Case Study. Game Feel/Juice.

edited in General
So first things first. I am not someone that writes blogs. Maybe I should get into this if I ever want to start a Dev log on something. Hope this doesn’t bore you guys. But why not post this. You Comments are welcome!

Hope the lockdown is treating you guys Good. Stay kind!



When I started using Unity back in 2015 I started out like most ... Let’s create a game, the best game!. I love playing games. I knew a little Javascript and C#. I Have created many prototypes over the last few years. ( Maybe make a Video of those. Well some is on YouTube if you guys want to watch it ). Now knowing each had its own challenge for me. Unnoticed I learned and Learned a lot from them. Each in their own respect.

Feedback from this forum and even Unity forums provided good points. Did I always listen? Maybe not.
I recently created a prototype for a jetpack controller. This link here http://makegamessa.com/discussion/5843/character-controller-test-jetpack
It started as A Jetpack Controller an quickly turned into something else. Projects evolve.
I ended up creating a great day night Cycle in 2D with the new Universal Render Pipeline on this.

Then not to know what to do with it @konman open my eyes with his comment on it.
Maybe I had to move on to a new project/thing to challenge me. Maybe go back to and old one to try to improve it with things I have learned. Maybe go watch some GDC videos. Something I have not looked at.
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GAME FEEL.
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This is always something I put in the back burner and try create content bigger and more technical/perfect. It always looks bland and Dead, then maybe that is why I get stuck on prototypes.
I did some camera shake here and there but nothing to make the game feel good.

Is this my mistake. Getting things to perfect… or trying to. This where I get stuck.
What I notice in games for me is make the player feel the games talks back. What the player puts into the action the game should respond. Even if it is small.
Super Mario 64 creator say they worked on Mario without any world. Playing around with the player until it felt great. Then only they went on to create enemies and levels to facilitate the player character.
Game feel is governed by the second to second gameplay. Every game feel is and should be different. But what I got out of this was a few things.

Game Feedback for example, when you hit, or bullet hit the enemy. Add some basic Squish and stretch to it, this makes the enemy feel more alive when hitting it.
Maybe a little shake to the camera and a quick white flash of color too.
This will insure that a Player feels that he hit the enemy and not just see health go down.

Then following on to show a health bar on enemies?
Not having health bars on enemies can be tough. Player Should know certain enemies takes so many hits with arrows. Less with a sword. Enemies with armour takes maybe double. This allows the player to plan what to attack in a few seconds. Add knockback, make the knockback unique. Example Arrows Knockback not so big, Sword attack bigger. Arrows stick to enemy. Maybe add some death blow effect to it when it dies. Blood , maybe lots of blood.
Send the body flying and show the player he is dead. And Maybe add a hint of a hitstop/frame pause on the frame to show it was a critical death blow.

The player then can focus on the next enemy while that enemies takes its demise.

For the camera. I just always let it follow the player. But should it now focus on the action. Rather focus on where you aim or somewhere between the cursor and the player. Gonne try that.

The player character. Leave dust trails behind when the character walks. Even more when the character runs.
Ranged attacts for example. Show the effect of the player shooting an arrow.

Make AI Smarter
When they see the player , Not through an wall. Chase player. If the player gets to far, stop the chase. If the player goes around a corner do a A* path find to the players Last Location.
Maybe see the player again and Continue the chase.

So after saying all this. I put myself to the test. Again, to learn something new while re using some old stuff I made. Here goes . Let Juice some sprites!. You are Welcome to try.

Please maximize to full screen. ( Game is set to 512 x 256 with pixel camera , still need to figure out how to scale this to bigger screens when like using unity's scale slider )

https://darkseth.github.io/PixPLayTest/
Thanked by 1ashashza

Comments

  • This is pretty charming.

    You've definitely got some of the standard-issue juicyness in there like highlighting things on hit, squash/stretch, shake, etc.

    What really stands out to me are the extra little details like:
    - arrows sticking into folks after they get hit.
    - little tufts of hair jiggling as enemies move.
    - arrows kicking up dirt when they hit the ground
    - the knockback just before an enemy goes to pixel heaven.

    Excited to see where you take this.
    Thanked by 1dark_seth
  • edited
    Great job on this! It feels a lot like Enter the Gungeon or Nuclear Throne, both of which I consider to be very juicy games.

