20 Jan Video Insight: Combat Review Meeting
We want to give you some more informal video updates outside of the video diaries so here is one on combat.
Yesterday we held a review meeting with Rahni who is a Creative Director at Ninja Theory working on another project. Also at the meeting is Alexander, our combat designer, and Mel who is implementing the combat engine.
It’s obviously good practice to conduct regular peer reviews and critique each other’s work but especially so with Rahni. Rahni was the only designer on combat in DmC and her expertise is invaluable.
What we are reviewing is the kernel of the combat system, the basic moves without all the fancy stuff that we plan to layer on top. As we don’t have resources to create AI and enemy characters just yet, we set up a split screen mode that is there purely for testing purposes. It will allow a human to play as AI and see if our combat system will cope.
The way we work is to keep all visuals and sound as placeholder until we feel the mechanics are solid. This allows us to get things up and running and make changes quicker, so please excuse that aspect of it.
From the meeting a big list of items, small and big came about and this feeds into the development tasks for the next review. A lot of the discussion in this review was focused on directional charge attacks. It was a feature Alexander thought could work well given our camera view. It seems to have potential and suggests directional blocking could be a feature of the game, adding an extra layer of skill to blocking.
Creating a combat engine is a big and lengthy design undertaking, most of which is driven by touch, feel and iteration. We take a small steps forward regularly and often.
When we get to a point where we think the core of our combat is solid, we will layer on top additional features, each time making sure it complements the core system. Along the way, we will share this with you so that you too can offer comments and suggestions. When we feel we have something we are happy with we intend to do small discrete beta tests with you online. These will initially focus on simple set ups like the one shown in the video.
This isn’t design by committee by any means, but we are convinced that being open with you guys will help us to make a better game in the end.
So have a look and let us know if you have any ideas that you think we should consider in the comments.
Till next time.