I’m doing the Cliffs levels again with the basic outline that I described yesterday. It was my intention to make it smaller, but the new design is actually the same size as the last one, but with zero backtracking and with the intention of following the Bungie 30 Second Rule. The level is actually designed as a series of set pieces with the appropriate minor bits in between to link them. It does make the level seem just a little disjointed, but I okay with it. The fun being more important than what the levels look like on a macro level.
Which brings me to the title. When I design levels I first lay them all out using graph paper, an old holdover from m my DMing days. Then I run through the level with a pencil when I’m done to see how it plays and can generally tell if it’s crap right off the bat. Sometimes, not so much, but generally if it works on paper it can work in the game. What I then do is build them in ThiefEd, and when I do that, I make sure to line up the platforms and walls, so there is a sense of internal consistency. The floor doesn’t move suddenly and the walls don’t go all stupid from one screen to the next. It’s a necessary polish. To ensure it happens, I write it down on the map, so eventually my entire paper map is covered with little numbers spread from the beginning like a numeric plague. The sign of a complete map, at least to me.
The Cliff level, and the rest of them I assume will be, are also covered in little drawings, notes and semi-scripts describing how parts are going to work. It’s chaos, but a kind that works for me. When I’m done with the Cliffs I’ll take a picture and post it. Maybe.
Once I get the whole level built, then I’m going back in with the scripting. That shouldn’t take too long (HA!).
-While working I discovered 2 bugs. The first is that if you Dash into a handhold, you’ll dash though it and into the wall behind it for about a frame, then pop out to where you are supposed to be. Odd, but I think it’s an order of operations issue, and by switching the order of the main wall collision and the ledges collision, it should work, or at least mask it.
I also found that ThiefEd runs like ass in Vista if I have the Object Animations running. So I commented out the function to get it to work in a manner that I like. I know it’s because it isn’t optimized in ThiefEd and so runs the animation for every object that could be there. So it runs all 30 and all the frames available (or at least is thinking about them) each cycle, which slow it considerably. I’ll optimize it later and tell it to only run objects that are, you know, there.