Camera Anima Level Design Notes

April 22, 2015

An except from my level design notes from Camera Anima. When I started, I was familiar with Ren'Py's general programming but not how to take advantage of the engine to create point-and-click gameplay or item use. My design notes were intended to be an outline for the components of the game I knew were the bare minimum to complete the demo and stetch goals for components I wanted to introduce but was unsure I'd be capable of. 


Story Mode:


  • Introduce primary characters, setting, and overall plot and conflict.

  • Introduce player to navigating through choice menus.

  • Introduce player to cutscenes and general point-and-click exploration (should be able to click on some points to get a response).

         Minimum Goals:

  • An area for minor exploration/point-and-click interaction and a second area to transverse to.

  • At least one narrative choice menu navigation

  • Two cutscenes. One to at the start and one that makes up the bulk of the scene for exposition and character interaction.

         Stretch Goals:

  • Character art for the cutscenes (3-4 poses per character).

  • Optional scenes or dialogues.

  • A third area to explore.

  • Additional art for objects and newspaper.

         Level Flow:

Intro cutscene->minor exploration level->exit area to change level and view new cutscene->narrative menu choices->cutscene->end story mode.


Exploration Level:


  • Should present the player with at least one problem (need to enter locked building) and a solution.

  • Dialogue should provide hints for player action, both for avoiding bad endings and for knowing where to use or find objects.

  • Objects need their own art and should appear and disappear from the level with appropriate flags.

  • Introduce the player to picking up and using objects.

  • Be played and relatively understood without playing the story mode.

         Minimum Goals:

  • At least one object needed to complete the level.

  • Two or three areas to explore.

  • One introductory cutscene to provide context and inform the player of the goal.

  • Problem and solution should be solvable within 5-10 minutes.

         Stretch Goals:

  • Bad ending for using an object at the wrong place.

  • An extra problem to solve or object needed to complete level.

  • Alternative means of completing the level.

  • An inventory that displays items and a description when the player clicks on the individual items.

         Level Flow:

Intro cutscene->Introduction to problem->Exploration through areas->Collection of necessary objects->Use objects at correct points->Exit area to complete exploration mode.


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