Dungeon Keeper 2

Game Description

A strategy / god game that let player play as a dungeon keeper. It involves building and managing a dungeon in order to attack or defend against the “good guy” or other dungeon keeper.

Lens 1: The lens of the element tetrad (7)

Mechanics

Core mechanics of this game is to create a dungeon to attract different kind creatures into living in your dungeon. These creatures will work and fight for you.

There are different kind of gameplay in dungeon keeper. Sometimes, there are specific hero that you will need to kill. Occasionally, you will just have to defend your dungeon.

Defend the dungeon heart

Every dungeon will have its own dungeon heart.

The enemies will try to seek their way into the dungeon heart to destroy it. The player must do whatever he can from preventing the enemies from reaching and destroying this dungeon heart. Once it is destroyed, the game is over.

Create your own dungeon

Different type of room or fascilities attracts different kind of creatures into your dungeon.

For example, a library will attract wizards, while a torture chamber will attract succubus into the dungeon.

Besides, attracting the creatures into your dungeon, it is also very important to keep them happy so that they do not just leave your dungeon.

For example, instead of a chickens farm (used for feeding the creatures), a tavern can be built to better feed the creatures and make them happier.

Play as the “god”

One interesting thing about dungeon keeper is that, you can pick up any creature in the dungeon and drop them anywhere you want.

Besides that, you can play direcly as the creature (by posessing them) in first person mode. This sometimes offer a totally different game play mode as you can attack and cast spell as the creature.

See video: https://youtu.be/Pe8GF3lugjc?t=10m47s

Aesthetics

A 3D dungeon style + medieval art style.

Story

In the story of this game, the player will play as the dungeon keeper, who will need to seek and collects 20 Portal Gems in order to break through the confinement in the underworld. More detailed plot can be found in Wikipedia:

The kingdom of Harmonia, ruled by King Reginald, has been under siege from dungeon keepers for a while, and his wizards have devised a device known as a Portal Gem to confine evil creatures to the underworld, while still allowing good forces access. Reginald has twenty Portal Gems, each assigned to a realm and safeguarded by its guardian. These devices have forced even serious dungeon keepers into retreat. An evil warrior known as the Horned Reaper (or “Horny”) believes he has the ability to remove Portal Gems from Harmonia, and has enlisted the player’s assistance in conquering its realms so he can claim the Portal Gems. – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungeon_Keeper_2#Plot

Technology

Unlike it predecessor (the first Dungeon Keeper game) that is developed in 2D graphics, Dungeon Keeper 2 is developed in 3D with hardware acceleration. All models of the creatures and room are now in 3D. It also uses Direct X to enhance the lighting effects in the game.

Lens 2: The lens of imagination (45)

I like the part where you can possess different creature inside your dungeon. Apart from playing as the dungeon keeper, managing the dungeon in a higher level, I can play as any creature in the dungeon. It entice me to imagine myself as the creature in the game.

Lens 3: The lens of freedom (71)

Player are given the flexibility to design their dungeon to their desire. Player can dug out the dungeon anyway they want in order to place different rooms and trap.

They are also given the flexibility to plan how they want to execute their attack.

Best of all, the game allow you to play as a “god” by allowing you to freely pick up any of your creatures or possess them to do whatever you desire.

Lens 4: The Lens of Unification (9)

Dungeon Keeper 2 emphasise on a dark sense of humour. Their narrative, theme and game mechanics geared towards that.

In their narrative, besides constantly mocking the “good guy” in the games, they will also mock the player with humorous pharses. e.g. “your dungeon is emptier than your head”.

In terms of their game mechanics, one of the special element is that you can “slap” your creature to make them work harder for you. Or if you desire, you can even torture one of your creature, by picking them up and throwing them onto a torture chamber!

Lens 5: The lens of surprise (4)

Player is only able to see area that they have preiously discovered. All other area will be pitch black to the player. This game mechanics is perfect for creating element of suprise for the player. Sometimes, the player may find area filled with golds. Sometimes, the player may accidentally digging into enemy territory, triggering a fight earlier than expected.

Left 4 Dead 2

Left 4 Dead 2 is a cooperative first person shooting game that takes place in a zombie apocalypse setting. The player plays as one of the four human survivors, who needs to fight through a horde of zombies in order to get to safety.

Game website: http://www.l4d.com/blog/

Gameplay demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaXl7DKG86U

Lens #7 – The Lens of the Element Tetrad

Mechanics

There are 5 modes of gameplay, all with single player or multiplayer options, each with a different set of rules and goals.

The standard mode is the Campaign mode which pits you against the director. Simply survive five stages of zombie attacks and you will be successfully rescued.

My personal favourite and the most popular mode would be the Versus mode which involves a maximum of eight players split into two teams. What I really like about the Versus mode is that you may either choose to play as one of the four survivors, or as one of the eight special infected zombies which presents a whole new point of view of the game.

There is also the Scavenge mode which requires your team to search for and return gas cans to a generator in order to escape the scene, the Survival mode which pits you against wave after wave of zombies to see how long you can last and the Realism mode which takes you another step further by removing all assistance and hints in the game, so that you can experience the situation in the most realistic way possible.

