Small Pleasures

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Small Pleasures

I’m knee deep in level building again. Like I said previously, the 3rd level needs some major work. I can see what I was going for in the levels that i have, but it is clear that they were put together during the time before IGF when we thought we could do it all. So they have a rushed kind of quality to them and that’s not quite perfect.
Like the Portal’s on the edges of the screen. They’re an easy thing to forget about since I don’t place them in the Editor Screen. They live just off the screen and most of them have positions in the negative numbers, like -30 Y or -20 X. Normally, they line up with the Critical Path, so a screen will have 2-3 of them. The Cliffs are a wide open level, so many of the screens have the full compliment of 4. If one is missed, then there is no trigger at the end of the screen and the character just falls out of view. They exist in this “outside” world for a few moments before the program executes them gangland style. It’s not pretty and is very jarring.
Of course, in some places that’s the point. Like it may be possible to fall into an area, but have no portal the other way. Death falls for example, or anyplace I don’t want players to sequence break. But that’s not the case here.
Right, so the title. It’s been a while since I just sat down and worked. Not figured out some aspect of the programming, nor debugged something, or built a prototype – just sat with my notebook and ThiefEd and got to work. It’s a slow process, but every minute brings more good things. I mean, it’s right there just waiting to get done. It’s a different feeling that one can forget sometimes.
Design is great, the big ideas that make something work are my favorite thing. The System is paramount. But when building levels each screen gives the chance to make a little bit of that. Especially with Thief, every screen has the chance to create some enjoyment. So making them one at a time and tweaking them and re-tweaking them until they are fun offers dozens of their own rewards. Granted, not as glamorous as the Big Design, but enjoyable nonetheless. I can see how some people could really enjoy this. Given a system and a set of tools to make fun happen. That makes sense to me. But I guess it’s a mindset. Eventually I’ll work and I’ll want to change things, design things. That’s the part I like, but it’s nice to take some time to just make some fun.

-What, 2 posts in the same day? This is craziness(!) Well, no. The last post was about nothing at all. This is about the game, the work and the real point of this diary. So I felt it deserved its own space.