Left 4 Dead 2

l4d2 logo   

Short Description

Left 4 Dead 2 (L4D2) is a survival horror first person shooter where players have to cooperate in order for their characters to stay alive until the end of the round. Set in a zombie apocalypse, you play one of four human survivors who have to fight through hordes of common zombies, known as the Infected (and a few special ones) to the safe houses which also serve as checkpoints. L4D2 has been built upon the Valve’s proprietary Source engine and the game play is controlled by the “A.I. Director 2.0”.


Game’s website: http://www.l4d.com/game.html


Lens #7: The Lens of the Elemental Tetrad

Technology: L4D is built on Valve’s proprietary 3D video game engine Source. Source provides developers with tools such as a rendering system, a modelling and animation software, a map creation tool, a physics engine as well as other features.


Mechanics: L4D2 is a cooperative first person shooter where players have to fight through different maps where the key objective is to get all your team members to safety in the safe house in order to escape the zombies that are chasing after you. Along with rifles, guns and grenade launchers to reach zombies at a distance, L4D2 also provides players with melee weapons which are effective for clearing your way through enemies. The two distinctive ways of killing zombies give players the choice of different playing styles or simply allows them to use their weapons as the situation requires.

Story: The game took place after the “Green Flu” pandemic, where most of the human population had been transformed into zombie-like creatures due to the virus infection. In relation to the prequel, the events in L4D2 are set after L4D and the story started with the characters in Georgia. While some of the characters have back stories which are explored through the dialogue, players are kept in the dark about the source of the virus and the events of other parts of the world.

Aesthetics: L4D2 had nice graphics. Most of the game had a daytime setting which lights up and displays the level of detail of the game. The movement of the Infected looked realistic as they run towards the characters. The injuries sustained by the zombies are also in such detail that one could see the exposed internal organs of the zombie. For those who are not fans of graphic violence, there is the realistic flowing water to look out for in the “Swamp Fever” campaign.


Lens #18: The Lens of Flow

L4D2 seems to present the players with a good flow as they constantly communicate with one another and still stayed focused on the game. However, I personally felt that there is no cycle of “tense and release” as mentioned by Schell, as I felt constantly tensed during the game and the only release was after the map when we were shown the leaderboard.

Lens #25: The Lens of Goals

L4D2 has very clear goals to the players. The game requires the players to work towards goals that are pretty instinctive, namely to try to stay alive until the end of the map and eventually, the campaign. Considering the challenge of completing the campaign, it could be rewarding for the player. However, if you are playing in the Versus mode, those playing as human survivors will try to stay alive and the others who are playing as the Special Infected will try their best to kill the human survivors. In this case, the reward would be beating the other team by making more progress on the maps.

Lens #32: The Lens of Meaningful Choices

Besides the various strategies that players can formulate and then choose for themselves, the gameplay offers players a small amount of meaningful choices. For weapons, players have to choose between carrying a pistol which has a longer a range or a melee weapon which is more deadly; a med pack for healing or a defibrillator kit for reviving a dead team member; pipe bombs, Molotov cocktails or the bile bombs which all have some sort of area effect. If players choose to take longer and more difficult routes, they’ll be rewarded with better weapons. Getting to choose the ending would not be a meaningful choice as most players would choose to stay alive throughout the game.

Lens #38: The Lens of Competition vs. Cooperation

L4D2 provides an entertaining mix of gameplay that encourages both competition and cooperation among the players. In the 4 player Campaign mode, cooperation is heavily emphasized as it would be difficult for the players to reach the end of a map or complete tasks if they are playing alone. Players also have to look out for one another as they can heal another team mate with their first aid kit or damage the others with friendly fire. Every team mate (who is still alive) also has to make it into the safe house for the map to be considered complete.

The game allows the players to compete in the form of individual score. At the end of a map, a leaderboard will show all the players of that map which human survivor got the most kills or did the most damage.

The interesting aspect of the competitive gameplay would be how 8 players can play simultaneously in a 4v4 Versus Mode in which 4 players would play as human survivors and the other 4 will play as the Special Infected, zombies with other abilities that make them more dangerous than the Common Infected. In versus mode, players would have to communicate and cooperate with one another better to launch combination attacks (for the Special Infected) and to stay alive (for the human survivors). The team competition in the Versus Mode combines competition and cooperation in the game.


Team Fortress 2


Team Fortress 2 (TF2)[1] is an online competitive First Person Shooter (FPS) that consists of 9 distinct types of character classes. Each 9 classes have their advantages and disadvantages against one another, just like the simple game of rock-paper-scissors. Two teams, Red and Blu (not Blue), will compete against each other to achieve an objective. For example, Blu will push the bomb cart to a destination and Red will try their best to obstruct/stop them. Or, both teams will try to enter opposing team’s intelligence room to steal their briefcase and head back to home base to score a point.


Lens #2: The Lens of Surprise

  • Each holiday seasons Valve[2] will update the game with new weapons, gameplays, skins and/or hats. There is always something to look forward to at every Christmas, New Years, Halloweens, Easters, and other western holiday seasons.
  • Once in a while when a player dies in-game and waiting to re-spawn, random weapons or hats will be given to the player.


Lens #16: The Lens of Player

  • TF2 is a typical FPS game with the main objective having to kill the opposite team. In general, players like to shoot with different types of guns in different playable maps.
  • Players would hate to see similar gameplays with a limited range of weapons to choose from. Therefore TF2 has different objectives, a wide range of maps, and updates for new weapons and accessories in every holiday seasons.


Lens #27: The Lens of Skill

  • The most fundamental skill is aiming, obviously. For Sniper to deal a large amount of damage, a headshot is required; getting either instant kill or 95% of the life chipped off from the opponent’s health. The rest of the characters also require good aiming skill, though not as essential as a Sniper class.
  • That aside, to kill without a good aiming skill is also possible. For instance, the Engineer can build a Level 3 sentry gun and sit by one corner and drink his beer; that sentry gun will shoot all incoming opposite team at 100% accuracy. The Engineer just needs to resupply the ammo and repair the sentry gun. Medic needs to point at his healing target at a general direction and he can heal the target already. Spy needs to get behind an enemy’s back and stab them. Demo-man lays down some sticky bombs and waits for his opponent to walk by before detonating them. It’s about trickery and mind games, too.


Lens #38: The Lens of Competition vs Cooperation

  • On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being competitive and 10 being cooperation, TF2 would be a 7. Though skill is a necessity in a FPS (you can’t be winning if your aim is off), it’s the cooperation of the team members that will enable the team to complete the objective.
  • Players are given a choice to play either competitively or cooperatively, and the outcome of the match will depends on the ratio between competitive players and cooperative players. If there are more competitive players on a single team and there are more cooperative players on the opposing team, then the latter have a higher chance of winning the objective. But of course, there has to be a good mix between competitive and cooperative players; being competitive will motivates but the player might die easily while being solo. Being cooperative will help each other during difficult times but the motivation to finish the objective isn’t as great as a competitive player.
  • TF2 doesn’t have a campaign or story mode; hence in all the gameplay it has to offer, it is the competition of who can achieve the objective faster.


Lens #76: The Lens of Character Function

  • There are in total 9 different types of characters in TF2; Scout, Soldier, Pyro, Demo-man, Heavy, Engineer, Medic, Sniper and lastly, Spy.
  • All of them have strong points and weak points, which balanced out nicely in the end.
  • Scout is strong when the terrain is big and against slow-moving classes, but weak whenever he is in open ground.
  • Soldier is strong against low health classes while weak against Sniper.
  • Pyro is strong against Spy, while weak against medium and long range weapons.
  • Demo-man is strong against low health classes but weak against long range weapons.
  • Heavy is strong against low and medium health classes but weak against Sniper and Spy.
  • Engineer is strong against anyone as long as his sentry guns are up, but is effectively a sitting duck.
  • Medic is a healing class which helps to keep his team alive. His primary role is not to kill and run away whenever possible.
  • Sniper is strong against anyone who is far away, but weak whenever he is in range of others’ killing zone.
  • Spy is strong against anyone whose back is facing him, but weak whenever he is spotted.
  • And since every character has both strong and weak points, it is absolutely essential that the whole team must compromise with each other to achieve their objectives.

[1] http://www.teamfortress.com/

[2] http://www.valvesoftware.com/

League of Legends VS Defence of the Ancients 2

Disclaimer: I am aware that I am risking my life by writing this post. If you are a hard-core fan of DotA 2, take note that this post favors League of Legends. If you want to argue why DotA 2 is more suitable for you, please write your own post (I play one DotA 2 session for every three League of Legends sessions. For me both games are great, but one is better than the other)

League of Legends (gameplay-video) and Defence of the Ancients II (gameplay-video ) are undoubtedly the most popular Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games (link). There are myriad of non-stop arguments on the internet about which game is the best. Both player communities have their own opinions why the game they play is better than the other. I have played both games for a considerable amount of time (each > 4 years if DotA I is considered). Having played both games, I believe I am in a prime position to share my opinion on how both games hold up to each other

For the benefit of the inexperienced, I will briefly describe the gameplay of both games. Both games – LoL and DotA 2 – need each player to control a character in a 5 VS 5 game. The characters spawn (and revive) on their base, and their goal is to destroy the opponent’s base. There are several rewarding tasks that must be done by every character to achieve the goal:

  • Creeping – killing enemy computer-controlled troops to gain money (money is used to buy equipment to further strengthen the characters) and experience (characters can gain level from experience and learn abilities/ get stronger)
  • Killing – killing enemy player-controlled characters to gain money, experience, and to punish them (loss of gold in DotA, and absence from the game field for several seconds in both games)
  • Pushing – destroying enemy defensive structure to allow troops to further attack their base
  • Customization – learning abilities and buying items are two main means of getting stronger

Among these two games, statistics has declared that League of Legends is more popular and commercially successful compared to DotA 2 (link1; link2 ). DotA 2 did indeed experience a rapid growth during its opening, but it was due to burst of players who are familiar with DotA 1; however, League of Legends player statistics has been proven to be growing for four years.

While a portion of DotA 2 supporters argue the reason of LoL’s popularity is due to it is an “easy game”, I have my legitimate arguments that probably will be easily dismissed by them if they have not played both games for at least a year.

The Lens of Simplicity/Complexity

DotA 2 supporters often claim that DotA 2 offers more “complexities” than League of Legends. I cannot argue with that. However, it does not imply at the slightest that to excel in DotA 2 is harder than to be good at LoL.

