The following blog is written to inspire Factor 5 in their design of Lair 2. Lair all-in-all is a showcase, buts its also a base for future games using the 'Lair' engine. The intent is to provide Factor 5 with some design, gameplay, and production suggestions for the inevitable sequel to Lair. Factor 5 is a group of talented individuals who I think would not take offense to suggestions from gamers. Let's get right into it. Here are 3 problems and 3 solutions to one aspect of Lair, the controls.
As much as Lair touted motion controls, it was overused in my humble opinion. There were certain motion commands that although intuitive in principle, lacked execution. I think one of them most intuitive things for Lair to is when you're trying to pry the head of a rhino off. You shake the controller up and down violently until the head is completely torn off. This is where motion controls work. it should be used as a complimentary method of input and not the core control element in a game. Although I do believe that dragons in flight should be controlled by motion sensors while gliding, when the heat turns up, this is where motion controls can fail.
Problem: 180 turn versus Speed Burst. The gesture upwards to do a 180 turn. It was far too similar to a thrust forward of the controller to do a speed burst.
Solution: Keep the upward motion to do a 180 turn and use a press combination of L2 + R2 to do speed burst. Likewise , if its more intuitive to keep the burst using a forward motion and a 180 turn a combination of L2 + R2 ... that can be done. Bottom line, until motion controls can effectively differentiate between an upward and downward motion without getting confused, remove one from the mix.
Problem: The targeting system is quite simple in Lair. Hold LA to target the enemy. That's it. The problem however is what happens after the enemy is targeted. This is where the controls get clunky and without a systematic approach.
Solution: Implement a Combo Target System -> Using L1 is fine to lock onto targets. Hitting the circle button (O) will get you closer to your locked target. Depending on the proximity of your dragon and your enemy the simple action button would trigger the necessary 'action' for each enemy type. Let's say you've locked on to enemy 1 and is going in for the kill. Hit the action button. This triggers your dragon to ram into the opposing dragon. Now enemy 2 is right next to enemy 1. The targeting system will retarget to your next kill. You'll need to motion the analogue stick (L3) in the direction of the next enemy after the retarget. Say enemy 2 is right below enemy 1. Hit down on L3 and then hit the action button again for a 2 hit combo. Now if enemy 3 is close to enemy 2 .. the same action would repeat. Depending on the number of enemies and if they require the same action to be killed, you can have N number of dragon kill combos. The camera system of course will need some rework to accommodate a combo target system so that you can see the next enemy onscreen.
Problem: Limited battle system during in flight battles between dragons. It becomes quite repetitive and easy to defeat the biggest of enemy dragons. The battle system feels very 2D. You face the dragon and fight.
Solution: Keep the battle in 3D space and not limit it to face to face dragon battles. The fight between 2 dragon's should be a spectacle. It should be intense. This is where Factor 5 should use button triggered action sequences ala God of War. With the addition of motion controls as a complimentary form of input, the action could be wonderfully scripted yet dynamic. Along with this type of action sequence, I propose a rage meter during in flight fights. There is nothing more ferocious than the roar of a dragon. Create space between you and the opposing dragon. Belt out a load roar through the vocal chords of the dragon and put the fear of the dragon into the opposing dragon rider. The higher the rage meter, the more damage inflicted on the opposing dragon. Higher rage would also mean more intricate button combinations to lay out some major damage. Bottom line, guarantee a dynamic fight every time you go into battle mode with a dragon.
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