Saturday, November 17, 2007

Motion in Motion

Today I was busily getting lost when I stumbled across the coolest building around. I tried to find some big images I could label for you, but the biggest image on line is about two hundred pixels wide, which isn't terribly useful. However, looking at that Google map, you can see the building is unique.

When I saw it, I started picking out details I particularly liked. The stepped decks are perfect for jumping up or down, floor to floor. There's several square crevices ideally sized for chimney climbing. The staggered roof provides a variety of complex views, and there are different roofs, providing complex navigation. There are window walls you could climb a'la Crackdown, and some overhangs you might need a double jump or something for.

If the inside is anything like the outside, you could base an entire game around it pretty easily. In fact, it almost writes itself: you're an X-games star who tried a stunt that didn't work out, cracked your skull. You're spending time in the hospital when terrorists attack (although it turns out they're corporate shills after a particular patient rather than terrorists)! You start off kitten weak, but as your medication wears off, you recover your x-treme skills. You're trying to get the patients to safety by using your greater mobility to open a path for them. You can't kill the terrorists because they'll kill the hostages, but you can turn them against each other or lure them into "death by misadventure"...

Anyway, earlier this week I was watching my friends play Super Mario Galaxy which, if you've been living under a rock, is a 3D Super Mario game featuring an abundance of mind-boggling gravities and geometries. Slightly before that, I was playing Naruto, which seems to be largely about jumping around like mad until you get into a fight, at which point it's about getting your ass kicked. Slightly before that, I was playing Assassin's Creed, which is basically a slightly gimpy Prince of Persia running around a more freeform world. (It also has the WORST FIRST HOUR for a game that gets such reviews.)

Before that, I played Skate, Crackdown, and the newer, more Persian Lara Croft. In fact, almost half the games I've played recently are about leaping around. The other half are about controlling terrain.

Is it just me, or does everyone, everywhere, have motion on the brain? And not just any motion, but really deep, complex motion?

Maybe this is just a temporary glut, like that year with six "asteroid hits the planet!" movies. I hope not, though, because I think it's nifty keen. I think that once you start thinking in terms of motion, you can't ever be really satisfied by turn based combat again.

What do you think?


Corvus said...

I've lately been lamenting the inclusion of combat in Tomb Raider, LEOG Star Wars, etc. I'd love a full-out terrain exploration game... without guns.

I've played the demo of Skate and it's better and more intuitive than any other skate boarding game I've played, but it still doesn't quite do it for me. Perhaps if I rented it and got out of the skate park, I'd enjoy it more?

Craig Perko said...

Skate is a skill-based game, so it takes a few hours to really get the hang of it. It's definitely better in the full game, because there are a variety of challenges that are very fun. Those give you something specific to do instead of just running around skating.

Matthew Rundle said...

Now you've got me wanting a more complicated turn-based combat that incorporates complex jump motions. Like a tactical game kung-fu game with useful terrain and the ability to throw people around, and rewards for pulling off complex techniques and choreographing interesting fights.

Craig Perko said...

Sure, that sounds like it could be a lot of fun. A lot of games use turn-based terrain control - most tactical games do. But unlike a classic turn based RPG, a move has a lasting, complex, subtle change rather than simply "lose X hp". It fills all my requirements. :)

Peter Bessman said...

I think that game idea is equal parts hilarious and awesome. It seems like a candidate for slow-mo, which, let's face it, just never gets old. But what does get old is that every game doing it is deathly serious. I think it would be flipping sweet if your dude got slow mo juice from, say, mountain dew, and spewed one liners a la Duke Nukem. Like, one of the weapons could be those little paddles that shock people back to life, only you over-charge them to kill folks by, say, holding down the fire button. If you hold it up to maximum charge and close on a baddie, your dude says "don't worry, this won't hurt me a bit," and then BLAMMO, you release, and a bolt of lightening skewers the guy's heart. That. Would. Rule.

You should get on that. Moral imperative.