Game Analysis: Genshin Impact

Genshin Impact Gameplay (Character Demo – Zhongli)

Genshin Impact is a free-to-play action role-playing game developed and published by miHoYo. The game features a fantasy open-world environment and action-based battle system using elemental magic and character-switching, and uses gacha game monetization for players to obtain new characters, weapons, and other resources. The game is online-only and features a limited multiplayer mode allowing up to four players to play together. [Source: Wikipedia]

Link to Official Site:

Lens #7: Elemental Tetrad

Environment: Open-world environment with emphasis on elemental reactions like Vaporize (see image) to improve damage, healing, etc. Elemental reactions from enemies affects players as well (e.g. breaking an ice shield using fire, deal more damage to enemies of specific elements)
Physics/Player Actions: Players are able to explore the open world by walking, running, swimming, climbing, gliding, plunging (attack), shooting arrows (bow users) etc. Characters have stamina (yellow stamina bar in image) and fall damage, and arrows shot are affected by gravity.
Rules: No specific rule to overall gameplay, but Elemental Reactions govern most of the game mechanics. The image shows the Water (Hydro) character trying to break weaken the Fire (Pyro) boss by hitting its weak spot.

Players can decide the level of exploration/competitiveness on their own as Genshin Impact is a PvE game with an option of Co-Op to play with other players to clear content. Ultimately, the end-game goal is to level up characters and weapons by using resources gained through experience through exploration and quests, in order to complete the storyline.

As a traveler from another world, you will embark on a journey to reunite with your long-lost sibling and unravel the mysteries of Teyvat, and yourself.

Beautiful and visually appealing game graphics with sensational background music and voice actors that are specific to environments, gameplay and encounters with enemies.

Genshin Impact is made with Unity, where it allows cross platform gameplay between phones, PC and even PlayStation.

Lens #6: Problem Solving
Overall, the game contains puzzles scattered across the whole map (see image below) that allows players to claim rewards once they are solved. However, I believe the bulk of the problem solving comes from using elemental reactions to defeat enemies in the most effortless way given the constraints of the elements/abilities of characters a player owns, especially when challenges are timed.

Using an Electro character to unlock an Electro pillar.

Lens #5: Endogenous Value/Rewards
Genshin Impact offers various attractive rewards for players who play diligently:

(1) (Above) Daily quest rewards (experience points, in-game currency to gacha for characters)
(2) (Above) Spend their resins (energy) (capped at 160 resins, which fully refills in 21h 20min) to claim rewards from domains to gain resources to become stronger
(3) (Above) Limited-time events and character banners.

However, even for casual players who are not power-hungry or min-maxers, exploring the open world for chests or puzzles can also earn them rewards (albeit at the risk of dying more easily to open world enemies if they are under-leveled or under-geared).

Lens #8: Holographic Design
I believe that for this lens, there is a need to satisfy both “spirits” for the success of the game:
(1) Developer spirit: Gacha system for characters and weapons to earn revenue
(2) Player’s spirit: Gain characters they like/are ideal for their team setup to deal more damage/clear content.

How Genshin Impact achieves this need for players to gacha:

1. Extensive storyline where characters are linked to each other and new version updates progresses the storyline to introduce new characters
Consistent hype for new characters with backstories and attractive appearance to attract fans.

2. Elemental reactions mechanisms boosts damage and resonance and different weapons have different gameplay (e.g. Claymores can break structures and ores faster)
Need for characters of specific elements, even if player does not like the character design.
Need for characters that use specific weapons for different purposes.

3. Highly deciding factor: Low Barrier of Entry – Available to play on multiple platforms
→ Larger player base, easy for players to play anytime, anywhere, increases social gaming where friends can play on different devices.

Overall Opinion

  • Lens #7: Elemental Tetrad
    I feel that the developers of this game has incorporated the elemental reactions very well in every aspect of the game to make players consistently think of ways to use different characters, equipments and skills to clear content more easily. One other very impressive mechanism to me is the ability to climb almost any surface in the game which makes it enjoyable to explore the world.
  • Lens #6: Problem Solving
    This is the part of the game that is more regrettable for me as most puzzles are easy to clear, and the types of enemies are limited, which also means that the way to deal with them does not change much, so players who have played enough may start to get bored of the grind, even if new characters and events are released. This makes me wonder if there is a way to vary gameplay without creating a large variety of enemies/content to clear – possibly through environmental factors?
  • Lens #5: Endogenous Value
    → The developers’ mastery over the distribution of rewards is clear from how 160 primogems (in-game credit) are needed for a single gacha pull, yet the daily rewards adds up to 60 primogems, and a monthly subscription card gives 90 primogems – total of 150, just 10 short of a single gacha pull. This increases player retention rates by forcing them to come back the next day.
    → Even for randomized rewards from domains (dungeons), the algorithm that drops good artifact is so bad that it forces players to keep grinding or even using real money to buy energy to claim rewards. However, this seems to have backfired towards some players who have lost their patience to bad RNG luck.
    → This highlights to me the importance of managing the rewards system.

