The first part on our level design course was to alone or in a group of two create a level in the Knytt engine, the purpose of the level was environmental storytelling and therefor no text or introduction was allowed more than the name of the game. I was working together with a programmer and together we came up with a good story (in our opinions). Here is a piece from my report describing some thought throw-out the proses and the message we wanted to deliver.
There were a few ideas of what to create a story but most of them included either being a child or moments from the childhood, therefore we decided to include that in our gameplay. But we did not just want to tell a simple story without any specific meaning and that’s why we added some importance to it which other players can relate to.
One of the earliest ideas was to remake an event from most people’s childhood. One of which was to get lost from your parents at the market or grocery store. But due to the limitations of the Knytt engine we decided to scrap that because it would be hard to visualize the atmosphere of being in a store or market. We believed it could be achieved better in a 3D game or other alternatives besides a side-scrolling game.
But one of the reasons why children get lost from their parents in the first place is because they see the world in a different and perhaps more interesting way. By that we mean that they are busy in their own ‘’world’’, a world which to them is a huge playground. But as we get older many people lose their sense of play and the world around them appears grayer and somewhere people simply forget how it is to loosen up and enjoy life.
The more we discussed this, the more we wanted to deliver the message to other people: ‘’you’re never too old to play and never too old to change.’’ Because life is what you make of it.
Our level from the concept phase consisted of three phases.
The child stage: where the player moves freely around in a friendly environment. Jumping and running around the map and explores it in an exciting way with different challenges.
The adult stage: where the player walks right through the same but much different place, which is supposed to take place a few years in the future.
The re-born inner child stage: where the player can play around in the environment again, even as an adult.
We managed to achieve the first two stages quite well but the last stage we had to make much shorter due to lack of time, instead we focused on making clearer cut scenes and polishing the entire level. /end quote
In the end we managed to deliver the message through gameplay and we came to call the game ‘’Child’s Play’’, It wasn’t until afterwards I started to think about Chuckey every time I heard or read it but at that moment it was too late.. but I still like it 🙂
For de game I made completely new tilesets and here is a few pictures to demonstrate the changes.
An example of a typical Knytt level with many sharp edges (top picture)
The two lower images demonstrate some of our new tile-sets, the first one which is supposed to represent day-time and the second which represents night-time. Notice how there are different tile-sets for the back and foreground separating which trees are climb-able and not.
Here are some printscrrens from the game.