Use the Beat Chart to Point Out Weaknesses in Your Game’s Overall Design
The beat chart is a great tool as we mentioned before to judge the flow of gameplay in a level and in the game as a whole. The beat chart for a game lays out all the elements within a level and helps you see the overall patterns of gameplay. You mix up obstacles, enemies, puzzles, and bosses to find the best combinations for each stage of the game. In general the game will get harder as you go along so you want to make sure that the gameplay reflects that in the beat chart. You also want to have a few “wow” moments in the game that players will remember. In general you would have one in the beginning of the game, another towards the middle and a big finale at the end.
Beat charts should be updated as you change things in the game, so you can always have an accurate view of what’s going on in the game. For procedural games you want to list what types of algorithms or code is being used and what the range of effects may be. For instance a procedural game could randomly select plane 1, 2 or 3 as an enemy. In that case all three outcomes need to be listed as possible at this one point in the game in the beat chart. This will let you keep track of what is going on at all times and it will be easier to understand when you come back to make changes or when you need to find a bug.
A Sample Beat Chart for the game pictured above could look something like this:
Sample Beat Chart for the video game “HacKnight”
Level 1 – HacKnight Facility
TOD (Time of Day)
Training – beginning tutorial
Estimated Play Time
Aqua (RGB values 0, 255, 255) , Medium teal blue (RGB values 0, 83, 142), Navy Blue (RGB values 0, 19, 33)
Crouch, Running, Jumping, Shooting, Jump-Shooting, Run-Shooting
Spikes, Swinging Blade, Mine, Moving / Falling Platforms, Flames, Giant Laser
Power-ups – N/A Special Abilities – N/A Economy – N/A
Bonus Materials – N/A
Soundtrack – Level_1.mp3 by “Whoever The Musician”