Level (video gaming)

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Layout of a level in the puzzle game Edge Edge (video game) level layout.png
Layout of a level in the puzzle game Edge

A level, map, area, stage, world, track, board, floor, zone, phase, mission, episode, or course in a video game is the total space available to the player during the course of completing a discrete objective. Video game levels generally have progressively increasing difficulty to appeal to players with different skill levels. [1] Each level presents new content and challenges to keep player's interest high. [1] The use of levels in video games dates back to Namco's shoot 'em up Galaxian , released in 1979 during the golden age of video arcade games. [2]

Video game electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device such as a TV screen or computer monitor

A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a two- or three-dimensional video display device such as a TV screen, virtual reality headset or computer monitor. Since the 1980s, video games have become an increasingly important part of the entertainment industry, and whether they are also a form of art is a matter of dispute.

Namco Limited is a brand and corporate name used from 1971 to 2018 by two Japanese companies in the businesses of video games, game centers and theme parks. The name continues to be used outside of Japan by the subsidiary Namco USA.

Shoot 'em up is a subgenre of video games within the shooter subgenre in the action genre. There is no consensus as to which design elements compose a shoot 'em up. Some restrict the definition to games featuring spacecraft and certain types of character movement; others allow a broader definition including characters on foot and a variety of perspectives.

Contents

In games with linear progression, levels are areas of a larger world, such as Green Hill Zone. Games may also feature interconnected levels, representing locations. [3]

Green Hill Zone Sonic the Hedgehog level

Green Hill Zone is the first level of the 1991 Sega Genesis video game Sonic the Hedgehog. The level is grassy and lush, with environmental features such as palm trees, vertical loops and cliffs, and is the home of numerous forest animals. Like the game's other levels, Green Hill comprises three acts; in the third, Sonic fights antagonist Doctor Eggman before moving to the second level, Marble Zone. It was constructed by level designer Hirokazu Yasuhara and its musical theme was created by Masato Nakamura.

Level design

Different levels in a 2D game layout Dromfaret levels.jpg
Different levels in a 2D game layout

Level design or environment design is a discipline of game development involving creation of video game levelslocales, stages, or missions. [4] [5] [6] [7] This is commonly done using a level editor, a game development software designed for building levels; however, some games feature built-in level editing tools. Level design is both an artistic and technical process. [8]

Level editor software tool to design video game graphics

A level editor is software used to design levels, maps, campaigns, etc. and virtual worlds for a video game. An individual involved with the creation of game levels is a level designer or mapper.

A game development tool is a specialized software application that assists or facilitates the making of a video game. Some tasks handled by tools include the conversion of assets into formats required by the game, level editing and script compilation.

Bonus stage

In games with 3D computer graphics like Nexuiz, the levels are designed as three-dimensional spaces Nexuiz screenshot 05.jpg
In games with 3D computer graphics like Nexuiz , the levels are designed as three-dimensional spaces

A bonus stage (also known as a bonus level or bonus round) is a special level within a video game designed to reward the player or players, and typically allows the player to collect extra points or power-ups. Bonus stage either have no enemies or hazards, or replace the normal penalties for being struck by enemies or hazards with simply being thrown out of the bonus stage. Many bonus stages need to be activated or discovered in some manner, or certain conditions must be satisfied to access them. Otherwise, they appear after the player has completed a certain number of regular stages. [9]

In video games, power-ups are objects that instantly benefit or add extra abilities to the game character as a game mechanic. This is in contrast to an item, which may or may not have a benefit and can be used at a time chosen by the player. Although often collected directly through touch, power-ups can sometimes only be gained by collecting several related items, such as the floating letters of the word 'EXTEND' in Bubble Bobble. Well known examples of power-ups that have entered popular culture include the power pellets from Pac-Man and the Super Mushroom from Super Mario Bros., which ranked first in UGO Networks' Top 11 Video Game Powerups.

See also

Sources

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.

Related Research Articles

<i>Pac-Man</i> 1980 video game made by Namco Ltd.

Pac-Man is a maze arcade game developed and released by Namco in 1980. It was originally known as Puckman in Japan before being changed to Pac-Man in international releases, done by Midway Games.

