Yacht Club Games

Category: Design

Specter of Torment Level Design Deep Dive (2/5)

In our last chapter, we developed a strategy and scope for creating levels in Specter of Torment. We also assigned objects and mechanics to each level. So, now that we’ve got a foundation of rules and ideas to build on and a rough plan for all the levels, it’s time to actually design the specific rooms that make up the gameplay of each level! Let’s talk about some of the things we consider when designing a small stretch of gameplay.


Specter of Torment Level Design Deep Dive (1/5)

Welcome, knowledge seekers! Over the course of Shovel Knight’s development, Yacht Club Games has received many requests to document and describe our level design process. However, it’s been challenging enough to develop games, much less write about them in an understandable and interesting way! But now that we’ve just finished up with Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove, we’ve had some time to collect our thoughts about our level design process and whip up a little article series! We hope to provide a little insight into the arcane mysteries of video game level design, and to codify some of the rules and practices we’ve come to value over the course of developing five Shovel Knight games.


King Knight Hearts

Hey, heartthrobs! Today we thought it might be fun to talk about a very specific design consideration for King Knight. Notice anything particularly different about the health in King Knight’s game versus the previous games?


Showdown Game Modes: Building Multiplayer

Welcome, Mode Masters! We’re here to talk about the new ways to play we designed for our thrilling new multiplayer extravaganza, Shovel Knight Showdown, as well as a little tale about each mode’s inclusion. Hopefully, our yarn-spinning will give you a taste of what we think is exciting in the game, while simultaneously giving you an insider look into how we flesh out a game experience.


King Knight’s Map: Building Secret Paths

Hey, Pathfinders! While developing King of Cards, we thought a lot about how to increase the excitement of the game on the map. Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope started as a game with a map heavily inspired by Mario 3. The map was structured so that players would be encouraged to try out different levels if they were having a hard time with any one in particular. Players would have the flexibility to travel in a specific stage order to get to a bonus, or to travel along a different route to find reprieve in a village more quickly. The map was a way to do some world building, and a means to pepper in some flavorful ideas that couldn’t be communicated in the core set of stages. Through the map, we wanted to reinterpret the Mega Man experience of facing 8 core baddies by selecting them from a menu, and extend the depth of that concept just a little bit. This map structure was also used for Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows.