In games as in life, slipping and sliding on surfaces of ice while torrents of snow turn your eyelashes into crystalline daggers can be frustrating to say the least. Yet ice and snow values in video games are a time-honored affair. As a result of this week of Kotaku‘s Split screen In the podcast we try to find out why that is so, fail and then move it forward Cave explorers Creator Derek Yu to explain it to us.
The episode begins with Ash, Fahey, and me taking up the annals of the history of the ice level, trying to figure out where the mechanics we often associate with them (slippery ground, weather obscuring view, etc.) first began. Then we move on to a discussion of our preferred and least preferred ice levels, from the very new (Astros playroom and Hades) to the old (sound On the fucking Sega Game Gear, those fucking angry sliding puzzles come in Pokémon gold and silver). We also discuss the concept of penguin explosion at length. Then, to end the show, let’s move on Cave explorers and Speleology 2 Director Derek Yu talked about his own approach to creating ice levels, how classic games influenced his designs, and why ice levels keep appearing in games even though so many of them are the heck frustrating.
Get the MP3 Hereand view an excerpt below.
Nathan: As someone who creates games and levels and designs those things, what is the attraction of this slippery surface for you? Because I feel like this is one of the things that ice-level people find most frustrating. What is the appeal of changing the player’s ability to move?
Derek Yu: It’s interesting. As I said before, there are a lot of things to think about when designing an environment. And I have to be honest: I feel like a lot of game designers are adding ice levels, not especially because they really like the slippery ice, but more because snow-covered, icy places – it’s just some kind of big biome in real life. I think it also brings with it a lot of colors that we don’t see often in other biomes, and those are things that we think about.
To include it, you have to include some sort of strain that is in some ways difficult to miss because it’s right there. People have certain expectations attached to it. Players implicitly understand what an ice-based world means. You get these expectations, these colors, these feelings for free. So I wouldn’t say designers include them for the ice cream. I would say the ice may be more of a side issue that happens to come with the snowy or icy biome, which is the more interesting part for designers.
I know ice cream can be frustrating. I think it can be interesting to get into the player’s sense of movement like that, but like we just said, you can also walk around the ice and avoid it if you want Cave explorers. But I don’t think ice cream is the main feature designers want to add. I mean, I speak from my own personal experience, but there are all of these cool things that come with ice and icy environments.
Nathan: You’ve talked about how ice and the way it affects movement is already challenging enough for players. So you’ve voted back some other elements of the challenge Cave explorersCompensate for ice level. But when you created Cave explorers and Speleology 2Have there ever been more elaborate ice and snow based ideas that you wanted to add to the game – all that you thought about just to decide if this is too much or not Cave explorers
Derek: I decided to keep the ice caves pretty small just to fit where they were in the game as a kind of stopping point for the player. I think Eirik Suhrke, who made the music for the game, also felt this feeling. in the Speleology 1There’s kind of an infamous jazzy track that Eirik wrote for it, and in Speleology 2 There is also a kind of quieter and more peaceful route. It is different and signals an interruption in the game. I really think with game design you want to see it as an up and down flow of everything – including difficulty. This is where the ice caves really come into play Cave explorers. It felt a little bit more minimal, a little more peaceful – that’s what I wanted.
Nathan: We need to at least briefly talk about “wet fur” levels because I really enjoy this terminology. When you wrote the text that describes the feeling of places in Cave explorerswhy wet fur for icy areas with yetis?
Derek: I’ve always cared that we can’t smell games. Obviously in these levels in Speleology 1You will be introduced to the Yeti King and in Speleology 2 we somehow carry it on. So it is a signal that on the one hand there are many Yetis in this level. On the other hand, those level feelings and text are a great way to introduce another sensation that you don’t normally get when playing the game yourself because we can’t smell games. I just got the feeling, thinking about the surroundings – that icy cave full of all these yetis – that the smell of the place and the smell of their fur was somehow a very strong feeling in my head. I wanted to somehow make the player feel like he was taking the stage too.
Nathan: Are we talking about some kind of neutral smell, or is it like a dog jumping in a pool and smelling salty and you say, “Why do you smell salty? Where does the salt come from? “
Derek: I think it’s more like a wet dog. I don’t know, some people might like that smell! But it’s an earthy smell I think. It smells like too much nature that is concentrated and condensed in one place. So it’s a pungent smell that is a bit uncomfortable as I would put it. Thanks.
in the Cave explorersThe yeti caves are pretty claustrophobic. I think I wanted to convey that feeling of claustrophobia. You know, kind of like a locker room. Imagine you are in a locker room. You just played an entire American football game with a couple of hairy yetis. How does that smell
Nathan: We’ve all been through this. In order to Cave explorers is a game where you’re canonically the only person on Yeti High?
Derek: Yes exactly. And you’re just trying to come back and say hello to your teammates again after you argue with them.
Nathan: Oh, that’s really nice. Well I hope you are fine.
For all of that and more, check out the episode. New episodes drop every Friday, so don’t forget to like and subscribe to them Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher. If you’re feeling inclined to do so, leave a review and feel free to send us a message at [email protected] with any questions or suggestion. If you want to yell at us directly, you can reach us on Twitter: Ash is @adashtraFahey is @ OnkelFaheyand Nathan is @ Vahn16. Until next week!