You may also select a difficulty level based on your gaming skills, which scales the health and damage of the zombies and the frequency of replenishment points.

Story

The main story of the game revolves around the four surviving protagonists, who are fighting their way through a bunch of zombies, each with a unique character and personality. There are 13 maps in the game, with a range of settings and activities in which you have to complete in order for you get rescued. The storyline of Left 4 Dead 2 may be simple, but it has captured the hearts of players by portraying them as the heroes of the story amidst crisis.

Aesthetics

Left 4 Dead 2 is a lot more detailed in terms of graphics compared to Left 4 Dead, which can be seen from the zombies’ reactions and environmental effects such as dirt and blood splattering. It generally introduces more gore and tension via visual and sound, which are important components that gamers look out for when playing zombie shooter games.

In terms of player experience, one great selling point of Left 4 Dead 2 maps lies in its diversity. Instead of hunting zombies on the streets in broad daylight, you have the opportunity to fight against them in swamps, riverfronts, plantations, hotels, malls, abandoned highways, amusement parks and more, presenting you a movie-like experience. The weather condition in the game is ever-changing as well, leading you through clear night skies and heavy thunderstorms, constantly challenging you adapt to your surroundings.

Technology

Left 4 Dead 2 was first released for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360. It was subsequently released for OS X in 2010 and Linux in 2013.

I believe that the mechanics aspect is a huge part of Left 4 Dead 2, seeing how it caters to different players based on their skillsets and preferences. It also allows the players to view the game from various perspectives. The aesthetic aspect acts as a strong value add-on and the story, along with the technology, makes the game complete.

Lens #3 – The Lens of Fun

Whilst on the quest of staying alive, you may equip yourself with two weapons of your choice: a primary weapon and a sidearm. The primary weapons range from submachine guns to grenade launchers and have varying ammo capacities and abilities for you to experiment. The sidearm, on the other hand, is far more interesting. You may find yourself holding onto a pistol, slicing through the infected with your katana, whacking the zombies using a frying pan or even smashing them with a bright red electric guitar. It really surprises me whenever I get my hands onto a new-found weapon, because who would have guessed that you can kill a zombie in so many different ways?

Furthermore, grenades such as molotovs, pipe bombs and bile bottles are provided which adds on to the element of fun and the list of dumb ways to die for the zombies.

Lens #27 – The Lens of Skill

Alike most first person shooting games, playing Left 4 Dead 2 trains you to be alert and adaptive to your environment. You will learn to react quickly to attacks and listen closely for sounds made by the special infected in order to avoid them. Teamplay is an important part of the game as well and it requires you to communicate and strategise with your team in order to survive and complete the final quest. A progress report will be displayed at the end of the game which gives you a breakdown of the number of zombies you have killed and your headshot accuracy rate compared to your teammates, so that you can track your improvement over time.

Lens #38 – The Lens of Cooperation

Cooperation is essential during the multiplayer game modes. Left 4 Dead 2 allows communication between players through text and voice. It highly encourages player-to-player interaction by allowing you to heal your teammates using a medical pack and transfer healing items to them so as to give them a temporary health boost. If your ally has met with an unfortunate mishap, you may also revive him from the dead using a defibrillator.

This game also puts you in situations where you will definitely require your allies’ help. There are several special infected which are set for this purpose, including the smoker who abducts you using its tongue and the jockey who rides on your back and controls your movement. And trust me, there is nothing more comforting than being rescued by your teammates from the hands of these zombies.

 

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (FFXIV:ARR) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) that was developed and published by Square Enix in 2013. Being one of the most popular MMORPGs in the market, it has spawned one expansion, Heavensward, with an upcoming expansion, Stormblood, releasing on June 2017.

Set in the fictional world of Hydaelyn and the region of Eorzea, you serve as the Warrior of Light, the chosen one to bring hope to the world.

Note: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and Final Fantasy XIV are separate entities as the latter was discontinued while the current expansion, Heavensward, was built upon the former.




Lens of Elemental Tetrad

Mechanics

  • Redefined the MMORPG genre
  • The game never ‘ends’ as it is ever-changing
  • Character progression, where the player always has to better themselves
  • Player-driven economy, mirroring that of the real world
  • Battle and party system brings forth a form of cooperation and social gaming
  • Unique job system where the character can play all the classes in a game (similar to picking up skill sets in real life)

Story

  • Story is the backbone of the game, ties in with Final Fantasy’s famed storytelling
  • Player is absorbed into a rich story, where they understand their purpose and mission
  • Graphics added a form of realism to a game by showing that it had its own lore and ecosystem
  • Allows players to experience the life of a ‘Hero’

Aesthetics

  • Stunning and breathtaking graphics; a mixture of fantasy and reality
  • Screenshots were so beautiful that fantasy felt so real
  • Crisp animation, with realistic facial expressions and portrayal of animation
  • Detailed, like how the weather and time of day affects the environment
  • Game’s score had a huge variety, and encompasses all aspects of gameplay
  • Principally composed by Nobuo Uematsu, the “Beethoven of video games music”

Technology

  • They developed a brand new engine (Version 2.0), which is very similar to the Luminous Engine, which was later used to develop Final Fantasy XV.
  • A task management system was also created to keep track of deadlines and work flow.
  • Playable on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and OS X.

