Since we started the studio, my primary focus is business development. I check in on game progress and then spread the word about Don’t Look Down. A great game is unlikely to succeed without marketing. As such, I’ve managed the outward facing side of our studio with social media accounts and event coordination. However, I’ve always been interested in game design.
A few weeks ago, I was struck by a strong desire to build a level. The marketing plan looked solid and working on the game seemed a better way to spend my evening than playing video games. I got a crash course in using UE4 from Kolel and brought home his VR rig for the weekend. Within an hour, I had built my first level, a demo level that could be beat in a couple minutes. From sharing our game with hundreds of people at events, I realized that it was not ideal to have everyone play one of our regular levels, which can take 5-15 minutes to beat. When there are a dozen people waiting to play our game, we don’t want anyone to have to wait for 2 hours. As such, I built a short level that highlights the core fun of our game by letting them climb, smash enemies, grab powerups, high five the checkpoint bot, and grab the flag to beat the level.
The demo level or DaneLevel as I so vainly named it, needed some revision. My spline placement caused Doombots to clip through the mesh grid and I needed to tweak some hold placements so it never felt like you were pulling yourself through a solid object. However, the experiment was a success! I learned that I had the ability to put together a fun level. This newfound confidence inspired me to borrow the rig for the next weekend and the one after that. I shut myself in and built 2 full levels in 2 weeks (one with moving holds and one with crumbling holds). Since these levels felt pretty good, we decided to buy my own personal VR set-up. Now I have a gaming PC and an HTC Vive, which allow me to work on levels every day. And we now have 2 portable set-ups for demo purposes!
-Dane, Business Director