Game Analysis

To analyze a game or interactive media project you like, it is important to look and pay very close attention to the details.  There is no limit to the amount of detail you can glean from something if you observe it closely and ask good questions.

For the purposes of games and interactive media.  Some things you might consider doing are the following. 

Note that this is primarily focused on sound, appearance and mechanics as opposed to high level game design.

  • Make a recording of gameplay and bring the recording into a video editing program and ask yourself the following
    • How big is the character in the screen?
    • Where is the placement of the character in the screen?
    • What is the range within the screen the character moves?
    • How does the camera work? What is it’s orientation to the world? What is it’s relationship with the character?
    • If the character can jump, find out how long it takes for the character to get off the ground to reach the jump’s apex.
    • How long is the character suspended at the apex? Fast? Slow?
    • How long does it take for the character to descend?
    • Is there a landing animation? How long is it?
    • What kind of particle or special effects accompany the jumps, attacks or other actions? What kind of sound effects?
    • What kind of colours and values are used in the scene?  What blends into the background, what is clearly visible through contrast or otherwise?
    • How big is your character relative to the world and enemies or obstacles?
    • How  big is the HUD relative to the screen?
    • Where is it located for single player? Multiplayer?
    • What is the resolution of the HUD?

Once you’ve gotten the answer to these questions, you will have a framework of understanding which can be used to make relevant choices in terms of colours, HUD placement, character position and movement in your own project.

Note that this list of questions is a guideline and may or may not make sense for the type of project you want to build.  Try to consider some relevant questions to ask to match the particulars of the game or interactive media project you are studying with regards to what you want to make.

“There are no secrets, no formulas. It’s just a matter of looking carefully.”

Colin Poole

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