There is a fallacy that DotA 2 complexity makes it more competitive and in-depth. This is totally untrue as the complexities are innate – they are not the products of game dynamics. These innate complexities make it extremely hard for a new player to learn DotA 2, as they carry the burden of knowledge – that is – to win a game, knowledge is more important than skill. Even mechanically speaking, these innate complexities are not intentional in the first place; it is the legacy of limitation/presets of Warcraft III on which DotA 1 stands on.

Here are some examples of innate complexities that are epitome of burden of knowledge for DotA 2 beginners (Note: this section may interest ONLY experienced reader):

  • Orb effects – whether an attack modifier item work together with another attack modifier is totally arbitrary as it is originated from Warcraft III.
  • Black King Bar Spell Immunity – it repels damage from all abilities, but does not make your characters immune to other characters’ ultimate abilities’ effect (another Warcraft legacy)
  • Imbalanced distribution of complexity – some characters are totally easy to play such as Skeleton King which only has an active ability, while some others are really complex such as Chen which has five abilities, and needs to control other characters (neutral creeps) with their own abilities. Beginners who are oblivious of this fact can accidentally choose a very complex character.
  • Damage type – normal, pierced, siege, hero, spell, chaos, pure, composite, etc. each damage type is reduced by different resistance and is very confusing for new player (compared to normal, spell, and pure damage in LoL).
  • Thundergod’s Wrath – deal damage to all enemy characters and reveal them, but stealth characters are only revealed, not damaged. A failed programming attempt made into innate complexity.

In comparison to DotA 2, League of Legends does not have these so-called complexities. Complexities in League of Legends arise from dynamic action of the characters. A good example will be “denying”. In DotA it is possible to deny (kill) your own troops to prevent enemy from getting experience and gold. It is not possible in League of Legends. Some argue that this make DotA 2 more complex, however the reality dictates otherwise. In DotA 2, a player will try to monotonously deny his/her creep while in League of Legends a player will devise a complex way to prevent their opponent from creeping such as nuking and zoning. Ingenuity on usage of abilities and items is needed to compete in League of Legends.

The Lens of Pleasure

Another thing that makes League of Legends more popular than DotA 2 is the pleasure it guarantees to its players.

In DotA 2, when you kill a player’s character, you will gain gold and experience while the killed player will lose gold. This makes early kill really game-changing in DotA 2. If a team manage to secure its dominance in the early game (first 10-15 minutes of a 45 minutes game), it is very likely to win the game. This is because the team whose players are killed frequently will not be able to gain level/ buy better equips while the dominating team will keep getting stronger from the kills. Moreover, if a character dies he can immediately be revived by paying. Winning team can confirm their victory, since a blunder – that allows other team to win – can be redeemed.

The experience of a common DotA 2 public game is described as follow: 10-15 minutes of anticipation and excitement, another 30 minutes of bullying/ or being bullied. This will make a game slightly fun, and later either it becomes boring since a win is guaranteed, or it becomes depressing since a loss is imminent. Although this does not apply to every game, this commonly applies to general public games. (Note that professional competitive scene in DotA 2 is very different from public games)

Meanwhile, League of Legends do not penalize killed player by reducing their gold. This way, early kills do not assure victory since the opposing team has a chance to strike back. League of Legends also disallows instant reviving. The suspense never ceases even until the end of the game since a mistake from either the winning or losing team can be the end for them (eg. The winning team players’ characters are all killed in a teamfight, and the losing team rushes to destroy the base). League of Legends still reward early dominance but it introduces negative feedback to the winning team.


It is clear to us now why League of Legends is more commercially successful compared to DotA 2. Firstly, it is because League of Legends does not have a lot of innate complexities as in DotA 2. This makes the game easier to learn by beginners. Secondly, in public scene, League of Legends provides more pleasure to both the winning and losing players by creating continuous suspense; while DotA 2 aims only to please the winner.



Official Website



Hearthstone is a free-to-play online collectable card game developed by Blizzard Entertainment. Recently entering open beta in late January 2014, Hearthstone pits players head to head in a 1-on-1 card battle, similar to existing card games, for example, Magic: the Gathering. The object of the game is to take your opponent down to 0 HP, and players can do so with the aid of minions, spells or weapons.

Lens of Rules

In a strategic game like Hearthstone, knowing the rules of the game is a key component in playing the game well. By knowing the mechanics, players will be able to optimise their game play.

A Battlecry effect targeting Minions

An example of this is the Battlecry mechanic, which takes place whenever a minion is played from the hand onto the field. However, getting a minion with a Battlecry effect onto the field by other means will not trigger that effect.

To ensure that players are certain of these rules, Blizzard has been very specific in the wording on the tooltips and even the cards themselves. Some of the terms used in the game like minion(referring to any creature on the playing field), hero(the player’s character in the game) and character(both minion and hero) have been clearly defined and worded on cards. Emphasis is also put on words ‘ALL’ so that the player is clear that these effects affect both parties.

Lens of Competition

It goes without saying that Hearthstone is a competitive game, since players are battling each other out in every game they play. However, Blizzard has implemented several modes of play so as to cater to the different competitive levels of the player.

