Creating Better Levels

They might be fun but the test levels have got to go

Shot88_CaveDoorThe recent release of Moon alpha 1.5 has brought me to a rather amazing place. About 95% of the code I expect to need is written, most of the biggest bugs are gone and feedback indicates that (at least some) people are having fun. This means almost all that remains is the creation of the actual content I want in the final game. So, the exciting place I find myself is in front of my level editor with a head full of ideas and nothing to stop me letting them out.

Shot88_Servers

If you’ve played Moon at all then you may have wondered about a few odd design choices. Why is the key to the caves stored in an inaccessible location in the generator room? Why is the first puzzle so hard? Why did I have to pick up the weird blue thing at the start?

Well, the simple answer to all this is that the levels present in the alpha builds have been there to test specific mechanics and ideas. There was a hint of some progression (mainly so the alpha releases didn’t feel totally flat) but it’s muddled. There’s almost no real room for a new player to learn how the world works and no clarity in the development of any plot elements.

However, it seems that despite these flaws, the game is still fun.

So, This brings me back to the amazing place I’m now at; With at least a little confidence that I’m making something that people will actually play and enjoy I can get on with converting all my sketches, paper notes and plans into the game world as it will be in the final game.

This has some important implications for any future releases before the game is complete. Most important (and perhaps obvious) of these is that there will need to be more videos and images but less playable demos. This is mostly to avoid giving away things that might spoil the enjoyment and discoveries within the finished game.

So, expect more cropped images (like those of the new world used in this post) , short videos and animations, more news and more general promotional noise but only very occasionally something new to try out.

Until the next release, feel free to get the current version from the link below and tell me what you think.

Shot88_Antenna

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