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Old 09-17-2015, 05:27 PM   #1   Add To Ignore List  
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Default 3 main pillars of Serious Sam gameplay mechanics: what strengthens and weakens them.

3 pillars of Serious Sam game mechanics:

So I found 3 main things that constitute the three main mechanics of gameplay of Serious Sam. These are:

1. Dodging attacks: the art of movement.
2. Prioritizing targets: the order of taking down enemies.
3. Weapon choice: which weapons will you be using against whom.


I've marked things with “+” which improve the gameplay mechanics and things with “-” which weaken the said mechanics. This might be useful to take into account when making a large expansion for Serious Sam.

Pillar 1. Dodging attacks.

Dodging enemy attacks in determined by the following characteristics:

1. The nature of attack. (ranged or melee)
2. The difficulty of the attack. (how fast the enemies and their projectiles move and what their behaviour is)

+Projectiles and enemies with various speeds and behaviours.

The more varied the projectile behaviour is, the more different ways you have to utilize to dodge them. There can be your average straight-moving projectiles, projectiles with some sort of homing behaviours, projectiles that move in an arc, projectiles which move in zigzag pattern, projectiles that move in wave-like pattern, projectiles which shoot smaller projectiles or split up, projectiles which accelerate/decelerate, enemies which lead their shots, enemies who shoot lots of projectiles everywhere...you name it. The variety of melee and kamikaze enemies are harder to execute without them becoming annoying but there might be things to make it doable. See integrating jumping and crouching below.

+Integrating jumping into fighting enemies.

Jumping allows extra movement and thus opens up more options for dodging the enemy attacks. A few attacks (like the ones from beheaded firecracker) can be soley based on the ability to jump over them.

+ Enemies that can attack multiple players at the same time.

This works well in multiplayer. For an example, a tank which has two additional small turrets instead of a main gun could attack 3 players in total. Bosses in particular would benefit a lot from being able to attack many players simultaneously.

+ Occasional use of gimmick rooms.

Rooms with interesting properties (such as rooms with moving floors) cause you to think a bit differently on how to dodge attacks.

+?Integrating crouching into dodging attacks?

Normally you wouldn't expect to crouch in a Serious Sam game but again, it can be integrated well into the gameplay. There could be enemies which attack your head height either with melee or ranged attacks or enemies who alternate between high and low attacks. If crouching only reduces player to 70% of his/her running speed, it is still faster to run but it does not render the player completely helpless when crouching. Alternative is to add sliding which makes player unable to attack but does not reduce player's speed.

- Hitscan projectiles.

Hitscan projectiles force you to take cover, unless you can either stunlock or killed before being able to fire. Problems arise when multiple enemies with hitscan attack appear in an open area. Note that this does not include delayed hitscan attacks. (delayed hitscan attack, for an example, is when an enemy takes an aim at a certain spot and shoots at that spot a second later after aiming).

- Overabundance of very fast projectile enemies or melee equivalent to this.

While few types of fast projectile enemies are good, the overreliance on them makes dodging their attacks more monotonous or gived the player fewer options. Usually this means you have to strafe in one direction and hope there is a gap if change of strafing direction is needed. (or jump) This often extends to enemies with melee attacks as well. Note that certain types of slower projectiles but with homing abilities often substitute for very fast non-homing projectiles as well and should be dodged the same way. Very fast projectiles with homing abilities can often even count as hitscan attacks. A lot of custom enemies in enemy resource packs currently suffer from that problem.

- Enemies not having enough chances to attack.

If very few enemies can attack before being killed, the need for dodging diminishes. Obviously, you have to kill enemies to not get overwhelmed but the amount of enemies should match the firepower and the size (and maybe shape) of the room. For an example, fodder enemies (like beheaded rocketeers) could still have a chance to attack if they're surrounding the player or positioned on are positioned on low ledges so shooting them with strong weapons still takes more time and sometimes those enemies must be ignored in favour of attacking more dangerous enemies attack from the ground level.

- ± Too fast player movement compared to enemy attacks.

This means that you can easily escape from everything coming in your way. It can be fun in small doses though (serious speed) but not all the time. Note that if an enemy has a very slow attack, it can be easily used in small rooms. Slow attack enemies can also be used as screenfillers in larger areas.

