I think “game feel” would be a good thing to discuss as it’s something quite profound in game design terms which is relatively easy to do I think and can make a game much more awesome. I think Savaliges camera trick was a good step in this direction and I think it’s something we could do more of. I also think that it’s a good thing for newer programmers to think about as some of this stuff doesn’t feel super technical and complicated, it’s just about little tricks that make things feel more visceral and real.
Here is a great introductory talk about how to make the classic game breakout feel much better without changing the mechanics.
Next is a talk from GMTK (which is a great channel if you are interested in game design) about Juicing which I think reinforces the point and provides examples.
I think we should be careful with the type of “Juicing” and feel features we use because we don’t want a juddery or adrenaline filled experience I think. I’m imagining (and I’d be interested if everyone else agrees) that we want something a bit meditative, smooth, squishy, gloopy, soft, fluid, “underwatery” and things like that.
I think a great example to follow might be Flow which has a cool underwaterery vibe. I think techniques the use are: particles (marine snow + spray on hit), little circles that appear on hit, flashing red for damage (which we have already), pulsing organelles with sound effects (we already have organelle division, maybe we could juice that a bit with a sound effect), clear communication when you eat stuff (I think maybe our compound bars could flash when you pick up compounds and there could be an eating sound effect), having several slightly varied sound effects for each event, pulsing and moving parts of the creatures.
I thought this quote from the book “Game Feel” was interesting
For example, a simple squash and stretch animation layered on top
of a moving avatar can radically change the feel of a game, as the creators of the
popular student game De Blob discovered. A post from Joost Van Dongen reported
that “When the ball bounces or moves very fast, it slightly deforms, and while rolling it slightly sags. On screenshots this is quite a subtle effect, but when seen in
action, it really looks fun. An interesting detail is that it changes the feel of the
gameplay entirely. Without the squash-shader, the game feels like playing with a
ball made of stone. Then with no changes to the physics at all, the squash-shader
makes it feel much more like a ball of paint. Nice to see how the player can be
deceived about gameplay using graphics only.
Here’s the trailer, I like how the blob squishes when it moves (not sure how hard that would be for us) and leaves little paint blobs behind, that really sells the bubbliness.
For example when the player collides with a bacteria right now they just kind of thud to a halt, I don’t know if there is anything we could do with maybe a sound effect and a deformation or a circle being emitted or anything. Another thing is flagella could be larger and could be de-synchronised so they give a more wiggly, organic feel. Also maybe they could emit particles and maybe little circles as you move, I’m not sure about any of this, it’s just ideas.
Ogre has a particle library I think that we could use, particles are apparently used everywhere and really help with game feel.
Anyway if anyone has any ideas then I’d be interested, also if anyone has things they think they could make which they’d like to try out and aren’t too huge then that would be cool. Flow just feels really nice to play and I think we have some amount of that with Thrive already, if we could get more of that then I think we could have a really nice experience on our hands.
Edit: This is a pretty good talk also.