Thursday, April 15, 2010

Little Big Disaster

My daughter loves Little Big Planet for her PSP, and I will admit that I have grown quite fond of the game.  What I've become even more enamored with, however, is it's level design editor.  It is one of the most encompassing and complete one's I've ever encountered in a game, and I decided to use it to create a few levels for my little girl.

Every night she's with me (not nearly often enough), I tell her a bedtime story.  I've been doing this for years, and they all revolve around this central theme of her being a princess.  Mentally, I have her kingdom laid out, her castle laid out and a cast of characters that populate her world.  I decided this would be the best thing to do a few levels on.  Unfortunately, my idea is bigger than my talent.

I was populating the first level with traps and score bubbles when something devastating happened.  Everything fell apart.  I came into the game and gravity had taken control of everything I had not fastened correctly, leaving a mess that looked like Chile after the most recent earthquake.  This was not cool.

On the plus side, though, it showed me what I needed to do to prevent this from happening again.  Months of work were done the proverbial tubes, and if I didn't want to have this become a habit, I had to figure out exactly what I needed to do to prevent such a tragedy.

I think I got it now, though I am slightly hesitant to test it out on play mode just yet.  I have one or two more tweaks, and then I'll be ready.

Creating a video game from bits and pieces has given me all kinds of new respect for game designers.  Granted, this is nowhere near as complicated, but it's difficult enough.  Plus, I only get to design one level at a time.  The makes of something like Grand Theft Auto: Vice City are doing things are a far larger scale with a lot more going on.  Frankly, I don't understand why more game designers don't kill themselves.

Eventually this first level will be done.  I won't post it to share (nor will I post any of the levels based on her bedtime stories) because it is for her and her alone.  The only accolades or complaints I'm seeking shall come from her.  I will succeed only if she enjoys, and fail if she doesn't.  That's the only criteria I care about, and it's the only one I should care about.

The next level, though, is going to blow her mind ... guaranteed.  I'm ready.  I know what I'm doing, and I mapped the whole thing out on paper (something I should have done here).

But if that one falls apart ...  

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