Ranking system

Firstly, there is the Ranked mode, where each win brings you closer to ranking up, all the way to the Legend ranks. This provides players with a goal; to get the best rank they can possibly get. This mode matches players of similar ranks, so that players are matched based on relative skill levels.

There is also the Casual mode, where players can practically match-up with anyone else. This is useful for anyone trying out new decks, or for players to have just started and not want to jump straight into Ranked play. This mode also has a matchmaking system which matches players by their skill level.

Lens of Luck vs Skill

In any card game, drawing the right cards at the right time can tilt the chances of winning highly in a player’s favour. However, this does not means that the chances of winning is just purely luck.

Mad Bomber can even damage you!

Players can mitigate the need to draw the right cards by simply having more cards in their hand. This is a term known as card advantage, where the player with more cards has a higher card advantage, simply because he has more options to play his cards. In Hearthstone, certain cards have mechanics that allow for additional card draw, but are significantly weaker than their similar cost counterparts, and it is up to the player to manage when to go for card draw, and when to play more efficient cards.

As a virtual game, Hearthstone also uses effects where the results are random. This gives the game more uncertainty and leaves things to chance. However, these effects take place when cards are played, giving the player control of when these random effects happen, and this is where skill and strategy comes in.


Lens of Endegenous value

The strongest legendary in terms of stats

As Hearthstone is free-to-play, Blizzard makes money from players purchasing packs of cards with real currency. Like in other physical card games, cards have varying rarities. This gives the cards an endegenous value, as players gradually expand their card collection by opening more card packs. Cards of the Legendary rarity are hardest to find, but are the strongest and have the most devastating effects. Card packs can also be obtained via in-game gold, but this takes a much longer as time is spent to earn gold. As such, the endegenous value of cards in Hearthstone is a reward for investment, be it monetary or time.

Also, players have levels for each of the 9 playable classes. Simply by playing the game, win or lose, players get experience points and level up their characters. Hearthstone rewards players with cards that unlock every 2 levels while they level their characters to level 10. Player can thereby add more cards to their arsenal by simply putting in the time to level up their characters.


Lens of Balance

Hearthstone has had several major patches in which cards have been changed due to balance issues. An example of this is to a card which gives all friendly minions Charge, an ability that allows a minion to attack on the turn it is played. In combination with high damage minions, players were able pull off a One Turn Kill combo to win in a single turn without the opponent being able to react. Blizzard then decided to change this card so that this effect now affects minions of 3 or less attack power, so that the card does not lose its effect entirely, but also removing the One Turn Kill.

Cards of the Warrior One Turn Kill combo




CS3247 Game Development Assignment 1 – Option 1


Dishonoured is a first person, stealth, action adventure video game released by Arkane Studios, and is ranked among top games made in 2012. The game is set in the fictional, industrial city of Dunwall, where a new regime rises to power after the assassination of The Empress and the kidnapping of The Princess. Players follow the story of Corvo Attano, who, originally the personal bodyguard of The Empress, is framed for her assassination. Forced into becoming an assassin for the Loyalists, he then seeks to clear his name and restore The Princess to power from the grasp of the rebels.



Dishonoured is a game I greatly enjoyed, and lavished hours upon hours on. The following will attempt to analyse the factors that made this game such an appealing piece not just for me, but for so many around the world.

  • The Lens of Freedom

The appeal of Dishonoured lies significantly in the freedom it gives its players. Players are able to choose from a pool of multi-purpose abilities and gadgets for Corvo to use, effectively allowing players to customise Corvo to their unique play style as they choose. Unlike many games where levels are designed such that level progression is practically linear, the developers even made it so that the levels are designed to accommodate for the use of those multi-purpose abilities and gadgets. Provisions are made so that skills such as “Blink” (teleportation to a location a short distance away) can be used effectively in most parts of the stages, should the player choose to do so.

List of available skills.

List of available skills.

Additionally, players can choose how they will achieve the primary objectives. For example, in infiltrating a building, there isn’t only that one air vent, or that unlocked balcony door. All these are available as access points, along with the main door, or perhaps even a sewer entrance. And as the player explores the stage, players uncover different ways of achieving that end goal of “assassinating” key targets. Further, following from the last point, players are also given the freedom to craft their own brand of vengeance against the conspirators who framed Corvo. Whether they choose to create a bloodbath by rampaging through the stage, or to simply sneak in quietly and take out the target, or perhaps to even decide to spare the target, all these are available as options for the player. Lastly, players are also given the option of building their relationship with the other characters the way they want to through speech options and optional quest objectives. In making all these choices, players become stakeholders in the game’s progression. This makes for a far more immersive experience. Additionally, the freedom given in the players’ actions gives tinge of realism to the game.

  • Lens of Essential Experience

Dishonoured provides for a range of experiences for the player. The primary experience is that of being an assassin. A word thoroughly misrepresented thanks to the popular Assassin’s Creed franchise, Dishonoured brings back the full flavour of what it means to be an assassin – you are sneaking around in a place where your presence is unwelcome, and any one mistake could be your last. Armed guards are actively looking out for signs of suspicious activity, and traps have been set for the unwary. Players experience the excitement of doing the forbidden, and triumphing over the overwhelming odds. On a smaller part, Dishonoured also provides the experience of being empowered to right the wrongs done to you on your own terms, as per the setting of the narrative.

