Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
The Modern Warfare multiplayer shooters have an extremely high skill
ceiling. Controls are precise, weapons are deadly, and action is fast. In
other multiplayer shooters, it takes several seconds to kill an enemy even
if you never miss a shot. This puts an upper limit on how effective a player
can be regardless of skill. In Modern Warfare , it is possible, with excel-
lent tactics and aim, to eliminate entire teams in seconds. This perfect
performance is unattainable for humans, but it's theoretically possible, so
players can always enjoy the experience of striving toward it.
The combat system in Assassin's Creed II has a medium skill ceiling. A
perfect player could do significantly better than a normal player, but would
not be so astronomically beyond the normal player as he would be in the
Modern Warfare games. This is because the combat system in Assassin's
Creed II has delays in its controls. Attack animations are often a second
or two long, during which the player can't take any action. These short
delays reduce the skill ceiling because they give time for a normal player
to mentally catch up with the perfect player. Even with perfect swordplay,
for example, it would take at least 20 seconds or so to kill 10 enemies, since
the animations to kill enemies take about two seconds. A normal player
can achieve this level of performance with practice. But once he does,
there is nowhere to go. Even if the player can think faster, the animation
delays prevent increases in performance. So the skill aspect of the game
becomes dull.
Tic-tac-toe and other trivial games have low skill ceilings. In these
shallow games, it is easy to execute perfect play once you know a few
simple tricks. There is no difference between a perfect player and a decent
human player. Again, the game becomes dull once it's fully understood.
Not every game needs to be limitlessly deep. Assassin's Creed II has a
moderate skill ceiling but is still an excellent game because it's not just a
skill game. It's also about art, exploration, and narrative. Its designers de-
cided that beauty and accessibility were more important than pure depth.
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