So I'm deciding on visuals for my game. I've got a fair bit of stuff done, but the character has been a problem. First pass was too minecraft-y and I wanted a pixelly style, but not something so similar.
So I looked up some pixel art online and came up with this!
This is Aang from A:TLA done for Simple CG's TV character challenge!
This will also very likely end up being the style of model I end up using in my final game.
In making my first
game I’ve noticed that building mechanics around the idea of “Call and Response”
to be something that greatly improves the fun of a game, and that such call and
response ideology is far too rare in game design these days. To explain what I mean
I’m going to look at a few other art forms first. In music, a particular
instrument will play a melody and another set of instruments will respond with
a particular phrase. In dance, the drums might play a particular rhythm cueing
the dancer to begin a particular movement. These are called, you guessed it,
calls and responses. They serve as a sort of dialog between the pieces of a
performance, and this interaction makes that performance much more interesting
This call and
response mechanic applies directly into the world of games as well, and not only
does it apply, it’s actually a favorable outcome. Chess is a game that’s been
around for a very long time and for a very simple reason. As each player moves
a piece, the other player must respond directly by moving a piece that counters
the previous motion. One player calls, the other responds.
Magic: The Gathering,
a more contemporary example, is the same way. The game is built around building
a deck of cards with an assortment of calls and responses. Each turn is setup
to allow each player to call and then respond to every move made. Say I draw a
card. In response to my draw, you cast a spell that makes me discard and lose
life. I respond by countering your spell. You respond by sacrificing a creature
to remove the spell from the stack. I respond by hitting your creature with
direct damage, etc, etc, etc. Call, respond, call, respond. Magic decks are
built around the idea of outsmarting your opponents by including calls to which
they can’t respond, but the fun in the game comes, not from deck building, but
in the playing the game and actually testing those calls and responses. Some
people may derive more joy from the deck building, but I guarantee that without
ever having seen the flow of the full game, they would not enjoy building a
deck on its own.
What I’ve noticed is
that this carries over into video game design as well, but it’s not something
taken advantage of as often as it could be. In video games most devs give you a
single call. You’re able to call damage down onto your opponents. You can shoot
fireballs or rockets or bullets or call the hand of God down to smite your
opponents, but regardless of the form it takes these are all the same call.
I’ve noticed that top-down games like Magicka, League of Legends, or Diablo all
have a much greater variety of call and response available to them. You can
summon walls to block your opponents, put them to sleep, leap forward to catch
them with your sword, or summon illusions to confuse their responses. The best
game of this ilk, in my opinion, is NoX. NoX is a game built around a wide
assortment of calls and responses. You could shoot fireballs at your opponents,
yes, but you could also just make a wall of fire in front of them. Or just a
wall. Or you could redirect their fireball back at them. Or just counter their
spellcasting. Or give yourself protection from fire damage. Or swap location
with the caster just as their fireball
is approaching. Or just make yourself invincible for the duration of the spell’s
hit. The volume of calls and responses available in NoX was astounding.
So why do so few games do that? Why don’t we
see more shooter games with the ability to make walls to block our opponents’
path? And then to lay explosives to knock those walls down? Why don’t we see
more abilities in games like Skyrim that let us switch locations with an
opponent or redirect an incoming attack? Why don’t we see more arcade racing
titles with the ability to set your opponent back to a previous point on the
track, or yourself forward on the track? Why are almost all games made today
made with only a small handful of calls and almost no responses? Why do games
go out of their way to include features like being able to open doors in new
and creative ways, yet leave their combat systems out in the cold?
Almost all games are
built around the idea of fighting an opponent, yet almost none of them allow
you to approach this any way other than mindlessly spraying them with bullets.
Well the answer is
obvious enough, it’s because it’s difficult. It’s much easier to control
balance in a game where there’s only one call and one response. But we must not
settle for this. We must not be content with a song only played by one
instrument. We must not accept a dance with only one combination of steps. We
must call for more options in our games, we must call for more choice in how we
approach our problems.
With this post I take my first step down the path of Game Development!
The following is a link to the address on my website where my game is being hosted. The subsequent two links are a simple list of controls and a zip file containing the JoyToKey software and the control files that I set up to use for a PS4 and Xbox360 controller.
(With premade controller mapping, and jpegs to explain them)
And if you prefer, here's a link to the JoyToKey page though I don't like their website's ads, they pretend to be download links.
At any rate, give this a play through, and let me know what you think about it! I'll be working on this over the course of the next year to refine it and make it as amazing as possible!
Also keep in mind that this is a really rough version of the game and is in need of several adjustments that I discovered through a playtest session I did a few weeks ago. I'm aware of several issues, but if you feel the need to offer some more feedback, I would love to have it!