Below are some of the game mechanics I designed while working on Killzone 2.
Below is the Placed Charge I designed for Killzone 2. No art, code, or effects, just the functionality / concept. We needed a placed charge mechanic for use at the end of a few levels, to slow the players progression and offer up something different to advance, as well as utilizing the SIXAXIS controller in a fun and intuitive way. The placed charge went through several iterations before ending up in it’s final state below.
Each charge was designed to remember the lights that had been set. If the player gets shot off a charge or disengages to defend themselves the lights they already set would remain lit and they would only have to set the remaining lights to fully activate the charge.
Lastly it was designed so that Level Designers could place as many or as few charges as they wanted. When the last charge was placed the player would automatically pull out the detonator. The player could of course switch back to their weapon if they needed to defend themselves.
This is the SIXAXIS Valve mechanic I designed for Killzone 2. No art, code, or effects, just the functionality / concept. We needed a simple unlock mechanic that would allow the player to utilize the SIXAXIS controller in an intuitive manor. After a couple iterations we found that three turns was enough to make it fun to use but not frustrating if we wanted to have more then one in a level.
A big aspect of Killzone 2 was how immersive we wanted the experience to be. Guerrilla wanted to keep as many of the interactions in the game as possible and reduce the need of cutscenes. The Buddy Assist was one of my designs that attempted to do just that. The player would need to be corralled in certain areas for progression purposes and once they were free to move on an AI would take position in a predermined spot and the AI and player would assist each other in getting up and over the obstacle. Should the player jump back down again the AI will take a new position to help the player back up onto the ledge. The act of helping each other in such an interactive way assisted in creating more comradery between the player and AI.
Also of note, the Buddy Assist Mechanic in Killzone 2 was a first of it’s kind in a video game.
Below is the Petrol Barrel I design for Killzone 2, one of several Damage Inflicting Destructibles (DIDs). No art, code, or effects, just the functionality / concept. The concept for this came from the fact I hate flammable barrels in video games that when shot simply burst into flames. I wanted to see if I could improve upon the concept and with the help of the talented game coders and artists at Guerrilla, the below barrel was born. Needless to say I was quite happy with the results.
Each bullet impact will cause a jet of fiery petrol to spring forth and after the expected 3 seconds of burnination ( timer starts from the first impact) the barrel will explode into fiery goodness. You can of course fire multiple rounds into the barrel in quick succession to cause it to explode quicker.
I am the first to admit that my electricity mechanic was over designed. Knowing what I know now
At the time the player could pick up weapons from off the ground to use. A problem though was the weapons could have low ammo which would be frustrating should you do this in a fire fight. So I whipped up a motion study to show a possible low ammo warning that would appear on both the weapon in hand and weapons on the ground so the player would know and could plan accordingly before picking up a weapon.
These are a similar set of guidelines I created at Guerrilla Games to help the Level Designers in the creation of the dialog they would need for their various encounters. Given the importance of communication between the designer and the Player, dialog is one of the simplest ways to educate and inform the player of what is going on. I’ve tried to rewrite these guidelines to be a little more general, some examples might be a little FPS specific, but they can be applied to any genre as it’s the meaning being the guidelines that’s important.
I’ve created four communicate categories that I believe should be represented in some way when creating any critical or semi critical encounter. Basically any encounter with an objective or where the Player could become confused, disoriented, or frustrated. These categories are of course up for discussions and debate. 🙂
You can have the best written dialog ever but if the timing and delivery is off it wont mean a thing. Timing for communicative dialog is critical and must be taking into consideration when writing and implementing it into the encounter as it will effect how the Player will respond both emotionally and psychologically to the dialog.
As far as the work flow goes for writing the encounter dialog this will of course depend on the setup you are currently working in, but ideally I believe it’s a good idea for the Level Designers them selves create the first pass dialog since they will be the most intimate with their encounters and know best what they need to communicate. More iterations can be made afterwards of course for quality but to get the ball rolling this is the easiest way. Some Level Designers might not be comfortable writing dialog, even mock up dialog, so giving them two options helps:
Option A) Level Designers write the first pass dialog them selves.
Option B) Level Designers simply give brief descriptions for each encounter of what needs to be communicated to the Player and by whom if it will be specific.
I’ve included examples for both options, A) and B), in each of the four main categories listed below.
This is really up to the platform you are developing on. Just use common sense when creating your dialog and only say what you need to. Don’t worry about adding to much during the first stage as any excess dialog will be removed / corrected as needed. It’s easier to have to much dialog on paper then not enough and scrambling to write stuff up and running the risk of not being able to iterate on it.
These guidelines are of course open for interpritation but by at least doing something similar to these you should have no problem creating clear and understandable dialog for your encounters.
Remember, communicating to the Player is of the utmost importance and should never be compromised…ever!