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Dev Talk #4 - Our Level Design Procedure

(Translator's Note: In the past, we only upload our dev talk and dev blog to TapTap, and there're in Chinese only. However, we figure that many of you may be interested in learning more about our development in depth.

As a result, we decided to translate our latest dev talk into English. If enough of you are interested in reading these posts, we will keep on making them! Please share your thoughts on discord, so that we know how to improve on this. Thanks!)

Hi, this is Birb~

Usually, our producer Chris is the one who write this type of post, and he has been writing a lot of posts lately. Let's give him a well-earned break this time.

Let me introduce myself again.

I am birdie, the level design director at Rotaeno. In terms of rhythm game, I am the person in charge of leading the level (aka. pattern/ chart) design team, and I will be standardizing the chart design rules, planning the future direction, reviewing others' level design, and designing some level myself.

Level Design Procedure

Currently, our level design process is done in 4 steps:

- Accepting a song: Whoever accepts the song first will be the level designer for that level. However, when multiple designers are interested in writing a song's level, we may collaborate on that chart!

- Submission and review: When the level is done, we will upload the charts to the game. Then I will review the chart to see if there's any problem. Whenever I find a problem, I will note its time and problem down, and ask the original level designer to modify it. If there's no problem, I will then decide the difficulty of it.

- Completion: When all charts are done and reviewed, they will be marked as complete! If the designer still wants to modify the level, he will have to notify me first.

Oh... you ask me why sometimes we still have to modify the level when it's done? Our level designers have a pretty high standard and take pride in their work, so sometimes they will want to modify it even after submission. Of course, I will review their changes as well.

Our early level design....

We knew that a lot of you have been looking forward to Rotaeno's release for a long time (sorry!). However, we, the level design team are still working really hard day and night on level design. As we experiment with our gameplay, and sometimes even modifying the core gameplay completely (see attached image - originated from dev blog #8), we also have to rewrite most levels again and again. During this process, our level designers have improved a lot.

Some ancient level design and graphics...

Since Rotaeno is mainly about rotation control, our level design have to guide the players to rotate their phone at the correct timing. We will use different notes (mainly Rotate and Catch, but also tap and slide) to guide the players to rotate the phone. You should be able to see this in action from our previous gameplay preview videos.

Originally, rotaeno doesn't feature Catch notes. So our designer could only use Rotate, tap, and slide to guide the players to spin around, and it makes the gameplay very boring (since all we can do is to spam Tap notes everywhere...). As a result, even though these legacy charts play OK-ish, it's not run.

After we introduced catch, players not only have to rotate the phone along with the Tap, slide and rotate notes, they can use catch to slowly tilt the device around. In some of our more difficult charts, we even use rotate notes to achi....... I guess I will leave this part as a surprise for you to find out yourself : D


Finally, a piece of trivia for ya.

We know a lot of players have been asking us to release a screen-recording of Rotaeno, and it seems like we have never listened.... Actually, there's a reason:




We once tried to discuss our level design problems by sharing screen recordings... and the next day, we all feel so dizzy that we couldn't even walk in a straight line. Turns out, screen recording just doesn't work, and it will give you insane motion sickness. As a result, we only upload gameplay demo (recorded from a stationary camera)


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