Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
gather or obscure information, like stun grenades, smoke grenades, silent
walk abilities, heartbeat sensors, and so on. Either player may spray bullets
through the wall, giving away a position but hoping for a hit. Either player
may fire shots through doorways to try to give false signals. Players
may be able to communicate with teammates, or simply wait and hope
for help from an ally nearby. Players may have varying weapon types,
so either player may have an advantage or disadvantage in any type of
encounter—Carol might prefer a close-up engagement with her sub-
machine gun, while Dave wants to fight at a distance with his rifle. In an
objective-based game, one or both players may have goals beyond simply
winning their encounter with the other player. If the clock is ticking, a
losing player will avoid strategies that consume valuable seconds; the
other player can anticipate this and drag out the encounter. Players may
have varying general skill levels, and varying abilities at specific skills,
like aiming, movement, or yomi itself, and each may know much or little
about the other. Players may be fatigued, energized, distracted, or frus-
trated. Count it all up, and the complexity of these yomi-soaked decisions
is breathtaking.
And that's just one choice, lasting one or two seconds. The game will
keep producing these tactical puzzles by the thousands, each one flow-
ing into the next, never repeating, never getting boring. It holds flow by
sustaining a continuous contest of deception through a lens of simple,
carefully crafted mechanics.
Destructive Player Behavior
Most games assign players goals: get the highest score, defeat the oppo-
nent, or survive as long as possible. Up to now we've assumed that play-
ers will actually care about these goals just because we tell them to. But
sometimes they don't.
In single-player, when players pursue goals the designer didn't intend,
desk jumping results. Single-player desk jumping may harm an experi-
ence, but it's usually not fatal. In multiplayer, however, player-invented
goals can tear apart a game because they affect everyone, not just the
person pursuing them.
Multiplayer games are usually tightly structured and finely balanced
so that each player has a precise role to play. One player making strange
choices throws off this balance and destroys the game for everyone, includ-
ing those who wanted to play properly. For example, if a team of heroes is
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