Game Development Reference
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That simple difference creates an entire class of nuanced play experi-
ences as the Hellion tries to run around and line up shots, and its oppo-
nents try to close in and surround it.
The Hellion also synergizes well with the environment and other
friendly units. Since its attack is ranged, the player can put the Hellion
behind a wall to act as a guard, or behind other units to support them
against groups of small enemies. It can also shoot down at enemies from
a ledge.
Finally, the Hellion attacks much less frequently than the Predator.
There is enough time to move the Hellion between each shot. This permits
advanced “shoot and scoot” tactics where players shoot, move the Hellion,
and shoot again, trying to avoid damage while lining up enemies for each
flame blast. In contrast, the Predator attacks so frequently that such tactics
are impossible. You have to just throw it into battle and watch, hoping it
wins. Its predictability suffocates any chance at moment-to-moment ten-
sion or skill development.
Mechanically, the Hellion is no more complex than the Predator. It's
just as easy to implement and just as easy for players to understand. But
it's more elegant because it generates so many more challenges, tactics,
and situations than the Predator.
The superiority of the Hellion isn't obvious. The difference between
the two is very small: a few seconds in attack timing, a different damage
shape. If anything, the Predator appears more interesting on the surface,
while the Hellion is prosaic, uncreative, even a little boring. But that's
what elegance looks like, and why it's hard to spot early. Because elegance
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