Cave Building: Update #1

What’s up, everyone? As promised, the first update is live for Misplaced Caves, in the Sneak Peek, and I’m here to go through my level creation process step by step!

In the last post and upload, Caves was in it’s infancy. I had done a bare bones outline so I could play the level without being distracted by all the pretty colors, but still change the design if I needed to. This outline was what I passed off to Over the Top Games, and they finished the level for FPA for consoles. So if you’re itching to play all the levels, plus a few more, right now, download the game on XBLA or PSN. If you don’t have a PS3 or 360, stick around, World 3 for online play is being made, right before your eyes!

I’m going to start putting these after the jump, in case anyone’s avoiding spoilers before release. So, everyone else, have at that -more- tab!

those cave things

Here’s the beginning of the level, and it’s going to set the stage for, well, the rest of the stage, so it’s usually a step or two ahead of the rest of the level. Here, I started on front foreground details, though they’re still in the normal foreground layer. Fun stuff indeed!

About the isometric view, here it’s a little wider than usual. I think it goes well with the sprawling cave theme, since the actual depth of the tunnel you’d be in wouldn’t be much wider than that. I think I really started pushing the isometric view after going back and playing a lot of Donkey Kong Country. From what I can remember, they where one of the first 2d games to have a solid perspective, since, well, everything was actually rendered in 3d.

Since I’m drawing everything out, I try to use techniques that highlight the fact that every part of the stage is unique. I started drawing the levels in World 3 with as if they were in a sort of 3d window box. What I mean is, near the beginning, the camera would be tilted to the left, the middle would be facing straight on, and at the far right, the camera would be tilted right. Not sure if anyone actually notices this, so here’s some pictures!

lookit those walls!

head on


You know, I’d say that caves are the easiest environment to make levels out of, especially if you have a lot of vertical movement. In almost any other level, you actually have to think of solid things to make up the shapes in your level design. In a cave? NOPE! Just make everything out of goofy shaped rocks! Probably why exploring caves is fun in the real world, it’s like running through a video game level, but in real life!

Moving on! Everything here is just drawn on one layer in Flash, so bits like the tunnels here will be moved to the front foreground layer, and of course, colored. I keep going between drawing colors on a different layer, or being lazy and only putting details on another layer. Either way, I make sure that I can adjust things later, since I tend to change my mind a lot.

what are you doing there??

There’s also a nice patch of bug fixes in this upload, so whoever’s willing to do me a huge favor, go ahead and hammer on all the levels a bit.

Still with me? That means you probably have a longer attention span than I do, heh.

Well there it is! The first step towards rebuilding Misplaced Caves for the online Flash game. I’ll be posting again once there’s enough worth updating!


  1. 3Radishes

    although personally I preferred the nice smooth ground to the weird squiggly one, it’s more unique to fpa and has that pen drawn feel… like in the multiplier room, i guess. the current one feels kind of unstable, groundless and shaky.
    like the updated music

  2. Bao Tran Duc

    I found a funny glitch to get the first star :)) right above the first half loop, theres another rough half loop, if I run on that, it teleports me to the first star =))

  3. Joel

    Sounds awesome! especially the camera movement thing, I’m really excited about the online, it’s something awesome to keep people playing, that would be cool if in the online there was ranks first level 1 and you get xp from each race or king of the hill you complete and it gets up to level 10 or something

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