I thought that it could be interesting to utilise the level creation software of Mario Maker 2 to quickly put together a couple of prototypes that test some game mechanics. There are pros and cons to using Mario Maker for what I wanted to achieve.
- I know how it works
- Can quickly put together levels without any coding
- Jump between creating and testing with a button press
- I can upload levels to have other people play them
- I have to take creative liberties in terms of how I use the set list of items and inbuilt mechanics to achieve what I want
- Could be hard to see past the Mario elements to the actual prototype being tested
Level Code: CJN-FWM-RXF
The first level I made was to simply try and replicate the process of carrying items over sections of water to be used to beat the level. I also put a lot of effort into the aesthetics by creating a house structure shown below as a start point as well as trying to use Mario enemies as forest animals. Despite being a short level that didn’t require much to beat, a lot of the tester would end up dying to the ‘forest animals’ for not being experienced with Mario mechanics which is an unfortunate feature of using Mario Maker.
Level Code: R60-YB1-68G
The second prototype was similar to the first but had many more items that could be picked up and transported through the level. I also added in a couple of sections that would require these items to be able to access more items. Another difference is that not all items are required to beat the level but rather the player gets a better ending depending on how many they get to the end. This prototype proved that trying to manage multiple items, especially when they have functions, is probably too stressful of a mechanic to include in our more relaxing game.
Level Code: 9P3-FB5-R9G
This level was more for fun as I simply tried to create some possible mechanics in a mini game format withing Mario Maker. For example, I managed to make a fishing mini game by using the claw and tracks from the game and somehow it actually works. I also had a section that represented collecting firewood to start a fire which also wasn’t too ridiculous. The purpose of this prototype, I suppose, was to show how there will be certain activities that the player can do throughout their journey and to test whether or not they should be mandatory.
Creating prototypes in Mario Maker turned out to be an interesting experience. On the one hand it is very quick to put together nice looking, functional levels with good intentions of testing certain things; but because the whole thing is covered with the Mario aesthetic, the tester can easily get distracted or can’t see past this shell.