Game Analysis: Dirty Bomb

Official Dirty Bomb trailer

Dirty Bomb is a first-person team-based shooter with a strong emphasis on objectives and teamwork. Each match can have between 10 to 16 players, with smaller team sizes preferred for competitive play and larger ones for casual play. One team is the defenders, and one is the attackers. The attackers try to complete objectives on the map, and the defenders try to stop them.

The game is unfortunately no longer being actively developed, and has only a small player base of a few hundred veterans and some newbies, but it is still playable.

Official website:
Steam page:

Elemental Tetrad


  • First person team-based shooter.
  • Objective-based gameplay.
  • Character classes and abilities.
  • Advanced movement mechanics such as long jumping, double jumping and wall jumping.


  • London is attacked with dirty bombs, and the Central Disaster Authority is created to deal with the fallout. A criminal group called Jackal starts disrupting their efforts and stealing valuable technology, leading to both sides hiring mercenaries to serve their interests.
  • Nothing special, there is not much emphasis on the story in the game itself. Some snippets are mentioned sometimes in cutscenes before and after matches, and some map assets are themed, but besides that the focus is on gameplay.


  • Modern London, with some maps based around landmarks such as the Bank of London and the London Victoria station.
  • Each character has a distinctive silhouette and look, which improves visibility and also looks good.
  • Some objects are themed after the story, such as an escortable armoured vehicle being painted with the colours of one of the factions.


  • Windows 7+.
  • Unreal Engine 3.
  • Requires a decent graphics card and CPU due to the game not being well optimised.


Lens of Cooperation

One character from of each class of mercenary – Assault, Engineer, Fire Support, Recon, Medic (left to right)

Players can choose from a variety of mercenaries from the five classes: engineer, medic, fire support, assault and recon.

Each class is superior to the others in one aspect of the game, such as engineers completing objectives faster, and fire supports being able to resupply ammo and call in wide-area attacks for damage and area denial. All serve an important role, and a balance of classes must be present or the team is much less likely to win.

In the competitive scene, almost every team had 2 medics and 1 engineer at all times, with the other 2 slots being taken up by assaults, fire supports and recons depending on the map and the game state. For example, on the defending team, they might take an assault and a fire support in order to increase their firepower and have area denial capabilities. On the other hand, the attackers might take a recon in order to pick off the defenders safely before moving to do the objective.

Additionally, cooperation is facilitated via the quick chat system. Players can press ‘V’ to bring up a list of callouts, ranging from greetings, to asking for ammo, to taunting the enemy team. This allows players to simply quickly press a few buttons to instantly provide their team with information. For example, the keypresses V-2-1 results in a call for a medic in text chat as well as causing your character to call out.

Lens of Skill

Dirty Bomb is a skill-based game. Players must cultivate many skills such as movement, aim, timing and situational awareness, to name a few. All these skills are needed in order to become good at the game. To give an example, a player who simply runs to the objective will arrive slower than another who uses wall-jumping to boost their speed. Similarly, some shortcuts or spots on the map can only be accessed via advanced movement mechanics.

A video showing some movement and jumping mechanics

Dirty Bomb has a respawn system that is not commonly seen that adds an additional layer of complexity to the game. Instead of individual players having a death timer, such as needing to wait 3 seconds before respawning, there is a team-wide timer that constantly ticks. At the end of the timer, everyone downed or dead on the team can respawn in what is called a “spawn wave”.

Spawn waves affects the flow of the game, as players cannot rush blindly into combat or they risk being stuck waiting to respawn for a long time. Good players can take advantage of this system. When there is a long time before the next spawn wave, they play more defensively, and when the spawn wave is due in a few seconds, they push aggressively so even if they die they can be back in the action nearly instantly. Also, due to this system, if a player knows the enemy spawn wave timer, they can call down an airstrike just as the enemy leaves their spawn and loses their spawn protection, giving their team an advantage in the next fight.

