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Creating Innovative Launch Titles for the Nintendo Wii and Its Unique Controller
Price $7.95
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SKU GDC07-4481

Creating Innovative Launch Titles for the Nintendo Wii and Its Unique Controller

Speakers: Andrew Oliver

Track: Game Design

Format: Lecture

Experience Level: Intermediate

Description: Creating a launch title is never easy, especially when the console offers something that no one has seen before! This session offers insights from Blitz Games, the developers of SpongeBob SquarePants: Creature from the Krusty Krab and how we approached developing a key launch title for the Nintendo Wii platform.

As the game featured over 10 individual control systems, including flying, driving and platforming, we had to approach each of these with a clear idea of what would be an innovative way of using the controller, while also ensure that the target audience still get the most out of the game. How do we approach traditional platforming levels with this control system? How do we convey and explain the unique controller uses to the user in game? How do we achieve consistency of use over the whole game at the same time as supporting the many varied features? These are all questions that needed to be answered.

We found that prototyping controls and ideas on the Wii platform was surprisingly easy and this was a refreshing change and enabled us to try out some really imaginative uses for the controller even in a short time scale. Even though the ideas are fairly simple to prototype, getting the feel of each control system just right was a challenge in itself. We also found that detecting the correct motion of the controller had to be very specific and tested thoroughly as different people held the controllers in sometimes very different ways.

We also had to address the problem of how we actually convey the instructions for the controller types within the game. As we all know, nobody reads the manual, especially at the target age range. A series of images, text prompts and even animated movies were experimented with, all with different results. Testing and interpreting these methods were key to getting a successful title.

The brand of SpongeBob SquarePants entails wacky and surreal humour as a core feature, it was also possible for us to capitalise on this by using the varying game scenarios for experimental and unusual control systems for the many different game modes. While approaching the controller in this way, we also had to ensure that we did not just create controller ideas for the sake of it. We also had to ensure that the target audience would still find the game as accessible and enjoyable as any other title.

This lecture also addresses the question; is it possible to create an innovative launch title with a large license, while keeping the target audience in mind?

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