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God of War Ascension

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

These playthroughs of the bosses I designed, scripted and implemented in God of War Ascension.

God of War Ascension Alecto and Tisiphone Boss Playthrough

God of War Ascension Castor and Pollux Playthrough

God of War Ascension Megaera and Tisiphone Boss Fight

God of War Ascension: Manticore Mini-Boss Fight GoW

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God of War III Combat Enhancements and Additions

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Posted by Tony Huynh.

While I was not the Main Hero designer for God of War III, that honor belongs to Jason McDonald, I do have some insight into the new enhancements to the combat system in God of War III that I’d like to let you guys in on.

QTEs (Quick-Time Events)

Here is a little explanation on how we attempted to improve our QTEs, or as we refer to them internally, Context Sensitive Moments. For God of War III we attempted to remove the clutter away from the center of the screen to give the player an unobstructed view of the action. To do this we made two improvements to the QTEs. The first thing we did was move the button prompts for the QTEs to the edges of the screen to correspond with the button placement on the PlayStation controller’s layout.

• Triangle appears at the top of the screen
• Square appears on the left side of the screen
• X appears at the bottom of the screen
• Circle appears at the right side of the screen

PlayStation 3 Controller

The second key improvement from previous God of War titles and even God of War III’s demo that you should notice is that along the edges of the screen there are a series of white flashes that accompany the button prompts. This was specifically designed to take advantage of the way the human eye works to make QTEs more intuitive. A little scientific explanation to follow, you’ve been warned.

The human eye is made up of rods and cones. The rods are more sensitive than the cones, but are unable to discern color. The rods are also concentrated on the edge of the retina. The flashes on the periphery of the screen are designed to be picked up by the rods and help the player to quickly determine the appropriate button prompt while not having to shift focus away from the center of the screen.

Article on rods and cones.

With these improvements to the QTEs, we found that players could focus on the center of the unobstructed screen (where the action is) and intuitively pick up which button input was necessary to succeed in the QTE.

New Weapons That Players Want to Use
We used a multi-prong assault to address the fact that most players in our previous games have doggedly refused to use any weapon besides the default blades. The following is the list of changes designed to promote the use of other weapons by the player.

1. Increased orbs to make weapons easier to upgrade
We purposely gave players more red orbs (experience) than in the past in an effort to encourage players to be less reluctant to experiment and upgrade other weapons in their arsenal.

2. Tied magic to weapons
We tied the magic to the weapons so that there would be greater incentive to switch weapons to use different magic. In addition, this helped us streamline the controls and remove the redundancy of the separate weapon and magic system that was in previous God of War titles.

3. Made on-the-fly weapon switching accessible
This was the most important change in my opinion. We put the weapon selection on the directional pad where the player could easily switch their weapon on the fly. The other addition is L1 + X also cycles weapons and produces a new attack. These two mechanics made weapon switching much less cumbersome.

4. Nemean Cestus
We purposely made the Nemean Cestus overpowered to ensure that players used something besides the default blades.

5. Hades’ Hooks
Reasons to use the Hade’s Hooks.

o The single most powerful magic is the Centaur Soul summon.
o Gorgon Soul summon is useful as well.

6. Nemesis Whip
Reasons to use the Nemesis Whip

• Builds combo meter fast
• Titan mode (Blade of Olympus) meter builds up fast
• Enemies drop orbs on occasion when hit by the Nemesis Whip
• Easy air juggles

Regarding the Hades’ Hooks and Nemesis Whip, I think a byproduct of having weapons that look similar to the traditional blades is that it entices people to put them to use more often.

7. Made enemies that require a specific weapon to defeat
Siren’s require the Helios’ Head to make vulnerable. The shield carrying grunts require the Nemean Cestus to defeat. These design choices were made all in the hope that we could entice players to mix up their weapon usage routines.

New Items and Item Meter
We added a self-recharging item meter and tied it to the following weapons, Apollo’s Bow, Hermes’ Boots and Helios’s Head.

We found that players in previous God of War titles were largely ignoring items like the bow because it was tied to the Magic meter. Players tended to horde their magic for really difficult fights and bosses. To combat this we added a self-recharching item meter. This opened up the combat system, as players were no longer limited by their magic while also giving the combat designers a way to limit and balance the use of these weapons.

