Plumber3D INSIDE: Level design

Today I am going to talk a bit about the level design of Plumber 3D. I’m going to talk about both my creation process and what kinds of tools were necessary for the design.

At the start of my game development, I thought about how many levels the games should contain. First I decided to only create 100 levels, I was confident that this would be more than enough! Also I decided to only use hand-made levels and no stupid, low quality, auto generated random levels. This keep the player more engaged.

Then I had to think about how I should actually create the levels. I was sure that I wanted a simple tool to help me to create all the planned levels.
First I decided to take the XML format as level save format. So then I designed a template for the XML schema and an interpreter for the reading of the XML file. I considered the security aspects, and so I implemented XML file encryption, in order to prevent hacking and cheating.
After these steps were finished, I checked the internet for a good level editor that met needs. But I didn’t find a software which fit perfectly. So I decided to write my own level editor. This had the result, that I had more initial work, but on the other hand the level editor was perfectly optimized for my needs.

After many hours of hard work, the level editor was finished and ready for use!

level-editor-screenshot
The level editor contains many useful features:
The designer has two ways to create a level. The first is to build a level from the ground up with drag and drop for every pipe. The second way is to let the software creates a random level and the designer corrects this level how they wish. Both ways have their benefits.
Once a level was fully designed, the designer is able to let the software check how many solutions are possible in the new level. The designer also has the possibility to adjust the level to get the desired difficulty.
If the designer is satisfied with the result, they can simply save the level. One more level is finished.
The level editor worked so well that I decided to make many more levels than 100. So at the end it was 600 levels, 6 times more than first planned.

It was a great example of how much time you can save, if you first build a solid base (level editor).

Posted in Plumber 3D