Game Design Theory Level 3 – Customization and Creative Design Techniques

Create an Attack Matrix to Track Your Combat Moves and Reactions

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Buttons (steps) :

Power Drain (player)         Life Drain (enemy)      Type (Projectile/Melee)          Range          Reload Time          Accuracy          Rarity

Bow                                                                               -2                         -2                                P                                         M-L              medium                  medium         abundant 

Sword                                                                           -3                          -3                               M                                           S                  fast                       medium         abundant  

Shotgun                                                                        -3                          -5                               P                                           S                  slow                          low              scarce                      

Rifle                                                                               -2                          -5                               P                                            L                  fast                          high             medium

Bazooka                                                                        -5                          -9                               P                                            L                  slow                          low             scarce


An attack matrix is a nifty tool that let’s you chart out the character’s offense, defense, special moves, etc. and see them all at a glance to see if you there is enough variation and balance in the use of force. It’s a good idea to also list the buttons involved in each step so you can look at buttons that may be overused, underused or just not utilized properly. Remember to try and map you button schemes to similar ones in the past. In your attack matrix you may need separate sections for when the character is actually attacking, because sometimes there are several “battle modes” or different combat mechanics at various points in the game. You can make a matrix like this for magic powers, special abilities, different guns, etc. but the general idea is to be able to compare and contrast all of the different weapons in an organized way so that you can make better decisions about how to balance the game. It’s also best to include pictures of each weapon and / or it’s effects.



People Want to Play Games That Make Them Look Cool. Help Them Look Cool


This one goes without saying but we’ll say it anyway. It’s so cool for players when they are able to control a really awesome character and your players will appreciate your efforts in this regard most of all. Think of iconic characters like Master Chief in Halo, Lara Croft in Tomb Raider and even the Star Wars game franchise and all of their characters. People love playing as these characters because they have unique and awesome abilities that make the player look and feel cool. Taking down alien armies, treasure hunting in a remote foreign land and flying awesome spaceships are experiences that make players feel cool and want to keep playing. Dedicated players will demand sequels for more, and that’s a great place to be for a designer.


 players want to look cool


So in your game you need to always be thinking of not only how you can make the player character work, which means that they run, shoot, jump, etc. but also that they look cool when they’re working. You can build that into the design but usually it’s a step-by-step process where you make the player look cooler and more fun to play with as you go through the development process. The players are counting on you to make them feel awesome.