Lens of Challenge

  • Players can select the difficulty of their dungeons.
  • Special dungeon where its architecture changes all the time; challenges players’ skill as the difficulty increases at every level (e.g. Palace of the Dead)
  • Players can continue the next edition of the dungeon series if they have finished a pre-existing related dungeon, providing ‘layers of challenge’ (e.g. Alexander)
  • Caters to both casual and hardcore players as being a good player is not essential to completing the game (e.g. progression of story)

Lens of Beauty

  • Mesmerising graphics that rivals, if not more breathtaking, than the real world
  • A never before seen ecosystem that fits perfectly with their environments
  • Immersive music that fits or seeks to invoke the current mood of the player
  • Rich storyline that makes the player feel like they are part of the game world; it makes the struggle personal and empathy real

Lens of Feedback

  • Visual feedback is strong; players can identify their needs immediately (some areas):
    • When in battle, the right areas to move away from the enemy
    • Exclamation marks reflect the availability of quests
    • Animation for casting time of spells
  • Sound system invokes feelings
    • Completion of quests will be accompanied with a victory tune
    • Taking damage will result in hurt sounds
    • Failure to craft an item properly comes with a soft explosion sound

Lens of the Hero’s Journey

  • Player is the Warrior of Light, and your original gameplay ties in with the main storyline
  • Awakened to find out that you are needed to save the world
  • Takes up task and meets righteous allies and insidious enemies
  • Always at the center of every major incident in the world
  • Sacrifices and rewards in the world with your every action

 

Dark Souls Trilogy

Extracted from wikipedia, the Dark Souls series is a trilogy of action role-playing games played in the third-person perspective. You explore a harsh world and meet various objectives by slaying your enemies. A core mechanic of the game is the use of death and repetition to teach players about survival in a hostile environment. You can find gameplay videos for all three games herehere and here.

You Died: The Game

To provide some form of structure for the analysis, here’s how it will proceed. For each of the 4 components in the Lens of Elemental Tetrad, an appropriate lens will be selected to expound the component. The lenses are as follows.

Lens of The Elemental Tetrad

  • Mechanics: Lens of Control 
  • Story: Lens of Character function 
  • Aesthetics: Lens of Atmosphere 
  • Technology: Lens of Physical Interface

Note that the lenses used to exemplify the components are not exhaustive and I merely selected the ones that best express my experience of playing and watching the games.

Lucky for us, my elements live together in harmony

Lens of The Elemental Tetrad: Prologue

A key question asked by the lens is whether the 4 elements of Mechanics, Story, Aesthetics and Technology are present and do they meld well with each other to deliver a common theme. To answer this, let me first reveal a major theme of the Dark Souls series.

The struggle for survival

Keep this theme in mind as the following lenses explain how the theme is derived and kept consistent throughout the games. We begin with Mechanics.

Don’t stop, never give up

Lens of Control: Soul of Mechanics

The rules of the Souls series are straightforward. You live in a world where combat is necessary for survival. Kill your enemies, don’t be killed and move forward towards the endgame. The catch is, killing is a massive challenge.

In typical action RPGs, controls are tight and responsive because it feels good to the player. Feeling good translates to feeling in control and so, feeling powerful. Many power fantasy brawlers such as God of War approach controls with snappy and quick attacks but the Souls series takes an alternative approach.

To fit the game’s theme, many weapons are designed to have windup time. Combined with fantastic animations, this brings weight to the weapon yet remaining intuitive to the player. The result is twofold. You struggle to learn the weapon’s timing and then, you struggle to use it against the enemies in the game. The component of mechanics therefore, stays consistent with the theme.

HOME RUN!

Lens of Character function: Heart of the Story

In every Souls game, you don’t start out special. What you set out to do, many have tried but failed. The NPCs on the same quest as you therefore, serve to share their own insights and wisdom on this seemingly impossible journey.

Meet  your new friends, Solaire, Crestfallen and Ludleth

But not all the characters carry the burden of this mission. In this medieval rendition of an apocalyptic world, each of these characters tells their own stories of struggle. They each carry their own agendas and may choose to aid or hinder your progress.

Regardless of whom, every character is forged on the basis of striving to achieve their goals in this harsh environment. Their roles and actions however, vary depending on their perspective on this struggle. These characters are pivotal in constructing a mental image of the world and how people in it operate, forming a coherent story.

Lens of Atmosphere: Core of the Aesthetics

The world of Souls began with a sea of grey. With the end of the world at hand, the cycle will soon complete and everything will return to how it once was.

You know something is wrong when an Eye of Sauron sits in the middle of the sky

The visuals are meant to evoke hopelessness, to imply that all your struggles could be for naught. But you struggle anyway, because you fight to see that breathtaking sun at the end once more.

