Article on Game Feel up on Gamasutra

It’s not news if you read this blog, but yeah, cool, zee article went up as a feature on Gamasutra. Cool!

UPDATE: Looks like it went up on Kotaku as well. Fun thread there. Highlights:

Thanks everyone for the kind words about the article and thanks so much for the discussion. I’m actually working on a book on this same topic so many of these observations are things which I am keen to hear more people’s opinion on. Specifically, I’d love to hear what people think are the best-feeling games of all time. I’m also really interested in the way people describe feel. If you have any particular way you describe the feel of a game or compare one game’s feel to another, I’d love to hear about that. Things like responsive, sloppy and so on are great. Also, what do you consider to be two ends of the same extreme? For example, is ‘sloppy’ the opposite of ‘responsive?’ *shameless plug* More of my in-progress thinking on the subject at my blog (www.steveswink.com.) */shameless plug*

@ J.Kyle: Out of curiosity, what games have been ‘just right’ for you feel-wise? I haven’t played Half Life for a long time, but I did enjoy the feel of it quite a bit. I’ll have to revisit and try to experience what you were feeling. I think that most if not all games use a certain slipperyness because it’s preferable to stickiness. Most of the time, it’s preferable to press against something and have yourself slide past it than it is to get hung up. Also, I think Half Life was the first game to really nail jumping in an FPS, what with the ‘jump and tuck’ control scheme. It had a surprisingly powerful sense of physicality for a game in which you couldn’t see your avatar at all.

@DCARTIST: Yeah, totally, and driving a car is one of my favorite analogies. It’s the closest thing to game feel that people who don’t play video games have experienced. Your concept of intent and outcome is also something I’ve come across- controlling something with a controller is something of a megaphone for your thumbs in that regard. You get a lot more bang for buck in terms of motion input vs. reaction output, which is one of the things that makes controlling something in a game so compelling (I think.)

@SXP151: I think you make some interesting points, for sure. The sort of meta-point you’re making, at least from my perspective, seems to be the question of skill. What is the difference between something that’s worth mastering and something that isn’t, between difficult controls with good feel and just plain bad feel? I think we can more or less agree that with enough time, about any controls can be mastered. That doesn’t mean that all games have good feel, though. So I guess the question is: it is both easy to learn and difficult to master? Does it have a high skill ceiling and a lot of layers of mastery/expressiveness while still being fun and rewarding from the first moment you pick it up? And, digging deeper, what is it about games that have this property? How does it get designed/created? I don’t know that I have a great answer to these questions yet. Interested in what folks think .

2 Responses to “Article on Game Feel up on Gamasutra”

  1. November 24th, 2007 | 5:05 am

    Quite a good one, I’d say, although I think that there are many types of successful games for which I’d say feel is irrelevant — or, to put it differently, to come up with a way to define interaction in terms of “feel” for such as a text based adventure would be to squish the utility right out of the term.

    But obvs, feel is paramount in probably the majority of games.

  2. November 24th, 2007 | 10:20 am

    Yeah, and this will definitely be addressed in the book, when I have more space to really spin up. I actually have an entire chapter devoted to examining the delineation between games that use feel as their primary dynamic and games to which feel is incidental or absent. I explicitly state that there are many games which don’t have “Game Feel” per my definition that are among my favorite games (Civ, X-Com etc…) Thanks for reading!

    -Steve

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