yet_another_game_maker

Campaigns, Length of Levels in an 'Infinite' Runner Game

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Hi,

I'm currently working on an infinite runner game, which like every infinite runner game will have an infinite runner mode :) .

However, I also wanted to add a story in there, and hopefully, make it more interesting to the player. I wanted to do this via a campaign mode. It would be short, about 5-7 levels. It would introduce the character to the world, controls, items, and tell them a story that they would enjoy. After completing the campaign, free play mode would be unlocked and you could shoot for those high scores.

My question is this. Is there a recommended 'length of a level' in such a game. I haven't seen many infinite runners that are level based, since that is an oxymoron. Is there a general rule of thumb that says make it X number of screen lengths? I would really appreciate any input here, but I don't want to make them too short, and I don't want to make them too long either. Right now, I'm just going to design the campaign levels, try and accomplish the goal of the level, introducing the player to whatever I want them to see, and move on. 

I realize this a vague question, but I would really appreciate any and all feedback.

Thank you!

 

 

 

 

 

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57 minutes ago, yet_another_game_maker said:

Is there a general rule of thumb that says make it X number of screen lengths?

Distance would work or time.

Say around 1-2 minute per level, so (5-7)-(10-14)  minutes for the long tutorial.

 

Why levels though? Since it's a infinite runner there will be some kind of explanation at the end telling why this runner is always running, correct?

If so then why not keep it one piece, with the background telling what level it is, that way you have the seamless world with the mechanics of levels.

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5 minutes ago, Scouting Ninja said:

Distance would work or time.

Say around 1-2 minute per level, so (5-7)-(10-14)  minutes for the long tutorial.

 

Why levels though? Since it's a infinite runner there will be some kind of explanation at the end telling why this runner is always running, correct?

If so then why not keep it one piece, with the background telling what level it is, that way you have the seamless world with the mechanics of levels.

Thank you for the response!

The thought was to have two modes.

Campaign - to tell a story, that has an ending, introduces players to the controls.

Free Play - after the player has played the campaign, the free play/infinite mode would be a way to compete with the others via the leaderboard. 

 

 

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57 minutes ago, yet_another_game_maker said:

The thought was to have two modes.

Why have more than one mode?

One mode will be easier to make, you could have a bool check to see if the player completed the tutorial. Then if they have the game start taking score and next time the player enters the game just starts after the tutorial part.

The extra menu navigation could be seen as a pain by players unless well made, yet there is no reason for you to even add the extra menu.

 

Infinite runners achieve there illusion of infinity by creating the world as the player moves. With a simple bool like: bool PlayerFinishedTutorial = false; you could instruct your creation code to create the tutorial levels.

That way you keep the seamless design of infinite runners and have a tutorial.

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Last Knight: Rogue Rider Edition (  http://store.steampowered.com/app/262210/Last_Knight_Rogue_Rider_Edition/  ) has a similar idea: there's a history mode (pretty short and simple) and a endless runner mode (which unlock things such as skins).

The levels on the story mode have a finish line, and each one seems to be divided in sections which can be randomized to a extent, giving a different feel at each try. Each level has a X number of these sections, and there's some checkpoints in larger levels (they seem to be fixed, after Y sections or 1/3 and 2/3 of the level).

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      http://frictionalgames.blogspot.se/2012/08/the-self-presence-and-storytelling.html Here is some more information on how repetition and challenge destroy the imaginative parts of games and make them seem more mechanical.
      http://blog.ihobo.com/2013/08/the-interactivity-of-non-interactive-media.html This is a nice overview on how many storytelling games give the player no meaningful choices at all.
      http://frictionalgames.blogspot.se/2013/07/thoughts-on-last-of-us.html The Last of Us is the big storytelling game of 2013. Here is a collection of thoughts on what can be learned from it.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_novel Visual Novels are not to be confused with Interactive Fiction, which is another name for text adventure games.
      Thirty Flights of Loving This game is played from start to finish and has a very interesting usages of scenes and cuts.
      To The Moon This is basically an rpg but with all of the fighting taken out. It is interesting how much emotion that can be gotten from simple pixel graphics.
      Gone Home This game is actually a bit similar to To The Moon in that it takes an established genre and cuts away anything not to do with telling a story. A narrative emerge by simply exploring an environment.
       
      This article was originally published on the Frictional Games blog and is republished with kind permission from the original author Thomas Grip.
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