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Level Designers Answer Your Questions!!!

ChickenGoujohnChickenGoujohn Posts: 15 Kingster
edited July 22 in Level Designers Tips

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Hey everyone!


Thanks so much for submitting all of your questions to me and the rest of the Candy Friends Level Designers here! We loved hearing all of your opinions and musings on the game (as always!). We hope you find our answers below interesting!


Why quite often I found out classic level are actually harder than hard level or super hard level?

How can you set the difficulty in every level? I too would LOVE to know how exactly what determines the ‘difficulty’ of a level?

I also wonder how the level difficulty is decided, as I pass a super hard level in one attempt and be on a classic level for several.

We test all of our levels thoroughly to create a fun and engaging experience. We like to get the right balance of having levels challenging enough to not feel trivial, but not so hard that you feel as though you can't progress. It's a delicate balancing act! - John, Senior Level Designer


What is the process you go through to determine the level of difficulty. Does the design team all play the level numerous times?

We always make sure there is a range of difficulties in our levels - some tricky ones to test your skills, but also some easier ones to bring down the tension too! We decide the difficulties for our levels in advance and design them to match that difficulty as closely as we can. To do this, we like to split into groups and play each others levels over and over to get a really good feel for them, but we also look at how our players - you - perform as well, just to make sure we're hitting the mark! - Jordan, Level Designer


Do you play with each of the different characters and then decide which three the player can choose from? Also sometimes I have noticed that the characters you can use for a specific level may change - do you use an algorithm for that?

Some characters work better in certain levels than in others. When designing a level, we decide on which characters would work best for its layout and flow; e.g. Caramel Cup-heavy levels are great for Nutcracker, whilst more diagonal boards work well for Bubblegum Troll. We decide on a Primary and Secondary character to recommend, and the third choice will cycle through other applicable characters for that level. Some characters won't be playable in a level - Yeti won't show up in a level without cyan candies, for example. - Jordan, Level Designer


In most cases I have seen that I missed a level for single move or passed the level through the last move. That is, the moves of the level are set in a perfect way. Do you test the level by playing it yourself or by a different system?

We plan for each level to have a specific difficulty before we release it, based on where the level exists, whether it's a tutorial, part of an event, etc. We playtest all of our levels within the team, so the designer of any level will seek feedback from the rest of the level design team on the overall experience and whether the difficulty feels appropriate. - John, Senior Level Designer


How do you come up with the levels and events?

Where do you get the inspiration to make new levels every week from (and the events too)?

All of the level designers have their own creative process, and their own way of thinking up new level ideas. For me personally, in our level editor I like to create an interesting board shape first - just experiment and play around to find something I feel like could work as a playable space. From there I'll decide what blockers I can use to fill the different sections of the board, and then think of how I can create an interesting and fun journey within that for the player to experience. Honestly for inspiration, I look to the rest of my team! We play each others levels often and discuss our ideas. This way we all learn from one another and are inspired by each other's creativity. The more exposure you get to different ways of thinking about the game the better! - John, Senior Level Designer

Is it one person or is it a team decision? And, what theme/mode to go with?

When designing a new episode of levels, we tend to nominate one designer who is responsible for the functionality, which includes the game modes and the flow of that episode. However, there's a feedback process that the design team go through to ensure that the episode is fun and the game modes are distributed in a fun way. - Josh, Junior Level Designer


I am curious about how do the designers come up with an ideas for character's power.

When we're looking for new ideas relating to character powers, new blockers or new features, we think about it in a few ways. What's missing from the game - what do the players (you guys!) frequently request? What opportunities for improving our level design 'toolkit' are there? With the most recent character (Jelly Queen) for example, we knew we didn't have a character that was helpful for Jam levels and players were asking for this a lot. So we started thinking of different ways we could approach this problem. We'll typically hold ideation sessions where design and members from all across the team get together to generate ideas. Then we'll refine and test these ideas by building some levels with it to balance it and make sure it isn't under/overpowered before releasing it into the live game. - John, Senior Level Designer


And how you choose which character is the recommended one in every level?

We usually base this on the game mode, board layout, game flow and candy colours to decide the recommended character in every level. Since some characters work better on certain levels than in others, we will test the potential recommended characters during our testing sessions. This process helps to make sure the character bring a positive impact on level progress and the best game experience to all of you! - Verena, Junior Level Designer


Do you choose a mode first and then choose the right character to go with the theme and then choose the outfit OR do you choose the character, then come up with a theme for this character and his outfit?

