Super-Secret XBox Contest-Winning Tips!
- Take to heart my suggestions on 11/30. I've gotten plenty of levels with pretty patterns of tiles on the floor, but that I can solve just by glancing at 'em. While aesthetics are important, if a level's not fun to play and a reasonable challenge, it will not win. An ugly level that's well-designed will win over a pretty level that's to easy or boring.
- When I say make your level more challenging, that doesn't mean you have to make your level gigantically long. I've gotten a couple of levels that took quite a long time to beat, but it was just because I was spending tons of time stacking soaps against the opposite wall in order to get a bunch of ducks to the center of the screen. Once again, your level should be a challenge, should take just long enough to play to match the challenge, and give the player a sense of accomplishment when they beat it.
- Be sure to playtest your level by choosing "Play" from the "Mode" menu. Yeah, this should be obvious, but I've gotten a couple of levels that were obviously not tested before they were sent to me --stuff with more drains than duckies, etc. The program will pop up a little box in play mode when the level is "solved", so make sure you can beat the level before you send it to me.
- If there's somebody else in the house, have 'em playtest your levels for you. I've gotten a couple of levels with elegant solutions in the "comment" box, but also with trivial solutions that they didn't see. Have somebody else play your level while you watch.
- Don't be afraid to let the player get stuck. Anyone who's solved all 60 levels of Bulldozer 1 or 2 can attest that you get very acquainted with the F2 (restart) key. Also, anyone who's played the levels I showed off below on 11/30 or 12/1 can attest that restarting the level is par for the course. If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot move (11/30) or are in an infinite loop (12/1), that doesn't mean that your level is bad. It just means that the user made a wrong turn and needs to learn how to finish it properly.
Those are my tips. Take 'em to heart. I've got a few truly excellent levels, but the field is still wide open.
Contest ends on Monday night. Have fun!