One of the available endings…

One of the available endings…


  • Lens of Meaningful Choice

As mentioned, the player is allowed to choose how they play – do they submit to vengeance and kill, or not. How should they respond to the characters they interact with? In Dishonoured, these choices have an impact on things such as Corvo’s relationships with the other characters, as well as the outcome of the overall narrative. As a close subordinate of The Empress, The Princess looks to Corvo’s actions for guidance now that her mother is lost. How The Princess would rule, once Corvo’s mission is completed, will depend on how Corvo decides to act in the course of the game. Thus, the player’s actions are given meaning, allowing for better immersion into the game.

  • Lens of Challenge

In attempting to infiltrate the large maps created by the developers, players will need to consider and plan various things, such as skill builds, equipment upgrades, as well as the timing and details of executing the infiltration. Then, upon execution the player will need to react swiftly to factors previously unknown to them, and make new plans for their next move. Overcoming these challenging problems is part of the fun of Dishonoured.


  • Lens of Curiosity

Dishonoured gives players a wide variety of options – the various supernatural skills, the range of gadgets and modifications – but few of these are actually really essential to the game’s progression. Thus, players are free to wonder – suppose I played without supernatural powers, or without gadgets, or if I had to kill everyone, or if I had to spare everyone? Additionally, as mentioned above, Players may attempt stages again by progressing through different access paths. Thus, Players are free to handicap themselves, challenge themselves, and re-attempt the game to see how it would play out. This makes for hours of fun exploration.



Patapon 3


Lens of Economy
There are 3 basic types of “currency” in Patapon 3 – Ka-ching, Materials and Equipment. These 3 are used to upgrade the gear of your 4 men “army”. All 3 of them are earned through clearing stages (most of which are repeatable) and every stage has at least 1 treasure chest which gives a prize, usually an equipment. The stages can be cleared in a short amount of time and relatively easily. Storyline bosses may take longer (2 to 3 stages which must be cleared at 1 shot). Clearing the storyline increases difficulty as well as the rank of the items that can be obtained. These 3 resources are used to upgrade the obtained equipment at the blacksmith. Some materials and equipment become randomly purchasable from an NPC after an early part of the storyline. Farming can hence be monotonous by repeating a few stages, but there is a variety to choose from. Fortunately those are not the only type of “currency” and also grow with farming. Patapon 3 has a levelling system, a typical trait in many games. Levelling makes your army stronger, as well as unlocking different classes and set skills. Patapon 3 has two types of skills and levelling methods instead. The first is set skills which are associated with certain jobs and unlocked at certain levels. For example, Allosson (the stronger version of  a bow user) has a set skill which creates a tailwind while Fever Mode is activated, increasing his range while reducing that of your enemies (and defending your army from spore-type attacks). These set skills can be equipped by the Patapon before beginning a stage, and you are free to mix and match them (The maximum number of set skills equippable depends on the class). Patapon also has class skills which are passive. These are levelled by repeated use, which may empower a class as well as its related branch-classes. How does throwing 4 spears instead of 1 sound?

Lens of Skill
Patapon 3, like its predecessors, is a rhythm game with some elements of RTS. Hence this game actually requires a few skills – a little “music” sense, thumb-movement (in my case, I use my thumb), tactics in choosing your line-up and battle process (selection of skills, equipment, miracles etc), decision-making (when to use the said skills) and ability to keep calm while not jumbling your fingers.  The commands are issued to your “army” in the form of 4 drumbeats, getting a perfect timing for the beats will grant several advantages like being able to invoke your Uberhero’s skill (in “FEVER Mode”). Giving perfectly timed commands also speeds up charging to “FEVER Mode” when The other members of your army also gain bonuses like stronger attack or defense, and even activate some passive skills known as set skills. You also become able to use miracles. While perfect initially sounds impossible, the time-frame given is sufficiently lax and takes little practice to get the hang of it.
There is a good number of commands, not too many which become hard to remember. The variety is good as well, with retreating and jumping to evade attacks, guarding, dancing, charging and attacking. This leaves sufficient room for tactics to some degree. Decision-making applies more for bossing when the damage is from potentially one-hit kill techniques which range from grabbing and eating your poor Patapon to being stomped by the foot of a giant. The need to keep Fever activated can be challenging at times as a poorly executed command will break it and potentially cause failure.
There are also some limitations such as failing the stage if Hatapon (The flag bearer) dies. As long as there is at least one live Tatepon or a melee class, Hatapon will remain invincible. However, Hatapon’s defense and hp are like paper – so keep your tank alive.
Both new and old players can practice at the training grounds while getting low-ranked chests at the same time. Therefore, there is sufficient means of letting players get used to the commands and control system. There are also a few levels of difficulty that can be selected at a later part of the storyline, which becomes progressively harder.

Lens of Character traits
The Patapons in the game have small fragments of personality, they are mainly your Uberhero (through some choices you make through the game which affects certain events) and the anti-heroes. There are also some rather stupid ones which grants some humour (or facepalms) during the storyline. These can range from single-tracked minded enemies to those who still have honour or some who perhaps aren’t as bad as they seem. They help to bring out the storyline, as in the case of most RPGs.

