Game Development Reference
Figure 13.2. Example of clustering scenes within objectives.
must choose where to go and what to do, so it is up to them to keep things moving in
a sandbox game. With that in mind, you must understand that the most important
thing in driving sandbox games are the objectives given to the player. So, pace the
game by outlining the objectives you're giving the player, and look at the level design
as the “receptacle” of that objective.
Figure 13.2 is an example of clustering scenes within objectives.
Game designers and level designers will need to give their feedback at this point.
It's important that these objectives turn out as strong motivators as well as drivers
for gameplay. Make sure to integrate their suggestions into the story as best you can,
but keep a tight leash on your plot just the same. This can be a tough situation.
There have been many cases where writers and game/level designers weren't able to
see eye to eye, so tread carefully. With objectives defined, level designers may now be
able to start putting together ideas for what the player actually has to go through to
complete these objectives. New ideas may crop up at this point, such as reversals to
the objective. This is where some of the best ideas may come out, so be open to the
Fleshing Out the Story
It's now time to further flesh out the sandbox game. This part of the task requires
identifying all the different elements involved in getting any of these scenes done.
This is a tough part of the job. You may need to work with a game designer as you
split up the elements into story and gameplay. I say “split” grudgingly, as the split
shouldn't be identifiable to the player. The blending of story and gameplay together
is always greater than the sum of the two.
Here are the different elements that you can further split your sandbox game