Why Watching isn’t Playing

This sounds like an incredibly obvious thing to say but watching a videogame being played is absolutely nothing like playing it yourself.

One bit of feedback I get after each video release is that the slowdowns that occur seem random and jarring and should perhaps be smoother and accompanied by a visual effect.

This is probably the best example of where watching isn’t playing. When watching a video of somebody playing a game you are missing a very important part – the intentions of the player. These days a lot of videogames are made so that they look good to the people who are watching them and often this can end up sacrificing the feel and fluidity of a games controls. Animations that flow nicely and blend well may look good in a gameplay trailer but you can be sure that the person playing it will be getting annoyed at just how long it takes to change direction or change weapon.

I have tried making the slow-motion in Waves look nicer and blend better. I’ve used tricks like smoothstep interpolation to ensure transitions are smooth not sudden and applying screen effects to indicate very obviously that you are using an intentional power.

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The Evolution of an Idea

Back in November ’09 I started messing around with UDK one weekend. What I ended up with at the end of it was a short video of a tiny level that hinted at a physics based puzzle game.

8 months later that game has evolved into Waves.

Below is every video of the game since that first weekend until the most recent video of the May build. Waves has evolved rather than been designed with each new major addition being an experiment or the result of learning some new skill. I never set out to make an Arena shooter but somehow I ended up with one.

More videos beneath the cut…

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