Monday, 17 May 2010

XBIR: A Kitchen Sink War

Spacewar reskinned to feature overly large kitchen utensils (and a lamp...) in a sink. After a player is killed, each has the option to purchase different weapons. £ successful rounds make for a winner.

Differing abilities in the different weapons adds some potential for strategy.
Terrible conveyance of information. Hitboxes are near-impossible to work out based on the shape we see. The fact that the plug 'absorbs' projectiles is counter-intuitive. The 'weapon purchase' screen doesn't give any indication of what we may purchase until we buy it, then fails to tell us how it will behave in-game (something that could have been done using iconography) until we start the next round using that weapon. I couldn't find any indicator of ship health and it was never clear whether hitting an 'asteroid' was actually harmful.
No 1-player mode, despite what the summary says.

Ultimately, this just feels like someone made a few arbitrary changes with the purpose of distnguishing their game but there was no clear focus nor any deep understanding of what would make this genre work. Nothing suggests to me that there are any deep strategies to be found here.

Lesson: Computer games, by their nature, can be completely opaque in their rules and mechanics compared to, say, boardgames or sports. Better signalling and hence more transparency is nearly always desirable.

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