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Need level ideas for 2D action game

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Hello there, I'm a long time Gamedev reader, but just decided to register. Anyway, I am in the designing stages for an action game I am making. It's a futuristic man-for-man shoot em up (sorta like a 2D version of Quake or GoldenEye 007). I've got the game design written, but I'm kinda thin on the level types I want to have in the game. Like I said, it takes place in the future, and here's what I've thought of so far: -> Destroyed City Streets (fallen buildings, burning cars, etc.) -> Abandoned Warehouse (ie- Terminator) -> Underground Cave -> Coliseum (think Gladiator) Only two of these are actually futuristic, but the theme of the game is that fighting arenas have been constructed for chaotic death matches. Can you think of any other types of levels that would be cool for this type of game? If you need more info, let me know :) Thanks!

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Guest Anonymous Poster
-Buildings with multiple floors. That sounds like fun.
-Laboratories? You could have fun with that, if it fits into your futuristic theme.
-Depending on how far you are into the future, aircraft or spacecraft hangars. Might be too similar to abandoned warehouses.
-Somewhere with lots of plants? I don't know where that'd be, maybe in the "wild" parts, outside the cities. That might be a crappy idea, actually.

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Just make it a greenhouse or domed park, like the jungle level in Flashback.

I'd like to see something with lots of ladders, like a construction site with the skeleton of girders in place.

A shipyard would be cool, doubly so if derelict.

Junkyards have lots of hiding places.

Incan temple?

Ice cavern?

A series of floating islands/boats?

How about a highway, with cars passing through the plane of gameplay, like the F-Zero arena in Super Smash Bros.?

A basic wooden killhouse, like police train in, would be a good excuse for a purpose-built arena.

An active factory, with machines operating on the production floor, would be a good way to get some booby traps in.

Prince-of-Persia-style dungeons, with zany traps and such.

Fetid swamp.

Rocky desert.

Gigantic circuit board/microchip.

Haunted House.

Man, there are all kinds of great things you can make.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
2d....

Isometric?
Platformer?
Top down?

What sort of 2d game are we talking about?

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Thanks for all the great ideas! Anonymous -- that was going to be my next question. I've been thinking about what style of 2D it should be. Definitely not a platformer. This game needs to have scrolling in all directions, so either top down or isometric. I'm leaning towards top down, but isometric might be better since I can give the illusion of 3D. But I really just want to make a fun game. But what do you guys think?

PS -- I haven't given up the option of 3D, but I really just don't have the resources to make a 3D game at this point.

PPS -- the more and more I think about, I'm not sure if this game can be made the way I want in 2D. Heck, it might have to be 3D.

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Isometric could be harder to design artistically. I am creating a test game of my own and i have decided for top down view since i want to get a release done first. Only then will i consider isometric more seriously. My goal is to complete the game even if i have to cut down the features. Uncompleted game is worth zero to me.

Having top view however, i have still designed the world internally to be 3 dimensional (kind of). My design has three layers; 'earth layer' that basically defines the ground, 'normal layer' that represents the space where my characters can move (it also contains obstacles like houses) and 'bird layer' which i will probably not use at all. I don't know if my design is a good idea to be honest, so if anyone wants to comment please do so.

I would use a prison as a layout where u can have 'sadam style' torture cells and execution chair.

Regards, Martin.

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There is quite alot to take into consideration when deciding to go with isometric over top down. First off, top down is a whole lot easier to do. You can generally cut your art resources down by at least 1/4. What I mean by this is if your at an isometric angle, the player must be drawn in at least 4 directions (8 or more looks better), where as, if your using top down you can draw one image and rotate it infinately to any angle.

The downside to using the top down view is lack of depth in terrain and character. You will have to draw your objects to make it look like they are actually high or lower. Walls and bushes will have to be outlined or brighter in contrast to make them stand out. With isometric you're able to view another angle of the player and thus get a feeling of a boundry. It takes a whole lot more art but can look better with the more detailing you can put in. Also take into account what doorways, halls and inside's of buildings will look like from an isometric view. Walls could easily get in the way of the camera. Good luck.

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I'd go for isometric.

You should find a rom of Shadow Run for SNES. Its more of an RPG, but thats not why you should play it.
You want to play through it for inspiration. Look at the settings and art styles to give you ideas of what sorts of levels you could do. On one hand, you could work on generic levels like an Ice Cave or an Incan Temple which seem to reappear throughout games over and over, or you could create your own theme from refferences.

Do alot of research on the imagry. Id suggest going on Google's Image Search and doing a search on "Futuristic". There should be lots of images to give you a mindset to work with, and a small database of refferences that you can recall to while designing your unique perception of this future world.

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I suppose it depends on how many resources you have. How many hours does it normally take to create an isometric character with all different angles and anymations compared to a top down view?

Excluding the original image, i took one hour trying to rotate a single image and exporting scaled images of it with the correct names. I didn't even load them up yet into my game. Unless you have a process in place, an isometric image will take a lot of time. So you better have a lot of time or resources to do it.

I am using top down view because my previous projects have never been completed due to me underestimating the effort. But that is just me. Perhaps you need to network and find some artist(s) that can help you?

Cheers, Martin.

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