In search of fun and thrills

I’m currently playing my Spy Hunter-esque game to death trying to figure out where the real fun of such a game lies.
Perhaps unsurprisingly I’m happiest when the car is full tilt and narrowly dodging obstacles and other vehicles.
Initially I had the road set quite narrow. Naturally when the game became unplayable I switched it to be quite wide. That rendered it too easy. The thrills were nowhere to be found.
It also dawned on me that the real thrills are to be found when the illusion of speed is greatest. To achieve this I needed to shrink the road such that all car dodging was pretty much a near miss each time.
With the road moving at pace the biggest problem was of course that colliding with other cars became all to common. So I decided to give the player a visual warning that another car was approaching. To enhance this I also spawned the car in at -256. This meant that on average the warning sign would be in view for around 2 – 3 seconds since when the car’s y value was greater than zero (ie. The car moved in to view) it was no longer required.

This was an interesting exercise since as a game designer I’d perhaps assumed that helping the player was counter to providing a challenge. But the reality is of course that I’m also in the business of providing fun and thrills :)

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