Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Level Editor: Exploring the (near infinite) possibilities

Scribblenauts is a big game. Is that really new to anyone? Probably not. As if 220 levels weren't enough for you, though, we also know that we'll be seeing a level editor. This editor is unlocked right at the start allowing people to jump in and edit levels they've played. A lot of companies can make the claim of "INFINITE REPLAY!" with level editors which, let's face it, never pans out. With Scribblenauts' impressive object dictionary and every combination with 220 levels...well...the number of possible interesting levels is quite high.

What we know:

--You can't create your own level designs. Instead, you use one of the 220 existing levels as templates to build a level around

--You populate the level with items similar to how you would in game. There is an item limit as well

--Items can have custom built properties in relation to other items. Bears can fear honey. Zombies can follow cars. Etc. The exact functionality of this system isn't known

--As of right now one can only create action levels. You can freely place the star anywhere.

--You can share levels with your friends via friend codes. The amount of friends is unknown. It's been confirmed you can save up to 8 levels. It's unknown if this is TOTAL (a combination of levels you make/levels you download), but we can assume it is

--It's possible to set a name, a hint, and music for each level

As we can see, there's an awful lot of customization and freedom with this system despite the restrictions. With 220 templates you'll most likely find any level that'll work with one you want to make. Perhaps most exciting aspect is the ability to play with item relationships. This allows people to make really awesome custom levels with rules no one can predict.

So what exactly is possible with this? Well, NGamer Magazine in their latest tweet mentioned they recreated a Pikmin-esque level with the system. Now that's pretty cool, and it makes me wonder what other type of custom levels you could create. With every object at your fingertips you could spawn background items (like walls), platforms, etc. I mean hell, could it be possible to recreate Super Mario Bros. 1-1 level? Probably!

What I want to see more of is the custom relationships. How powerful can we get? Can we make two items which normally hate each other suddenly not? Maybe zombies could pair up with humans while riding bulls...man, I don't know! But further, I'm interested to see how we could have relationships with items not yet on screen. I feel that would be important. You could make bears fear honey if you have the honey and bear on the level. But could you have it so the bear fears ALL food? With Objectnaut each item has many properties we could feasible take advantage of, and I do hope we see that. I'm not holding my breath, though.

By being able to share these online (though limited to friend codes) we could conceivably have communities which do nothing but make levels and share them. It won't be as powerful or freeform as, say, Little Big Planet, but it COULD happen. It's definitely something I want to explore via this site as well.

So tell me, what type of level do you hope to make?


  1. Well just as a note, i really hope u can edit items not on screen, because lets say perhaps, i have the starite guarded by bees(muahahaha, im one mischievous bastard) and then someone creates honey and flings it somewhere, when i actually intended for then to fight the bee's, i will be fairly dissapointed, so this could allow me to make bee's unintrested in steriotypical "bee things"
    also when did we get confirmation of only action levels, i thought it was only inferred/not sure
    and one last thing i don't have too high hope for interactions, we know theres ride, fight, fear but i doubt some things like dances with, spits on, juggles etc,

    alright now to a level idea of mine i give the starite to a cop, and then give the cop an invisibility cloak, then make him afraid of maxwell, and set him to ride a helicopter, in the hint i will say no weapons(in the carnival level where you knock down bottles you couldn't summon weapons, but im not sure if we have that control option, but common people play by the rules)

    sounds pretty hard to me because you are tasked with
    1.finding something that will want to take out a helicopter, thats not a weapon, while keeping your distance
    2.(since you personally probably can't get close enough to him to take him yourself, due to his phobia,) you must summon something that would attack a cop
    3.but before that you FIRST must find a way to make said creation see that cop as he is invisible. and if you summon something too deadly(kraken, death) the startite the cop is holding may be destroyed(i know it's kinda unecessary but i think that you shouldn't simply delete the object you use to kill the cop, as keeping the starite safe is part of the challenge

    might not come out as well as i hope but for a couple minutes i think it sounds good, sorry if i wrote to much, i can never help it

  2. sorry bout big post before, but i think i will try to solve my level

    summon an anvil and glue it to the helicopter to prevent it from flying, then summon a baby and some glue(wonder were i've heard this) and glue the baby to the helicopter, then summon a lion who whilst attacking/ating the baby will hopefully destroy the heli.*delete lion*now that the cop is grounded, i will create a hole, and and a donut. i will put the donut on the other side of the hole and the cop while running torwards the donut will fall in. then i summon some paint(hopefully what i expect, glob of paint, and color the cop(hopefully the game will realize he is now visible) and throw a thief down the hole. when the thief steals the starite i will connect a rope to him, as well as to the end of a plane, and fly away with him. when i land i will summon a bee to atack the thief then run in for the starite

    i believe thats 12 items(yes i know some steps can be avoided) also i will be kinda disappointed if paint on invisible guy doesn't work

  3. The 'paint on invisible person' idea is pretty cool, and I didn't think about it. I'm willing to bet they thought of it, because it's a pretty stereotypical sci-fi gimmick. Powder or liquid work too, maybe?