Lens of Balance

While there are a few outliers at top-level play where communication is constant and relevant, at lower levels of play the roster of mercenaries is remarkably balanced. Each mercenary has their own strengths and weaknesses, and has counterplay to their abilities. For example, one medic can put up a dome-shaped shield that destroys all incoming projectiles such as grenades and artillery strikes, but the shield is easily destroyed by gunfire.

Looking away from character abilities, the weapons are mostly balanced well and are meaningful sidegrades to each other instead of upgrades. Also, all mercenaries are competent in combat, with even medics being able to take down assaults with proper positioning, ability use and aim.

Lens of Parallelism

Each objective has side objectives that make it easier to attack the main objective and prevent. For example, the attacking team might try to destroy a generator to open up an alternate path to the main objective. On the flip side, the defending team has to decide if they want to allocate resources to preventing this from happening. This adds further depth to the game.

Game Design Analysis: Genshin Impact

In-game Screenshot

Genshin Impact is a free-to-play open-world role playing game developed and published by MiHoYo. It features a fantasy environment and a battle system that uses different magical elements with different characters. It also features a gacha game system where you can pay to get new characters, weapons and other materials.

Link to official English website:

Lens #4: The Lens of Surprise:
Being an open-world game, Genshin Impact contains many surprises which reside in the hidden puzzles and hidden achievement. Puzzles in Genshin Impact typically give chests which reward player resources required in the game. Some puzzles are not very obvious and may be overlooked if nobody is to talk about it. For example, one need to step on a series of rocks in a certain order to receive a chest, and the only clue given is just a tiny spark of light on the rock. There are also achievements that requires the player to certain task to get it, where it is also not stated in the game. Thus getting those hidden puzzles and hidden achievements bring out a sense of surprises as they lie in places player least expected.

Lens #9: The Elemental Tetrad:
Players able to wander around the world by walking, running, swimming, climbing and gliding. They uses characters with their own unique elements which may work with other elements to perform better. Players level up by getting experience through exploration and quest, and their characters level up by using resources.
The main character is a dimension traveler who get stuck in the world of Teyvat due to a nameless god. He or she also loses contact with the other sibling and is on a journey to reunite with each other, accompanied by a companion named Paimon.
The game has an anime styled 3D graphic which bring out the fantasy feel of the world.
Genshin Impact is made with Unity, where it allows cross platform gameplay between phones, PC and even PlayStation.

Lens #29: The Lens of Secrets:
Many players know and understand the current state of the game, but not many players are able to know the future content or even predict it, Hence the knowledge of the future content is a secret kept by MiHoYo, but still some players are to dive deep to uncover it, where they leak it to the public. With the knowledge of the future content, some players are able to plan on how to use their resources wisely and not be left behind. However, not all the leaks are correct as some are fake news. Therefore, some important leaks that are known to some may not be available to others, causing a sense of outrage as the leaks are kept in secret from them, making them feel unfair and unjustice.

In-game Screenshot

Lens #36: The Lens of Chance:
Having a gacha game system, players are able get items with certain rates, and paying will help to increase the number of tries. Those items are categorized by number of stars they have, where items with five stars have the lowest rate and are the hardest to get. Hence there is randomness in getting those items where the lucky ones may get more than one would expect, where it all depends on chance.

Lens #53: The Lens of Balance:
Despite having a pay to win option in the gacha side, the game itself is still fairly balanced where the starting characters are good enough to complete most of the game contents. Some rare characters may seem to be overpowered, but those common characters can also be built to match the power of those rare characters. Hence Genshin Impact currently has its characters balance in control, where characters have their own unique skillsets and mechanics to learn and play.

Lens #78: The Lens of Story:
Genshin Impact contains many stories, where players can learn about the main character, side characters and even non-playable characters. Their stories itself bring out the secret in them and their surrounding, where players will understand the world of Teyvat more. Some stories may even lead to the other stories, where players can see the links between them all.

Overall Genshin Impact is a game where the exploration of the world of Teyvat is never-ending, and even more will be revealed in the future.

Game Analysis: Doom (1993)


Doom is a first-person shooter game developed by id Software. Players assume the role of a space marine, popularly known as Doomguy, fighting his way through hordes of invading demons from Hell.