    I'm rather sensitive to motion sickness, and I did feel a bit motion sick afterwards. I felt a lot of jittering of pixels. I think this was partly the mouse cursor, which tended to jitter quite a lot. But also maybe partly the smooth following behaviour you've got on your camera. i.e. When I'm standing still and not moving my mouse around, I think my brain expects the camera to be still too; the fact that it's pixel art and snapping makes the camera go "move, pause, move, longer pause..., move... even longer pause... move" is what I suspect is triggering the motion sickness. I hope that makes sense. It feels really good otherwise.
    Thanked by 1dark_seth
  • Great job on this! It feels a lot like Enter the Gungeon or Nuclear Throne, both of which I consider to be very juicy games.

    I'm rather sensitive to motion sickness, and I did feel a bit motion sick afterwards. I felt a lot of jittering of pixels. I think this was partly the mouse cursor, which tended to jitter quite a lot. But also maybe partly the smooth following behaviour you've got on your camera. i.e. When I'm standing still and not moving my mouse around, I think my brain expects the camera to be still too; the fact that it's pixel art and snapping makes the camera go "move, pause, move, longer pause..., move... even longer pause... move" is what I suspect is triggering the motion sickness. I hope that makes sense. It feels really good otherwise.

    It may be the Resolution I am running 512x288 using unity pixel perfect Camera. Still Trying to figure out best to get a great look. Using Cinemachine to handle the camera. I Might need to play around a bit more with this. First time using it.

    Regards
  • Feels good! All the little bits of juice really adds up nicely :)

    Some small tweaks I could think of:
    - The camera's smooth follow was probably a bit too much, as @Elyaradine said. Many games have more "dead zone" where the player can move without moving the camera, and then move into the next area when the player hits the edge. However I guess for this kind of free-roam game it's less straight forward.
    - Y-sorting isn't there, enemies appear behind the walls that they should be in front of. Sorting by y coordinate should be fairly straight forward to do and gives dimensionality with correct overlaps.
    - Some of the enemies don't seem to fly "away" from the source of their hit correctly? Too much random direction, perhaps.
    - A (tiny) bit of hit-freeze when you make contact with the enemy can really emphasise that hit, especially melee hits.

    Good job :)
    Thanked by 1dark_seth
  • Hi @dark_seth, I get stuck on prototypes as well and wonder why too, LOL. I disagree with your statement here, though:
    "This is always something I put in the back burner ... It always looks bland and Dead, then maybe that is why I get stuck on prototypes"
    In fact, I believe the opposite to be true in your case. Your prototypes shine when it comes to aesthetics and feel. As does this one. Amazing work! It feels and looks great :)

    Obviously, there's many reasons for making a prototype. One is perhaps to quickly learn technically about something not game-play related. For example, to checkout how cine-machine works or the new URP/Shader graph process etc. Another reason perhaps to test game-play mechanics potentially for a new game or simply just making a quick, fun "thing" creatively to test an idea. Those are just 3 approaches to the reasoning behind prototypes and understanding how to measure their success or when it's time to abandon. Understanding the true reason for making a prototype might shine a light on why we seem to get stuck on them? Getting stuck on them implies, not completing or reaching a goal.

    If I may be so bold and suggest the title for the next case study as a challenge... this one's goal is game-play related.

    "Case Study 2. Core mechanic", sub-titled: Finding a basic (unique?) core mechanic, then finding interesting ways to expand upon it as the game progresses, by trying to maximize the time the player is interested in interacting with that mechanic, without applying any 'juice' and using minimalist aesthetics.
    Thanked by 1dark_seth
  • @Elyaradine

    Setup an camera Dead zone. Hopefully this is better.

    @tuism
    The hit-freeze I do only when it is the death blow. It felt to much in Normal combat for me.
    Worked on the Sorting a bit.

    Bonus. Worked on a slime Enemy using just 2 sprites.
  • You make some good points.


    Oh! I do like This. I'll do it!
    konman said:


    If I may be so bold and suggest the title for the next case study as a challenge... this one's goal is game-play related.

    "Case Study 2. Core mechanic", sub-titled: Finding a basic (unique?) core mechanic, then finding interesting ways to expand upon it as the game progresses, by trying to maximize the time the player is interested in interacting with that mechanic, without applying any 'juice' and using minimalist aesthetics.

  • The dead zone is much better for me! :)

    The cursor still flickers. I'm not sure what's causing it exactly, but it might help to offset the cursor graphic by half a pixel. It might be that the pixel's falling on exactly the border of the camera pixels somehow, so that offsetting it by half a pixel makes it more stable. Or it might do absolutely nothing. :P

    Sometimes when killing someone and they knock back and explode, they get knocked at 90 degrees, or even to the opposite side of me (i.e. as if they jumped over). I don't know if it's intentional, but my expectation would be that they'd knock back in the direction I'm hitting. (I imagine aiming them would be helpful if their death explosion can knock other enemies around.)
    Thanked by 1dark_seth
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