Game Feel


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.


Agreed. However…

If anything, the red should fade in and out. What we currently have looks like the cells are turning into alarm lights


what if the compounds you absord, could be seen inside if your cell. so it would look like it sorta fills up


Seeing the compounds floating around inside the cell would be amazing imho


I agree with your vision of having a game that feels fluid and meditative but also quite fast paced if you evolve that way.

However, it’s quite difficult for me to know how close we are to that due to the input delay I’ve been experiencing. I don’t know how many others are having this and whether they just haven’t mentioned it, but there definitely is a half second pause between me pressing WASD (or, for that matter, scrolling) and moving. It makes things feel very clunky and is completely at odds with what I was hoping for with game feel.


I feel like what you are describing is something way more noticeable then how it plays for me. For me there is a slight delay when you first press it but I hold it down anyway and move with the mouse so don’t even notice that delay at the beginning.


@Oliveriver I know what you mean, but I‘m not sure if I dislike that initial delay. To me it kind of feels natural as the cell is underwater and there‘s a lot of inertia. I think maybe if your cell has a lot of flagellas facing the opposite side from the one you‘re swimming towards that delay could be decreased until it‘s almost unnoticable. But if your cell doesn‘t have any flagellas yet the delay feels logical to me.


I don’t really feel it as inertia though. If it ramped up to full speed slowly then it would, but right now it’s just press button, nothing, then move.

Sorry for going on about this. It just kind of ruined my experience of the game.


@Oliveriver Alright, I‘ll have to try it again on my own. If it‘s really just a delay without a gradual increase in speed I get you. Then it may be better to get rid of the delay. What do others think of this?