Setting Boundaries

by Eric-Jon Rössel Tairne

Back in my review of Daniel Remar’s Hero Core, I ruminated on the game’s unusually dignified management of the player’s progress. After the first ten or fifteen minutes, nearly the whole map is available to the player; from there the player’s exploration is bound and guided only by the logistics of the terrain and natural risk assessment.

Since games have gotten complex enough to involve multiple action buttons, large persistent maps, and countless variable flags, developers have done their best to keep the player from getting too far, too fast; from wandering outside the proscribed zones where the designer has accounted for all variables, or feels that the player can safely wander without getting frustrated or confused. Part of the idea is to to pad out the play experience, allowing the designer to spin a sense of scale and scope from a relatively small amount of material. Part of it is damage limitation, either for the player’s or the developer’s ostensible benefit.

( Continue reading at DIYGamer )

Author: Azure

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2 thoughts on “Setting Boundaries”

  1. Hello, EJ. It would be a real coincidence if you actually aren’t the EJ Waugh I remember of Ninja Tuck at Kents Hill, back in the day, with some version of Game Maker that was supposed to be top-down but, yeah, why not draw the tiles to scroll left-right. I remember we were trying to figure out some way to do parallax scrolling, like Sonic, and maybe you did figure it out. I think that was the thing we asked them to build and it wasn’t going to happen at the time. Memories dissolve. The point is, I’ve been looking for you. I clearly remember that you drew tiles pixel by pixel, often without a need to zoom out, it just made sense. So here we are, it’s 2010. I’d love to reconnect. A friend of mine’s son was working about a year ago on Assassin’s Creed 2, and while a game with cinematic direction is beyond my current scope, I’m feeling a real nostalgia for the 8-bit, frankly. There are enough walk-through realities coming out and it’s a fair enough genre. Lots of people love it. It was when Pac-Man hit its 30th anniversary that I thought again about what might have been lost, or I guess you could say paused, since then. Emulating is one thing, but those games are over. I’m currently interested in making new games that embrace the discipline required for 8-bit, all the way to the music and sound effects, possibly the thematic culture of an earlier time (that is, you don’t have to blow people away or get your friends to fertilize your crops and like your farm). Whatever comes of it, I’d love to be back in touch with you. We were good friends and then kind of dropped off when I left the school. Then I dropped off the map, but here we are. Whether or not you may be interested in collaborating on something just for kicks, let’s be in touch. I’d love to get an e-mail from you. Take care!

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