Tuesday, January 30

Rock Paper Scissors - A Method for Competitive Game Play Design

Gamasutra, a fantastic resource for game design enthusiasts, has recently featured an article written by and entitled Rock Paper Scissors - A Method for Competitive Game Play Design.

The article discusses creating an effective competitive multiplayer gaming system. How does one achieve this? Chelaru argues that the game should be balanced according to a signals and reactions. All attacks should be preceded by a signal, generally in the form of a character's animation. A defender should be able to read the signal and counter. Chelaru goes much deeper, eventually describing "fakes" and multiple signals.

Here is a good excerpt from the piece:

The presence of obvious, well-timed signals can greatly enrich the play experience. Keep in mind that for a signal to be effective in enriching the play experience, the player must be aware of the RPS relationship between the attacks. There are three criteria which must be present at this point:

  1. Each attack must have a known and effective defense or counter attack.

  2. Each attack must present a signal that is detectable.

  3. Each attack must occur after the signal at a time interval which allows the defender to react.

The read is rather enlightening. It discusses things we've always known, but defines them and disects them to a microscopic level. Read Away, and come back with any comments you may have on the article.

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