Lens of Challenge
The monotonous nature of just killing all your enemies and levelling all their structures and contraptions to the ground is broken by the storyline, having stages where you go head to head against the anti-heroes which range from racing, arriving at the enemies’ base ASAP and even shooting missiles at the enemy platform. These mini-games are repeatable and have decent rewards, offering some incentive to play them. Each of these mini-games has different objectives and gives players even more opportunity to strategise and test their line-up.
The challenge in Patapon 3  is essentially to keep at least 1 tank alive, maintaining Fever mode and not jumble your fingers during boss fights which require a deeper sense of observation and prediction. The is particularly so since the Patapons only react after a complete set of 4 beats – you must already be sure of your command when you hit the first beat. Otherwise, you will likely end up breaking fever mode to react in time, or possibly result in loss if a bad decision was made.
Moreover, let’s not forget your nemesis are not called anti-heroes for nothing, they have their own special skills as well such as charging through your line-up which disrupts your attacks or putting forth a giant shield that protects their henchmen.

One of the “mini-games” where you have to reach the opponent’s flag before they reach yours.

Lens of Feedback
The feedback a user receives mainly come on 3 occasions occasions, during and after clearing a stage and during loading screens. The loading screens often offers tips on how to play the game or reveal the class trees that can be unlocked – useful for beginners. Hoshipon, who takes the role of a knowledgeable old geezer will guide you through the storyline, giving brief tidbits of information about the next stage. After clearing stages, there is also usually a short animation about what your adversities are doing, be it internal strife or a prelude to a nasty welcome prepared for you in the next stage.
During battles looking at the eyes of your Patapons also offers some information, such as if they are within attacking range of an enemy, depicted by having slanted irises. They also give a rather sad cry when they perish in combat. They also offer various forms of audio feedback, such as disappointment (“I knew it!” – in Japanese) when you messed up a command and more enthusiasm during Fever Mode.

Tip shown during loading screens : Spear-class tree
Another useful tip on upgrading equipment to make your army stronger

League of Legends (2009)


Game: League of Legends (2009)


• Introduction
League of Legends (LoL) is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena game which is similar to Defense of the Ancients (DotA). For every game, each player will get to choose a character, also known as champion and are teamed alongside with other players to destroy the enemies’ base. Similarly to DotA, the players earn small amount of gold passively during the game and by killing minions and enemies’ champions. After each game, players will earn experience points after each game which allows them to level up their Summoner (personification of player) till a maximum of level 30. Gaining levels will unlock mastery points and tune slots which help to improve the overall strength of the player’s chosen champion in-game.

• Lens of Character Function
– Every champion is unique in their own ways. They play different roles in a game too
– There exist several character functions such as the junglers, assassins, fighter, mage, support, tanker and marksman
– For instance, a support champion naturally plays the role of healing wounded allies and strengthening their stats, such as providing them with higher defence or speed for several seconds. They can also be used to stun the enemy champions to buy time for their allies to escape. A good such support in LoL would be Sona
– Not only should a team have well balanced characters, they must also decide which champions should run the top, mid and bottom lane, depending on the functions and equipment, for more advantages

• Lens of Competition
– LoL is a Player VS Player (PVP) or Player VS Bots game
– Playing with bots will be pretty boring for advanced players as the enemy bots are very predictable since they are programmed to do their every action
– Each game in LoL PVP is a trilling competition since every player have different playing styles
– and thus, playing frequently and gaining experience is really important for serious competitive players as they must be exposed to different styles and learn how to counter them

• Lens of Cooperation
– Nobody plays to lose, especially in a team game. Therefore they will be more pressured to contribute to the team in one way or other
– It is important for teammates to look out for one another’s backs and help each other to escape whenever their champion is at the brink of death
– Newer and weaker players usually are more selfish and complain a lot during the games, especially when other players make a kill steal (KS) or they will fight over which lane to use
– On the other hand, stronger and experienced players cooperate to take down enemies together even though they did not get the kill, they will offer the lane to someone who needs it for than their champion
– Communication is very important when playing LoL. Most of the time, I would sign in to Skype to talk to my other teammates about the strategy we should employ in the game according to the way our enemies play

• Lens of Skill
– LoL is not really a difficult game once you get a hang of it. Most of the time, a win and lose is highly dependent on the players’ skills on how they use the champions and good teamwork
– A team with an extremely skilful and strong player and four other weaker players can still win a team of five average players and of course, it also depends on how well the other team can cooperate too
– Memorising all the skills and abilities of every champion is definitely a plus point as you can predict and avoid the incoming attacks
– The timing to stun opponents and to use skill shots on them is really important as well. For instance, one of my favourite champion Anivia, has a skill called Flash Frost which flies really slowly for a short distance in a straight line, thus I must always predict the movement of my enemies before firing Flash Frost, a hit can damage and slow down the movement of enemy champion by 20% for 3 seconds which is very crucial for the enemy to escape and for myself to take the kill
– Adding on, players should also know what to equip their champions during the game. Strong players know how to vary the equipment used during late game, while less experience players would google their champion’s guide beforehand and follow the recommended equipment set

• Lens of Chance
– In every game, there bound to be some chance and luck too. Although LoL is a game that depends on skills, players do have chances to finish off their enemies even though it seems near impossible
– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiu5quoGvoU
– In the above Youtube clip, it portrays the chances that the champion Ashe has to finish off opponents from far with her Enchanted Crystal Arrow. The players must be really skilful in estimating the timing to make those kills
– Furthermore, equipment such as the Phantom Dancer allows the champion which wields it to have an increase chance of 30% critical strike which is extremely crucial during a 1-1 battle in game

Although chance plays a part LoL, I believe that experience players, who balance their team well with the correct champions, along with good teamwork and skills can still dominate the game. All in all, I believe LoL is a well-balanced game of fun and skills which is why they are extremely successful in the gaming industries. They are rumoured to be able to be on par with DotA or even surpass it.