- Too slow player movement compared to enemy attacks.

Apparent in Serious Sam 2 and 3. Slow player movement limits the option the player can take when fighting enemies. With rushing enemies, it also means you can be doomed if you let more than two slip by your defenses instead of just making things more difficult for you. In adition, slow player movement makes traversing larger areas a chore.

-Too low jump height.

This also limits the player's options on dodging attacks. If jumps are too low, they become pretty much useless.

-Buggy jumping/lacking jump feedback/buggy terrain/physics.

It is not pleasant to be fighting and then suddenly getting stuck/bumped/kicked because of a small bump in a terrain. Sometimes it can even lead to death. Jumping lacking sound feedback also makes judging jumping more difficult. One solution to jump physics is to find inspiration from platform games.
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Old 09-17-2015, 05:28 PM   #2   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: 3 main pillars of Serious Sam gameplay mechanics: what strengthens and weakens th

Pillar 2. Prioritizing targets.

Deciding which targets to take down in which order is mainly determined by the following characteristics:

1. How powerful their attacks are.
2. How hard is to dodge said attacks.
3. The additional functions of the enemies. (such as gnaars blocking more dangerous enemies)
4. Durability of the enemies.
5. The position of the enemies.

+ Have enemy attacks which take various amounts of effort to dodge and that do various amounts of damage.

This creates a priority order. Enemies with high damage and hard-to-dodge attacks (such as rotating cannons) are high-priority targets and low damage and easy-to-dodge attacks (such as beheaded rocketeers and gnaars) are low-priority targets. Sometimes projectiles are easy to dodge but do a lot of damage or vice versa. Depending on situation, you either want to take more powerful enemies first (on easier difficulties) or enemies that are harder to dodge (on harder difficulties and/or low health) while dodging the more powerful attacks. An example is when major biomechanoids and Aludran reptiloids appear. Major biomechs have more powerful attack while Aludran reptiloids are harder to dodge. Note that making disproportionately high-damaging enemies (imagine Kleer skeleton whose attacks do 100 damage) is generally not a good idea.

+ Enemies with different durabilities.

Different types of durabilities also mean you're going to prioritize which enemies to take down first. If two enemies which have about the same power of attack which can be dodged with the same difficulty, you're likely going to kill the less durable one first. So it's no shame if one or two types of enemies take several rockets to kill but don't do much damage. You just kill them last unless they're in your way.

+ Presence of supporting enemies. Some ideas here.

Supporting enemies can sometimes force you to rethink the order you need to take down enemies. Some are rather easy decisions. For an example, you'd like to take down that enemy which give other enemies invulnerability. Other times there are not so easy decitions. Should you take these defense increasing enemies out so killing subsequent kamikazes would consume less bullets? How do kill those kleers while initially avoiding killing those enemies which give extra health around others when they die?

+ Rooms where priority order depends on where enemies spawn.

Some rooms can induce target prioritization even when only a single type of enemy appears. For an example, if two enemies spawn in the back and ten in the front, you want to take out one of the groups first. Or if the room spawns only beheaded firecrackers, then those spawning on the ground level have lower priority than those spawning on the ledges.

+ Different combinations of enemies appear.

Obviously your prioritization skills will be put into test more often the more different combinations the enemies appear in. Note that varying the enemy ratios will also create different results. For an example, 50% of one type of enemy and 50% of other enemy FC-wise plays out differently than 10% of one type of enemy and 90% of other type of enemy.

- Infinitely respawning enemies.

This is mainly a problem with bosses. If the regular enemies keep spawning while fighting the boss, you obviously want to take the boss down first. Often it leads to ignoring enemies because of this. While in theory it sort of makes you want to dodge more attacks and dramatically deprioritize the majority of enemies, it often boils down to “kill it before they kill you”. Enemies can replaced with projectiles which shoot other projectiles. This also makes the boss feel more powerful.

- Same combinations of enemies appear all the time.

Self-explanatory. Especially apparent if the areas they appear are the same as well. The most common examples from games is using just kleer skeletons or just beheaded kamikazes in battles. Note that not using fodder enemies in later levels may not be the best idea because even if they do little damage compared to other enemies at that point, they do induce additional priority decisions and can still get a hit or two when player is too focused on fighting powerful enemies.
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Old 09-17-2015, 05:28 PM   #3   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: 3 main pillars of Serious Sam gameplay mechanics: what strengthens and weakens th

Pillar 3. Choosing the right weapon for the job.