The decision of having mostly environmental sounds only while travelling highlights the severe state of the world. During boss battles, orchestral music plays in the back, reinforcing that it’s an epic endeavour.

Together, both the visuals and sounds build the atmosphere of the game, supplementing the core experience of struggle and overcoming it.

Praise the sun indeed

Lens of Physical Interface: Basis of Technology

Similar to its predecessor Demon’s Souls, the Dark Souls series is primarily designed to be played with the game pad. In a game where every swing matters, all buttons must be easily accessible and the form factor of a controller fits that requirement.

At the same time, with every battle a struggle to overcome, it is a natural reflex to clutch the controller tight or hold down the buttons hard as he or she plays the game.

Therefore, the physical interface was designed to be wieldy and accommodating to reflect the player’s physical reactions of struggle in the game, harkening back to the theme.

Pretty much my experience with the keyboard and mouse

Lens of The Elemental Tetrad: Epilogue

The Souls games have always “felt right to me”. What that meant, I never truly considered until this idea of “elements in harmony”. All four elements gelled well, built upon one another, and ended up with an emergent experience.

Looking back, there are many things that I might have missed in the analysis. So for now, I think I will take the time and finally revisit an old flame.

TL;DR (I kid, please read my post ;_;)

The Last Of US

The last of us

The last of us is an action-adventure survival horror game from a third-person perspective. Players traverse post-apocalyptic environment such as towns, buildings, forest and sewers to advance the story. During the game, players can use firearms, improvised weapons like bricks and sticks, as well as stealth to defend against hostile humans and infected cannibalistic creatures. Most of the time, players can control Joel, a man tasked with escorting a young girl, Ellie, across the United States, Ellie and other companions are controlled by the artificial intelligence. Players can also control Ellie in dlc of the game.

Webpage : http://www.thelastofus.playstation.com/

Game trailer: http://www.bilibili.com/video/av1614362/index_10.html

(start from 57:15)

Story

The story happens under the background when people was infected by virus and became cannibalistic creatures, Joel, whom player controls, the main character of the game, a smuggler, tasked with escorting a teenage girl named Ellie across a post-apocalyptic United States. During the process of the adventure, relationship between Joel and Ellie changes from hostile to intimate. Players can learn more about Joel and Ellie, about their characteristic, their pasts, and unconsciously regard themselves as the character, they will value in the way of the character but not themselves as a player, which I think the story of the last of us is successful.

 

Mechanics:

The game has multiple characters. Players can control Joel and Ellie in the main game and control all characters in the multiplayer game. I am impressed by the various way of battle against both human and monster enemy. Not only players can choose to use weapon, stealth and combat, the way of each kind of battle is various. Players can choose anything as weapon, and when combat and stealth, players can make use of the environment to hide themselves, which make the battle system has many possibilities. At the same time, players can collect items by discovering the corner of the environment, which they can use these items to make other weapons.

 

Aesthetics:

The last of us delivers a realistic 3D scene which makes players feel like they are truly in the end of the world.  Not only the environment, the game also masters in modeling human beings, I feel like the character are exactly real. The most amazing part is where Ellie touch the giraffe.

Technology:

The game is playable on PS3, PS4. Controls are simple. Players can even feel vibration of the controller when there has crash and collision in the game.

 

The lens of emotion:

When playing the game, people first feel scary, then they will feel sad for what Joel has experienced. Then they are happy to see Joel and Ellie become friends, even like father and daughter, at last, an indefinite feeling towards what Joel has done, an also indefinite feeling towards what Ellie reflects. Players regard themselves as the character the controls, and for me, I started to think of the deep meaning after the game after I played it.

 

The lens of essential experience:

The game not only gives an excellent story but also gives an amazing game experience. I am surprised by the flowing action and the free of combat. The game also combines the scene with music to make people feel like they are in the end of the world, to face the scare that the monster is right beside you. At the same time, to give players a tenser battle experience, the game also applies QTE system.

At the same time, when you discovering the game, Ellie (which controlled by artificial intelligence) will interact with you. Players can also control character during the story part.

The lens of curiosity:

During the game process, there are many riddles during the game, like players need to come up with a way to go through the barrier by making use of the items in the environment. Besides the riddles, I think the main question in the game is, it wants players to think about life and choice, which choice is correct, which is not, or even, is there any choice that definitely right and wrong? The game makes me think a lot towards the character and my own life.

 

The lens of competition

The game makes player be able to choose different levels of difficulty, and the trophy system will reward players of each difficulty level they complete. If people just want to enjoy the game and story, they can choose the simplest level. If they want to challenge themselves and get sense of achievement, they can choose the hardest one and play to achieve all trophy.

PS: recommend one very very special game to you, “I wanna” series, simplest and hardest operation, hope you can enjoy HHH

Portal 2


Portal 2 is a first-person puzzle-platform with its core mechanic being the ability to join two separate spaces together. Solving a test chamber requires the player to get to the exit with clever uses of portals to move things around or to get to hard to reach places.