World of Tanks

Assignment 1 – Option 1

1280x800Game: World of Tanks
Link to game: http://worldoftanks.asia/
Gameplay video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8whsF5JJfM

Description of the game: World of Tanks is a team-based massively multiplayer online game featuring armoured warfare in the mid-20th century. Players can choose from an arsenal of over 240 tanks from seven different nations, including iconic tanks such as the German Tiger and Soviet T-34. There are five different classes of tanks – heavy, medium, light, tank destroyers, and self-propelled guns. Each of these five classes has a unique characteristic, and they each play a different role on the battlefield. Players are put into 15 minute 15 vs. 15 battles where they either attempt to eliminate all enemy tanks, or capture the enemy’s base.

2 – The Lens of Surprise

  • As World of Tanks features human players, the element of surprise is inherently present as you rarely know what the other players might do.
  • Random number generator (RNG) system that is implemented in the accuracy of guns and critical module damage can give pleasant surprises to the player. For example, if one manages to destroy the ammo rack of a tank, the tank blows up, regardless of how much health it has. This is known as a 1-hit KO. Sometimes, RNG sends your tank shell flying to an unintended location, and it actually manages to kill an unintended enemy (or ally)!
  • The physics system in the game allows players to pull off stunts such as flying off a cliff and landing onto another tank. This happens very rarely and it is always a nice surprise to see it happening, even if you are not the victim or the one performing the stunt.
  • The link below is a playlist of lucky and interesting physics going on, that appear in gameplay from time to time.

German Tech Tree

17 – The Lens of Pleasure

  • The tanks available in game are placed in a tech tree, from tier 1 to 10. The higher tiers feature the more iconic tanks, as well as tanks that look simply sexy. It is a pleasure to finally see your coveted tank sitting in your virtual garage, especially after working so hard to get it.
  • Once in a while, your team fails you and you find yourself in a, for example, 1 vs. 4 situation, and you manage to emerge victorious from the engagement. Or sometimes, you manage to do a monstrous amount of damage, or manage to get the killing blow on half the enemy team. Pulling off such achievements gives the player a since of pride and happiness.
Leopard I

Leopard I. What a sexy tank.

32 – The Lens of Meaningful Choice

  • World of Tanks is a game where you have to make choices in every moment of the game.
  • The player’s ability to make these choices also translates to their level of skill in the game, as well as whether or not you emerge victorious from the battle. The following is a general idea of the thought processes and choices the player can make.
  • Start of the battle
    • Where should I go?
  • When the enemy is sighted
    • Am I in cover? Should I take cover or keep moving?
    • Should I move out of cover to engage the enemy?
    • Who should I prioritize?
    • Am I able to damage or kill the enemy? Will they damage or kill me?
    • Should I attempt to immobilize the enemy (harder to pull off, but it is an advantageous move), or go for an easier hit?
  • Near the end of the battle
    • Should we capture the enemy base, or should we destroy all enemy tanks?
    • How much time is left in the battle? Will it influence the above choices?

What will you do?

42 – The Lens of Simplicity/Complexity

  • Simplicity: The game mechanics and controls are similar to any first-person shooter out there. The WASD keys are for movement, and the mouse is for aiming and shooting. This is sufficient enough for the player to contribute to the game, especially at the lower tiers. The more intricate mechanics of the game do not make a big impact on the battles yet.
  • Complexity: However, to become a better player, especially as one advances to higher tiers, you need to properly understand the complex mechanics the game has. Concepts such as angle of ammunition impact, and the vision and camouflage system are very important skills to master later on in the game.
  • Simply put, this is a game which is easy to learn or play right off the bat, but hard to master.
  • Even veteran players will have to practice to use these concepts well in their battles.
  • Complexity of battle mechanics: http://wiki.worldoftanks.com/Battle_Mechanics

62 – The Lens of Inherent Interest

  • A purely tank-based battle? There are very few games like this, unlike the crowded market of first-person shooter games. Surely it must pique the interest of some people.
  • Driving a tank around, blowing other tanks up? How often do you get to do such a thing, or even see it happening? Awesome!
  • Wait, I can drive the Tiger and/or the Maus? Awesome!
  • Ever wondered how the Leopard would fare against the Centurion? Or maybe the Tiger against a King Tiger? How about the performance of prototype or unmanufactured tanks? Now you can find out.


    The Tiger I



MapleStory Gameplay URL :  http://youtu.be/T6Sudtsmsf8

Description of Game :  MapleStory is a side-scrolling multiplayer online role-playing game. Player can choose any character roles, each with different abilities and skills. Depending on the type of character that is chosen, the player will learn about skills and how to attack monsters with given abilities. There will be quests and missions for the player to complete.

