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Difficult game physics

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I was playing a game again recently that I have wasted many many hours on (Ski stunt simulator) and I started to think about what made the game so fun and addicting. I think that part of it at least is that the challenge of the game lies in mastering the difficult physics. Another game where I think this is the case is Elastomania, which I think I have spent more hours on than any game in my life. Even part of what I think made the original Super Mario Bros so great was how you could control how fast Mario ran and how high he jumped and had to deal with momentum and slipping. This got me thinking about some of the current extreme sports type games (skateboarding, BMXing, snowboarding,...) and how they have always taken the approach of making the controls as simplistic as possible, and then adding a bunch on top of it to make it look cool (all the grabs and things). This makes it so things that should be challenging to do in the game really aren't. To do a back flip for instance you just ride up to a ramp, jump near the top, and press that combination of buttons that makes you do a back flip when you are in the air. I think that this principle of building the game off of of a simplistic set of controls limits the amount of things that can be done with the game, and leads it to get boring after you have become fairly good with the controls and can very easily do any number of extremely difficult, or in many cases impossible, tricks. While the learning curve for Elastomania keeps going up and up, a Tony Hawk game it goes up for a bit then starts to level off fairly fast. I think that this relates to the fact that usually in a Tony Hawk game by the time I have completed all of the levels I am sick of the game, yet Elastomania always kept me interested. In Elastomania it took a lot of time and effort and skill to be able to do the difficult things, but that's what made it so fun. Another thing about the Ski Stunt Simulator game was that the physics were somewhat realistic with the way you lean the body into a variety of different positions and move between them to get different effects, and I started to think about how you could apply that to a more complicated 3D game. I came up with a set of controls that might for a BMXing game. Thinking about the PS3 controller: Left analog stick (Controls whole body): Lean left, lean right, lean forward, lean back Right analog stick (Controls upper half of body): Twist left, twist right, rotate forward, rotate back R1: Back brake L1: Front brake R2: Pedal L2: Hop This could probably be improved upon. The brakes would maybe be better as the R2/L2, I'm not sure which could use the pressure sensitivity more, and there might be a better setup for body position, maybe with the left analog only controlling the lower half. But the point is to create controls that more accurately resemble what it is actually like riding a bike. I think that having the game based off of a set of controls like this rather than the very simplistic controls we are used to would make for a more interesting game that would continue being fun and interesting for much longer. This is because getting better at the game would be difficult and slow, but you would be constantly and steadily improving, and once you got good I can imagine being able to do some very cool things. So what do you think, is the idea feasible? Can you see it as something that would be fun? Do you have any similar ideas or know any games with particularly difficult to master physics? [Edited by - MTT on March 12, 2009 2:51:46 AM]

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