RACE TO TREEHOUSE
ROLE : LEVEL DESIGNER | 2 WEEK DK2 PROTOTYPE | SEPTEMBER 2015 | TEAM SIZE = 5
In Race to Treehouse, you play as a "dandelion fairy" having a friendly race with your companion fairies. The player points a PS Move controller in the direction he wants to fly, avoiding obstacles along the way to reach the finish line. The game is intended to be a unique short two minute experience with a possibility of one or two replays.
As level designer my role was primarily to assemble the different building blocks of the experience to architect the overal experience arc. This also included scripting functionality such as AI for the companion fairies.
EXPERIENCE DESIGN IMPACTING LEVEL DESIGN
When originally conceived, the world was to be a pond with designated lillypads that the player could explore in a 'find the object' styled game. The player would point the dandelion stick once towards the pad he wanted to fly to. However, as we playtested we discovered that flying was the most engaging aspect of the game. Players weren't interested in finding objects on lillypads after flying. Furthermore, the input mechanism of pointing once towards a direction wasn't really intuitive. This prompted a redesign of the overall concept and the level.
Once he squeezes through, the world opens up without any obstacles. Because of the prior stage, the AI fairies are likely to be ahead of the player moving separately towards the three points where the player can squeeze through to finish. At this point, hopefully the player is considering which direction he should move in to minimize the probability of collision.
As the player gets closer to finish the density of obstacles increases and he needs to manouver faster. The speeds of the AI fairies are tuned such that the player is hopefully competing with and overtakes his competitor at this stage.