In our previous “Tagalong Trap” post we talked in general about cooperative games, what components make them “true co-op games” where both players perform active and meaningful roles. We also cited examples of how we implemented these components when designing Shadow Puppeteer.
This time, we will go more into depth about specific ways of working when developing co-op games and give examples of how this was done for Shadow Puppeteer.
Ever since Tennis for two in 1958, games designed for two or more players have been fairly common. Many games claim to be co-op, but merely offer an experience where only one player is needed to beat the game, while the other can simply “tag along.” In these games, the second player is effectively rendered superfluous and begs the question: How can we design true co-op games to avoid this “tagalong trap?”
Level design is about being creative, engaging the players and leading them through your game. Depending on the type of game, the way you design levels and what tools you use may vary.
What happens when indie game designers are challenged to make a level using Super Mario Maker? Which lessons can they teach other budding designers? That is exactly what we are exploring in today’s Development Blog.
Today’s post is by our Level designer, Klas, and is a short introduction to how we go about designing levels for Shadow Puppeteer.
Once we know what new gameplay elements we want to introduce to the player in a level, the creative work can start. The first step is often the hardest one, yet it is probably the most important: The idea phase. Members of the team bring their thoughts to the table, discuss them, and sketch out basic concepts. These are often scribbled on paper and contain possible layouts and/or abstract interactions.