Store page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/620/
Gameplay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeVmSEvhzQU

Aesthetics

  • Clean and simple look.
  • Highly expressive characters.
  • Use of body language and eye movement to express emotions.

Mechanics

  • Solving 3D puzzles to get from the start point to the end point.
  • Portals to join two spaces together.
  • Paint mechanics that allow a painted surface to bounce or accelerate objects.

Story

  • The player is attempting to escape by going through the test chambers.
  • Character focused. There’s only 3 core characters in the single player storyline, Chell(Player), GlaDOS, Wheatley.
  • Throughout the playthrough, the two NPC will continuously speak to the player or to each other, allowing for an immersive experience.
  • The choice of 2 core NPC allows for the players to better know these characters and their personality, as opposed to having more characters but with less time to know them.

Technology

  • Joining of game spaces that have seamless transition when moving between the two separate spaces. (Portals).
  • Liquid blobs that can interact with surfaces for the paint.

Lens of The Pyramid
At the start, the puzzle introduces the portal concept to the player by allowing the usage of 1 side of the portal while the other side is fixed. This then helps the player grasps the portal and space bending mechanic before allowing the player free reign over both side of the portal. Every time a new mechanic is introduced to the player, the puzzle will primary require use of the new mechanic in a basic manner to reach the exit. This allows the player to understand how the mechanic works and what results he can obtain with it. This also prevents overwhelming the player with a puzzle requiring multiple mechanics in addition to a new mechanic.

Lens of Character Transformation
At the start, the player has a helper and an antagonist, Wheatley and GlaDOS. At the mid point, their roles swapped as the result of an attempt to defeat the antagonist. Wheatley grows more power-crazed and his change is progressively expressed in the new test chambers he designed and his tone of voice as he attempted to kill the player.

Lens of Simplicity / Complexity
The way the game is simple is that the player only has 1 equipment, the portal gun. This helps the primary interaction with the world to be consistent and simple. The complexity elements come from the ability to join spaces with the portals, allowing for some complicated movements. This balance helps the player from being overwhelming as well as getting used to and better at the portal mechanics. Additional mechanics are then utilized through the use of portals, which is sufficient to make complex puzzles.

Lens of Physical Interface
There’s an energy field acting a barrier that the player can pass through but will destroy objects that pass through it. When the player holds an item close to it, a region of the field near to the item will glow and brighten, hinting that the item will be affected and destroyed. Passing through the field also resets the portal gun, closing all open portals. This effect is showed from the portal gun shaking the moment the player passes through the field. When the player shoots at the field, the field flashes, indicating that the shot has been blocked.

Leagues of Legends

Leagues of Legends (LoL) is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) game, developed by riots games. Two teams of maximum 5 players each, battle and challenge each other to overcome the opposing team’s base. Players need to use real time strategy and cooperate with teammates in order to defeat the opponent.

Before the match begins, each player chooses a character, also known as Champion, which has their own strengths, weakness, and skills. The game ends when one team loses the heart of their base, the nexus, or when one team surrenders. There are different modes in this game, the most popular being Classic, a normal 5 vs 5 in the summoner’s rift map. My favorite mode would be Aram (all random all mid), where the Champions are chosen for you at random.

Official website: lol.garena.com

Demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-157HBpPZ24

Elemental Tetrad

Mechanics:

  • Controls:
    • Uses keyboard for activation of skills, ping, and screen control.
    • Uses mouse for targeting and champion movement.
  • Map:
    • Sets of different maps.
    • There is limited vision that can only be seen by your team. If you lose a turrent (tower), surrounding area of visions are lost.
    • Minions (soldiers) also provide a small range of vision
    • Mini map at the bottom right which shows location of teammates, wards, and minions.
    • Enemies within our vision are also shown on minimap.
  • Champion:
    • Champions are unlocked using game money, or a set of free to play champions are rotated every week.
    • Each champion have their own levels, health, mana and stats.
    • When a champion reach 0 hp, they are killed off, and must wait for a period of time before they are respawned.
  • Champions skills and abilities:
    • Each champion have their own unique passive.
    • Click-on skills, which require vision of the enemy.
    • Skill shots which are projectiles-base that only the first target it collides with.
    • Area of Effect (AOE) which affects a wider range and multiple targets.
    • When champions level up, they can choose to increase the abilities skill.

Aesthetics:

  • The maps are 3D and more colorful as opposed to DOTA 2.
  • Each champion has their own splashart, and skin (a different character theme different from the default).
  • Their skills each have their own special animation and may change depending on skin.
  • There are mild cartoon blood animation.

Technology:

  • In Singapore, LoL is hosted Garena, a social and game platform, and can only be played using Windows. In some countries, it is also playable on mac OS.

Story:

  • The game does not have main story which affects the progression of the game.
  • Each champions comes with their own lore, their own background story of how they came into Leagues of Legend.
  • Some lore are tied in with others which brings about secondary quest, for example, Ashe, Lissandra and Sejuani are all princesses of Freljord. If either two champions are in opposing teams, they must kill or assist in the kill of the other.

