This is a gameplay video of the whole game as it exists now. I got to do a lot of level design for this game and there were a lot of different things I had to consider while creating these levels. I pitched the main mechanic for this game as having a life that you throw and can teleport to. This evolved in a lot of different ways as we continued on with the game.
Some of the major things I had to consider when creating levels were as follows.
* How do I prevent the player from teleporting all the way to the end?
* How do I ramp difficulty when the main mechanic is difficult to grasp in the beginning?
*How do I make the player feel like they are pulling off cool moves?
I answered these questions in a few different ways. To prevent a lot of the teleportation that skips the majority of levels I decided to use spike blocks off screen so that a player can not just spam teleport to skip. They have to think about what is ahead. Another thing I realized along the way that it is actually kind of cool to be able to skip parts of earlier levels once you know how to. This actually makes you feel like you were better than when you first started playing, like you have insider info. This also opens up a lot of opportunities for speedrunning, something I think this game has a lot of potential for.
To ramp difficulty in the beginning I really limited the amount of hazards of course. I also have a couple levels that focus mainly on platforming so that the player gets used to player movement before have to deal with the shard teleportation. That is, until they get to a level where they have to use it. In level 1-1 I have some spikes set up in front of the hall you need to access, the only way to get through here is to teleport over. If you do not learn that skill you are not able to progress. This same concept is used in a later level where I set up the first skull head enemy. While you can see the skull head on screen you are actually not able to be hit by its shots until you move across an obstacle towards it.
The way I made the player feel like they were pulling off cool moves was discovered through quite a bit of playtesting by myself. The sweet thing about teleporting through the air is it almost feels like there are a million ways to do things. Rather than specifically design a route to only have one method it can be fun to let the player have a few ways to solve the problems. For example, in level 1-9 there is a long column before you drop to a collectible. To get this collectible you have a few different options (maybe more). You can drop down and last minute send the shard out, teleporting up the walls until you get to the top. You can drop down, and then send your shard back up into the upper skull enemy to teleport back to that spot. Or, and this one is clever, you can send your shard to a specific spot before you drop down and then hit enter when you hit the collectible to get back to the top.