Choosing the right weapon usually is determined by the following.

1. The weapons you currently have.
2. The types of enemies that appear.
3. The amount they appear in especially how easy or hard it is to dodge them.
4. The distance they appear in.

+ Enemies with various endurances.

This is the most obvious one. Weak enemies are better killed with rapid-fire weapon but stronger enemies are better to be killed with explosives as rapid-fire weapons are rather wasteful. There can be exceptions when lots of very weak enemies clump together or when a more powerful enemy has hard-to-dodge but destroyable projectiles.

+ Moderate use of resistances.

Using things like 50% resistance to bullets or 30% resistance to explosives fomr some enemies may force you to use different weapons. It is not best to go overboard with resistances though and too much resistance (80% can also be a bd thing). Note that showing resistances could be integrated into the HUD of the game in minimalistic manner.

+ Subtle hints which let you know if there will be drought of certain types of ammo.

When you know beforehand that there won't be ammo for some of the weapon, especially if you know how long, you might be more careful with what weapons you use. The question is how to make it clear and how subtle can you be. Is it NETRICSA outright telling you, having an ammo drought icon somewhere or something else.

+ Subtle hints which let you know if there will be plenty of certain types of ammo.

If you know that there will be plenty of ammo for one weapon, you're likely going to use it more often. It is still not wise decision to make it infinite (like ammo stashes in Serious Sam 3.) outside maybe a few boss battles as it greatly diminishes the use of other weapons.

+ Making every weapon useful.

If every weapon is useful, you will be using them throughout the game. Incorporating weapon designs into any resistance you might encounter is a way to go.

+ Good weapon feedback.

This may be pushing it (as it is more of a presentation thing) but if a weapon sounds powerful and feels (through weapon animation and maybe through enemy kickback) powerful, you will likely be finding yourself using that weapon more often.

+ Different combinations of enemies appear.

Like it strengthening the second pillar, it also works with third pillar, especially if different enemies have different durabilities (such as khnums with beheaded rocketeers). Again, experimenting with different combination ratios of enemies can make fights more varied.

+ Introducing different weapons in different chapters.

This was done in Serious Sam 2. This means that if you fear that one weapon is less useful, you can add it in other chapter. This means you can have devastator in one chapter and grenade launcher in other chapter. This also has additional benefit for introducing more content even towards the late game. Plus sometimes you have to rethink how to fight already established enemies.

- Immunities.

While very limited immunities (such as lava golem being immue to flamethrower) do not hurt much, the more prominent resistances (being completely immune to non-explosives) can be frustrating, especially if the said enemy dodges attacks. It also makes some weapons too weak. Resistances should be preferred to immunities.

- Enemies that dodge too much.

Too dodgy enemies can make gunplay rather unsatisfying if you can't hit anything more than half of the time. This goes double for flying enemies as third dimension makes them already harder to hit. And quadruple to flying enemies that are immune to hitscan weapons. If rocket launcher would have a secondary fire that shoots homing rockets but much slower, would it be too powerful or not?

- Too little ammo.

Too little ammo for a weapon, especially when not knowing when you can find more, means that you are often afraid to use that weapon, at least during the first playthrough. Weapons and ammo in secrets don't count.

- Too much ammo.

Too much ammo means that you don't feel the need to watch your ammo supply or even switch to weaker weapons. Again, try to avoid infinite ammo stashes.

- Lack of audiovisual feedback from weapons.

Again, this goes to presentation but you don't really want to use weapon which sounds like a toy with 3 silencers attached to it.


So these are the 3 main pillars. Of course, these don't constitute all what makes Serious Sam what it is. Other aspects include presentation, secrets, designing enemy waves (that were not mentioned here) etc.

What do you think? If anyone has ideas what to add or things to correct, please let me know.
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Old 09-17-2015, 05:46 PM   #4   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: 3 main pillars of Serious Sam gameplay mechanics: what strengthens and weakens th

Quote:
Originally Posted by Artman40 View Post
- Enemies that dodge too much.