Lenses

The Lens of Competition vs Cooperation

  • You need to work with your teammates to win the other team. Without cooperation from the team, there wouldn’t be much of a competition, it will be a one sided massacre.
  • Competition in this game is used to encourage cooperation as a team to defeat the other.

The Lens of Chance

  • In the Aram mode of LoL, champions are selected at random from the current champions that you own, and those on free to play for the week.
    • When one gets a character that they know how to play well, they usually get very excited. While on the other hand, if the champion rolled is one that you cannot play well.
    • You can choose to reroll the champion, or swap with someone who also have that champion. Some people are lucky, while others can be quite sore about it, and dodge the game (leaving when the game has yet to start).
    • This makes the experience to be both joyful and frustrating at the same time.

The Lens of Surprise

  • As mention above, there is limited vision, allowing opponents to hide in bushes and ambush you.
  • To prevent this, one can use wards which allows for vision within the single bush for a limited period of time.
  • Certain champions can be invisible to opponent players. For example, Teemo and Twitch.
  • Some skill can created by certain champions such as traps are invisible to the opponent as well. For example: Teemo’s mushroom (Noxious Trap).

The Len of Skill

  • LoL will need players to come up with strategies to land a killing combo. The more one plays the game, the familiar they would be.
  • They will be able to know in what order to use the skills to get the best damage, how to escape, when to escape, when to go in, or run.
  • Hidden ‘elo’ system which determines how well a player plays and match them with other similarly skilled players.
  • Usage of Runes and Masteries, which gives your champion additional benefits and stats. This allows for different customization of playing style.

StardewValley

STARDEW VALLEY

Website: http://stardewvalley.net/

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ot7uXNQskhs

Stardew Valley is a mixture of farming simulation and RPG. We assume the role of a person who escape from the city mundane life by inheriting his/her grandfather’s farm in Stardew Valley. There are lots of activities you can do in this small town – grow your crops, raise your animals, befriend the town people, and many more.

Aesthetics: Pixel Art with cartoony style. The choice of colour palette helps to convey the atmosphere of seasons and emphasize the beauty of nature. Furthermore, the style still allows each character portray to display their emotion clearly.

Story: Other than the premise that leads to the protagonist moving to the stardew valley, there is no main plot in the game. However, the game is packed with short stories that the player can experience by befriending the townsfolk, completing quest, and progressing through the year. Immersion comes from shaping the farm to our liking, so this aspect does not really negatively impact the experience.

Mechanics: There are many different activities that can be done in this game, but everything can be simplified to two main mechanic: using tools, and interacting with objects. Tools can be used anywhere and anytime so long it is equipped, but can only yield something at the designated place – axe to cut tree, hoe to toil ground, weapon to attack monster, etc. Similarly, items can be spent only on their intended function –  seeds on soiled ground, hay to feed animal, food to be consumed. Using tools used up stamina, and if you spent your entire stamina, you will not be able to do anything and your movement slowed down. There are also various craftable items which allows the player to obtain more sellable product such as bee house for honey or crab pot to catch prawns, crabs or snails

Technology: Current technology, much like the most of the modern game, allows the developer to deploy update to the game. The latest update deployed is the choice of location of our farm.

Lens of goal

  • Main goal told by Mayor is to revitalize the town’s community centre
  • Other small goals in form of request in the bulletin board townsfolk’s personal request which if fulfilled helps in player’s effort to befriend them
  • Except for the bulletin board request that has time limit of two in-game days, other goals have no real time limit.
  • Rewards are listed for the completion of segments of community centre revitalization effort which might entice player to clear it to figure out what the actual reward is.
  • In favour of this design since I personally feel this game supposed to be a relaxing game where player should be able to take their time to enjoy the game in any way they want. Whether we want to focus on raising animals, planting crops or fishing to gather money is up to us. Perhaps, even, the player wants to focus more on befriending all the townsfolk instead to learn all their stories.

Lens of Emotion

  • The game, I believe, wants us to feel comfortable, at ease while playing the game. The game wants us to feel pleasant, and at times surprised by the unexpected outcome or unlockable after doing certain actions or achieving certain goal.
    • Done by the art style and the music that emphasize certain aspect of seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, as well as in certain places such as the town’s mine or town square.
  • Invested/feels of ownership to the farm that we develop.
    • Provides freedom in planning and arranging the farm, including the location of the farm and position of the building such as coop or barn
    • Allows us to decorate the farm with structure such as path and fences. Additionally, items that serve functionality such as scarecrow can also have unique design.
    • Even our own home can be decorated with some furniture!
    • Personalisation give a sense of ownership to the player since each farm have high probability of being unique and different from other player’s farm.

Lens of Fantasy

  • Fantasy of living in a countryside and taking care of a farm
  • Element of magic in modern world. Non-human NPC, monsters, and unreal This aspect is a surprise for new player when first introduced in-game and compelled them to question and test the limit of the world design. At the same time, this set the stardew valley world different from the real world. Make it feels more special.

Is that a gigantic Mushroom?

