What is the right way to combine game genres? | Toolbox for game makers (123)

It's been a few years since the Game Maker's Toolkit YouTube channel reviews and describes various aspects of video games and related concepts in short and informative videos. The field pays. I decided to translate the content of these videos into Farsi by adapting it to the medium of writing. This series of articles will be very useful for those who dream of becoming a game developer or just want to understand video games better and more deeply. Stay tuned for the Game Maker's Toolbox series of articles.

BingMag.com What is the right way to combine game genres? | Toolbox for game makers (123)

It's been a few years since the Game Maker's Toolkit YouTube channel reviews and describes various aspects of video games and related concepts in short and informative videos. The field pays. I decided to translate the content of these videos into Farsi by adapting it to the medium of writing. This series of articles will be very useful for those who dream of becoming a game developer or just want to understand video games better and more deeply. Stay tuned for the Game Maker's Toolbox series of articles.

In 2008, game designer Derek Yu couldn't decide what style of game he was going to make next. First, he thought of making a platform game. But despite the design of several preliminary designs, no idea seemed right. Then it occurred to him that maybe it would be better to make a roguelike game, from the same isometric black hole crawler games that have random stages. But this idea didn't work either.

The initial designs that Yu designed did not add anything new to the relevant genre. It was at this moment that a light bulb turned on in his mind. What if he made a platform game that had jumps of a few hundredths of a second and a lightning-fast and real-time combat system, but with random stages and permadeath in the style of roguelike games?

Thus, Spelunky was born. became. (And about eight million other games that borrow elements from roguelikes, but aren't roguelites!)

You know, we like to put games into well-defined categories: platformers, first-person action, Racing game, puzzle game. We categorize or genre games based on criteria such as gameplay mechanics, camera angles, stage structure, and game rules.

But when these boundaries are blurred and these genres are combined, the result is amazing. Of course, this is not as simple as throwing a few different side dishes into a pot and hoping that a delicious meal will be cooked. If you get this combination wrong, the result can be disastrous.

So in this article I want to explore how a game can successfully combine completely different genres.

Method One: Hand-off Method Between Different Genres

Okay, I will start the discussion with a method called Hand-off Method. . Crossover happens when a game changes its nature between different genres at different times.

Take Persona as an example. Persona is sometimes a Japanese role-playing game with a strong focus on black hole navigation, sometimes a life simulator reminiscent of visual novel games.

BingMag.com What is the right way to combine game genres? | Toolbox for game makers (123) BingMag.com What is the right way to combine game genres? | Toolbox for game makers (123)

Consider the Uncharted series as another example. These games are constantly changing styles between third-person shooters, platformers, puzzle-solving and vehicle driving.

BingMag.com What is the right way to combine game genres? | Toolbox for game makers (123) BingMag.com What is the right way to combine game genres? | Toolbox for game makers (123) BingMag.com What is the right way to combine game genres? | Toolbox for game makers (123)

one One of the strengths of this method is creating variety in the game's rhythm. Playing a certain type of gameplay for a few hours can get boring, so if you mix genres, you can keep players engaged for longer.

You can also do something using this method. that the gameplay always fits what is happening in the narrative of the game, because - in the example of Persona - tense role-playing battles do not seem logical in the context of completing tasks after school.

The main problem with this method is is that some players may not like all the genres used in the mix. For example, if you bought God of War to experience violent, fast and non-stop one-on-one combat, you might be completely bored by the game's puzzles and slow music.

BingMag.com What is the right way to combine game genres? | Toolbox for game makers (123)

However, there are solutions to solve this problem. For example, Uncharted has puzzles, but you don't need to burn a lot of phosphorus to solve them. The main genre in this series is third-person shooter, so you will find the most depth and challenge in this aspect of the gameplay. Secondary genres are just an excuse to increase the variety of the game. Therefore, these genres are kept simple so as not to appeal to those who are only interested in third-person shooters.

Other than that, the experience of secondary genres can be made optional. In Shovel Knight: King of Cards, if you just want to focus on the platforming part of the game, there is no need to play the Card Battler part of the game.

BingMag.com What is the right way to combine game genres? | Toolbox for game makers (123) BingMag.com What is the right way to combine game genres? | Toolbox for game makers (123)

In L.A. Noire, if you can't do the boring third-person shooter parts of the game, you can skip them to get back to the original. Gameplay: solving detective puzzles.

In the Yakuza series, after passing the educational part of the game, you never need to involve yourself with the management part of the game.

