Level Design

Levelling Chaos

The game has 4 levels. Each of them proposes a navigational puzzle structured the six types of glitches conceptualized by Alan Meades in his book Understanding Counterplay in Video Games (2015, p. 98): graphical glitches, navigation glitches, barrier glitches, process glitches, logic glitches and affordance glitches.

Glitch typology of Alan Meades (2015: 98).

Level #1: Bureaucratic Mess-Maze

The first level is based on graphical and barrier glitches. It starts in a small bureaucratic workspace. The place is deserted and calm. Empty working desks. Normal furniture. Neon lighting. Ventilation rumbling. In a given room, there is a noisy distant sound mimicking the swarming of a bunch of insects. The source of the sound in invisible. Thorough exploration reveals the first glitch-artifact: the Uncollider. Applying and removing the Uncollider on the wrong objects may lead to a falling death or simply a dead end. While use on the right object and combined with carefully planned movement, it serves to escape the confines of the workspace and reach the chaotic and Kafkian glitch world of the system margins. From there, the player can hunt the bugs, find the patch and close the fissure. The challenge is about memorizing where to jump through walls, fall through floors, pass through ventilation ducts, and leave through ceilings. It also requires kinesthetic agility to climb on objects, walk on thin ledges, make instinctive jumps, and control your falling trajectories to land at the right place.

Level #2: Institutional Web

The second level is grounded in the use of navigation glitches. Player is alone in the cell of a panopticon prison. In the room, there is a television, a radio, a mattress, a pillow, a chair, a table, and a bookshelf with some books and trinkets. Every object can be grabbed, held and thrown away. Using the Uncollider to explore adjacent cells, the player can discover the second glitch-artifact: the Enforcer. While skyrocketing through the glitch world stratosphere, it appears that the prison is the only building on a small isolated and floating piece of terrain. Scattered far away in the periphery, there are other discrete areas supporting institutional buildings. The challenge is to orient the abrupt ascension and control the fall to reach the different buildings. This maneuver is the only way to find the all the bugs and patch the crack in the level.

Level #3: Capital Factory

The third level offers a mix of navigation and barrier glitches. The participant is put at a barricade inside a dilapidated, dangerous, and immense factory. The place is vacant. Evidence of a strike are explicit. Chains and blockades around main doors. Union pamphlets on the ground. Slogans paint on the walls. Protest signs and banners are scattered here and there. Obvious sabotage of machinery. Walking around triggers apparently unavoidable fatal accident. Burst of fire from old rusty pipes. Collapse of staircases, footbridges, and ceilings. Piles of wooden pallets falling. Near the main barricade lies the Demassifyer. Use this glitch on a plethora of objects to improvise unofficial platforms, ladders and bridges to bypass invisible trigger boxes that set off unwanted events blocking the way. As you reach the boss luxurious office on the last floor, you find the crack and most of the bugs.

Level #4: Spectacle Society

The fourth level is structured around affordance glitches. The scene is outdoor during a sunny day of summer. The action takes place on the huge television set of a Wipeout-like game TV show where contestants have to cross series of colourful obstacles. Around the playspace, there are crowded estrades, multiple cameras, spotlights, rig trusses, and other filming accessories. Floating far away in the sky, there is a massive airship circling above the set with a sliced bread commercial on it. The crack and most of the bugs are right on the bread imagery. To reach your target, you have to pick up the Switcher located at the end of the first series of obstacles. Plan how you want to reconfigure the game environment layout. Apply the Switcher on the object you want to connect with. Get on location where you want to place an object and hit the switch.

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