Steams recent winter sale had Final Fantasy 9 on discount. Since I’ve been meaning to play FF9 for awhile now, that and a good price made for a match made in heaven!
Whilst playing these are ‘designery’ thoughts I had during the first several hours of it:
FF9 starts you off in a dark room where it easy to focus on your player and understand movement. It then lights up the wider environment.
Narrative reinforcement – One moment where you have to remember and mention the princess name when they are going over kidnapping plan.
Level Exploration – In the scene below your character enters the scene from the bottom of the screen. Once you have control of the character the world fulfills the expectation of continuity by providing an area that’s the opposite way the player is encouraged to go (using the crowd who moves forward).
Lots of and easy to find initial pick ups from environment to quickly establish and encourage exploring the environment for rewards.
Storytelling Moments – Initial area showcases poverty/class differences through characters in the scene.
Lots of encouragement to explore through cutscenes. For example Steiner locked in room and the cutscene shows you are treasure chest which encourages you to go there.
Love the variation of activities right from the start such as finding the knights of pluto, and a scene of quick time events of sword fighting.
We encounter a door that can be opened with a shiv. This in my mind established an accordance that doors that looked like this could be opened.
Later on we may encounter another door that looks like that same shiv door from before, but this one doesn’t open (affordance confusion)!
3 – Drawing Attention to Areas of Interest
Like the contrast on the left side, draws my eye to the area where the safe is located.
Sign as well as red car.
Like the depth on the right side, draws my eye.
Depth and blue police car.
4 – Lock Before The Key
In this section the player finds a safer that requires a numerical combination to be opened.
Further down the street the player sees the glint of a note against a dark junk wall, and finds the combination to the safe written on the note. I have an issue with this!
The player does need to do backtracking which isn’t ideal, but it isn’t much, my issue relates to getting the combination. When the player gets the combination it would be an additional plus to underscore receiving this important information with a touch of VO that hinted the relationship between the safe and note e.g “hmm wasn’t there a safe back there?”.
The Hyperion mission! Having to manage one unit with a continuous stream of battling non playable characters takes away the added task of micro management and lets me enjoy a feeling of ‘distinctiveness’
How ‘cutscenes’ meld into gameplay e.g when saving Raynor, Kerrigan’s Leviathan arms smash into the prison ship which then transitions into the game level
Evolution missions really helps players understand how an evolution works and how to use it
After Kerrigan’s battle with Narud, I felt she recovered too quickly. It drew from the gravity of the fight. She should have been in an injured state for the Leviathan section where characters could comment on her fight. Then by the next mission having recovered, there would be a contextual piece of dialog about it
Pocket legends is a multi-platform mobile massively multiplayer online game where players play with a variety of classes which have unique abilities. For this exercise I will be analyzing the ability system in Pocket Legends with a focus on the player vs environment (PvE) tank system for the warrior class.
In Pocket Legends each class has a role they perform, one such class is the warrior which suits the role of ‘protector’. During gameplay the warrior attracts the attention of enemies, and takes the majority of incoming damage. This role is referred to as being a ‘tank’.
To enact the role of tank, the warrior has an ability system. A tank that is unable to hold the attention of enemies will most likely result in the death of the party. This causes dissatisfaction with the game, which leads to lower player retention. It is therefore important that this system functions well.
The fundamental building blocks of the ability system are the abilities. Warriors have unique abilities they can perform such as Vengeful Slash which has usage requirements, and effects when used. These usage requirements are mana, cooldown, and player level which are the primary variables that control this system.
When an ability is enabled it can be cast, and when cast goes into a ‘cooling’ time period. When cooling the ability cannot be used until the cooling period is over. Once the ability has cooled down, the player is able to cast it again. This process repeats as long as the player is able to cast the ability. Disabled abilities cannot be used at all due not meeting usage requirements such as lack of mana, character being dead etc.
We can represent this loop with the following diagram.