Tag Archives: game design

Nothing: The Hidden Input

_movementState = MovementStates.Idle;

I’ve been working on a side project in Unity, and I wrote that line.  You probably don’t need to know anything about programming to know what it does.  There’s a character, and it’s not moving.  It’s idle. Continue reading

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Round 1 – The Opression of Being Dominated

This is the continuation of my campaign for better fighting games, hopefully culminating in a project of my own.  I’m making this up as I go along, and trying to be transparent with it all.

Nobody likes losing.  I know I don’t.  Even if you are of sound mind and calm countenance, losing is still a negative experience.  But does that mean it can’t be fun?  Losing is simply a matter of mechanics.  You lose because the rules say you lose.  The rules don’t say you shouldn’t have fun.



This means that the mechanics of the game have to be crafted such that there are still meaningful choices to be made while losing.  Basically, if I’m getting beat down, do I still have stuff to do?  Continue reading

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Time to Stop Complaining and Fight

Humor me for a few lines, reader.  Imagine a game.  Not just any game, a highly-nuanced, complex game; a competitive game.  This game has next to no tutorial yes requires large amounts of precision and timing for even moderately skilled play.  At high levels, this game necessitates using glitches and exploits to combat its own complicated systems.  The game has no internal progression and makes no effort to teach the player, even through a simple challenge-curve.  Are you disgusted yet?  This is a problem, no?  I mean, the controls could be tight.  It could be a pretty game.  All of the window dressing could be perfectly in order.  And yet, here we are, with a frustrating game because it does nothing for the player at all.

“But Jon,” you say.  “This game isn’t even real.  Who would make a game like this?  Who would play it?” Continue reading

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The Tandem Bike Theory: Guild Wars 2 X Mathematics

Train boarding

Aaaaaall aboooooooooard!

Have you ever been on a long train ride?  If so, what about it do you recall?  What were you doing?  Perhaps you were talking to a friend, reading a book, or eating a sandwich.  Maybe, after those options were exhausted, you briefly looked out the window because there was nothing left to do.  Were you concerned at all with the intricacies of the train?  Did your glances outside provide you with meaningful information about your location?  Did you speak to any other passengers?  For me, train rides are passive experiences.  I just find it hard to care.  You get on, try desperately to amuse yourself, make a transfer or two, then you’re done.  All the while, you follow the instructions of some disembodied conductor who you probably never see.

So, why all the train talk?  Well, to understand where I’m going, let’s talk about MMORPG’s.  I’m not being specific, so just think of the most generic one you know.  In my experience, these games are boring.  No matter what role you choose, group play boils down to a chore.  If you heal, you spend your days staring at bars and trying to keep them full.  As a DPS-er, you spam hotkeys for damaging skills.  For such a seemingly team-oriented activity, it ends up lacking interpersonal interaction and more importantly, fun.  These types of games are trains.  You hop on, do your menial task, and somehow end up at the end.  Continue reading

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Making 2D Dogfights Interesting

Oxymoron?  Yeah, probably.  Basically, I’m noticing yet another issue with my current project, Project Fly.  The issue: aerial dogfights seem to suck in 2D.

In Ace Combat, aerial dogfights are awesome.  In 3D, you have so many options for movement and getting the enemy off of your tail becomes much more interesting.  In 2d, it’s either left or right.  Boring.  That’s what I thought at first anyway.  Then again, why can’t left and right be interesting?  In Ace Combat, you can move in MANY directions, but only in ONE way.  All you do us shift your angle by altering pitch and yaw.  Weak-sauce, this is 2D-Town and we do whatever we want.  Heck, this is a fantasy game, we can take whatever liberties we want with anything.  The player has an energy bar used for firing weapons, why not let the player use energy to make movement more interesting?  There are quite a few options.

For example, the player can use energy to execute an instant 180° turn.  This totally takes an enemy by surprise, and works well if the player sees an incoming enemy on the map.  Of course, this maneuver also requires some guts and determination to be used well.

There could also be a side-shift maneuver like in the newer Wipeout games.  This allows for tighter turns or quick adjustments to avoid enemy fire.  It wouldn’t cost very much either.  I can envision players constantly side-shifting while being pursued by enemies.

Thinking about the possibilities just makes my brain giggle. Anything from quick boosts to backward teleportation. I’m sure that these maneuvers are the spice that 2D dogfights need.


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