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15/11/2007

Les 5 clefs du jeu d'action/aventure

Le directeur artistique du dernier Ratchet & Clank revient sur ce qui doit faire le succès du jeu d'aventure orienté Action aventure ^_^

 

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1. A Beginning with a Bang

 

Nowadays more and more games are starting off with a heart pounding opening that gets players on the edge of their seats and keeps them there. Other forms of entertainment like movies, books, and theatre have been doing this for years.

 

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The first level can also serve as a technical showpiece for the game. ... Why not kick it off with a showcase of amazing graphics, physics, sound, and special effects?

 

A beginning with a bang can both dazzle and engross players by demonstrating what's in store for them. From a game developer's perspective, we think about when to schedule the level so that it can reap all of the benefits from the lessons learned during production. Planning a level based on both the technological and design discoveries results in a polished and tighter experience unlike the clunky levels that are often produced at the beginning of production. As we've found with Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, the first level can also serve as a great demo. It required no previous training and entices the player with some of the best moments of the game.

 

2. A Compelling Main Character

 

...One of the key factors that I believe separates it from other genres is a playable main character that is central to the gameplay and story. Like a great opening level, the character's visual design has a lot of influence on shaping player's first impression of a game. Great characters tell a story simply through their appearance. Whether it's their clothing, an interesting gadget, body tattoos, or an eye patch, there are aspects of the character that make them feel unique and compelling to play.

 

Of course, no matter how appealing the character might be, the real test is how they control. The camera and character are probably the two biggest challenges faced in developing third person action games. Since the controllable character is over 75 percent of the experience and ties into the moment to moment gameplay, it's critical that the character feels just right and is fun to play for many hours. There are many trade offs that developers make to ensure that the character both looks and feels good during gameplay. They must decide whether a character needs to snap into position to give immediate feedback, which does not always look good visually yet feels good for gameplay. Other times the character will have "anticipation"; they will have a wind up before following through with the action which reads well visually, yet might feel unresponsive due to the delay. A great action hero will pick the right times to be showy and when to be quick and responsive.

 

3. The Pace of the Progression

 

An engaging action/adventure teaches players new skills, gives them interesting ways to use them, and let's them feel the power of having mastered them. The player's skill progression can feel very rewarding in that each situation challenges the player in different ways and as a result they feel empowered with each new accomplishment. A game with great pacing knows when it's time to teach new lessons and when to go out for recess.

 

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The communication of the gameplay elements is also important. For players to understand what's going on, the gameplay needs to be communicated consistently and clearly. If red switches open red doors, then they should be consistently red and should always open red doors. While this sounds fairly obvious, I'm amazed at the number of times games break these little rules due to something as simple as the level lighting or a game element is modified to support the story. The more the game world feels consistent and clear, the more confident the player feels in executing what they've learned.

 

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4. A Strategic Meta-game

 

A meta-game is an overarching game system that ties into the player's more immediate goals. Most meta-games involve an economy or upgrade system. As the player progresses they get more money, upgrade points, and other things that can be spent or used to improve their character's abilities. This adds more depth in that it gives players strategies in how they play the game.

 

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5. Fulfills the Fantasy

 

I think most people play action/adventures as a means of escape. They want to become a heroic character and act out a fantasy of being on an amazing adventure. A great game can put players under a spell and get them so immersed in the action that they forget they are playing a video game. Maintaining immersion is the result of the overall presentation and how all the elements of the story, gameplay, graphics, and sound come together to create a believable fantasy that the player can get lost in.

 

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