Another thing that can be done Pascari's method is to choose different genres that are very similar to each other in order to increase the probability that the player will enjoy both of them. If you enjoy turn-based tactical combat in XCOM, you'll likely enjoy its strategic layers as well. In such a case, it is better to ask yourself what skills are needed to succeed in the main genre; If you're going to mix another genre with it, it better not require completely different skills. For example, in this boss fight in Sly Cooper, the game style suddenly changes to a rhythm game, and this change of genre is not desirable:

BingMag.com What is the right way to combine game genres? | Toolbox for game makers (123)

Another challenge that may arise is that the player does not know what approach he should take to finish the stage he is going to do. I am making a game called Untitled Magnet Game and I encountered this problem while making it.

BingMag.com What is the right way to combine game genres? | Toolbox for game makers (123)

I wanted to include logic-based puzzles and platforming challenges in this game, but players didn't know whether to use their brains or their thumbs next.

One One of the solutions to solve this problem is to transfer this information to the player. For example, the Grapple Dog game has a good approach in this field. If a stage is going to be a timed race, a "forward" sign will appear at the entrance to the stage:

BingMag.com What is the right way to combine game genres? | Toolbox for game makers (123)

When the countdown phase starts, a countdown appears on the screen, Pablo is in position two, the background picture is the race flag and...

BingMag.com What is the right way to combine game genres? | Toolbox for game makers (123)

Another solution is to phase change the player's current actions or punish the player for using the wrong verbs. In the Batman: Arkham series of games, if you try to play the stealth parts like the action parts, you'll be killed very quickly.

The final challenge is that the different genres may cancel each other out. compete with each other for the player's attention or disrupt the flow of the game. Sid Meier realized this when he was making Covert Action. Court Action is a game where you have to solve a puzzle by playing various mini-games.

Meyer said that when players got stuck in action scenes that were too long or too tense or didn't relate to the rest of the game at all, They forgot the mystery that was at the heart of the game. Spend real time on a mission, when you exit it you have no idea what was going on in the game world.

One solution is to keep the different parts of the gameplay short to always be as fast as possible. Go back to the original game or that different genres are constantly feeding off each other. For example, in the example of Xcom, the improvements you make in your headquarters (which are part of the strategy part of the game), directly affect the tactical battles. The decisions you make on the battlefield will also affect your headquarters. In this case, you will never forget the different genres of the game.

But the main solution is to keep the main focus of the game in mind and make sure that everything is moving in the same direction. In the Persona series, the main focus of the games is always your relationship with your core group of friends. This is a theme that is evident both in the life simulator part of the game and in the turn-based battles.

Method 2: Providing Different Play Styles

Method 2 The Play Style Method is used to combine different genres. In this way, you can advance the game in different ways by using skills and verbs that belong to different genres. A secret was made. Therefore, you can advance the game in any of these three ways. In Skyrim, you can advance the game with magic spells, swords and shields, or bows and arrows, and each of these tools and weapons creates a different experience.

The strength of this method is respecting the power of choice. is a player The player can choose the genre he likes the most and play the game in the style of that genre. This method also adds a lot of variety to the game, as you can switch between different genres whenever you want, and it's also motivating. Play the game several times from beginning to end.

The challenge of this method is that your game will be compared to other games that have implemented a single genre very well, and it will survive this comparison. will not take Deus X is a good game, but its individual parts were nothing compared to the best of its contemporaries.

  • The first-person shooter part of the game was nothing compared to Half-Life

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  • The role playing part of the game against Baldur's Gate had nothing to say
  • The stealth part of the game against the thief had nothing to say

Warren Spector, the designer of Deus X, is quoted as saying: "If we are judged by the standards of a certain genre, we are doomed because we will never be as good as the best of that genre."

That's why it's so important to let players know through ads and in-game messages what the rewards are for letting them play the game their way.

BingMag.com What is the right way to combine game genres? | Toolbox for game makers (123)

Another challenge is that you are actually making multiple games at once. Therefore, you may face the problem of lack of resources. Modern Wolfenstein games are designed to support three different play styles: 1. Chaos 2. Tactical 3. Stealth

BingMag.com What is the right way to combine game genres? | Toolbox for game makers (123)

But Machine Games, the developer of the game, admitted that on the stealth part of the game as much as The other two parts didn't work, and that's why this aspect of the gameplay has nerve-wracking features; For example, the guards will easily notice your presence.

From a game design point of view, another challenge is that when several different play styles are presented to the player, a large number of players will simply choose a certain style and until At the end of the game, they continue the same and are not willing to try another game style.

For example, many Dishonored players would press the quick load button to go back to the previous save file after being exposed. And they were not ready to turn to violence out of necessity, because they had already chosen the stealth style and were only ready to play the game in a stealth style. Using skills and tools that make his preferred play style easier is not rewarding, as this multiplies the impact of the problem and is an example of a positive feedback loop. Instead, it is better to give the player general skill points that can be spent on any task or current. It's also better to let the player define their skills from you to try completely different builds.