Doom cover art

Official website:


Lens 9: The Elemental Tetrad


Doomguy fighting two Barons of Hell

Doom’s art style is made to be “nightmarish”: a mix of sci-fi weaponry, xenomorphic aliens, and Hell. This places an emphasis on the environment, and especially on the design of the monsters. Monsters are sculpted from clay, and then photographed from different sides to get a realistic 2.5D-style graphics: 2D sprites with multiple viewing angles.

John Romero and a sculpt model of the Baron of Hell

The music used in the game further evokes this imagery, with heavy inspiration on metal bands such as Metallica, Black Sabbath, and Alice in Chains.


id Software used DOS to develop its previous titles, but switched to the NeXTSTEP operating system for Doom (despite it being developed for DOS). This switch gave the team a much improved development environment, with high screen resolution and better graphics, which was a huge step forward in iteration time and overall productivity.

Doom demands a fairly beefy computer at its time, but this was acceptable given how fast the hardware space was evolving in those days. To compensate, the Doom engine employed clever tricks to squeeze out maximum performance, one of which being the use of fixed-point arithmetic. Computers back then had slow floating-point arithmetic performance. To alleviate this, the engine used integers split into an integral part and a fractional part to represent decimals. This allows arithmetic using normal integer instructions which is much faster. Nowadays this workaround is obsolete, since modern CPUs have dedicated floating point units, and even modern GPUs are compared to each other in terms of floating point operations per second (FLOPs).

Doom’s assets are stored in WAD files, short for “Where’s All the Data”, which allows not only easy swapping of game assets, but also makes it easy to develop and distribute custom modifications.


Most first-person shooters of late follow the same mantra for their game mechanics: aim, shoot, cover. Doom takes a different approach: like its predecessors, the low punishment of getting hit, the abundance of pickups, and the plethora of secret locations motivate the player to take on a more reckless and explorative gameplay.

The selection of weapons and level design adds to this mindset, giving the player more options to decimate hellspawns, from environment hazards like explosive barrels and crushing walls, to the Big F***ing Gun.


The game follows a simple narrative: Earth’s last man shoots satanic alien demons that invaded Earth. The protagonist? We call him the “Doomguy”. Name is irrelevant – he’s here to slay demons, not befriend them. As John Carmack put it: “Story in a game is like story in a porn movie. It’s expected to be there, but it’s not that important.” This doesn’t generalize for all games, of course, but it certainly applies for Doom.

Lens 38: Challenge

You start with a pistol, finding your way around a hangar, surrounded by what were your comrades, but are now zombie troopers. It’s a straightforward level with a straightforward gameplay. As you progress through the levels, the game provides harder obstacles, including puzzle-like levels and tougher enemies, matched only by the new weapons you unlock.

The game’s challenges are rather balanced. Speaking personally, while you may not finish some levels on the first try, they don’t leave you feeling helpless, even on boss fights. Otherwise, you have the option to adjust the difficulty of the game.

The Spider Mastermind, the final boss in Doom

That said, the game doesn’t fall short for the more demanding players. Secret levels provide new challenges, and there’s a lively speedrun, multiplayer, and modding community.

Lens 94: Atmosphere

To echo the sentiments in the Aesthetics section of Lens 9, many elements from the game gives the player the impression of being the deepest part of Hell, from the monster design to the iconic soundtrack.

The capability of the engine allows detailed texture maps and effects that supports this atmosphere.

Doom’s detailed texture maps contribute to the Hellscape atmosphere

Lens 98: Community

Part of the reason of Doom’s overwhelming popularity is its shareware distribution strategy: the first episode is available for free. Doom would go on to have more installations than Windows 95, which is no easy feat.

Another contributor to Doom’s popularity is its openness to mods. The use of WADs allows easy distribution of customizations, be it different assets for the monsters or new maps. id Software also released level editors and other tools that fosters the mod-making culture.

The Ultimate Simpsons Doom mod

Along with single-player mode, multiplayer mode ensured the game’s longevity. The word “deathmatch” was coined for the four-player last-man-standing mode for Doom.

Lens 106: Utopia

Doom sets the trend for the 3D first-person shooter genre. While it’s more apt to attribute the introduction of the genre to its predecessor–Wolfenstein 3D–Doom is arguably the one to bring the genre to its peak. Following the release of Doom, first-person shooter games that appeared would be termed Doom clones, including the widely popular Duke Nukem 3D, and id Software’s next title Quake.

Quake would carry on Doom’s spirit, with its hellish and satanic atmosphere, involvement with Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor, and more advanced multiplayer capabilities… but that’s a story for another time.