Too dodgy enemies can make gunplay rather unsatisfying if you can't hit anything more than half of the time. This goes double for flying enemies as third dimension makes them already harder to hit. And quadruple to flying enemies that are immune to hitscan weapons. If rocket launcher would have a secondary fire that shoots homing rockets but much slower, would it be too powerful or not?
Hey look, it's Serious Sam 3.


Also, let me give you

Pillar 4. Good level design.

Serious Sam levels are defined in the follow characteristics:

1. Big
2. Nice, eye-pleasing colors
3. Bright and clear


+ Levels that encourage exploration
Reward players for being curious.

+ Fitting music
Music must fit with the theme of the level, and the final level music must be epic.

+ Path to progress must be obvious
Side paths are welcome, but the main path should be obvious so as to not let the players miss out on things on a go.

+ End path must be obvious
Never end a level abruptly.

+ Item placements
Items are great to show the players where to go, or notify the player that it is a secret

- Enemy placements
Yes, Reptiloids and Arachnoids love pillars, we get it.

- Dark levels
Fuck Sewers and all the underground levels in SS3. Even though levels are Tomb of Ramses and Karnak are dark, they are still clear. The difficulty of the game should only come from the first three pillars. Obstructing the players' vision is the same as faking difficulty via shit controls.

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Old 09-17-2015, 06:27 PM   #5   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: 3 main pillars of Serious Sam gameplay mechanics: what strengthens and weakens th

Level design seems to be a thing that largely supplements the three pillars but there are aspects which don't cover three pillars.

Darkness is still not bad in gimmick rooms but outside of those it can be a pain (memories from Unearthing the Sun in BFE: Enhanced before it was corrected). Also, level ending after boss or an enemy wave being defeated also counts as abrupt ending. It's still better to have an exit point.

For music, I agree with Damjan that rhythm is important. However, adding a melody (and maybe even bass, chords and special effects) in addition to percussions makes the music much more memorable. For South American levels in the Second Encounter, I bet you all remember Serpent Yards songs the most.

For level and enemy wave design I also found the following:

+ Varied enemy waves and the way they spawn.

Described above. But in aesthetically some interesting things can be done. For an example, there are 5 major biomechanoids and killing each one spawns 3 minor biomechanoids. Or enemies coming in various formations which may break if getting too close to player. And so on.

+ Varied rooms.

Metropolis is a good example of how varied different outdoor areas are and Tomb of Ramses III a good example of how varied indoor areas can be. These places consist of area fights, the run-through areas with little resistance, areas with numerous ambushes and heavy resistance areas.

Occasional gimmick rooms also freshen things up a bit.

+ Some levels having a central theme.

In terms of gameplay. In First Encounter, Dunes and Suburbs had their central themes for an example with Dunes having arena fights and Suburbs having small ambush fights. It's still not best for every level have a central theme in order to keep player on their toes. Or maybe different themes are in different parts of the level. Valley of the Jaguar is one of those examples with beginning part focusing on launching players into the air, the open valley focusing on large-scale fights and temples focusing on gimmick rooms.

+Checkpoint and indicator enemies.

Enemies that appear after certain amount of enemies are defeated. These let the player to know that they're making progress and make longer attacks feel and play less monotonous. These indicator enemies appear during various parts of the fight can be in form of a single heavy unit, wave of smaller units or sometimes variations are known. Sometimes an arena fight end is indicated by an enemy spawning at the doorway or enemies coming out of that said doorway. You may not notice it but your brain does.

+Surprises or breaks from the norm.

Sometimes having something against normal level logic also freshens things up. For an example, Valley of the Kings has a (mini)boss fight in the end of the first area of the level instead of at the end. In Lost Temples of Nubia, instead of having a boss fight or major fight at the end, there's a small wave of harpies after 2 large battles to ease you to the next level.

+ Introducing enemies throughout the game.

This works better if the game is multi-chaptered but it works otherwise as well. This also means, like with weapons that you'll be introduced to new challenges even in late game. Serious Sam 2 did it.

- Enemy trickle.

