I have been to a couple of game jams as you probably know from the titles in my Portfolio. And there is almost always this part of a game jam when the game is sort of done. But it does not feel right. It feels a bit empty. You walk around, push buttons, but there is just something missing. There is no game juice.
What can you do?
Some games end up like that. Mundane. Flavorless. Sterile. Developers only barely make the deadline. Trust me. I know. I’ve been there. There is no item to polish the game. And I don’t mean just fixing bugs and prettifying the graphics. And I don’t mean iterating on the idea either. The idea is already implemented. The basic game is already there. It just lacks a bit of sprinkles. A bit of game feel.
So what should you do? Is there a magic GAME FEEL button?
Yes! (well, sort of).
It’s called screenshake. You can use it as first aid kit for your game jam project.
It does not work with every game though. And it’s a bit cheap effect if you ask me. But it might help you. Fast.
Watch this amazing video called The art of screenshake from Jan (from Vlambeer, they made Nuclear Throne). It will change your (gamedev) life, I promise. You can skip the first 7 minutes.
So what did Jan do to improve his game?
- Added basic animations and sounds (eg. hair moves when jumping).
- Lower enemy hp.
- Higher rate of fire.
- More enemies (having more things to shoot).
- Bigger bullets (instead of tiny dots large colorful sparks, games are not real life).
- Add muzzle flash to your gun.
- Faster bullets.
- Less accuracy (randomize angle of bullets a bit).
- Add impact effect of bullets on walls or enemies.
- Hit animation when enemies get hit (communicate enemies are getting damaged).
- Knock back enemies when hit.
- Permanence (corpses stay on battlefield, sense of history in levels).
- Camera lerp (tweak how camera follows the player).
- Camera position (players can see further in the direction they aim).
- SCREEN SHAKE (camera is shaking when shooting).
- Player knockback (while shooting, reason not to always shoot).
- Sleep (freezing important frames such as when hitting enemies).
- Gun delay (gun animation).
- Gun kick (gun animation).
- More permanence (bullet shells stay on battlefield).
- More bass in audio effects.
- Super machine gun.
- Random explosions (33% chance enemies explode on death).
- Faster enemies.
- More enemies.
- Higher rate of fire and camera kick.
- Bigger explosions.
- More permanence (smoke).
- Add meaning to your game.
At Vlambeer they spend a lot of time at polishing their games.
Want more inspiration? Read further.
Examples from Keith’s tweet
In his tweet https://twitter.com/keefstuart/status/982176417742913537 Keith asked “Video game creators: please could you tell me your favourite moments of good “gamefeel”?”. Here are some answers:
Swimming in ink in Splatoon; jumping around in Clustertruck; dashing into the “magic fields” in Celeste; long-jumping on your hat in Super Mario Odyssey … to name a few 🙂
The tiny pause in Wind Waker when Link hits something with his sword. The way the sail opens in Wind Waker. The way throwing stuff feels. Almost anything in that game really.
Rolling up things in Katamari. (The plop plop sound is very important for the feel too)
-Time freeze in Mark of the Ninja
-Slight delay when slamming down in Thumper
-Sound and animation of tapping a spot in Monument Valley
-Foot stomp in Dead Space
-Melee kills in DOOM
-Dash in Vampire Smile
-Line tracing in The Witness
-Dead Cells’ running, jumping and moving
Examples from #gamefeel
I took advantage of an amazing feature called hashtags to search for gamefeel related posts on Twitter to bring you a couple of examples:
This is a really simple game, but there are a couple of juicy effect making it more fluid.
Game feel applies to UI too. It’s part of the user experience.
Particle effects, blood stains on a screen, hit flashes, aspect ratio changing as number of hits increases.
Screen distortion effect and screenshake.
Randomized explosion, flash.
Dash lines effect.
Collecting effect and multiplier numbers.
Camera sway when attacking with an axe.
Sparks, directional shake, refraction on trail and animated line renderer sprites
Almost everything you do in Violet Cycle.
Mad Max – sand deformation
Audio game feel moments
Squishing worms in Half-life 2.
Near miss effect in Race the Sun
Muffled audio in INSIDE
What are your favorite game feel moments?
How to study / implement game feel yourself?
To wisen up on #gamefeel, watch videos frame-by-frame. YouTube: comma/period skips frame – or install Chrome plugin for slo-mo: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/frame-by-frame/cclnaabdfgnehogonpeddbgejclcjneh … – Look for timing of screenshake, flashes, vignettes, GUI elements, post filters etc.
More resources about game feel
“giving better feedback to the player after each interaction, and also making the world feel more alive.”
A bit of analysis on Game Feel for the 1986 classic Super Mario Bros.
And how do you implement game feel in your games?