So I've been playing an old favorite of mine, Ketsui. This game is a next level sort of brutally difficult but it's somehow 100% fair and can be bested with practice. And it got me wondering. How do you guys accurately play test games THIS hard and decide when something isn't cheap? Do you get skilled players, are you all really good at games, or do you use certain other methods?
So… the main requirement for “fairness” in games is this - as a designer, for any challenge I pose to the player, I must clearly show the player what she needs to do, and how she needs to do it. There shouldn’t be any kind of ambiguity or gotcha about it. No tricks, no hidden gimmicks, no weird moves without adequate warning. The player must be aware of what needs to be done, and then given sufficient opportunity to complete the challenge. If the player is unable to complete the challenge as presented clearly through no fault but their own, then the player gets punished. That’s what makes it fair. As long as the player understands that the punishment or reward directly results from her actions, she will consider the challenge to be fair.
This is a key principle in the design of punishing but “fair” games. The Dark Souls series is famous for this - the enemies always behave consistently. They always telegraph their attacks. When you die to them, you know exactly why you died - they did something that you didn’t deal with properly, and you got punished for it. The execution barrier might be narrow and difficult, but you can tell that it is doable. You just need to get it right.
So how do we design such an encounter? We start by building it and making it easy. We can make the tells super obvious, give plenty of time to react, and minimize the punishment for failure. We can adjust the environment, placing obstacles and power ups. We can adjust the encounter speed. Then, once we have something that feels mechanically satisfying, we can start tuning these individual factors to tailor the encounter to where we want it to be. Things like timing windows are given a hard lower limit (because players can’t react faster than humanly possible) but, as long as the warnings and tells are all visible so the player is given time to react, the player should understand that it is still a fair encounter. With shoot-em-up games like Ketsui, the key element in the difficulty is the sizes of the collision boxes for the player’s ship and enemy shots, and the speed at which enemy shots travel. As long as there is clearly enough space at any given time for the player to slip between enemy shots and the player has sufficient time to navigate through them, the player will still consider it fair.
For playtesting, we in the AAA space usually train some QA testers to be experts at execution. They are often tasked with reproducing some pretty execution-heavy or timing-related bugs, but it’s also what they have been doing for months. They are usually the ones with the highest player skill level, since they are the ones who have put in the most time playing the game (unlike devs like me, who spend all that time making the game - not the same thing). Designers might know what’s coming, but that doesn’t mean that they have the muscle memory and hours of play experience to make it through the challenge.
Take A Stand: Star of Ceartais Chapter 1: Dreams and Reality
(An/ Whoa that was quick! Thanks for clicking to continue the story, so without further ado let’s get cracking with this chapter. Thanks to @ziegelzeig and @nick-and-judy-daily for the art in this chapter)
Robyn needed to relieve some stress after pouring her heart out to Luna, the teen had retreated into her bedroom and began jabbing at the punching bag that hung from the ceiling. Luna was sitting on her sister’s bed playing a beat em’ up game on Robyn’s games console, the doctor wanted to stick around until Nick and Judy got home just so she could calm her parents down when they inevitably started telling Robyn off. “Man I miss videogames.” Luna sighed as she defeated her virtual opponent and waited for the next round to loud.
“Then when why don’t you buy a console? You’re rich enough.” Robyn replied, delivering a high kick to the punch bag.
“It’s having the time that’s the issue, between work, hanging out with my friends and making time for…” Luna began to answer absentmindedly before silencing herself, she was such a blabbermouth that she’d even snitch on herself sometimes.
Payday gang gaming headcanons + examples of what they like
Plays simulator games, I'unno. Game Dev Tycoon/moneymaking type shit.
Likes a multitude of genres. Probably makes his own considering he's a software developer. Probably makes death houses in Sims 4 on his free time.
Usually does board games, mostly due to his time in prison. You could probably organize DnD with him or something. Probably also likes Mario on the down low tbh
...Arma 3? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I really don't know. He probably has Call of Duty and only plays it to assblast people online (and to get people angry on purpose). Actually really likes the Fallout series.
Fighting games. Mains Luigi in Smash, and has a burning hatred for people like DSP when playing online matches.
Do not bring up Nintendogs around the others. Just don't. Let the man take care of his DS doggos in peace.
Largely the same as Hoxton except she has a specialty for tabletop RPGs (specifically grimdark shit). Still angry about Warhammer Fantasy not getting an awesome game on the scale of 40k's Dawn of War.