In my opinion, the Hermes’ Boots and the ability to Air Evade is the single greatest new addition to the game. I personally rely on this mechanic constantly and don’t know how I ever got along without it.

Combat Grapple
The combat grapple is an important new addition to Kratos’ repertoire. The combat grapple makes the combat in God of War III a bit more accessible to players as it allows the player to more easily string together combos and worry less about player positioning to maintain combos.

Pro tip: Using the combat grapple against Wraiths that are underground pulls them out.

Ridable Creatures
This is another new combat feature that puts a different twist on encounters. The areas we struggled were to make the creature feel responsive while selling that the player is indirectly controlling the creature through attacks. This was a tough balancing act, but I think the final product succeeded.

More Enemies
Our switch from the PS2 to the PS3 has allowed us to greatly increase the number of enemies that the player faces at any given time. Now we are able to have the player fight up to 50 enemies at once.

Target Selection
We wanted the player to be actively engaged and making decisions during combat. One way we did that was to encourage the player to decide which enemy to deliberately target during a combat engagement. For instance, if the player is fighting a group of enemies and one of them happens to be a Gorgon, he can decide to focus on the Gorgon and kill her first and unleash an area effect stone blast to dispatch the other enemies. The Siren works off of a similar concept.

Lastly, I wanted to talk about the framerate. Framerate directly applies to combat because it affects how a responsive a game feels. The game runs at 45+ frame rate for the most part and in my experience anything 45+ is hard to distinguish from 60. In other words, what we noticed is that the difference from 30 to 45 fps is tremendous, but the difference from 45 to 60 is not as discernible. So, wherever we could we tried to keep the frame rate close to 45. The God of War III’s framerate on the PS3 is at least on par with God of War II’s on the PS2. God of War III shouldn’t have any screen tearing (which is an improvement over GoW2) and the new motion blur we are using masks the variable framerate very well.

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God of War 3 III Chaos Will Rise Trailer

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Posted by Tony Huynh.
This is the new trailer that was released for our game last week. This is all in-game. God of War 3 releases March 16, enjoy the trailer.

Video Games | God of War III | Exclusive Chaos Will Rise Trailer
XBox 360 | Playstation 3 | Nintendo Wii

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How to Make Your Shooter Level Successful

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Posted by Tony Huynh.
What makes a first-person shooter level successful. While I can easily fill a few books with the answer to that question, I will instead narrow the focus to two aspects that I feel are important in the creation of a good level. The first is building and maintaining an interesting world and the second is to construct good pacing and varied player experiences. I will begin by defining these concepts and then use a walkthrough of Bioshock’s brilliant opening level Welcome to Rapture as an example of how to do both of these aspects well.

Build and maintain interest in your world

The first thing that builds interest in your world is story. Bioshock constructs a mystery story by asking questions and providing answers slowly. Mysteries not only build interest in your game, but also serve as an impetus to pull players forward through the game. A good mystery needs to strike a balance between asking questions and giving answers. Ken Levine stated, “We think of the mystery balloon, you have to tap it up to keep the audience interested, but if you tap it too high you’ll lose your audience… and if it gets too low. I underestimated the impact of resolving the ‘who is Andrew Ryan?’ question too early. We learned a big lesson there.” When the player is unraveling a mystery, interest is generated and maintained through making the player ask questions and slowly answering these questions as the player progresses. While questions are more interesting than answers, answers need to be doled out regularly to prevent the player from becoming frustrated and giving up. Giving too many answers solves the mystery which causes the story to lose its pull.

Mise-en-scene and Set Dress
Story can also be built through the use of mise-en-scene. Mise-en-scene literally means “putting on stage,” but in the case that I am using it now it is the placement and arrangement of set dress objects (signage, props, ragdolls, etc.) to tell a story. These little touches help flesh out the story and draw the audience into the world. Set dress and interesting things for the player to look at also serve to slow down the player and the pacing as the player will have to stop in order to look at them. Set dress objects are best served in areas that have low tension that do not provoke urgency for the player to move. I will be calling these instances out in the walkthrough of the level.

