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Scrap Seas Game Feel: Shake That Screen!

Game feel is a pretty nebulous term that means a lot of different things depending on who you ask. I've seen it broken down into input, response, context, aesthetic, and metaphor. These 5 categories hold a lot of influence over how engaging your game is to players. I am particularly interested in the aesthetic component.

Scrap Seas Aesthetics

Aesthetics is generally the visual and audio components of a game. However, I tend to think of it as the feedback you send the player. I think when building a game you want to make sure that key information very very VERY clearly.

I think of this because we added in screen shake into Scrap Seas today. One of the key bits of information that the player needs while playing in Scrap Seas is when they've been hit and when they've taken a lot of damage. Tracking damage and remaining HP was one of the first things we implemented in development of Scrap Seas, but that was the easy part. Now that we've added screen shake you can probably see a difference between the impact of the moment. To the player it should be clear that they are in trouble in a moment like this. It should not only be communicated clearly, it should be impossible to ignore. Any queues the developer can add for key moments like this will likely improve the player experience. We have actually done a number of things leading up to this to indicate when the player is taking damage and losing health.

  1. The player ship has a flinching animation where its side tubes shake when it gets hit

  2. Strong projectiles and hazards produce brightly colored explosions and sound effects

  3. On impact random components of the ship have a chance locking up (which becomes higher as health decreases)

  4. As the player's health drops the boat gradually starts to emit a metallic creaking and rickety motor sound effect

  5. On taking damage the player HUD portrait shakes

  6. As health decreases the player portraits color and expression becomes more negative

  7. The health bar decreases.

There are always so many things going on in the games I play and I often take for granted everything that is going on to communicate information to the player. We are pretty happy with how Scrap Seas looks with screen shake. However, we hope to improve the quality of feedback the player receives through the soundtrack.

Dynamic Soundtrack

One of the most effective ways to send feedback to the player is through the music. Of course any quality track will improve game play experience, but it is even better if the music can help communicate information regarding the player's circumstances. For the case of Scrap Seas, we are currently searching for composers to produce multiple tracks. These tracks will need to be "adaptive tracks." In other words, the music will need to be broken into different branches so that we can plug the pieces into our software and transition to different branches based on variables such as player health, enemy encounters, etc.

We are looking for electronic style music. These are some examples of tracks that we think would fit well in our game:

If you would like to work on the music for this project, please message me with your rates, average turn around time per track, link to your portfolio, and e-mail address. We prefer to work with someone based in the U.S. just so the paperwork is more straight forward. Resume or LinkedIn page would also be appreciated just so we can tell you are a real human person :)

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