Basically situations where you just wait for enemy wave to end and what you'll get don't provide much challenge. Imagine if there are 10 spawners which spawn 10 units each but each spawner spawns only 1 at a time with another one spawning 5 seconds after the previous one is defeated. Now imagine if one of the units gets stuck. This means that if you've defeated 90 units and find that stuck 91th one, you'll be spawn camping that enemy spawn point for a while to kill everything.

Some enemy trickle danger points could be alleviated for giving more options of what the spawners can do in editor.

- Too formulaic level design.

If every level has the same buildup and climax, it becomes too formulaic and predictable. Remember, it's not a Mario game. Too much formula can make the levels feel like series of enemy waves rather than a big adventure.

- Invisible walls

Everybody hates them. Invisible walls feel very a very artificial way to restrict player's movement. Bonus negative points if exploiters find their way around invisible walls. Even forcefield feel less...forced. In fact, forcefields have been used rather interesting ways in Gathering of the Gods level. If forcefields can't be used, level architecture should somehow incorporate their environment into the level design. Piles of rubble often won't cut it.
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Old 09-18-2015, 05:53 AM   #6   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: 3 main pillars of Serious Sam gameplay mechanics: what strengthens and weakens th

Good points, it's a nice read.
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Old 09-18-2015, 10:26 AM   #7   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: 3 main pillars of Serious Sam gameplay mechanics: what strengthens and weakens th

Some more points added.
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Old 09-18-2015, 11:46 AM   #8   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: 3 main pillars of Serious Sam gameplay mechanics: what strengthens and weakens th

I disagree with 3. Pillar.

AutoShotgun/12 Gauge Shotgun becomes useless after first 2-3 campaign maps of SS1/SS2. Cause this Shotgun is too weak.

Tommygun/Minigun are perfect for quick Kills of enemies. Lasergun too. With these weapons you get a perma Damage press of the Enemies.

P-Coms 4. Pillar has nothing to do with game mechanics. And this thread is about that.


+ Fitting music
Music must fit with the theme of the level, and the final level music must be epic.

[
Quote:
Originally Posted by PikaCommando View Post
B]+ Fitting music
[/B]Music must fit with the theme of the level, and the final level music must be epic.
I can forgot if i play SS1 the music totally if i focus myself at Battles & Gunfire. Even if the music is turned I only remember a few Drum rhythms.

SS2 i play today completely with Music turned off.

SS2 has a fatter & wider Music Sound then SS1 for me.

Also i find the definition of Tactical Gameplay in Combo with Heavy Guitar sounds funny.

I like to use Doom 2 map 07 Dead Simple as comparison: It is not tactical gameplay for me, it is basicly a Itemhunt.
Id dudes were drunk and listen some Slayer albums as they design this map in my imagination.
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Old 09-18-2015, 01:03 PM   #9   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: 3 main pillars of Serious Sam gameplay mechanics: what strengthens and weakens th

Regarding pillar 3:
Heavier use of Netty is an option. It's a combat analyzer after all, so it needs to be more active. It either needs to do so through visual cues (HUD) or through voice.

Take immunity/resistance for instance. The first time you fight an enemy you have no idea what it is immune to. However, Netty should be able to tell you - either post kill (i.e. corpse analysis) or during the fight (i.e. your gun is not working as effectively as expected). Furthermore, she could remind you at later stages in the game if you're wasting your ammo on an enemy with resistance.

Regarding ammo management, she could actually warn you that you're low and recommend a different weapon that is suitable for the situation. Imagine a fight with a mix of weak enemies (e.g. rocketeers) and strong enemies (e.g. biomech). If you're just using your assault rifle for all of them, she could say something like "You should use your rocketlauncher for the biomechs". Or simply flash a green pictogram on your screen with RL and biomech.

I realize that there are some challenges in implementing such behavior in a good way, without it being annoying and distracting. But Netty is a combat analyzer, and most of the time the only thing we get out of her is post fight. In fact, her job has primarily been as an artifact analyzer, rather than a combat analyzer. She rarely relays any combat relevant information.
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Old 09-18-2015, 01:14 PM   #10   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: 3 main pillars of Serious Sam gameplay mechanics: what strengthens and weakens th

I want Nettie to have that sexy British voice again, too. Maybe she could have a hologram model in cutscenes, too.
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Old 09-18-2015, 02:33 PM   #11   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: 3 main pillars of Serious Sam gameplay mechanics: what strengthens and weakens th

Quote:
Originally Posted by jasser View Post
She rarely relays any combat relevant information.
That's why HUD icons and things can come in handy. For an example, if an enemy has 40% resistance to bullets, there could be a small shield icon with 40% on it and one small icon that represents bullets.

