Thursday, 28 January 2010

Taking breaks is healthy for your design

I've slightly neglected my Left 4 Dead 2 campaign this week as I've been tinkering with Multimedia Fusion 2. As it turns out, this has actually helped the design. I fired up the Authoring Tools last night and made some minor changes. A new skybox here, some tweaked lighting values there... But I had also taken a long enough break to spot some rather large design flaws in my layout. They're not necessarily anything that hugely affect gameplay but more like errors in layout logic.

It's mainly to do with the gas station in Map #2. The gas station's tall, white sign is actually visible from the highway bridge in Map #1 and it can also be seen peeking over the top of a high wall soon after the players exit the first safe room. It acts as an eye-catching landmark which is why I was so keen to put it in there in the first place. Unfortunately, what I didn't really consider at the time was how the gas station's cosy placement is somewhat illogical and highly impractical for the military transport vehicles and 25-foot cargo lorries that supposedly use its facilities.

That's is what I lay in bed worrying about last night.

As it turns out, my ideas for fixing this problem will hopefully solve some of my other concerns about the nearby warehouse that I felt was too small. But there is also another location that I am not going to change and that's the gas station store itself. It's a nice little set piece that I'm really proud of as it features some interesting gameplay decisions for the Survivor team, and some excellent attack opportunities for the Infected team. I'll be relocating the store as it's just too good to sacrifice in this rearrangement.

The only challenge now is replacing that glowing landmark, but I'm sure I'll think of something.

I will post updates here when I've made the changes, so be sure to check back. Better still, sign up with Blogger (you can use a Google account) and click the Follow link at the top of this page to receive automatic updates! Or follow me on Twitter.

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