sexta-feira, 31 de outubro de 2014

Spelunky: a randomly generated level design adventure

Spelunky is an indie action-adventure game created by Derek Yu and published by Mossmouth. The first version of this game was launched in 2009 for PC, but now it is possible to find the game in Xbox and Playstation platforms.

The idea of the game is very simple: you are a kind of a bounty hunter exploring some inhospitable places (old temples, dungeons, forests etc.) looking for gems and gold. You need to enter, find the treasures and scape. Looks simple but Spelunky has two particular features: you can die easily and, every time it happens, the stage changes itself.

That’s it. It’s impossible to remember the details of a dungeon because there aren’t fixed dungeons in the game. Each time you restart, you'll play a new, randomly generated set of levels. The game’s system creates new challenges each time a character dies.

Another good feature of the game: there's a lot of freedom to how you want to navigate the levels, which are fully destructible.

You can check the Playstation 4’s gameplay below (I’m playing this one at this moment and it’s an awesome – and hardcore – experience):

It’s important to remember, “games consist of stages, or levels. As the player progresses through a game, the levels generally increase in difficulty and the story develops. The designer must create a series of challenges for the player as he progresses through a level. This means that the design of individual levels is closely linked to the design of the game mechanics” (THOMPSON; BERBANK-GREEN; CUSWORTH: 2007: p.93).

In Spelunky, the levels are always with the “hard mode” activated. We have, as a variation of difficulty, the mutable ability of the scenario.

About that, Fullerton says that games organized into levels will need someone to actually design and implement each level. If your project is very small, you might design all the levels yourself. On a larger project, however, the game designer often leads a team of level designers who implement their concepts for the various game levels, and sometimes come up with ideas for levels themselves. And an important point: level designers use a toolkit or “level editor” to develop new missions, scenarios, or quests for the players (2008, p.361 & 362).

The game we’re discussing has a level generator inside its system and that’s a very good way to create new kinds of entertainment experiences.


FULLERTON, Tracy; SWAIN, Christopher; HOFFMAN, Steven. Game design workshop: a playcentric approach to creating innovative games. Burlington: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 2008.

THOMPSON, Jim; BERBANK-GREEN, Barnaby; CUSWORTH, Nic. Game Design: principles, practice, and techniques - the ultimate guide for the aspiring game designer. New Jersey: Wiley, 2007

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