Learn the ideas behind how the Binding of Isaac implements their procedurely generated dungeons. This is an intro into future episodes where we’ll be talking and implementing different procedural generation algorithms.
Category: Game Design
The Variability within Nuclear Throne
I’ve been pondering on why it is that I keep coming back to Nuclear Throne. Its one of the most popular and renowned rogue like shooters in the past couple years. In this post I’ll discuss what makes Nuclear Throne so fun and engaging to play with in terms of the variability within the game.
So what is it about Nuclear Throne. It’s as if each play through gives us a new experience we can call our own. It implants within us an automatic replay timer. Making us us want to play round after round after round. From the numerous characters you can choose from, to the fast paced combat system, Nuclear throne never fails to deliver. In one aspect above all others do I believe Nuclear Throne to achieve its greatness, namely its variability in all aspects of gameplay.
Variables and options are plentiful in Nuclear Throne. You have numerous characters to choose from with different abilities and powers, you have an assortment of different weapons to explore each with different strengths and weaknesses. Along with characters and weapons, Nuclear Throne also has unlimited variety in level layouts, enemies, and gameplay styles.
What about variability though? What does variabilities and options have to do with making an experience great? Let’s go one level up. In terms of games we can all agree that novelty keeps an experience fresh and exciting. If a game is novel, if a game keeps us on our toes with different experiences and play combinations every time, then we’ll play the game for that much longer. Variables within a game achieve this novelty. Variables and options keep you on your toes, you have different options to consider, different weapons, abilities, routes, and levels. In general variables help a game to retain their sheen a little longer, it helps in keeping the games novelty high.
As soon as you start the game you have a number of characters to choose from, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. You can pick and try new abilities from among them, as well as unlock weapons for each character. Weapons come in throws in Nuclear Throne. You’ll find no shortage of shotguns, beam sabers, and fire grenade launchers. Weapons themselves are core to Nuclear Throne, they allow you to combat bigger and better enemies as you progress through the game. They come in varying degrees of power and the game gives you the option of carefully picking up and swapping the weapons that will increase your chances of reaching the throne (depending on your play style). We all know weapons have ammo. Ammo is another system within the game that keeps you on your toes, spam to many bullets and out of bullets you’ll be. It’s another variable within the game that you need to take account for. You pick and choose the best of weapons to keep you running about the longest.
Another important aspect of Nuclear Throne is level design, and it is a core aspect of the game. Nuclear throne also achieves something interesting with its level design, and it is something I believe to be rather brilliant.
The layout for each level is generated in random fashion, yes. Yet the level progression itself runs true. You have various environments within the game that you come to associate with. Everyone knows that the desert section comes before the sewers, everyone knows that after the icy tundra environment the lab will follow. This is important because what Nuclear Throne does is engrave in you a sense of familiarity and most importantly a sense of progression within the levels. At the same time levels never seem to tire out as their novelty is retained in the form of randomly generated layouts.
Now what’s left but the meat of the game, gameplay and combat. The combat itself is rich with high intensity bouts of combat. Sometimes you’ll find yourself being spawned into a pit of enemies, trying to desperately shoot your way out to safety. While at other times it allows you to pick off your enemies one by one. The enemies as well are as diverse in strength as they are in abilities. Enemies is something Nuclear Throne nails down. The variability in enemies is diverse in each and every environment, and what it does so great is it gives you the opportunity to immediately assess the different dangers and enemies you face.
Take for example the desert environment, when thrown in combat you must immediately assess the danger you are in. Do you try to take out the small fry first or do you smite the heavily armored scorpion. Is it the best moment to pop open the worm right now knowing that it will open a can of worms. Well, that’s up for you decide. It’s this variability in enemies, and allowing the player the option to choose and changeup their play style that makes combat in Nuclear Throne so enjoyable.
Wrapping it up, variability in Nuclear Throne makes for a fun and engaging experience. Right from the start menu we have various characters to choose from, while in game we have a multitude of weapons to explore. In combat we have a diverse set of enemies to face and it engages us as we must choose and prioritize enemy engagement. All in all, Nuclear Throne is an amazing game that keeps us coming back for more with its well thought out game mechanics and for its variability in game play and player options.
Thanks for reading, I hope to make videos for these post’s soon, stay tuned for next Saturday.