Lens of Simplicity and Transcendence

  • Simplicity
    • Player’s character has no problem interacting with anyone.
    • Player’s character already master the technique of planting and farming. All actions are reduced to equipping tools and clicking the action button.
    • If the player have the recipe and the ingredient, any food can be cooked and any items can be crafted.
    • Townsfolk never lie about their opinion on the gift given to them, making it easier to gauge if the gift is the right gift for them.
    • This does not make the game too simple however.
      • Recipe still need to be found, be it through levelling up skills or befriending people.
      • Player still need to find out on their own what gifts are perfect for the people they like, giving a wrong gift will impact their relationship negatively
    • Transcendence
      • Players can tell how much stamina they have left so they can gauge how many more actions they can make before feeling exhausted.
      • Players are given the information to know how much each townsfolk like them.
      • Players can interact with fairies that has the power of repairing village’s infrastructure after fulfilling their request. In this respect, the player is given the ability to fix and improve the village, making them sort of the heroes that improves the life in the valley.
      • Upgrading equipment let players do some impressive feat. For example, a high-level hoe can toil 6 tile of lands in one go. Although the aesthetic style does not make these features immersion- breaking. Plus, this really helps in speeding up the farming process.
    • I feel there is a balance in term of simplicity and transcendence. Things that are simplified are things in the pipeline that are tedious and time-consuming if implemented. Transcendence element most of the time gives the player a good measure of the result of their actions or give them a sense of progress

Thank you for not lying as well!

The Binding of Isaac

The Binding of Isaac is an independent roguelike dungeon crawler game created by Edmund McMillen and Florian Himsl. The game was inspired by the Biblical story of the same name. You play as Isaac, a young boy who lives with his religious mother in a small house. She receives a message from the voice from above calling for the sacrifice of Isaac to proof her faith. Isaac escapes by jumping into the basement below where he must fight unknown monsters and eventually his mother.

The game is similar to that of The Legend of Zelda as you navigate your way around labyrinth-like levels fighting enemies with tear projectiles and bombs. With procedurally generated maps, every new game you play feels different as the items you collect and bosses you fight are also randomly generated.
The Lens of Elemental Tetrad

Mechanics
The goal of the game is to reach the final level and defeat Mom. Each floor (level) consists of a randomly generated layout of rooms with monsters. You need to find your way to the boss room, which upon clearing you can then proceed to the next floor below.

As a top down 2D game, you control your character with the standard WASD and fire projectiles in the direction of your arrow keys or left mouse button. These controls come natural as they are similar to that of FPS shooter games. Along the way you pick up an assortment of collectables (items) which changes the player’s stats and appearance. These items you pick up synergizes with one other and with some luck, your character usually becomes stronger the more items he picks up. Collectables can be obtained in several ways in all levels, from trading souls with the devil to entering treasure rooms.

Story
The game’s story is loosely inspired by the Biblical story also called The Binding of Isaac. It’s creator Edmund McMillen wanted to show the positive and negative aspects of religion as he was raised by a family split between born-again Christians and Catholics. As such there were several references made in the game that relates to Christianity. Items such as the rosary, the Bible, and several controversial symbols can be picked up and had different but relevant effects in the game. For example, using The Bible in a boss fight against Mom would instantly kill her. It is then explained in the cut scene that followed that God had intervened and struck Mom with a Bible from the shelf above her when she was about to kill Isaac. The plot closely follows the original biblical story where God commanded Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice, but intervened when Abraham complied.

Aesthetics
The game elicits a dark and mysterious feeling as the game art and soundtrack works very well together. Drawn in a 2D Flash art style (because it was made in Adobe Flash), the elements in the game are highly stylized but yet it achieves its goal of conveying its themes. Another reason for the simplistic character designs was because the game was initially a result of a short game jam – all of the game art was done within 2 months. Even so, the game sold well and Edmund reworked the game art in the subsequent remake The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth.

Technology
The game was originally created with Adobe Flash and you could play it on a computer using keyboard controls. Due to software constraints in Flash, there were several bugs and performance issues discovered by players when the game became popular. However, the game was smooth for the most part when I played it on my desktop, besides the occasional lag, and did not affect my gameplay experience.
Analyzing Isaac as a whole, the game fuses these four elements well considering the short amount of time spent in development as each element is well thought out and brings about the common theme together.
The Lens of Surprise
– The game is filled with surprises from the start, where the only instructions you get are the controls. You are to discover more about the game through playing it or looking up the game wiki page online.
– Every game is different as the maps are procedurally generated and the items and bosses are randomized.
– Achievements will only be unlocked after certain activity in the game that is told to you explicitly

first room of the game

instructions for the game is seen on the first room of every run

The Lens of Expected Value
– Chance and probability is a huge factor in this game. One of your stats (luck) directly affects how lucky you are in the game.
– However, the perceived chance is not completely reliant on the game’s RNG as you are allowed to alter the values (with the items you pick up) that determine the probabilities in the game.
– This gives the player choices when picking up items as they may have future consequences in the game that may not be apparent at that moment.
– The game may appear to be quite challenging at times especially in an unlucky run where a consecutive number of “bad” collectables show up that does not improve the player’s stats by much.

