Sleepwalker Dev Diary #1: The game and level design of Sleepwalker

In the last months I’ve developed a new version of my platformer prototype, Sleepwalker.
I was pretty happy with the first version, although I had some ideas to make it more complex and fun. Therefore, I started to work very hard on the design in order to build different levels, puzzles and mechanics. I listened to some of the feedbacks I got and I expanded them to fit the new game experience I had in mind.

The game is about a character that it is running through the levels. The main goal is to reach the end of the level and grab every pickup. Every level is scattered with dangerous situations (falls, moving platform, spikes,…) and obstacles that can be solved to get through.

Sleepwalker_planeNow, every puzzle has at least a couple of variations and has been balanced to make the player learn how to play from scratch to mastery. In order to do this, I spent a lot of time improving the scripts and finding a way to design levels from zero, using only creativity and the macro design document.

The macro design document is a spreadsheet I used to track the mechanics in every single level. It helped me a lot in deciding the gameplay focus and the direction I wanted to take, because sometimes it was very hard. When you work alone, you are completely free to experiment and create as well as let everything go, so you need A LOT of discipline to complete a step and reach a specific point of your project.

My goal was to give to the prototype the structure of a true game: multiple levels, a beginning and an end, fun and consistency from a design perspective. Some of these things can still be improved, and I will because a new version is on the go and I would like to implement another important aspect of Sleepwalker: the story.

I have been working on Sleepwalker’s story from the very beginning, but I will share more details as the development proceed.

For now I’ve decided not to publish this version of the project, so if you want to play it drop me a line.