Immersion is when players lose themselves and forget that they are playing a game. To do this successfully the level, AI and mechanics of the game have to look, behave and react as realistically as possible so that the player is not reminded that they are playing a game. Realistic water, particle and physics as well as AI that interact with each other and are doing things outside of waiting for the player to show up go a long way in selling a living world and creates an immersive experience. Bioshock also maintains its immersion by never breaking the first-person perspective. While this is a system and not a level mechanic, it is vitally important to how successfully Bioshock sustains the game’s immersion.

One often overlooked way of supporting immersion are player objectives. When objectives make sense and are rational to what the player would do if placed in the same situation it helps greatly in maintaining immersion for the player. When objectives fail to make sense to the player, immersion is broken. While Bioshock generally does a good job with objectives, one example where it seemingly failed was the objective of stabbing yourself with a syringe and injecting yourself with an unknown substance (plasmid) in the level Welcome to Rapture. Although this action is explained later in the game, at the time I thought to myself why would any rational person do that? It tore away my immersion with the game, but was effective for the later story plot and was memorable because of how out of place it was.

Varied Player Experiences
The level Welcome to Rapture largely owes its success to how many different well-constructed player experiences it provides. Pacing, atmosphere and mood tie into player experiences directly. When players speak about pace, atmosphere and mood they are generally describing how they feel while they are playing. I will start by listing a few ways that a level can dictate the player’s experience and then go on to show how Bioshock’s opening level uses these elements to vary the experience for the player.

Objectives can push the pacing of the level. An objective that is clearly defined and is rational for a person under the circumstances like Welcome to Rapture’s “get to higher ground” helps drive the player forward eagerly and with a purpose.

Objectives not only impact immersion and pacing, but also the tone of a level. Compare the tone of “Escape from Rapture” and “Kill Andrew Ryan” and you can see how the tone has been changed. When the objective is to “escape,” it places the player in the role of the prey, while “killing” has the player in the role of the predator. In this instance the objective of “get to higher ground” and escape from Rapture helps support the type of frantic tone and mood that the developers intended for the beginning of the game.

Changing to different settings will help with both pacing and maintaining interest in your world. A new setting prevents visual fatigue and helps the player feel like they are making progress through the game. The more dramatic the shift in scenery the better. The shift in surroundings should make logical sense otherwise immersion will be broken. Note the frequency in which settings are changed in the first level of Bioshock.

Tension Level
Tension is the player’s perceived level of threat. There are a number of ways to manipulate tension levels as I will illustrate in the following sections. Keeping the tension level high is interesting and exciting for the player. However, keeping the tension high for an extremely long period of time without a periodic release causes the player to become numb and the tension will start to lose its power. Occasional releases in tension will actually ease a level designer’s ability to create tension.

Physical Space and Lighting to Increase and Limit Options
One of the most important tools in directing pace is the use of physical space and lighting. Tight linear corridors focus the player and create a faster pace by reducing the player’s options. On the other hand, larger spaces or spaces with multiple routes slow down the pace and promote decision-making and exploration. A proper mix of different sized spaces helps keep the experience varied.

Lighting plays a large role in how large a space feels. Absence of light dissuades players from going to and exploring areas. A level designer or artist can actually shrink levels and spaces gameplay-wise by taking out lights on the periphery, thus creating a tighter and more directed path. Conversely, brightly lit rooms inherently feel safer and encourage players to linger for longer.

Large elevation changes can inspire awe by enhancing drama and scale. Bioshock’s first level uses this technique to great effect in both the bathysphere ride down into Rapture as well as the elevator ride up to higher ground.

Lighting and Color to Set Atmosphere and Mood
As I have already mentioned brightly lit rooms tend to feel safer, conversely darker rooms promote a feeling of tension because the surroundings are unknown to the player. In general, levels in Bioshock are dark with contrastingly lit areas to enhance a feeling of paranoia and tension. Bioshock varies the level of tension by sprinkling in brightly lit rooms as a release and the occasional scripted event where the lights turn off altogether to dramatically ratchet up the tension.

Mood can also be created with the color of the lighting and environments. People generally connect colors like red with danger, green with sickness and blue with security.

