What If We All Could See the Bigger Picture
Monday, February 9, 2009 at 11:19PM
Richard Terrell (KirbyKid) in Mario Strikers Charged, Misc Design & Theory

Camera issues are some of the most wide spread problems facing 3D games. However, even 2D classic games like the Sonic series can be plagued with camera issues. Between the game speed, player mechanics, and the screen size, sometimes the player is never adequately informed about upcoming level/enemy elements.

As I thought about how Sonic Beyond could address this issue, I began to wonder about how restricting developing games for a specific screen size can be. Between the standard 4:3 ratio TV screen, widescreen TVs, high rez computer monitors, handheld screens, and the Nintendo DS's dual screens each display type comes with advantages and disadvantages.

Though it's been a while since I've been to the arcade, thinking about screen size limitations made me reflect on all the different custom cabinets the arcade games had. Silent Scope featured a mini screen inside the scope of a sniper rifle. Brave Firefighters had a large screen so two players could aim their hoses with ease. The virtual fighting game surrounded the player with wall like screens to try and bring a higher level of immersion. The indoors roller coaster had a screen inside the car unit. Most games in the arcade had some combination of a custom screen, controller, sound system, and seat.

After reflecting on the arcade games, I wondered how I would design custom screens for console and/or handheld games if I were completely free from being practical or profitable. After thinking for a bit, I've come to the conclusion that I'm all about seeing the bigger picture. Literally.

What if...

or...

or even...

Games like PixelJunkEden, World of Goo, and Mario Strikers Charged would benefit if more could be displayed at once. Perhaps the games could be displayed on a "mural touch screen," if such a thing exists. Instead of playing with a controller, perhaps you could flick the Grimp with your finger, or drag around Goo balls via touch. In Mario Strikers Charged, items, opponents, and teammates would never be hidden off the sides of the screen. With the whole field visible, everything would be out in the open.

What if in Super Mural Metroid, you started at the top of the mural and slowly worked your way down exploring each cell one room at a time. Instead of featuring a scrolling camera, the entire game world/world map would be fixed in perspective like playing fixed camera mode in Super Smash Brothers. Players would have to follow along as Samus moves all over the wall. With this setup, there's no need for a map.

For the mural version of a 2D Sonic game, because the player would be able to see so much more, the amount of level memorization would be nearly eliminated.

I'd like to play Super Mario Galaxy projected on inside of an observatory dome.

Article originally appeared on Critical-Gaming Network (http://critical-gaming.com/).
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