Pacing in games

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Pacing in games

  1. 1. SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2009 : MC1 PACING & MECHANICS: ITERATIVE GAME DESIGN PACE How does the pace affect the player’s perception of the level? What is it that sets a well-paced level apart from a poorly paced one?
  2. 2. SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2009 : MC1 PACING & MECHANICS: ITERATIVE GAME DESIGN key aspects of game pace • Movement Impetus the will of the player to move through the level. • Threat the notion of danger. • Tension the atmosphere and mood of the level or perceived danger which is reflected in the player. • Tempo the level of actual action currently being experienced by the player.
  3. 3. SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2009 : MC1 PACING & MECHANICS: ITERATIVE GAME DESIGN Movement Impetus Affecting the players movement through a level -- either moving them forwards or stalling them from pushing forwards in order to affect the movement impetus and thus the pace of the action.
  4. 4. SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2009 : MC1 PACING & MECHANICS: ITERATIVE GAME DESIGN Forward Movement • Introduce a threat from behind • Present an objective ahead • Impose a time limit • Narrow physical options • Draw the eye • Architectural pressure • Snatch desired object • NPC leads the way
  5. 5. SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2009 : MC1 PACING & MECHANICS: ITERATIVE GAME DESIGN Slow Movement • Wow moments • Obstacle • Altered movement • Introducing a threat ahead • Increased tension • Multiple Routes / Open World • NPC halts player • Taking stock of inventory (collecting items) • Dialogue / Roleplayand • Story exposition
  6. 6. SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2009 : MC1 PACING & MECHANICS: ITERATIVE GAME DESIGN Threat The greater the sense of peril the player believes they are in, the quicker their pulse, the more nervous and often more pan- icked them are. Different forms of threat change the game’s pace -- e.g com- bat more frenetic than assasin stealth. External threats become greater the closer they are to the player. Internal threats (player mistakes/puzzles) are generally less frantic... unless they’re on the clock.
  7. 7. SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2009 : MC1 PACING & MECHANICS: ITERATIVE GAME DESIGN Tension (Perceived Danger) Atmospheric effects: • Believable world that the player is invested in • Knowledge of consequences of ‘unknown’ threat • Action with threat of discovery. • Audio • Staging (lighting especially)
  8. 8. SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2009 : MC1 PACING & MECHANICS: ITERATIVE GAME DESIGN Tension (Perceived Danger) Atmospheric effects: • Believable world that the player is invested in • Knowledge of consequences of ‘unknown’ threat • Action with threat of discovery. • Audio • Staging (lighting especially)
  9. 9. SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2009 : MC1 PACING & MECHANICS: ITERATIVE GAME DESIGN Tempo Describes how much concentration is required by the player to achieve their goal. Low tempo gameplay tends to be that which requires serious thought and contemplation -- eg puzzles. High tempo gameplay requires fast reactions and split-second decisions. It induces stress or panic. A time limit will always increase tempo no matter what the other game mechanics.
  10. 10. SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2009 : MC1 PACING & MECHANICS: ITERATIVE GAME DESIGN Tempo in movement Explorative movement tends to be low tempo, as the player has time to look around and determine their own route. More acrobatic environment traversal can often be higher tempo. It really achieves high tempo when there is a great sense of flow in the design.
  11. 11. SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2009 : MC1 PACING & MECHANICS: ITERATIVE GAME DESIGN Tempo in puzzles The only real way to create a high tempo puzzle is to add a time pressure. This tends to make them the ideal method of reducing the pace of gameplay as a counterpoint to high paced action like combat.
  12. 12. SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2009 : MC1 PACING & MECHANICS: ITERATIVE GAME DESIGN Tempo in combat High tempo (split-second decision making and fast reactions) BUT the tempo itself may change dramatically over the course of a battle. General Skirmishes The tempo of the battle builds to a certain tempo before it hits a turning point, where the more the player removes the incoming threat, the easier it becomes to take out the remaining threats.
  13. 13. SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2009 : MC1 PACING & MECHANICS: ITERATIVE GAME DESIGN Tempo in combat Boss Fights Boss fights tend to crescendo -- they are generally eased into the first part of the fight, but as they start to chip away at its health it begins to attack with more and more ferocity, until the final phase where it is particularly dangerous.

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