Level design, environment design, or game mapping is a discipline of game development involving creation of video game levels—locales, stages, or missions. This is commonly done using a level editor, a game development software designed for building levels; however, some games feature built-in level editing tools. Level design is both an artistic and technical process.

Video game design is the process of designing the content and rules of a video game in the pre-production stage and designing the gameplay, environment, storyline, and characters in the production stage. The designer of a game is very much like the director of a film; the designer is the visionary of the game and controls the artistic and technical elements of the game in fulfillment of their vision. Video game design requires artistic and technical competence as well as writing skills. As the industry has aged and embraced alternative production methodologies such as agile, the role of a principal game designer has begun to separate - some studios emphasising the auteur model while others emphasising a more team oriented model. Within the video game industry, video game design is usually just referred to as "game design", which is a more general term elsewhere.

<i>Galaxian</i> 1979 video game

Galaxian is a fixed shooter arcade game developed and released by Namco in 1979. It would be licensed out to Midway Games for manufacture and distribution in North America. In the game, the player controls a starship at the bottom of the screen as it must destroy the titular Galaxian aliens. Aliens will appear in a set formation towards the top of the screen and perform a dive-bomb towards whilst firing shots, in an effort to hit the player. Bonus points are awarded for destroying aliens in groups or by taking out enemies in mid-flight.

<i>Galaga</i> 1981 video game

Galaga, pronounced, is a Japanese arcade game developed and published by Namco Japan and by Midway in North America in 1981. It is the sequel to 1979's Galaxian. The gameplay of Galaga puts the player in control of a spacecraft which is situated at the bottom of the screen, with enemy aliens arriving in formation at the beginning of a stage, either trying to destroy, collide with, or capture the spaceship, with the player progressing every time alien forces are vanquished.

Video game development is the process of creating a video game. The effort is undertaken by a developer, ranging from a single person to an international team dispersed across the globe. Development of traditional commercial PC and console games is normally funded by a publisher, and can take several years to reach completion. Indie games usually take less time and money and can be produced by individuals and smaller developers. The independent game industry has been on the rise, facilitated by the growth of new online distribution systems such as Steam and Uplay, as well as the mobile game market for Android and iOS devices.

<i>Pac-Land</i> 1985 video game

Pac-Land is an entry in the Pac-Man series of arcade video games, released into arcades by Namco, and its American distributor Bally Midway, in August 1984. It was the first Namco arcade game to use the then-new hardware later labeled Namco Pac-Land.

<i>Rally-X</i>

Rally-X is a maze arcade game developed and released by Namco in 1980. In the game, the player controls a blue racecar that must collect all of the yellow flags in each stage, while avoiding red enemy cars and rocks. A radar is displayed at the right of the screen, showing the location of the player, remaining flags and enemies, alongside a fuel meter that gradually depletes as the stage progresses. Enemy cars can be stunned by releasing smoke screens, which will deplete the fuel meter. It was licensed out to Midway Games for released in North America. It ran on the Namco Pac-Man arcade board.

Namco Museum is a series of video game compilations released by Namco for various consoles released in the 5th generation and above, containing releases primarily from their arcade games from the late 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s. Namco started releasing compilations with the Namco Museum title in 1995, and continues as of 2018.

A bonus stage is a special level within a video game designed to reward the player or players, and typically allows the player to collect extra points or power-ups. Bonus stage either have no enemies or hazards, or replace the normal penalties for being struck by enemies or hazards with simply being thrown out of the bonus stage. Many bonus stages need to be activated or discovered in some manner, or certain conditions must be satisfied to access them. Otherwise, they appear after the player has completed a certain number of regular stages. They are often much shorter than regular stages.

<i>Galaga 88</i> video game

Galaga '88 is a 1987 fixed shooter arcade game by Namco. It is the third sequel for Galaxian. It features significantly improved graphics over the previous games in the series, including detailed backgrounds, larger enemies and greater ship details. Although it was well received, fewer cabinets of this game were produced than of Galaga and Gaplus. The game runs on Namco System 1 hardware. First ported on the NEC PC Engine, it was later released on the North American TurboGrafx-16 under the name Galaga '90 and the Sega Game Gear in Japan under the name of Galaga '91, and in Europe under the name of Galaga 2.

