Chicken Pong – Part 3

September 1, 2011

Part 1, Part 2

I’m pretty happy with the final version of Chicken Pong. It would need some development polish if I wanted to release it but in this post I want to write about what game design polish I think it’d need.

I feel the main issue is that the game is too easy and what difficulty it does have comes from frustrating the player rather than their lacking skill. Difficulty comes from the paddles moving like molasses and points are regularly scored on the restart as the chicken fires out without much time to react.

Here’s some ideas I’ve got to try and improve the feel of the game:

  • The restart mechanic needs work. I’d like to add a delay after a point to give the player receiving the restart some time to react. Maybe always fire at the player that had the point scored against them to add some predictability.
  • To change the difficulty so it’s more about precision than fighting the controls, I’d shrink the chicken’s sprite and reduce it’s hitbox to just it’s body. I’d also remove random direction changes on collision and rotate the chicken’s direction according to the movement of the paddles to add incentive to hit the chicken with a moving paddle. I’m also pretty sure it would be more fun to speed up the paddle movement and maybe add some acceleration and bounce so it’s easy to miss instead of hard to hit.
  • Collision detection at the ends of the paddles is a bit wonky and improving that would make it harder to save a point. I’d also like to try disabling collision detection until after the restart once the chicken hits the edge of the viewport.

So in the end, I think I’ve got a better appreciation of what makes Pong a fun game and an itch to start playing with some physics simulation and Farseer.

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