Do it yourself
Creation can be a daunting experience in games. Where, when faced with a blank canvas and a bulging toolset, do you even begin? And once you do finally get into a groove, how can you ensure you’re making something good? Level editors have traditionally been optional extras aimed at a small number of players, yet some of this month’s new releases place creation at their very heart.
Within them, we see evidence of their developers suspecting we will not be very good at it. Super Mario Maker (p104)’s toolset includes flashy visuals, comedy sound effects and outsized enemies, all signs of Nintendo telling us that if we can’t make something great, we might as well cook up something silly.
Tearaway Unfolded (p116)’s entire world is made of paper, everything boxy, awkward and creased, scenery furling and swaying with just a few frames of animation. The creations we contribute to the world are sketched clumsily with pointed digits, but seem at home in a land of wonky charm.
Creation in Disney Infinity, meanwhile, has become so complex over three games that the 3.0 version ( p120) features a dedicated Toy Box Hub packed with tutorials to get budding creatives started. There’s a level editor in
Volume (p112), too, though Mike Bithell puts more stock in the hobbyist designer’s ability; the Core stream of levels are a button press away from a UGC smorgasbord, and the Staff Picks selection swells weekly to offer a meaty endgame.
Should we lay this at Minecraft’s door? Level editors may be nothing new, but these playful expressions of the simple pleasure of making things seem either inspired by
Minecraft’s success or hungry for a slice of it. Whatever their creators’ motivations, the fact that we are seeing games about making games given centre stage in the busiest months of the year is surely something to be cheered.