What is the process you go through if you do create a new kind of level. Do you determine what the goal would be first (like dunk the cookies or free the animals) and then come up with specifics - the artwork if it is a new item (like collect the ice cream cones)?

We choose the game mode first. That often determines what characters we can use - Olivia and Jelly Queen, for example, are game mode-specific characters. Then we factor in what characters work best for a level's design (sometimes we tailor a level to a specific character, other times we see which ones performs the best in the level). The outfits are chosen by the player, unless there's an event that we dress up our characters for! As for our new game mode process, we'll decide on what the goal should be first - what type of experience we want to provide - and then we'll add specifics to our foundation and build up! It's what we call a Top-Down Design. Start at the top, and dig down into specifics. - Jordan, Level Designer


What inspires you to create new blockers such as the Hazelnut Crunch? Also for the characters like Jelly Queen and BGT?

Our designers always have new ideas buzzing around our heads. These might be ideas to add to and improve an existing experience, or provide a whole new dynamic of play unlike any we've made before (e.g. the Hazelnut Crunch). We hold a super fun ideation session where we all throw our ideas at a board, talk them through, and see what ideas we think have the most potential. Sometimes the inspiration is as simple as staring at some delicious candy and dreaming up what it might do in our levels (level designers get hungry too!) - Jordan, Level Designer


Are you thinking of adding a new type of level? You just added a new blocker (the hazelnut Crunch - which is awesome by the way) - so are you working on a new type of level?

There might be a little something in the works... ๐Ÿ˜„ - Jordan, Level Designer


Does other King games give you the opportunity to create fun events and new levels? For example, there is F5 in Candy Crush Saga, Magic Ritual in BW3, and Honey Harvest in Farm Heroes Saga. Do you keep adding events from other King games into new ones?

We of course always collaborate with other King game teams to share what is working well with their events and features, but we try not to just do an exact copy of events in other games. We like to learn what works best for successful events and then use that knowledge to create something based on those learnings, but that works well and is unique for Candy Crush Friends. - John, Senior Level Designer


Is there a swift hand booster like in CC, to make it easier to swap booster positions?

Unfortunately, Candy Friends doesn't have it at the moment. We are actively considering to offer new boosters in the game as always. The swift hand booster might be one of it. If you have any thought towards the booster, feel free to tell us your ideas! - Jordan, Level Designer


When will Every Player around the World get to play all Events?

With our live events, there could be some that only run in certain regions at certain times. This is for a number of potential reasons - we could be testing a new event in a particular region, or there might be an event that one region would celebrate, but wouldn't make sense to run elsewhere. The majority of our major events do already run worldwide, so no one should be missing out on too much! - John, Senior Level Designer


I’d love to know if the types of blockers will be called out on the start menu of a level for our Daily Quests Like the Friends are? Currently there is NO way to know if a level has Poprocks or Carmel Clusters or Mints until you’ve played the level. If we could add that ‘design’ element to the start prompt screen that would be super helpful in completing daily quests

It's an interesting idea! Sadly there's no option right now to allow the players to see a level's blockers - though I'd love to see that! - but perhaps there's a way to help you guys hunt down levels with the blockers you need for your Quests. Thank you for the ideas; we'll discuss it further with our team! - Jordan, Level Designer


One of the things I enjoy about King games is having “favorite levels” for things like completing quests and contests. I also really enjoy replaying certain levels because they are fun! I like to challenge myself to beat my score, or sometimes I get stuck on a regular level and just need a break.

Currently Friends does not have an easy way to replay old levels. Each episode requires tedious scrolling. This totally affects replay-ability.

Do you design levels with replay-ability in mind? If so, do you feel like they are limited by the lack of a good option to get from one episode to another?

We don't have any concrete plans right now to add this feature into the game, but watch this space! Your thoughts and ideas really do make a difference to what we put in the game, so thanks for the feedback - the more you raise certain issues, the more we'll know it's something you guys care about and the more likely we'll address it in future updates. - John, Senior Level Designer


Any idea on whether you guys will be able to bring a "Portal" into the game or not? If you are thinking about it, when that sweet moment would be?

We've got so many ideas for new features, it's crazy! The list goes on forever, so we're always creating and testing new ideas for the game to keep things fresh and exciting. It takes time, but fret not - new features are on the way. Will one of them be a Portal? Only the future may tell, so stay tuned to find out! - Jordan, Level Designer


Is there a possibility we can replace the Characters in the middle of the game that we have chosen before playing?

Having multiple playable characters in one level is something we have briefly discussed, so maybe it will happen at some point but there aren't any current plans to implement it. Unfortunately it is not possible right now, but who knows what the future holds! Jordan, Level Designer


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