Landmarks, Lighting and Audio to Direct Player Movement
Landmarks, lights and audio can provide navigational reference points for the player and draw attention to specific areas of a space. The player will move towards a light, landmark or sound and then pause to take note of their surroundings before moving to the next navigational point. These guideposts can be used to encourage or discourage player movement and exploration; therefore they can greatly affect a scenario’s pace.

Music and Audio
Music and audio can be used to enhance the experience that the level designer intends for the player to have. Whether the mood you are trying to create is creepiness, action or awe, music and audio are very useful ways to help in achieving it.

Item Collection
Having an item collecting and scavenging mechanic like the one present in Bioshock will slow the player down and promote exploration. Limiting your player’s available ammo and health and constantly keeping them on the brink of running out raises tension.

Wow Moments
Large scale scripted events a.k.a. wow moments can raise a player’s excitement level and inspire a sense of awe. They are generally expensive from a production standpoint, but add a real punch to varying the player’s experience. The Call of Duty series is well known for exploiting the power of wow moments. Wow moments tend to slow players down as they watch the event unfold, but this is not necessarily always the case as I will point out in the level walkthrough.

Combat provides an easy way to raise the pace of a level. The player experience during combat needs to be mixed up to prevent boredom. There are many techniques to mix up combat, but for this article I will only touch on the introduction of new weapons and enemies. For more information on improving combat through variation please see my article “How to Improve Your Shooter Combat.”

New Weapons
New weapons extend the capabilities of players and offer a new experience for a period of time as the player experiments with the weapon to discover its strengths and limitations.

New Enemies
Together with new weapons, new enemies are some of the most important ways of changing the dynamic of combat. When faced with a new AI, players must experiment and discover the strengths and weaknesses of the new enemy. The player must then adjust their tactics to deal with the new threat. The new enemy AI offers scenario designers the opportunity to mix in the new enemy type with the already introduced AI thereby creating new variations on old encounters.

Welcome to Rapture Walkthrough
Airplane Cabin
Narrative questions: Who am I? Where am I?
Narrative answers: I am Jack. It is 1960. I’m on an airplane above the Atlantic.

The first setting that the player is in is aboard an airplane. The scene begins with a shot of a smoke filled cabin of an airplane. The strangeness of this fact creates a moment of unease in the player. The player’s unease is lifted immediately when Jack raises a lit cigarette up and explains away the smoke. The sight of a person smoking inside of an airplane immediately roots the player firmly in the 1960 setting. Jack’s monologue and back story subdues the pace.

Atlantic Ocean
Narrative questions: What is a lighthouse doing in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean?
Narrative answers: None

The setting changes from the plane’s cabin to underwater for a few tense moments as the player watches in first-person as propeller blades and various other objects float through the scene and the player struggles to the surface of the water for air. The player associates the green water underneath the surface with a feeling of sickness. The setting transitions again to the surface of the ocean. The playable space here is small being hemmed in by fire and the path out is clearly marked. The opening in the surrounding fire beckons the player to keep moving. Fire races across the screen directing the player to look right to see the lighthouse landmark. The blinking light is another navigational cue to keep the player directed.
Bioshock Underwater Green

Lighthouse Interior
Narrative questions: Who is Andrew Ryan? What is this place?
Narrative answers: None

Another big setting change occurs here as the player transitions from the water into the dark interior of the lighthouse. The door closes behind the player and the player is in near complete darkness. When the lights turn off the player will generally pause and stop. This creates a moment of tension and builds fear through the unknown. After the lights turn back on the pacing slows down. The space offers the player a lot of things to see like the Andrew Ryan bust and art deco wall decorations and consequently slows down the player. The brightly lit bathysphere draws the player to it.
Bioshock Andrew Ryan Banner

Bathysphere Ride
Narrative questions: Why is there a city built underwater?
Narrative answers: The lighthouse is an entrance to the city of Rapture. Rapture is a utopian city based off of objectivism founded by Andrew Ryan.

