Premise – Addressing Accessibility in Fighting Games
Sword Game was developed for a Gameplay Prototyping module within my course. Whilst also a vehicle to learn development within Unity, the aim of this particular prototype was to create a fighting game that did not rely on complex inputs or combos. Thereby removing the execution barrier which normally prevents players from getting to the fun part of fighting games – playing mind games with your opponent.
My solution was to remove buttons entirely, and instead use the analogue inputs available on a modern gamepad:
- Left Stick – Movement
- Right Stick – Sword Swing
- Triggers – Sword Tilt
The idea was, as long as the collision was robust and the acceleration values were right, the gameplay would just take care of itself. If a player needed to attack, they would just move the sword in the direction of the enemy, if a player needed to block, they just move the sword in the path of the attacker’s.
Due to its dynamic nature and fine-control, there are no baked attack animations. Instead, the sword movements and collisions are all driven by physics and IK.
While development was troubled including an entire rewrite of the combat system to emulate kinematic body collision detection with physics forces, the project gave me some insight into the viability of this concept.
Overall, it was successful at being incredibly intuitive to control, a 10 second primer of axis assignments was enough to get players fighting. However, the game didn’t feel that fun to play, there just wasn’t enough for the player to do to outwit their opponent, the characters didn’t move around as much as they needed to make fights visually compelling and hitting opponents felt a bit flat and confusing. Victories felt more luck based than skill, which ultimately undermined the entire experience.