Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Gameplay and Genre Overview

The fighting game genre that I have chosen to base my pre-production module on dates back to classic Sega Mega Drive titles such as Street Fighter 2 and Mortal Kombat, video games that proved incredibly popular in video arcades at the time for their fast, one-on-one competitive gameplay. The main premise of fighting (or beat-em-up) games is to deplete the life bar of the opponent you are currently battling using a number of button combinations to move and attack using the player's chosen character. In the past these battles would take place on a 2D plane, with the characters standing facing each other who are able to travel within the game space from left to right.

A scene from Street Fighter Alpha 3

More recently, in the wake of technological advancements, fighting games have progressed to allow characters to move within 3D space, with titles such as SoulCalibur and Dead or Alive being some of the more successful adaptions of this new way to move within the game arena. This changed the way in which fighting games would be designed, instead of conceptualising a moving in-game background that would scroll as the player moved from left to right within the arena space, now full 3D game environments and characters had to be designed to accomodate this allowance of greater movement and interactivity between the players.

Today fighting games have almost progressed full circle in how newer titles that were originally based in the 2D side-scrolling setting now use a mix of 3D and 2D to best emulate the game experience of past titles that proved most popular in the early nineties. Street Fighter 4 for example uses 3D rendered characters and environments while also sticking with a 2D movement setting from left to right within the arena. Additionally, general design of modern fighting games now allow much more interactivity within the playable level arenas the player's characters do battle in with the inclusion of environments that move and react to the decisions of the players. This ultimately results in characters now being able to be punched through walls to other areas or thrown into vats of deadly acid (shown below in the Dead Pool stage of the recent Mortal Kombat), multiplying the cinematic nature of the genre and allowing a level of strategy to be placed within levels that normally were static images used for backgrounds.

A scene from Mortal Kombat (2011)

For my pre-production module I have chosen to research and design the concept art for a fighting game that is based in a 3D space but sticks to the original 2D character movement, much like the above image. By doing this I will allow myself enough scope to design and create a large number of different and interesting characters and arenas that would be able to be adapted in the later design and development stages of video game creation. In addition to this the fighting game genre allows me to be broad with the number of different themes and settings I can create while also encapsulating them into simple, standalone levels and characters that can then be looked into in more detail in a later project.

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