Lots of exposition by Andrew Ryan answers questions regarding the founding of Rapture. The bathysphere ride is designed to inspire awe and wonderment for the city of Rapture. As I mentioned before, changes in altitude can aid in selling drama and scale. The blue surroundings of the ocean and city promote a mood of security. The ride accomplishes the mood and atmosphere of awe through the use of music, changes in altitude and a synched to music beautiful reveal shot.

The first clue that something might be amiss is when the sign “All good things of this Earth flow into this city” blinks and shorts out.

Bioshock Bathysphere Ride Blue

First Encounter
Narrative questions: What happened here? How did Rapture meet its downfall? Why did that mutated freak kill that Johnny? Who is Atlas? Why is Atlas helping me?
Narrative answers: None

The tension and pace here is ratcheted up incredibly high in a hurry. There are a number of reasons for this that I will call out specifically.

The Spider Splicer is revealed. A blinking light gives the player brief glimpses of a Spider Splicer killing a man with hooked weapons. Following that the Splicer leaps atop the bathysphere and attempts to penetrate the hull of the vessel to attack the player before giving up and leaping into the darkness. The bathysphere’s door opens and the unarmed player is told by Atlas to keep moving and to “get to higher ground”.

Getting to higher ground is a reasonable objective considering that the player just witnessed the Spider Splicer gruesomely murder a man and the player has no weapons. This makes the pacing and tension high, which is a good change from the awe inducing bathysphere ride into Rapture.

Outside the door of the bathysphere the tight linear corridors reinforce the fast pace implied by the objective. It does this by focusing the player and reducing their options. The space is shrunk further by being darkly lit with the exception of the intended path. The absence of light on the edges of the space makes it feel tighter than it actually is and the darkness dissuades players from going to and exploring areas.

The mood is even tenser because of the disappearance of the Spider Splicer. Audio is used to great effect here in creating a sense of tension. The player is able to hear the Spider Splicer singing and taunting the player, but the Splicer is nowhere in sight. A blinking television screen serving as a navigation marker draws the player to it. Here the player pauses to assess the situation, but not for too long because of the implied danger. A light turns on showing the Spider Splicer. He is chased off by a security bot relieving the tension. With the Spider Splicer gone, the pace lowers and the new light draws the player to the next area. The player is given a safe environment to go through the Jump, Pick Up and Melee tutorials, which is a release and slows the pacing down further.

The arranged protest signs placed outside of the bathysphere serving as clues of dissention against Andrew Ryan are lost on the vast majority of users because the perceived danger from the Spider Splicer above, the tight corridors and blinking light from the TV cause tension to be high and the player to be directed. The player is encouraged to move fast out of this space. To really get the point across I would have placed more signs closer to the flashing television screen. Players tend to stop moving to take in their surroundings once they reach a destination.

Bioshock Protest Signs

Desk on Fire
Narrative questions: None
Narrative answers: None

The flaming desk pushed down the stairs scripted event raises the tension and pace. Combat with the Splicer keeps the pace high. After he is defeated the pace drops back down.

Gatherer’s Garden Room
Narrative questions: What is wrong with everybody here? Who is that little girl and big guy with the drill?
Narrative answers: Plasmids give the player powers.

The physical space of this room is wider than the previous room. The size of the space coupled with the scavenging mechanic promotes exploration and slows down the pace. The sparking electricity on the door draws the player’s attention to it, but the player quickly realizes that the door is not yet an exit. The use of audio calls from behind the player helps them pinpoint the location of the Gatherer’s Garden vending machine. The giant arrowed plasmid sign does not hurt either. As I previously mentioned the objective of stabbing and injecting yourself with an unknown substance breaks the immersion. The first-person cinema creates tension because the player is helpless to defend themselves and his life is threatened twice during the sequence. The Little Sister and Big Daddy are introduced. The Electrobolt Plasmid is introduced.

Tube Flooding Wow Moment
Narrative questions: None
Narrative answers: None

While most wow moments slow the pacing of the game down as players stop to observe these events, the plane crashing into the tube actually raises the sense of urgency by giving the player the feeling that they are in danger.

The linear corridor presents few options and keeps the player moving. The tension is amped up by the cracks appearing on the glass wall and vault door buckling followed by water pouring through the cracks. All of these events imply danger and encourage constant movement by the player. The realistic water effects preserve the immersion. This wow moment does the job of creating a memorable and exciting scene that varies the player’s experience.

