How to Develop Individual Challenges in Your Gamestar Mechanic Game

Many games in Gamestar Mechanic are simply collections of challenges — groups of sprites that the avatar must pass and/or resolve. These challenges can be in any order or shape, and they represent the individual trials you present to your players. To build your best game, you should develop individual challenges as design practice.

A challenge doesn’t have to consist of much content — it can be small and simple, or broad and complex. It might be a gauntlet of enemies that move in a way that hinders the avatar. The template games in your workshop — Dragons and Pinwheel — are advanced examples of such enemy patterns. A challenge might also be a maze or a simple collection of enemies that the avatar has to defeat.

Individual challenges are so versatile that there isn’t a list of steps for creating one, just as there isn’t a list of formulas for designing the perfect game. However, you can use the following tips to help you create well-designed challenges:

  • Learn from examples. Look at the Template Games section of your workshop, at Game Alley, and even at games outside of Gamestar Mechanic, to either emulate the challenges or add your own ideas.

  • Remember the five elements of game design. The five elements are useful not just for analyzing challenges but for creating them as well. Use your space well, choose components carefully to create interesting mechanics, and work in a way that plays off your level’s goals and rules.

    Have a challenge function in multiple ways. For example, you might use destructible blocks to change the gameplay of a room before and after the avatar acquires a blaster. You could also make a challenge in which the player navigates the level, picks up a sprite such as an item or a VIP, and then brings that sprite back to the start of the level.

    By either revisiting the challenge at different angles or difficulties or making the player circle around and navigate its more intricate concepts, a robust challenge is difficult to make but rewarding for players.

  • Play with ideas. Whether it’s in your game, in a separate draft, on paper, or in your head, think of ways to use sprites efficiently and effectively. Find ways to make your challenges fresh and interesting — with practice, you can turn your ideas into realities.