Feature: Starbreeze Designer Shares Game Pacing Method

Starbreeze designer Filip Coulianos explains in a new Gamasutra feature interview a method for analyzing pacing in video games, and breaks down pacing in X-Men
By analyzing the pacing of your game, writes Starbreeze (The Darkness) designer Filip Coulianos, you have a method to help hit creative targets -- Coulianos shares his process in a new Gamasutra feature. "We have always asked ourselves what great stories are made of; as a consequence, many refined methods for analyzing and creating good stories in traditional media have been developed. As the video game medium is only a toddler, no reliable toolsets exist yet. However, the question remains: what makes great games?" he writes. "The basic idea behind this method is to explore gameplay progression by breaking down the game into its distinctively different gameplay elements," Coulianos adds. "Once this is done, time the player as she is playing through the game, and finally assemble the data into a chart." "Looking at this chart, we can then see what types of gameplay are most present in the game, where the player got stuck, if any section of the game is too repetitive, and so on." Coulianos breaks down X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Batman: Arkham Asylum, two superhero games which have markedly different reputations. His process suggests that the differences can be tracked easily, and he discusses his results in analyzing both games and implementing his process in the feature. "Even though Batman and Wolverine appeal to slightly different audiences, we can still use this method to compare them. Just by a quick glance, we can draw interesting conclusions and see patterns that suggest that Wolverine is more repetitive -- which we actually can confirm by reading reviews, as they often use the word "repetitive" when describing Wolverine," he writes. The full feature, which breaks them down and also discusses how pacing works in Half-Life 2 -- and how his tool helped him refine his own game concept -- is live now on Gamasutra.

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