Bioshock Tube Flooding Wow Moment

One-Two Punch Tutorial
Narrative questions: None
Narrative answers: None

Entering into this room the player will see that the room is bathed in red light, which warns the player of danger. Combat ensues and the pace is raised for its duration. The arrangement of the corpse underneath pouring water with the protest sign, briefcase and liquor beside him tells a story and keeps player interested in the world.

Bioshock Mise-en-scene

Elevator Crash
Narrative questions: None
Narrative answers: None

Once inside this room the player will see an elevator crashing. This wow moment slows down the pacing. A brief combat encounter with a man on fire ups the tempo for a short time. The space opens up into a well-lit larger room. Larger spaces have more area to explore and slow down the pacing and well-lit rooms promote players lingering in a place for longer.

Elevator Ride Up
Narrative questions: None
Narrative answers: Atlas is helping the player because his family is trapped and he needs the player’s help to free them.

The elevator ride provides an opportunity to update the objectives as well as remind the player of the scale of Rapture. The altitude change emphasizes scale and drama. Music is incorporated to sell this awe factor. The player’s objective is updated from a plea by Atlas to go to Neptune’s Bounty to rescue his wife and daughter. This objective will set the stage for animosity between the player and Andrew Ryan when Ryan kills Atlas’ family, thereby easing the player into accepting (as not to break immersion) their next objective and the tone change that accompanies “kill Andrew Ryan.” The overall objective of escape from Rapture still stands.

Bioshock Elevator Ride Up

Baby Carriage
Narrative questions: None
Narrative answer: The inhabitants of Rapture were driven insane by the use of plasmids.

Here the player finds a brief scripted moment where a woman is hovering over a baby carriage and singing a lullaby. The shadow of the female Splicer and baby carriage are splashed along the wall and can be seen well before the actual Splicer and carriage. The shadow forewarns the player and allows them to stop and become a voyeur. By listening to the lullaby and woman speaking to the baby carriage the player witnesses the extent in which plasmids have deranged the populace. Eventually the player must engage in combat with the Splicer. This scripted event hints that there is a living breathing city here and maintains the immersion.

The pistol is introduced.

Bioshock Baby Carriage Splicer Shadow

Kashmir Restaurant
Narrative questions: What happened here?
Narrative answers: There was an attack by Fontaine’s men on New Year’s Eve.

When the player enters into the Kashmir restaurant they find a male Splicer banging on a door and in an argument with a female Splicer. This is another very simple scripted event that goes a long way in building the player’s interest in Rapture. It gives the illusion of a living world by giving AI lives outside of waiting for the player to show up.

The Kashmir restaurant is a wide space that has many items for the player to collect and a lot of things to look at, which slows down the pace.

There are not many outward signs that anything bad has happened here until you go downstairs. The music is playing and the place is decorated festively. Bright colors, party hats and balloons that pop and leave behind a shower of confetti are scattered about the room. This room’s festive décor is in stark contrast to the previous environments and is a nice setting change.

After the Splicer and his wife are dealt with the pace slows. The ghost in the bathroom keeps the player vested in the story. The Splicer in the bathroom stall punches the pace up with combat for a short while. The signs of battle are much more prevalent down stairs. Signs here are askew, the lack of lights in the kitchen make it really foreboding. Within the kitchen is a man slumped over with a cash register. The player can start to invent their own stories about him. The Electrobolt plasmid with water tutorial takes place. Violin music adds to the sense of foreboding.

Bioshock Kashmir Restaurant

Footlight Theater
Narrative questions: None
Narrative answers: Questions about the relationship between the Big Daddy and Little Sister and their purpose are answered.

When the player enters into this area they will see a Little Sister and notice that the room is a bright crimson red because of the carpeting. This helps the player to make the connection that the Little Sister is dangerous. Exposition regarding the relationship of the Little Sister to the Big Daddy and how they fit into Rapture’s ecology is explained. Combat with two Splicers again raises the tempo. There is another pre-fight scripted event of two Splicers looting the Big Daddy’s corpse and more combat. There is a drop down here which prevents the player from backtracking, thereby keeping the player more directed.