The Lens of Dynamic State
– In the normal game there are 100 collectables (much more in the future versions!) but only a few will be available at the beginning. As you play the game and unlock other achievements, you also unlock more characters and rare items that are meaningful to the game.
– For example, by using the Bible in a Mom fight, besides defeating her instantly, you also unlock an item called The Halo, which implies that Isaac is a good boy and has been spared by God.
– After a certain point in the game and completing it a few times, the game becomes permanently more challenging and more content is revealed to the player such as going deeper into the basement and meeting new final bosses.

The Lens of Skill vs Chance
– Ultimately the game is mostly a balance between Skill and Chance. You need to master dodging enemy projectiles with WASD controls and fire accurately with your arrow keys and at the same time to choose your pickups wisely and know how to use it to your advantage.
– The game appears to be designed for casual play as each the current state of each run cannot be saved. Hence, one would think that to win the game, luck is a huge contributing factor. However, I disagree with that it takes requires the player’s skill to know how to use every item well even if it is a “bad” item.
– A skilled player is able to win the game most of the time as he uses whatever item that is given to him to his advantage.
– Thus the game does not take away the player’s sense of control even if the outcome of each run is reliant on RNG.

Game Analysis: Prototype 2

Official Website:  http://store.steampowered.com/app/115320/

Trailer Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_BXB6q-OUc

Game Play: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWhk5_4sslU


Description:

In Prototype 2, the stage is in New York City, under the outbreak of the Blacklight virus. This virus can turn livings become crazy like a zombie. However, there is an exception, Alex Mercer, protagonist of the original Prototype, he can stay rational and he is more powerful than normal zombies; even more, he can infect other human to make them like him.

In this game, the player will act as a man named James Heller. His families were killed in the outbreak of the Blacklight virus. The outbreak of the Blacklight virus is certainly caused by Alex Mercer. Therefore, James Heller started his revenge to kill Alex Mercer. Pursuing Mercer for vengeance, Heller is infected by Mercer with a strain that imbues him with similar superhuman abilities.

Then the player will control James Heller to fight and collect the information about Alex Mercer. As James Heller become stronger and know more about Alex Mercer, he will finally have the chance to fight with Alex Mercer.


Elemental Tetrad:

  1. Aesthetics:

The environment in Prototype2 is the ruined New York City. It use dust, smoke and dark yellow ambient light to make player feel that the New York City is really scarred. There is no back ground music except for you enter some special scenes. The only sound you will hear are the howl from the infected monsters, the cry from the citizens, the communication of the army and the noise when something is destroyed. These sounds make this city more dreary. In this kind of atmosphere, the player won’t feel excited for that he is a superman here, he will only want to end this disaster quickly.

  1. Story:

As mentioned in the description, Prototype 2 is a story of revenge. Alex Mercer start the outbreak of Blacklight virus, so that James Heller’s families were killed. To kill Alex Mercer, James Heller make himself stronger and collect the information of Alex Mercer. Finally James Heller completes his revenge and stop Alex Mercer’s crazy plan, conquer the world.

  1. Mechanics:

In Prototype 2, player can walk, jump, run and glide. The moving control is easy but completed. The most attractive part for me is that the protagonist can run on the vertical buildings.

In the game, player also needs to control Heller to fight. Heller can change the shape of his arms to make them become weapons, blade, tendrils, whip-fist, claws and hammer-fists. Heller can also create biological bomb, summon monsters and consume others to get health point. Play can use these ability freely to control Heller to fight.

  1. Technology:

This game is developed on Titanium 2.0 engine. It can play on PC, Play Station and Xbox 360. It is a single-player game.


The Lens of Fantasy:

In Prototype 2, the player is not a human being. He will be a biochemical people, a collection of virus, a leader of monsters. He can change the appearance of himself, he can treat himself quickly from be injured, and do many things a human cannot. It really make player feel fantastic, because in this game, the player can become a fantastic being.

The Lens of Freedom:

In Prototype 2, although there is a main story designed for player to complete, player can ignore it then shuttle in the city and do whatever he want, destroy things, fight with monsters, fight with army; or just walk around and observe the city. The New York City in this game is just like a stage specially designed for the player. The player will feel free like the master of the city.

The Lens of The Hero’s Journey:

Although the protagonist, James Heller, starts his story as revenge, as the game goes on, the player will find that the man Heller want to kill, Alex Mercer, is a crazy biochemical people who wants to conquer the world by terror. The player is not only a avenger, but also the man who tries to stop a future dictator. At the end of the story, as the last biochemical people, Heller chooses seclusion instead of beginning his own conquering. I think he is certainly a hero who knows how to use his power correctly.

The Lens of Visible Progress:

At the beginning of the game, Heller’s ability is limited. When the game starts, the only weapon Heller can use is his fists. After completing more and more missions and fighting with different enemies, Heller will learn to run on buildings, glide in the sky, and change his arm to become different types of weapons. Meanwhile, the enemies will also become more strange and powerful. Player can feel his progress visibly.