In the latest feature for Gamasutra sister educational site Game Career Guide
, Round Table Games - a student team from Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center - present their postmortem for Beowulf's Barroom Brawl
: a first person fighting game based on the idea of kinetic freedom.
Designed and developed by the team of four over two weeks using Panda3d, Maya, Photoshop, Audition, and Fruity Loops, author and Round Table team member James Portnow explains human and ancient-beast beat-'em-up Beowulf's Barroom Brawl
with motion trackers.'
In this excerpt, Portnow says that using motion tracking was perhaps the most successful of 'what went right':
"To this day I am totally convinced that giving the player the illusion of kinetic freedom was the best design decision we made. Unfortunately the hardware limited the amount of actual kinetic freedom given to the player. The player could not walk around the bar; in fact they couldn't even turn around. If they dodged more than a few feet to the left or the right we'd lose them, so we needed them to stay stationary and face the screen, only punching or moving their torso to dodge.
In order to do this we made the opponent much larger than life, filling 80% of the projection screen (which is already about fifteen feet tall and looming over the player). We gave the player a first person view, allowing them only to see their arms and fists (which did a lot to explain the principle interaction of the game without us having to give a single instruction). We also placed overturned chairs and tables to the players left and right but these turned out to be almost irrelevant as no one ever tried to move that far.
To this day we have never had a player ask us why they can't turn around (or even try to turn around) as they are so focused on the large menacing man in front of them."
You can now read the full Game Career Guide feature
with more from Round Table on 'the trials and tribulations of working on an unusual platform as well as the wonders of being freed from standard controls,' and also how leather gloves, chains, and barbarian fur brings out the best in anyone (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).