How A Neon White Level Is Made
As of writing, the fastest runthrough of Neon White’s “Smackdown” level is 9.56 seconds, earned by player “earlobe” on September 6, 2022.
Standing in contrast is the work that went into it. According to designer and creative director Ben Esposito, the earliest iteration was in March 2019, more than three years before its release in June 2022. In that time, there were more than 50 different iterations. Sometimes changes were small. Other times they fundamentally altered the level. Every designer who worked on the game has touched Smackdown in some form. Nevertheless, load into it now; chances are all that labor is invisible to you. Before sitting down to write, I beat it in just 11 seconds.
Neon White is a game built around speedrunning. Levels are short. If you’re playing as intended, you hardly notice your surroundings before moving on. But the only way that works effectively is if levels are meticulously designed to facilitate that movement; they have to be made so that it feels natural for the player to fly through them. Making a level you barely think twice about takes a lot of effort. Read more…