Bioshock Little Sister

Rapture Metro
Narrative questions: Why is Andrew Ryan against me?
Narrative answers: None

There is sustained combat here. Access to Neptune’s Bounty is shut off by Andrew Ryan. A frantically voiced Atlas tells you to get to Neptune’s Bounty by way of Medical. The objective to get to medical happens because Andrew Ryan has prevented you from getting to your destination. This builds animosity with Andrew Ryan and sets the player up against the antagonist and prepares the player for the next overarching objective of killing Andrew Ryan. If the objective from the start is to kill Andrew Ryan who has not opposed the player in at least a few turns then you will lose the buy-in of your player and immersion will be broken.

Andrew Ryan’s Trap
Narrative questions: None
Narrative answers: Andrew Ryan is trying to kill the player because he believes he is from the KGB or FBI.

When the player enters into this room Andrew Ryan closes and locks the door on the player. The lights turn off and the player is in darkness for a short time for an immediate rise in tension. Following this Andrew Ryan speaks to the player accusing them of being from the KGB or CIA. There is implied danger to create additional tension when the Splicers try to break through the windows. The level ends when the door is opened by Atlas and the tension is relieved with the player being given an exit.

Welcome to Rapture is a successful level because it builds an interesting and immersive world and pays attention to constructing a variety of complete player experiences. By going through the walkthrough of the level, one can see just how many techniques are being used to direct the player experience. Although from a production standpoint it is expensive to pack so many setting changes, scripted events, wow moments, new enemies and weapons into a single level, there are many ways to direct the player experience less expensively. The important takeaway is that a big part of a level’s success depends on the player’s experience and to occasionally change the current experience to keep the level fresh and enjoyable.

See my other related articles:
Become a Video Game Designer: Everything You Need to Know Part 1
Roger Ebert is Right: Games are Not High Art…Yet
Top 5 Greatest Moments in Competitive Gaming (eSports)
What Video Games Taught Me About Life
Low Skill Cap and Luck (RNG) in World of Warcraft PVP
Best Games of All Time by Genre Part 1
10 Greatest Video Game Designers Part 1
What’s Bad About Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Multiplayer Mode?
Call of Duty: World at War Through the Eyes of a Game Designer
Dead Space Through the Eyes of a Game Designer
Gears of War 2 Through the Eyes of a Game Designer
8 of the Most Underrated or Overlooked Video Games of All Time
Best MMA Fights & Genki Sudo: Real Life Video Game Character

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FireBatHero’s StarCraft Victory Ceremonies

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Posted by Tony Huynh.
Now that I’ve got a brief break in my ridiculous schedule I’ve been following season 3 of’s Starcraft tournament. I watched a replay of Korean player FireBatHero and the announcers Tasteless and Super Daniel Man mentioned that after FireBatHero’s victories he will often taunt his opponents in elaborate celebrations. This is very uncharacteristic of the usually very respectful Korean players. Of course after hearing this I went straight to YouTube to look up FireBatHero and I was not disappointed.

FireBatHero runs a full circle around Savior after he beats him.

FireBatHero’s Proleague Ceremony! [English Subtitles]

In a way this celebration reminds me of MMA and K1 fighter Genki Sudo’s opening ceremonies with just how premeditated it was. While unsportsmanlike these celebrations really bring some drama to the game of StarCraft and I think that adds to the whole experience.

Genki Sudo’s Best Entrance Compilation

See my other related articles:
Become a Video Game Designer: Everything You Need to Know Part 1
Roger Ebert is Right: Games are Not High Art…Yet
Top 5 Greatest Moments in Competitive Gaming (eSports)
What Video Games Taught Me About Life
Low Skill Cap and Luck (RNG) in World of Warcraft PVP
Best Games of All Time by Genre Part 1
10 Greatest Video Game Designers Part 1
What’s Bad About Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Multiplayer Mode?
Call of Duty: World at War Through the Eyes of a Game Designer
Dead Space Through the Eyes of a Game Designer
Gears of War 2 Through the Eyes of a Game Designer
8 of the Most Underrated or Overlooked Video Games of All Time

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