Laughing as he plays his role as a brutal cop in GTAV. Normal players hate him with a burning passion.
Plays on an old-ass NES he's somehow managed to maintain through the years. Often plays shoot 'em up games like Gradius or Xevious as they're "relaxing."
Doesn't entirely get video games, but you can see her poke into idle games like Neko Atsume. Gets hilariously frustrated if Tubbs visits.
[JonTron voice] SPOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORTS. Will kick your ass at air hockey if you ever play him.
Pretty much the only sane choice in terms of games out of the gang. Poker usually ends with him winning, strip poker has him with everyone else's suits. He gives them back afterwards, though.
"Seriously, why don't you guys try some actual extreme sports sometime?" This was said as he casually hid a copy of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 under his shirt. Part of the GLORIOUS PC MASTER RACE.
Is the one person insane enough to play Dark Souls on a KEYBOARD while his character is ass naked, and wins.
Doom, Mortal Kombat, basically anything that has maximum potential for gore. Runs Brutal Doom with the Overdrawn at the Blood Bank setting, and pre-ordered Doom 2016. Secretly likes Touhou games (don't tell anyone).
"what are you talking about" he says as he just casually plays on an old Gameboy, because he didn't really have time to do much in terms of consoles and such. Beat Pokemon Red and actually discovered the Mew trick on his own.
Today Marks the beginning of the third week of the 2D side scrolling shoot em’ up game that I am currently making with a team of programmers and artists. At the moment we are still in the pre-production stages of the project however, this is the final week of pre-prod and there has been some great progress.
This is a paint over mock up of a level (Art by Jessica Murphy)
Breaking News! Microsoft and Rareware have Just announced their first Conker game in a whole Decade! That’s right, a whole Ten (well, 9, but who cares) Years, we’ve been without the conker game after the massive outrage that Live & Reloaded caused, fans never got a sequel. Some have been begging Microsoft for a sequel, so bad that they’ve actually sold their soul to satan for a mere chance of there being a conker sequel. while others are glad they never got a sequel, because “it’ll most likely be a half-assed game with no thought or effort put in, like it’s been for the past 12 years”. But want it or not, the sequel is HERE!
Conker’s Fight to Save UR A$$! is a Money-collecting 3D Beat-em-up game (Think Double Dragon Neon + The Batman Arkham games) The money you collect in the game can be used to buy upgrades and new moves. However, you can also spend 400 Microsoft Points for $5 in-game dollars. Some things can only be purchased with Microsoft Points though, such as new characters, new levels, new costumes, some of the moves, some of the weapons and some of the shoes. That’s right, shoes, customization and collectible shoes that can be worn during the online-only multi-player, which is a major part of the game. Microsoft had this to say. “We saw Team Fortress 2’s popularity and decided we needed something similar”
Much like all 10 of Microsofts previous games, Conker’s Fight 2 Save UR A$$! is being hyped up to be better than Sonic Jesus on crack creating the super big bang. It’s constantly shoved in your face I mean, advertised on TV, internet ads, Youtube, stores, blimps, the moon and everywhere else. Gaming journalists like me, IGN and Gamespot were BRIBED WITH SO MUCH FUCKING MONEY I CAN BUY 600 MANSIONS AND STILL HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO BUY THE SUN I’M RICH RICH RIIIIIIIICH- I mean… very well informed on how amazing this game will be, and while i can’t technically review it yet because I haven’t even played it and it’s not out yet, but I can say that this is undeniably the greatest game of all time and can not be surpassed by anything.
there have been some complaints all over the internet that this game is just a cash grab to get people’s money due to the expensive all-star cast being DLC, and to that, i have to say this. Why complain about DLC when if you think about it, every game on Steam is DLC? check and mate, you so called “gamers”. I, for one, can’t wait to play as a miniature Titan from the immensely popular game “Titanfall”, Master Chief from “Halo” and Banjo from “Banjo-Kazooie” I don’t care if they cost $15.00 - $17.50 all together (or $20 if you get the bundle with all 3 of them) Because I love Microsoft’s big meaty cock the game itself is and will be literal perfection. And I definitely DO NOT have a gun to my head to say this.
Have Fun Enjoy Love the game Play it
Microsoft’s Great Even better with the DLC
And if you want to pre-order the Limited Collector’s Edition, go to this link right here. (X) Trust me, it’s worth every penny of the $250 you spend