Tech vs Fun: Feet Friction

October 31, 2014

One common dilemma that comes up in game development is balancing out tech vs fun.

Sometimes, the tech itself is fun. Like a ragdoll falling down a flight of stairs. That's fun to watch.

However, there are times when the tech can be at odds with fun. For example, a carefully constructed city simulation complete with budgets and complex taxation system could be extremely well built to the finest detail. But if the main point of the game is city building, budgets and taxes might be better kept simple so the player can focus on what he wants to do: build a city. Not staring at a budget screen for 30 minutes trying to allocate each tax dollar.

So then, my Sumo Boom dilemma.

With the powered ragdoll driving the character, one thing I experimented with is having the ragdoll's walking feet animation actually drive the character's movement. Actually it worked great in the game in a test environment (just ignore the fact the character wasn't smart enough to stop and turn ).

But the problem is that the friction necessary from this, combined with the animated ragdoll implementation meant that the opponent couldn't generate enough force to push the player backwards. And vice versa.

So the tech of having more realistic walk animation is at odds with a core gameplay principle of pushing the other opponent around (which is the fun).

What to do?

Go back to little friction and have the sumo slide? Which even though it doesn't look realistic, is actually extremely fun and fast paced.

Sort out some way of having the feet step back in response?

Have the feet slide back in response to the push?

Reduce feet friction due to being pushed?

We'll sleep on it...

( insert 4 hours sleep )

Okay, so after sleeping on it (which is usually the best solution, future developers and programmers take note)...