Today I designed the order of levels and the introduction of new mechanics. Right now, I am following a simple pattern of how to introduce players to new mechanics.
The process goes:
Introduction level - The player sees the mechanic in a nearly death-free environment. Relatively simple not to die, and the player has a degree of freedom to experiment with the new mechanic. The objective for this level will be simple, and the level will be pretty short.
The practice Level - After the player progresses through the initial level where the mechanic is introduced, the player then comes to this level. Here, the player is given the mechanic in a environment where the player must understand the mechanic well enough in order to proceed. The player mustn't know the full advantages and disadvantages of the mechanic, but they should know the general gist of what it is and how to work around it.
Mastery Level - This level is where the player is pushed to their limits of expertise with the mechanic. By this point they should know what the mechanic is and how to effectively deal with it. This level will build off of the assumptions the players have made on how to deal with the mechanic, and flip them on their heads. Almost as a re-imaging of the mechanic to try and trick the player.
This pattern continues for the entire game. Every segment of the game is broken in to three stages, and each stage has three levels.
From an easier perspective, the game will be set like this.
Mechanic 1: Level 1, 2, 3.
Mechanic 2: Level 4, 5, 6.
Mechanic 3: Level 7, 8, 9.
So far, I have 6 planned segments. Doing the math, this is about 60 levels, including the boss levels. However, this also includes the extremely simple introduction levels for each mechanic.
Another option I am considering is just adding together the levels for each mechanic. This would mean each mechanic would have its own longer level, rather than three shorter ones. This way, the game will have 24 levels. I kind of like this idea more, but we will see how it goes.
Whichever option I decide, each "level" will essentially have three areas, and all three areas focus on the new mechanic introduced. The following boss level will be a level including all of the mechanics (don't get me wrong, all mechanics will be in every level after their introduction), which revolves around defeating one boss "entity" where you will acquire an object.
That is where the story comes in, which revolves around these objects, but I digress. That is for another time.
Long story short, today, I set up the pattern and order that the levels will need to occur in. I still need 3 mechanics for the last level, however. The last level has to do with memories or learning, so I will probably just make them extended levels that combine all mechanics and culminate with the final boss.
Thanks for reading.