Created a URL and IP address parser for the new project I’m working on and in turn gave myself a crash course in regular expressions! Yay! My head hurts…
The Art of Predictability
There is an Android game called Hoplite by Magma Fortress that has grabbed my attention lately. It has plenty going for it, in that it’s a quick-play mobile game with a solid turn-based strategy design. It’s a bit like a board game, feels like chess at times, and has some great progression.
But aside from giving this game generic praise, I want to discuss something Hoplite leverages that should not be dismissed. Predictability. The AI doesn’t move at random, instead it’s very specific and deliberate. Every move is based on how to best position themselves to make your life harder. Melee monsters go for the kill. Ranged monsters try to line up while staying out of reach. Alone, no single monster is much of a challenge; It’s when they combine to limit your options that the game gets you sweating. One monster throwing bombs is hardly a threat, until there’s an archer covering your escape route.
My point is this. You don’t have to be unpredictable and random to add challenge. Challenge comes from complexity and limiting viable options. It allows for strategy to be the emergent element, instead of a scripted one, which is where it belongs. Sure it might mean that puzzles have solutions, and some players will reach the echelon where the challenge becomes trivial. That’s okay! People want to be rewarded for completing tasks. From there, you can always consider adding another layer of complexity. The fact that Donkey Kong and Pac Man could be ‘solved’ back in the day didn’t limit their appeal, it created cult followings of people yearning to see a kill screen. It’s not a bad thing.
(Courtesy of Paul Dean/Bill Carlton)
P.S. I love that in his latest update blog he explains the design choices he made and why. It’s a very lucid approach to game balancing, and I honestly believe all the changes he made in this recent update were for the better. I also appreciate that he was forced to abandon some gameplay elements that seemed unified in concept (everything using energy), that didn’t play well in practice. It makes for a more interesting game. I enjoy that the only penalty for throwing a spear is that you have to go pick it up again. Very well done.
This is a great thought! Predictability is definitely why games like Chess have been around so long. There’s something to learn and improve on. It’s wonderful! Come to think of it, the 3-hit boss format of Super Mario games and others also fit this idea.
Great advice to game devs. I always immediately turned to randomness because it was frankly easier, but programmed and predictable strategies can definitely be much more fun and rewarding for the player. I’ve definitely got to keep this in mind as I make my games…
I’ve suddenly forgotten how (following) camera controls in 3rd-person 3-D adventure games work? Can someone remind me? I don’t currently have access to any applicable games.
Does the camera always snap behind the character when they’re moving and allow free orbit standing still? Or… What’s the general protocol for following cameras?
EDIT: Wait, wait, wait, I remember now! The camera simply influences the movement direction. If I turn the camera and move forward, the character should move the way the camera is pointing. Yay for memory!
Supposedly the only way to “get better” at things is to “do it a lot”. I guess the process is called “practice” or something.
Ugh. #gamedev via http://ift.tt/1720fvp
My sarcastic frustration here is directed at making game art. It takes too long! Why can’t it just be fast and painless and easy!?
Looking for a video game developer to talk about exploration…
It’s worth a shot giving a Tumblr shout out, right?
I organize a video game podcast, and we’re looking to discuss exploration soon. If you are a game developer, and you are interested in discussing how your game approaches exploration, please respond to this post or send me an ask. I can work around your schedule.
The only restriction is that we can only talk about a full game that you’ve released. It can be Flash, Game Maker, or whatever, but it must be complete and available to the public.
Signal boost. I always love talking about exploration, but alas, I fail in the “game developer” qualification. But if any of you other folks want in, please respond.
Shoot, I wish I could help with this. I do fit the “game developer” qualification, and I have one game that focuses on exploration, but it’s nowhere near developed enough to talk about. One of my ideas that I’m dying to start working on but can’t because of my skill level will be all about exploration, but of course, it’s still in the idea and world-building stages of “development”.
Hope you find someone!
Perhaps I should specify: I can now make version updates of all of my Unity Scripts, and even though I don’t have any idea how to use Git, there’s lots of documentation for it to help me figure out what I need to do! Yay!
I would use GitHub, but it’s only free if you’re doing open source, which is not the case with my game projects…