a level editor on a game, but i love to see player packs released in the future, its like a totally new game with the same concepts, so in my opinion, keep making level editors, and release player packs.

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