[ Option 1 ] Analysis of MapleStory:

#5 The Lens of Simplicity/Complexity

Compared to strategic games, MapleStory possesses a good simplicity and is suitable for all ages. It is not surprising to see players ranging from children to adults and even elderly.


1.1 Beginners can find themselves unlocking many quests in a short period of time, but as time goes, the quests get harder to complete and more skills are required from the players.  Same goes to hitting the monsters, the introduction of monsters with different personalities increases the difficulty of the game.

1.2 The goal of the game is to gain experience points to level up the character role. This can be done through completing a quest, fighting boss or killing monsters.

1.3 Players only need to learn how to navigate the character roles and learn to attack and they are good to go.

Knights of Pen and Paper

Knights of Pen and Paper is a turn-based retro style pixel-art role-playing game. The player can build his own party, by choosing from multiple classes and characters to control those classes, to take on the loads of quests and monsters littered throughout the game.


Game website: http://buy.knightsofpenandpaper.com/

Gameplay link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCGLS4g12J8


 3 The Lens of Fun

  1. What parts of my game are fun? Why?

    • The game parodies a lot of popular culture, for example, including celebrities like Paris Hilton as a playable character and quoting lines from popular movies like Lord of the Rings. The dialogue between the playable characters and non-playable characters is also very interesting as it breaks the fourth wall at times.Figure 1. Player is able to choose both a character and a class

  2. What parts need to be more fun?

    • Combat system might need to be more dynamic as it is quite simple, making it repetitive after long hours of game play.


 18 The Lens of Flow

  1. Does my game have clear goals? If not, how can I fix that?

    • The game has clear goals in terms of storyline quests that the player has to clear in order to progress in the game.

  2. Are the goals of the player the same goals I intended?

    • The player is able to grasp the goal of the game pretty well with the use of dialogue between the characters in the game.

  3. Are there parts of the game that distract players to the point they forget their goal? If so, can these distractions be reduced, or tied into the game goals?

    • There is a multitude of side quests and optional areas for the player to explore which may distract the player from their goal. However, storyline quests are always tagged with a star icon on the game map, allowing the player to return to the intended goal at any time.

  4. Does my game provide a steady stream of not-too-easy, not-too-hard challenges, taking into account the fact that the player’s skills may be gradually improving?

    • The game provides a steady stream of gradually increasing challenges as the player will encounter a variety of different monsters with different movesets as the player progresses through the game. This calls for the player to be flexible and adaptable to be able to counter the new monsters.

  5. Are the player’s skills improving at the rate I had hoped? If not, how can I change that?

    • As this is a role-playing game, even if the player is less skilled, the player can level up their characters more to make the game easier.


 34 The Lens of Skill vs. Chance

  1. Are my players here to be judged (skill), or to take risks (chance)?

    • The game requires the player to both have skill and take chances. As the combat is turn-based, the player will be judged by their ability to maximise the utility during every single turn. The player can even choose to encounter more monsters at one go if he/she is confident. The chance element comes from the player having to go through a check(20-sided dice roll) when upgrading a piece of equipment or when deciding whether the party encounters a monster ambush when travelling between areas.

Figure 2. Dice roll is used to determine monster encounters while travelling

  1. Skill tends to be more serious than chance: Is my game serious or casual?

    • The game is quite casual as the player is given a lot of room for error. For example, even if the party gets wiped out during a monster encounter, the player is still able to resurrect the party with the use of gold.

  2. Are parts of my game tedious? If so, will adding elements of chance enliven them?

    • As monster encounters while travelling between areas is decided by probability, it can get tedious later in the game when the party keeps encountering low-level monsters that provide marginal benefits when killed.

  3. Do parts of my game feel too random? If so, will replacing elements of chance with elements of skill or strategy make the players feel more in control?

    • Although the success rate of upgrading a piece of equipment is decided by chance, there are items in the game that can increase that success rate, giving the player slightly more control.


 46 The Lens of Economy

  1. How can my players earn money? Should there be other ways?

    • The player earns gold by killing monsters.

  2. What can my players buy? Why?

    • Gold is used to purchase consumable items(potions), accessories, upgrading equipment at the blacksmith, hiring new party members.

  3. Is money too easy to get? Too hard? How can I change this?

    • As gold is not readily available, the player has to make the choice to either make the current party members stronger by purchasing new accessories and upgrading their equipment or to hire new party members that have better skillsets to complement the party setup.

  4. Are choices about earning and spending meaningful ones?

    • Earning gold is very straightforward while care has to be taken while spending else the player would have to spend more time to earn more gold.

  5. Is a universal currency a good idea in my game, or should there be specialized currencies?

    • The game uses a universal currency (gold) for all purposes which is suitable as it simplifies the economy of the game.


 49 The Lens of Visible Progress

  1. What does it mean to make progress in my game or puzzle?

    • Progress is made in the game when the characters in the party levels up and when the player completes the storyline quests.

Figure 3. Characters level up and can put points into several skills

  1. Is there enough progress in my game? Is there a way I can add more interim steps of progressive success?

    • Progress in the game is sufficient as leveling characters is not tedious.

  2. What progress is visible, and what progress is hidden? Can I find a way to reveal what is hidden?

    • Progress in terms of the character levels is explicitly shown on the character screens while progress in terms of the storyline is implicitly reflected as the player explores the various locations in the game world.