Also, game developers can encourage players to try different playstyles. In Hades, it may be tempting to use a certain type of weapon, but if you change your weapon, the game will reward you. Experience with different playing styles encouraged. Maybe the infamous judgmental Chaos System prevents you from wreaking havoc, but in Deathloop there is no such system, and the entire game world starts from scratch every morning. So since the things you do don't have permanent consequences, you have more motivation to try different things.

BingMag.com What is the right way to combine game genres? | Toolbox for game makers (123)

But what you shouldn't do is force the player to try a different playstyle by making a certain playstyle impossible. In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, you can either engage or avoid engaging enemies. But the game's boss fights force you to engage, even if you don't have the necessary skills and items to fight. This was so controversial that the bosses were revised in the Director's Cut version of the game.

The solution is to ensure that each playstyle has a complete and enjoyable path to progress through all stages. Then the game studios have to test the game in all different ways of playing to make sure that no player - regardless of their chosen play style - will hit a barrier at any point in the game, because if you promise players that they can play however they want advance, but at some point in the game it becomes impossible to advance through a certain style, some players feel betrayed.

Third method: mixing genres

The third and last method to combine different genres is to mix them together (Blend Method). In this way we take features from two different genres and merge them together to make something new.

For example, Portal has aiming with a crosshair and a first-person camera; Elements borrowed from first-person shooters. It then combines these elements with puzzles that naturally borrow from puzzle games.

BingMag.com What is the right way to combine game genres? | Toolbox for game makers (123)

Battlechef Brigade has a combat system inspired by Brawler games. On the other hand, it has puzzles borrowed from match-three games.

BingMag.com What is the right way to combine game genres? | Toolbox for game makers (123)

Rocket League is the result of merging football and Burnout.

The strength of this method is to create a completely new game or even It is a completely new genre. Therefore, thanks to this method, very creative and unusual games are made. Games like:

Crypt of the Necrodancer: a rogue-like game based on the rhythm of music.

BingMag.com What is the right way to combine game genres? | Toolbox for game makers (123)

Toodee and Topdee (Toodee and Topdee): A game where the style changes from top view box pushing to side scroller platforming at the push of a button.

BingMag.com What is the right way to combine game genres? | Toolbox for game makers (123) BingMag.com What is the right way to combine game genres? | Toolbox for game makers (123)

This method can also be used to breathe new life into genres. Used old and outdated. Role-playing games generally have a badass turn-based combat system, but so far we've seen many role-playing games borrow elements from other genres to redefine their combat system, for example:

  • Yakuza from Bezen games. Kill is influenced
  • Puzzle Quest is influenced by puzzle games
  • Mass Effect series is influenced by third-person shooters
  • Undertale Influenced by Boltheel games. Everhood influenced by rhythm games. to get water The Metroidvania game Chasm is a good example of this inconsistency. Perhaps the greatest strength of a Metroidvania is its highly detailed world, where all points are carefully designed by hand. But Huge Gap misses out on this strength, because it tries to be roguelike while being metroidvania. In roguelike games, the stages of the game are also generated randomly, so the final result is a watered down game whose environments look very forgettable and repetitive and no connection can be established with them.

    BingMag.com What is the right way to combine game genres? | Toolbox for game makers (123)

    Another example is the addition of role-playing elements to the Assassin's Creed series. These elements hurt the fantasy of "playing a professional assassin" because you can no longer kill high-level enemies with a lethal sneak attack, for example.

    Loot-based armor system of Marvel's Avengers (Marvel's Avengers) doesn't really fit the nature of the game as a superhero work. This system is such that it makes you ask yourself: "I just upgraded Hulk's skeleton?!"

    BingMag.com What is the right way to combine game genres? | Toolbox for game makers (123)

    BingMag.com What is the right way to combine game genres? | Toolbox for game makers (123)

    By combining these two genres, the positive points of one genre managed to neutralize the negative points of the other genre. It is quoted from Derek Yu: "There was no need to sacrifice anything for the two genres to be compatible, and each aspect of one genre only strengthened aspects of the other." In general, genres that are very similar to each other can be merged to make the integration process smoother.

    When Yacht Club Games (Yacht Club Games) when making Shovel Knight: Pocket Dungeon ) merged the roguelike style with an action-puzzler, realizing that the two genres had many similarities. Both genres rely on gridded levels, simple controls, a lot of random elements in their structure, long runs that you have to finish in one hand, and you have to plan ahead to finish them. Therefore, it was easy and natural to integrate them with each other.

    Conclusion

    Okay, so far we have come to the conclusion that it can be done through three methods. He combined genres:

    1. Changing between different genres at different times

    2. Allowing the player to choose his favorite game style

    3. Merging different genres and creating a new sub-genre

    But each of these methods has its own difficulties and challenges. The games exemplified in this article illustrate the potential intractable problems are not; You just have to design the game in a smart way.

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