We know the importance of design in any mobile game. It is something that actually inserts fun in game. Poor design is an indication of game failure, no matter if the art work is shiny and the game is free from bugs. That’s why designing should be given top priority during mobile game development.
In many cases, I have seen mobile games with excellent designs fail to grab attention of maximum users. On the other hand, I have seen games with simple designs hitting huge downloads as soon as they arrive at the app store. Why the difference? The secret is level design.
Level Design is a process of creating game environment for level, stage, mission or anything where player interacts with the game.
When players are busy with game, their minds enjoy the pleasure of challenge while their heart is fully engaged with game environment. Games – that are able to connect with heart – have a long-term existence in smartphone. Such games are played too often.
If you want to make a heart-connecting game, you have to learn how to design each level of game.
1. Tutorial Level
Tutorial level is designed to teach players about the Game. They must have game knowledge before they jump on ground for a new challenge. Gone are the days when new game players needed a whole booklet to understand the game. Today, players demand for learn with fun.
Great mobile games don’t believe in putting dialogues or instructions to teach players. Instead, they put intuitive design that explains it all. Or I can say they create an environment explaining players where to go.
For e.g. when I started Temple Run, I saw the man running away from monsters to save his life. The game started from the exact moment without any instructions. But on the way to run, the game starts explaining how to swipe, how to jump, where to go and all that. This is the way great games put level designs with a mixture of challenge and fun.
2. Learning Twist
What if you drop a new player at the stage where obstacles are waiting to fire on? It wouldn’t be fair I think. That’s why you need a learning twist.
Of course, you must put a challenge in your level designs. But make sure, it is neither too tough nor too easy. It must be within the ability of players. Another thing is if player fails to pass that first-time-challenging level, give them another chance to play it again. You can avail more than one in-game lives for this.
For e.g. at the first level, Gunship battle simply teach the players how to move and use tools. At the second level, it puts the player in front of enemies who start firing as soon as the helicopter arrives. It’s easy to destroy those enemies as player has learnt how to use gun from first level. The game also provides more lives to replay the same level, if player fails to win at first chance.
3. Encourage Players
Encourage players with rewards. Anything that can boost their confidence, anything that can add to their skills and ultimately help win victory. Still confused what I am talking about? Let’s see how Angry Birds do this.
Do you know what makes me feel like a winner when I play Angry Birds? Those cracking glasses, smashing bricks, and bursting pigs. I feel like I won the whole world when I finally destroy them all. This feeling is called encouragement. This empowerment is what you need to add in each level of your game to make it feel by heart.
4. Mysterious Environment
Don’t let the players know what comes next? Let them keep guessing. Surprise them each time with a new environment and a new challenge that is totally unknown. When I started playing Subway Surfer I didn’t know that suddenly train will come to hit me. It was a new experience for me. Also I didn’t know about skates, the new tool, the game gave me to skip some obstacles with ease. Likewise, you must give players a new challenge, but also give them tools to deal with obstacles.
You are not done with just a great mobile game idea and interesting characters within. Game designs, mechanics, challenges, environment, etc., all require a quality time to think about. It is recommended to analyze each successful game like those mentioned above here to get a better idea.