Development Blog by Anders Ekermo and Juha Kangas

Author: Juha Kangas (page 2 of 3)

Demo Design

I thought I’d try something new for the blog so I recorded a video where I talk about Backworlds design while playing it rather than just write about it. The test case for this is our demo levels, I hope the format works!

Note: I have some issues with framerate while recording, sorry about that. Also the coloring for the levels are off, sorry again!

Art to HSLE

Time for another art creation video! Here we are showing the process of creating a HSLE art asset, a pattern and finally it’s implementation in the game. If you’ve seen our previous videos or blog entries you might be familiar with the HSLE-object, if not you will hopefully understand by the end of the video.

Music: Super Mario Bros. Jazz Plumber Trio OC Remix


I have posted a number of videos from the editor for Backworlds so I thought I would mix it up a bit by showing you how we create an art asset. There are a few basic things I do for every art asset I build, which you will see in the video:

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Art in Motion

I recorded a little video showing of some of the editor features Anders has added that we will use for bringing some life into the levels of Backworlds by adding motion in different ways. The video shows of a few of them and it is more a demonstration of the things we can do than a artistic showcase. Enjoy!

Battletoads – BirdGuyJam OC Remic by Zelig
Donkey Kong Country 2 – Set Sail OC Remix by Blizihizake

Micro Design

pickup_cloneIn previous posts we have talked about certain design issues on a higher level. Such as the general world design or rules that our level design should apply. However I thought I would bring up a few examples of design issues that have come up during the development that are more specific and also explain the solution for them.

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I have recorded myself working with the editor to show you all how a level comes from simply being lines and boxes of physics into the water-color world of Backworlds. It is a time-lapse running at a brisk pace and should give you a good idea of the process. Note that I did not prepare in any way making this, I just came up with something as I went along, however I did work with this particular theme for the demo. By the end of the video the level is in a “first-pass” state and is missing smaller details, particle effects and so on.

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Scripting with Lua

Today I will show you something from the game-play scripting for Backworlds. In other words, what we do (partly) to make stuff happen in the game. We use a scripting language called Lua which we write in external text files that are loaded into the game. The advantage of this is that we can write functionality without having to recompile the game, reloading the level is enough.

I will begin by saying that Anders has moved a lot of the things we used to do with this into the engine and tied it to objects in the editor, making life a little easier for us when creating levels. But it is great for testing new ideas and we still have to use Lua in a lot of special cases and custom events. But enough explaining, let me demonstrate in this two part video!

Note: I make a mistake in the video by sampling the statue position every frame rather than only once in the OnCreate function, causing the object to move down very fast.

Part 1

Part 2

Herp derp ork bork!

Presentational #2

Following up on the last blog post by Anders, I thought I would talk a bit about the art of the other Sense of Wonder Night level
we prepared. You can view the level in the video above, which is the same sequence we used for the presentation.

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Sense of Wonder Night

On September 21st we presented Backworlds on Sense of Wonder Night during Tokyo Game Show 2012. You can view all the presentations at the SOWN Presentation site. Our presentation starts at 01:45:00 but make sure to watch the other presentations as well as there was some very interesting games there.  Continue reading


A few weeks ago we started initial playtesting for a big bunch of new levels. So I am going to write a bit about how we go about with testing and how we use the observations gathered.

First off, Ron Carmel at 2D Boy has a nice writeup about rules for playtesting that anyone interested in these things should check out.

The How

During the development of the demo, we only did in person testing. We sat the player down at a computer and let them play without us instructing, only quietly taking notes. If they got stuck for a long time we would however give them hints, but our goal was, and is, to not have any kind of hint system so those occasions made it quite clear we needed to redesign the puzzle.

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