Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How to create a *good* automated camera in a third-person game

KH3D has bugged the shit out of me. I enjoy it a lot, but the gameplay can be extremely broken at times. And it's not for bad mechanics--it's for a bad camera, which often leaves you unaware of what's going on around you in intense, large-scale battles.(which is every battle in this game)

I have devised this list of behavior in the hope that it will help people create better third-person cameras. And perhaps Nomura will wander across this and take some notes.

1. FOUNDATION: The camera should show what the player wants to look at, you must predict what they want to look at accurately in order to create a positive intuitive experience. The camera is one of the most important aspect of the entire system, for it is the monocle by which you receive all visual information at any given time.

2. Adjust to the curvature of the ground.
Facing upwards on a hill? Look up. Facing downwards? Look down. Facing off the edge of a cliff? Adjust the camera down so you can see what's on the other side of that cliff face.

3. Zoom out during high velocity sequences.
When you're moving faster, you have less time to perceive what is going on the camera before you move past it. Therefore, pull the camera back to mitigate this blind-siding.

4. (SPECIFIC TO KH3D, THEORY APPLIES ELSE WHERE THOUGH) Drop targeting mechanic, focus the camera on the action.
There are so many enemies in KH3D, and most of your attacks are area-of-effect attacks, so there's very little use in targeting a single enemy to focus your attacks and your camera. The system was shoddy to begin with, often failing to accurately predict your targeting intentions, and it's even worse in this game, where distances are greater and enemies are often more numerous and resilient. Furthermore, in this game it's rare you'll want to focus your attention on any one enemy for more than a hit or two at a time. The camera should automatically adjust by rotating and zooming to display as much of the action on-screen at once, rather than constantly shoving the player's face into the wall while legions of enemies are prepping their devastating one-hit KO attacks behind them, which you have no way to be aware of while you painstakingly take the time to rotate the camera back again. Half the "skill" in this game comes down to planning your movements to properly manipulate the camera just so you can avoid being blind-sided.(total crap)

5. Manual override
Manual camera override should be snappy and responsive. Sometimes the camera system can't predict the player's viewing needs, so the player should be able to adjust it themselves. Obvious, right? Well KH3D seems to even fail on this front, offering only sluggish left/right rotations, and for some reason, not even an option to increase the rotation speed.

Specific to this game, it feels like it holds a horrid grudge against zooming out the camera. It wants to stay right there, practically centered on your ass so you can soak in all the pretty details baked into the character's texture, so you can see the keyblade front-and-center at all times in all its glory. Bollocks. I hope that wasn't part of their reasoning, because it's not like your eyes would even care for those details when you're busy fighting for your life. Plus, if the camera isn't zoomed out we can't see all the pretty battle particle effects, and that's a crying shame.

Make good cameras.



Sunday, July 29, 2012

Oldschool And Nostalgia Is Bollocks

It writhes me to my core when people refer to games as "old-school" or "retro", at least when used in the sense to refer to them in the sense they are actually outdated and somehow passe.

The reason it's absolute bollocks, is because a game is a game is a game, and at its core the technology secedes to the substance.

To imply that older games are no longer relevant is to say that game design itself deprecates.
Well fuck me sideways, I better stop playing Chess. Might as well throw out all my Magic decks, too.
If someone enjoys a game made in 1980 more than a game made in 2012, that doesn't mean they're "nostalgic", it means the equally legitimate form of interactive material appeals to them more than the modern comparative. Saying someone is being merely "nostalgic" immediately implies that the design has deprecated and the only appreciate thing about the material is the loving memories associated with it from a bygone era.

And the thing that sucks is that video games are passe, forced into shackles by the technology that gives them form. As technology progresses, different formats are created to present games with, and the deprecated formats lose support. Then we look to emulation--the constant struggle that it is. A games is a game is a game, and it's a horrific shame that it becomes harder to access games as they age due to deprecating technology, because no matter how much time passes, a good game will remain enjoyable, and it should be enjoyed. And I don't want to pay over and over again with every new system generation just to get my old game collection revised for new hardware. I want my games and I want them to stay. My music stays, my art collection stays, so why can't my games--an equally legitimate form of media--stay as well?

That's absolute bullshit.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ether Souls Dev Highlights

Posting some highlights from the development of Ether Souls:

I made a complete level editor and GUI system in a few days.(four)
And I also made a logo for fun. May or may not use it!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

"Ether Souls" Announced, Dev Blog

I have officially announced my new game project "Ether Souls".

I have made a tumblr to journal my thoughts on this game specifically; you can get started here.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

An open letter to Nintendo

Dear Nintendo,

Please add the ability to store physical games(from a cartridge) to the SD card, for access at any time, not tied to or reliant on the presence or usage of the physical cartridge after the time of storage. While this may be of slight impracticality now, due to the comparative storage size between an average 3DS game and an average SD card, in the coming future it will become more and more practical, and it is undoubtedly a fantastic utility to offer to 3DS owners. Indeed, you are already beginning to offer storage of full-sized games to 3DS owners, as can be seen with the upcoming releases of games like The New Super Mario Bros. 2 for the eShop.

The added accessibility will make carrying the 3DS far more convenient, as people will no longer be forced to bring along physical cartridges and carrying cases, or otherwise, even worse, leave all their other games at home while they carry only one game cartridge which is left in the device. This, as a result, makes the 3DS a much more appealing console in general, an appeal already seen by the demand for digital eShop content. This can be seen as both an alternative and a complement to offering full games on the eShop, as some 3DS owners prefer to also own physical copies, and it helps alleviate potential fallouts in business relationships with retail companies due to the absolute disadvantage physical copies have to digital copies, for portability and accessibility reasons mentioned prior. While digital distribution is undoubtedly the future of game distribution, this will serve as a great service to 3DS owners to help smooth the transition period, especially for those with inadequate internet access. 

Overall, this feature offers a major service to 3DS owners, that of which will not go unrecognized. Such a valuable utility will doubtlessly contribute to greater favor for the 3DS console, and as such may prove to be of great benefit to both your company and to 3DS owners alike.

Thank you for hearing my petition,
- Jack Sanders, "Man In Blue Sweatshirt"

Saturday, June 23, 2012


"Catmeat - Arcade Game +"
"Nekoniku - Akeido Geimu +"


This was a fun one to make. I was deprived of a vector art release for three weeks, and this is the result! Dohoho. I might actually make this game by the way. Plansssssssss~~~~~