Single Player Levels
Author: Brian Lozier
This article is based on my experiences working on a single-player
mod. It has been under construction for months now, and will be
released within a couple of months.
The Single Player storyline is what set Jedi Knight apart from the
rest of the First Person Shooters. When making addons, therefore, it
is important to realize what people wanted from the original game.
Take that, expand upon it, and you should be okay. What does that
mean? Well, take everything LEC did with JK, and attempt to do it
better. This may seem difficult, but if you don't strive for the
stars, you will not make it off the ground.
So, it is your job to come up with a MORE compelling story, and
implement it even better. This means more realistic characters, more
compelling environments, and a more logical, thought provoking plot.
Many people like to use Kyle Katarn and Mara Jade as the main
characters. I challenge you to stop using these cliched characters,
and come up with your own. Also attempt to stay away from the main
characters in the movies and books -- these peoples stories have
already been told, and its not our job to change them. Why do I say
I've read almost all the Star Wars novels, and half the time, I don't
understand how they even got published. In the original movie,
George Lucas let it be known that Mos Eisley was the arm-pit of the
galaxy. Quote: "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and
villany." Then, all these books come out saying how this other city,
or this other planet, is 10 times worse. How do these authors think
they can change what Geoge Lucas already laid down? Please do not
follow in these authors' footsteps.
On to other things. Remember that there aren't an infinate number of
Dark Jedi that can take over the Empire and try to kill the
Rebellion. There aren't an infinite number of light Jedi fighting
the Empire for the sake of the galaxy.
I suggest you take another planet, with all new characters, and
create that world. Saving the entire galaxy from the Empire has been
done over and over and over. now it's time to save one planet, or a
solar system, from a more local threat. Remember the Empire had its
hold on thousands of worlds - maybe it's time to drive the Empire out
of that system, or time to save a highly decorated Rebel soldier from being
executed, or time to sabatoge an Imperial Star Destroyer so it can't make
its appearance at the Battle of Yavin.
There are TONS of ideas that have not yet been done, please don't
attempt to re-hash or re-do what LucasFilm or Lucasarts has already
Rule of thumb: Be realistic and true to Star Wars. Have you ever
seen a platform suspended in thin air? Niether have I. Remember in
Star Wars they used thrusters - cogs that spit smoke, steam and
thrust are not hard to find or create. Star Wars is science fiction.
They did not do anything in the movie that defies the rules or
imagination of science. Sure we do not have many of the things in
the movies, but nothing in the movies is impossible, only improbable.
We have space stations, we have space flight, we have lasers, we have
harrier jets that can hover, we have or can scientifically imagine
all of the things in the Star Wars universe.
As for catwalks, doors and elevators. Remember that catwalks have to
be supported by something. Pillars, studs and even supports coming
out of walls will do nicely. Doors going into solid rocks is a no-no
as far as being realistic is concerned. Make metal or wood slides
and frames for the doors to follow. This will also give your
architecture a cleaner appearance.
Elevators normally go up an elevator shaft. What powers the
elevator? What mechanism is there that it will stay on its track?
In Star Wars, and in the LEC levels, there normally use a wire/track
texture going along one side of the elevator shaft. Try to line it
up with the back of the elevator 3do (look at its bottom as it goes
up, there are normally supports there). There are other mechanisms,
of course, but an elevator going up a solid rock shaft, or going up
the side of some crates, just does not make sense.
There are far too many levels with sky problems. It is not
realistic, or fun, for that matter, when you Force Jump and hit your
head on the sky. It makes no sense. Please plan for your sky, and
make it high enough that players won't hit their heads.
Also try not to use the sky as an outside boundry. Make a cliff with
a dropoff, or a fence, or a forcefield. Nobody likes being stopped
by plain sky.
Deciding on whether to make the surface of the water see-through or
not is pretty difficult. One rule I can suggest is to make it
consistent. If you have see-though water in one place, do the same
for the rest of your level.
It Single-Player, it is generally okay to make see-though water.
Just be careful to keep in mind the framerate when doing so.
Try to make levels long enough to keep the player occupied. Make
them at least as long as the LEC levels. This may sound hard, but
remember, strive for the stars and you will achieve them. Keep in
mind, however, that most LEC levels are under 1000 sectors. If you
go beyond that, you are likely to up the system requirements. If
your level gets too big, consider splitting it into two.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to get a good set of
beta-testers. What is beta testing? It is when you feel your level
is complete, and rather than releasing it to the public, you release
it to a set of people who play though it and look for bugs. These
people should be of varied editing experience -- people with NO
editing experience often find bugs that editors just overlook. Once
you get detailed bug reports, fix them ALL. Once that is done, send
the level around one more time for a final beta test. It is a good
idea to increase your beta-testing team for this final test. Once
you get the bug reports back (if any), fix the problems and you are
ready to release.
Please do not ignore bugs. If your beta testers found them, so will
everyone else. Buggy levels rarely get the recognition they could if
the bugs were fixed.
The Massassi Temple