Monday, December 7, 2015


Subnautica is so good! I love it. I was originally going to write about what I like about it - it's beautiful, it seems like a vivid and well-fleshed-out world, it feels like it makes sense, it's got a good balance of hardness vs silliness. The crafting system is obviously far from realistic, but I do feel like it's really consistent. Minecraft always felt a little too symbolic, to me. This stretches the idea of "what can I make" by adding nanotech fabricators, but other than that it feels really reasonable! Your survival gear just requires you to find sufficient quantities of the raw materials. No need for you to "design" a sword on the crafting bench. So I like that. It's very glowy and so far has done a reasonable job of balancing progression (in building more advanced things) against how hard it is to get the required materials. Following is a brief log of my experiences - don't read if you want to avoid being spoiled for the progression in the game!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ways to Categorize and Describe Rhythm Games

How sharp are the edges of the intervals you respond in?

  • Do you need to hit the spot as it passes by you?
  • Are there different degrees of success/failure for each button/cue? in Rock Band/Guitar Hero, you either hit the note or you don't. In DDR, you are graded on how close you came to perfectly timing it.

How wide are those intervals?

How unambiguous are the cues? How clearly does it tell you when and what to press?

  • Rock Band/DDR give you scrolling symbols that pass through a timing line, indicating when you should press the button.
  • Geometry Dash and other running games rely on you to know when to press to respond to an obstacle ("If I jump too early, I'll hit the end of that row of spikes...") but they are still clearly cued on the spot.
  • Rock Band in performance mode (I have never played it. Why would I? But it exists.) doesn't give you any actual cues, it just relies on you to know when to hit the notes. 
  • Crypt of the Necrodancer and Patapon don't tell you what buttons to press. You have to work it out for yourself.

How forgiving is it of mistakes?

  • One mistake and you are forced to restart.
  • More than X mistakes and you are forced to restart.
  • If your score dips below X, you are forced to restart.
  • You always play through to the end of the level.
  • How much do you lose by missing a note?
    • You'll spend the whole song recovering.
    • You'll spend the next few phrases recovering.
    • You'll immediately recover if you can hit the next few notes.

How does scoring work? Is it pass/fail, percentage of notes hit, or graded according to quality of hits? Or something else?

Is there a combo / multiplier system? How high does it go?

  • In some games (Can't think of any examples!) you can basically do unlimited exponential score growth.
  • In Rock Band your combo takes like 40 notes to get up to a 4x multiplier, plus you can use star power to double that.