Session 2 blog post


Our goal was to create a platformer puzzle game, with an ability to redirect projectiles. As the level designer, I designed fun and interesting levels, suggested ideas, and playtested the game.

Role: Level Designer

Intention (SMART Goal): My goal is to make levels that are fun and engaging for the player, scale well in terms of difficulty as the game goes on, and use all of the mechanics implemented into it to their full potential.


Leader(s) in the Field / Exemplary Work(s)

Maddy Thorson, the creator of Celeste

Celeste is a platforming game that is very hard, but has fun mechanics and challenging levels that make it very rewarding and fun to play.

Training Source(s)

  1. Puzzles are based on limitations. 1:21
  2. The cleverness of a mechanic in a puzzle game will determine how complex or how many levels can use the mechanic. 1:33
  3. Outlandish concepts that are unique usually create better and more complex puzzles. 1:41
  4. The player should know what their goal in the game is. 2:29
  5. Good puzzles are built around a catch, a logical contradiction that the player can’t figure out at first. 2:38
  6. Solving a puzzle should involve a revalation, that makes the player have to reconsider their options to find a goal. 5:20
  7. You must make sure a puzzle sollution is intuitive, so that the player doesn’t end up confused as to how the mechanics in a puzzle work in the first place. 6:14
  8. Puzzles use assumptions to make people think they have the right solution, to distract them from completing it, and to make them use critical thinking. 8:01
  9. Puzzles should be minimalistic, so that they don’t overwhelm you. 13:36
  10. To determine the difficulty of a puzzle to build a natural curve between levels, you should use these four basic criteria. The number of solutions, the number of steps required, the number of options a player can choose from, and the mechanics a player needs to know before hand. 15:20

Project Timeline

  1. Start pre-Production
  2. Begin making the character
  3. Make objects the character can interact with
  4. Design early levels
  5. Add in turrets, and reflecting projectiles
  6. Add in more types of obstacles
  7. Design the rest of the levels
  8. Make the final boss
  9. Playtest
  10. Add in any unfinished sprites and patch bugs.


The (FILM, SOUND, or GAME Creation)

Skills Commentary

The levels were designed to start off very easy, like a normal platforming game. As the game continues, it introduces mechanics less common in platforming games, like sprinting, breakable walls, and turrets. Then, it introduces the main mechanic of the game, reflecting projecticles. Introducing things slowly makes it much easier for the player, since they have essentially at least one level to learn each new ability or enemy. In the last few levels, the game uses all of the mechanics at once, to test the player on their mastery of every mechanic in the game.

I also came up with the idea for the lizards with guns, the one directional turrets, the dragon final boss, and breakable platforms.


21st Century Skills

Ways of Thinking (Creativity, Innovation, Critical Thinking, Problem Solving)

Over the course of our game, we had a lot of bugs, levels that weren’t very fun, and mechanics that were annoying. I playtested the levels and found these mistakes, and then Leo and John fixed them, allowing us to get rid of the issues with the game.

Ways of Working (Communication & Collaboration)

Our group had a very good process for designing things and communication. I would suggest an idea, John would code it into the game, leo would polish it, and Seth would make a sprite for it, and then I would add it into levels. This process repeated, allowing us to add more and more ideas into the game.

Tools for Working (Info & Media Literacy)

I looked at games that used platforming and puzzle elements well, and thought about how to combine them in a fun way. Games like Celeste, Mario Oddessey, and Spelunky 2 were big inspirations because they were fun, had well made platforming, and good level design.

Ways of Living in the World (Life & Career)

I watched a lot of youtube videos and played a lot of video games. Im in speech and debate, and I had two tournaments this month.

Reactions to the Final Version

My parents playtested the game, and while they found it to be a little difficult, they liked the concept and the uniqueness of the game.

“I really liked the re-direction mechanic”-Nate.

Self-Evaluation of Final Version

Simple: The game is very simple and easy to understand, since it introduces mechanics slowly, and the mechanics themselves are jumping and sprinting, which are easy to understand.

Unexpected: The projectile redirection mechanic is unheard of, and not seen in other games. It’s not expected at all, and it’s used to make levels that have never been seen in a game before.

Concrete: The text in the tutorial section of the levels, and the lore at the beginning of the game was easy to understand and taught the player about the world and mechanics well.

Stories: The game had a detailed first level that explained the lore. You are a wizard on a quest to slay the dragon that rules over the lizard government. This story was unique and interesting, and made the game have a purpose.

What I Learned and Problems I Solved

I learned how to suggest new ideas to the team, whether it was about problems or ideas I had. This allowed me to better improve our game. I also learned a lot about how to make fun levels, and how to make unique design that’s different from other games.

Grammar and Spelling

edublogs built-in spell check.


Leo .M