In 2012 while I was working at Appy Entertainment we received a contract with Disney Mobile to make levels for Where’s My Perry?, a Phineas and Ferb themed spin-off of their mobile physics puzzler franchise Where’s My Water?
This was my formative experience as a professional level designer. Disney gave us tools that allowed us to quickly make and iterate on levels. We were able to place elements using a development build of the game on iOS, and then fine-tune things by directly editing the XML file written by the editor. I was ultimately responsible to bring my levels all the way from concept to shippable over the course of a level pack’s creation.
We were responsible for the post-launch chapters A Platypus Never Forgets, Memoirs of a Monogram, The Last Laugh, The Voice of Destiny, and The Test of a True Agent, which were released every few months over 2012-2013. Most chapters introduced a new mechanic that we were responsible to tutor the players to use, before escalating into more complex levels using multiple mechanics. We would have internal playtesting sessions where the designers would give feedback to each other, then sessions with our clients at Disney to ensure the levels were conforming to their goals for the game, and finally, playtesting sessions featuring volunteers captured on a live video feed. The playtests were very helpful to identify pain points in our levels, or levels that simply weren’t going to ship. We were limited to 20 levels per chapter, so it wasn’t particularly painful to cut out ideas that weren’t working out.
We were also contracted to do levels for the expansions to the game, Doofenschmirtz Evil Incorporated and Calling All Agents.
Finally, in 2013, we were tasked with making levels for an additional Water? spinoff, Where’s My Mickey?, including levels for the Goofy expansion. These featured completely different mechanics such as clouds that held water, plants that grew and shrank, and wind.