Sometimes HUD could help you in other ways as well. I'm sure it's possible to implement a mod in Serious Sam 3 which, when aiming at enemies, will show if they're idling, running straight at you, running a determined path or standing still and firing. Just by using different crosshairs.
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Old 09-18-2015, 04:00 PM   #12   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: 3 main pillars of Serious Sam gameplay mechanics: what strengthens and weakens th

Netrisca was important for me as i played SS1 first time.

At 2nd Walkthru of SS1 i ignored Netrisca.

Puzzle and press Button Design is not hard in SS.
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Old 09-19-2015, 09:28 AM   #13   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: 3 main pillars of Serious Sam gameplay mechanics: what strengthens and weakens th

What is this thread even for?
Did you just try to make a detailed essay that analyzes the 3d shooter? Why.
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Old 09-19-2015, 11:44 AM   #14   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: 3 main pillars of Serious Sam gameplay mechanics: what strengthens and weakens th

Because it's a good read, it's also helpful to have a description of the gameplay heart for mappers or modders who want to make their own stuff.
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Old 09-21-2015, 01:20 PM   #15   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: 3 main pillars of Serious Sam gameplay mechanics: what strengthens and weakens th

I also add one point to the dodging attacks pillar

- Cycle of pain

This happens the most with melee enemies (although not exclusive). Sometimes you feel a bit cheated when getting hit by one enemy makes you get hit by 3 others because you've lost control over your movement. Kleer skeletons in SS3 and werebulls are examples of this.

How to alleviate that though...I don't know.
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Old 09-22-2015, 04:33 AM   #16   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: 3 main pillars of Serious Sam gameplay mechanics: what strengthens and weakens th

I don't really consider that a problem, since it's been there since Serious Sam 1. When you fuck up and get hit by an enemy, expect to get hit a lot unless you're lucky.
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Old 09-22-2015, 05:46 AM   #17   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: 3 main pillars of Serious Sam gameplay mechanics: what strengthens and weakens th

But how to remove luck from the game?
Also, the cycle of pain may weaken the health system if one hit leads to death.

Anyway...I'm on the edge when it comes to Weapons with different power
If the power of weapons are too uneven, the weaker weapons become useless. If these are too even, the need to conserve ammo becomes much lower.
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Last edited by Artman40; 09-22-2015 at 06:27 AM.
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Old 09-23-2015, 06:48 PM   #18   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: 3 main pillars of Serious Sam gameplay mechanics: what strengthens and weakens th

Maybe in level design perspective:

- Angst or boredom situations.

Basically situations where trying to fight in an area is too difficult and gets you killed. However, retreating somewhere where enemies can come through in narrow choke point makes things too easy.

So in other words: don't make things impossible but also don't give the player easy but boring options to destroy enemies.
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Old 09-23-2015, 07:17 PM   #19   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: 3 main pillars of Serious Sam gameplay mechanics: what strengthens and weakens th

Overly long battles are definitely a point of the whole series that might need fixing. Or something to balance them out, like more dynamic battles.
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Old 09-23-2015, 07:26 PM   #20   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: 3 main pillars of Serious Sam gameplay mechanics: what strengthens and weakens th

To be more accurate: overly long battles where you feel like you're making no progress. Especially if the battle isn't particularly intense.

Of course, I also pointed out on what to do to make very long battles less monotonous.

Let's take the marsh hopper battle room in Oasis. While it suffers from trickle near the end, it does 2 tricks. First is that it has a bar which shows you how many of them are left. The second trick is that at the start of the battle is spawns marsh hoppers from the front and in the second half it spawns marsh hoppers from all sides. Both of these indicate that you're making progress.
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Last edited by Artman40; 09-23-2015 at 07:34 PM.
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Old 10-04-2015, 12:56 AM   #21   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: 3 main pillars of Serious Sam gameplay mechanics: what strengthens and weakens th

Maybe I should rename "angst or boredom" situation "be dead or be bored".
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