<i>Gaplus</i> 1994 video game

Gaplus is a fixed shooter arcade game that was released by Namco in 1984 as a sequel to 1981's Galaga. In the US a modification kit was later released to change the name to Galaga 3, possibly to increase recognition, even though there was no "Galaga 2". It was the only other game to run on Namco Phozon hardware. A contemporary home port for the Commodore 64 was released in 1988.

<i>Galaxian 3</i> 1990 video game

Galaxian 3 is an amusement park attraction with elements of an arcade game released by Namco in 1990 which was later released as a scaled-down arcade cabinet in 1994. It is a walk-in style arcade game run upon a hybrid of laserdisc and traditional arcade hardware. It uses multiple Namco System 21 boards with synchronized laserdisc players to create the pre-rendered backgrounds of the game. Each player shares the same life meter and takes the role of one of many stationary gunner positions, who are defending a spaceship called the "Dragoon" against an onslaught of enemy ships as the players try to destroy a space station called the Cannon Seed. It was one of only two games that were released for Namco's "Theater 6" arcade system, the other being its immediate sequel, Attack of the Zolgear, which was released in 1994. A simplified 4 player version was later released for the original Sony Playstation in Japan and Europe.

<i>Sky Kid</i> 1985 arcade video game

Sky Kid is a horizontal scrolling shooter arcade game that was released by Namco in 1985. It runs on Namco Pac-Land hardware but with a video system like that used in Dragon Buster. It is also the first game from Namco to allow two players to play simultaneously. The game was later released on the Famicom, and both this version for the Wii, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U and the original arcade version for the Wii were later released on Nintendo's Virtual Console service.

<i>King & Balloon</i> 1984 video game

King & Balloon is a fixed shooter arcade game which was released by Namco in 1980, and licensed to GamePlan for U.S. manufacture and distribution. It runs upon the Namco Galaxian hardware, based on the Z80 microprocessor, with an extra Zilog Z80 microprocessor to drive a DAC for speech; it was one of the first games to have speech synthesis. An MSX port was released in Japan in 1984.

A game design document is a highly descriptive living software design document of the design for a video game. A GDD is created and edited by the development team and it is primarily used in the video game industry to organize efforts within a development team. The document is created by the development team as result of collaboration between their designers, artists and programmers as a guiding vision which is used throughout the game development process. When a game is commissioned by a game publisher to the development team, the document must be created by the development team and it is often attached to the agreement between publisher and developer; the developer has to adhere to the GDD during game development process.

Game design game development process of designing the content and rules of a game

Game design is the art of applying design and aesthetics to create a game for entertainment or for educational, exercise, or experimental purposes. Increasingly, elements and principles of game design are also applied to other interactions, in the form of gamification.

Shooting Medal is a series of medal arcade games developed by Namco in the early 2000s in Japan only. Five games in the series were made between 2000 and 2002, and are mostly based on various Namco properties such as Pac-Man. Games in the series cost 800,000 yen. Music from three of the games were later released on iTunes in 2013 as part of the Namco Sounds label.

References

  1. 1 2 Schell, Jesse (2014). The Art of Game Design: A book of lenses. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA: CRC Press. pp. 120, 252. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  2. "Galaxian - Videogame by Namco". Arcade-museum.com. Retrieved 2016-05-24.
  3. McGuire, Morgan; Jenkins, Odest Chadwicke (2009). Creating Games: Mechanics, Content, and Technology. Wellesley, Mass.: AK Peters. p. 104. ISBN   978-1-56881-305-9.
  4. Oxland 2004, pp.21-22,126
  5. Bates 2004, p.107
  6. Brathwaite, Schreiber 2009, p.5
  7. Shahrani 2006, part I
  8. Bleszinski, Cliff (2000). "The Art and Science of Level Design". Archived from the original on 3 December 2002. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
  9. "The Next Generation 1996 Lexicon A to Z". Next Generation . No. 15. Imagine Media. March 1996. p. 30. Typically, bonus levels are either hidden and require discovery or appear after a certain number of regular levels have been completed.