The gamedesign document was growing, so was the universe or the background of the Egz. One thing was still missing though : knowing what to stage. In order to do that, I would have to do some level design.
The goal was to show what a casual gameplay sequence of Egz would look like. And what the player would be able to do, what could prevent him to succeed and how he would finally manage to do it. Building a level basically. And necessarily, it first started with a piece of paper and a pencil.
My inexperience in level-design
My only experiences in this field went back to 1996 and 2003. In 1998, I was still in high school and “Duke Nukem 3D” just hit the stores. My mother (god, if she even had a clue about what was inside this game…) agreed to buy me this book which explained how to build levels with the engine “Build”. It was fantastic : I did model my whole neighborhood, as the Duke Nukem‘s engine allowed me to. Which meant with big textured boxes and that was it. I was able to shoot some rockets at aliens who hanged in my streets. Or to give some bucks to some strippers who had chosen to stay in my virtual bedroom. That was cool. But the game was a finished product. And at the time, whatever I was doing, it was fun enough.
Then, back in 2003, I was working in a small agency where we used to play some deathmatches at lunch, or even in the afternoon. Nothing else is better than killing a co-worker with an AK-47 in “Soldier Of Fortune II”, after a long day’s work. Or maybe, doing it in a level designed from the agency itself ! And this time, it wasn’t about just modeling it : it needed to be fun for every player. I remember that I had chosen to give some damages to the street, adding a scaffolding and even a crane, creating a bridge between buildings. I believe it was the first time of my life I understood those notions of “gameplay” and “level-design”.
I don’t know what I’m doing,But all of this was ages ago. And the context wasn’t the same at all. Now, it was about creating a brand new gameplay and producing a level. Both things were obviously related. And this is what I was supposed to do. Without knowing how to. Even if, and I was already doing it without realizing it, I was going to move forward with this leitmotiv in mind : “I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m gonna do it anyway!“.
but I’m gonna do it anyway!
Here’s the first level ever designed, with 2 differents paths :
And here is the (unfinished) Target Render :
This was what “Egz” would look like. A platformer game, where you have to move an Egz by making him jump. You would have to aim with precision, to look ahead for bounces and take advantage of the level (using the vines for exemple), in order to reach the end of the level. Having a target render was pretty usefull. It allowed me to see how several things would work, or wouldn’t work.
The game has naturally evolved since, but with hindsight, I realize that I managed to stick to this “initial vision“, which I’m kinda proud of.
Once this video was done, I would be able to contact some friends and try to convince them to join me in this wonderful adventure that is “indie development”.
Spoiler alert : nobody joined me. Without even seeing the video. The reason ? “Lack of time”, “lack of motivation”, “this is too much work”. And I totally agree. Making a game requires a lot of personal time. Clearly, I was the only one in my entourage to be ready to do it. Certainly because this was my own fantasy. Or maybe I should have started this project with other people, from the beginning. Or, maybe, I was just a “lonely wolf”…