Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thoughts on Limbo

A while ago I played by way of Limbo for the 1st time. I believed it was very an fascinating expertise for many causes and been considering for it on and off. Now that I have collected most of my thoughts on the game I believed it was time to create a small post about it.

Starting off, I thought the game had genuinely nice visuals that actually added to the mood. Little factors, like the adjust in light level and tilt of the camera heightened the mood substantially. One more thing I genuinely liked was the variety of activities and lack of puzzle repetition. Too many games just try and extend play time as long as achievable, and it is nice to see games going in the other direction. All this has been stated just before even though and is not what this post will be about. Instead I want to talk about some other factors I realized when playing the game.

Limited Interaction
I consider the biggest take-away from Limbo is how you do not have to give the player lots of actions in order to make a fresh and intriguing encounter. The basic actions in Limbo are move, jump, climb and grab. These are then employed in a mixture of approaches, continuously keeping the knowledge fresh by placing the selection in the planet alternatively of the controller. This can be observed in other games like Shadow of the Colossus (but then to a lesser degree), and I believe it really helps to heighten the player's really feel of presence in the game. It only takes the player the initial couple of minutes of the game to familiarize with the controls and the rest of the game can be spent on creating up immersion, instead of continuously studying and remembering controls.

It is so frequently that games grow to be about the mastery of the controls and I feel that makes it so much tougher to grow to be one particular with the game's world. The more quickly the flow of interaction from player to game can grow to be intuitive, the better. We do not want players to believe of what buttons to press and sticks to pull. Alternatively we want players to straight express their wishes from thoughts to game, unaware of any intermediate hardware.

Puzzles and Limits
As I played Limbo I realized that most (if not all) interactions had been straight added to the puzzles you have to resolve. I felt that there could have been tons of further components to interact with in order to make the player really feel a lot more connected to the globe.

But then I realized that the design and style of the game went against this. The puzzles in Limbo rely a lot on experimentation and thinking "out of the box". You have to try out every single object in order to locate a way to progress. If the game had had superfluous components, then this would have created the knowledge so a lot tougher. Players possibly would have spent considerably time interacting with objects that were completely unrelated to the puzzle they have been attempting to resolve, increasing the general frustration and damaging the flow of progress.

This means that puzzles can be fairly a hindrance if you want to make a living globe. If the player's objective is to solve puzzles, then that forces you into make positive the rest of the expertise supports this. And due to the fact of this having puzzles excludes a lot of issues that could increase the player presence, emotional connection or just about anything that might function against the puzzle solving.

This is one particular purpose why we will try to completely get rid of puzzles for our upcoming game (far more on that in one more post).

Trial and Error
I just have to mention the trial-and-error nature of Limbo as it is something that I have talked a lot about prior to and it is fairly a prominent function in the game. First of all, the "repeat and attempt once again" mechanic that is utilised in practically each and every puzzles is something that ties into the general design and style of the game. It is really clear that it requires the basic style from One more Globe but I hyperlink Limbo is a lot significantly less frustrating.

What I identified exciting is that the most annoying components were not the puzzles where you died and had to restart, but where you missed some element of a sequence and had go back and try once more. This mainly because the latter meant you had to redo a lot far more and the deaths typically had a sort of entertaining, morbid "gotcha!" mentality to them. Also when the planet is reset and the game spot you at a specific point you get a higher sense of concentrate on and a hint that you are on the right track. Just failing to do one thing usually give you that nagging feeling that you may possibly not have set up almost everything in the correct way.

Nonetheless, dying or not, for each and every time I had to repeat a portion of the game, it became significantly less about getting present in it really is virtual world and and a lot more about figuring out an algorithm. I felt a clear modify in my state of mind following just one or two attempts at a section. I am possibly a biased right here, and as a result not best of test subjects, so would be interesting to hear what other folks felt.

A final note on this: Some individuals have argued that the cruel death mechanic heightened the tension in the game. Nevertheless, I feel the most crucial part of making tension in Limbo was that you in no way know what to count on subsequent. I by no means felt any enhanced tension after having failed after or twice, but as an alternative my greatest tension was from anticipation. Coming closer to some strange branches or a weird contraption, my mind conjured up all sort of imagery of what could happen subsequent. I think this sort of develop-up is a lot much more potent, than basically adding low-cost engagement from the information that you had to restart (which rarely worked on me anyways).

Reduce scenes
The last part I want to go over are the reduce-scenes, or much more precisely the lack there of. It is nevertheless so widespread in games that you eliminate control from the players and then pan/zoom/guide the camera to make positive that the player watches some occasion (e.g. a creature emerging).

Limbo does not do this, and it makes the events that you see so significantly much more compelling. By employing the game's space and character movement as a indicates of pacing, the events are quite nicely directed, but without ever removing manage from the player. I specially liked the villagers that you see running about and thought it was a shame that they were not utilized much more. I would have really liked for a far more coherent narrative to have come out of these encounters.

End Notes
Despite becoming primarily a game about solving puzzles, I think Limbo offers a lot of hints on atmosphere and narrative in games, each by factors that it does excellent and items that it fails at. I also wish that we could see games with this sort of polish and exciting art path, that had primary focused on producing immersion, atmosphere and a compelling narrative. As observed when investigating games like Limbo, all the tools for making actually expressive experiences currently exists, it is just a matter of placing them to go use!

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